Phillip Securities scraps sales fees for unit trusts traded online

High-rise buildings in the Singapore city centre and outskirts.
High-rise buildings in the Singapore city centre and outskirts.PHOTO: ST FILE

Brokerage also does away with switching charges on the platform as market turns increasingly competitive

Phillip Securities executive director Lisa Lee told The Straits Times that having no charges for unit trust trades on Poems is part of its strategy to allow customers to consolidate their assets with the platform.

Brokerage Phillip Securities has stepped up competition in the industry by removing sales charges and switching fees for unit trusts traded online.

The move will mean these fees no longer eat into the returns of retail investors.

The firm's online trading platform Poems removed the fees recently in what is a permanent move. There is no minimum amount to trade unit trusts online and the removal of charges also applies to investors who are planning to subscribe to regular savings plans via Poems.

Phillip Securities executive director Lisa Lee told The Straits Times that having no charges for unit trust trades on Poems is part of its strategy to allow customers to consolidate their assets with the platform.

Having no switching fees especially could entice existing clients to move their unit trust investments from elsewhere to Poems.


Phillip Securities' executive director Lisa Lee says that online trading is here to stay and that her firm is prepared to embrace it for customers who prefer to invest or trade online.

Before the change, the sales charge was 0.75 per cent while switching cost was 0.5 per cent. Poems has had no platform fee since it was set up in 1996, the first online trading system in Singapore.

The brokerage's move comes hot on the heels of FSMOne, a new online investment platform released last month that has no sales charges for all funds and unit trusts, but platform fees from 0.05 per cent per quarter.

Banks here have sales charges of at least 1 per cent, for instance, with promotions held from time to time.

And some online platforms, which tend to have no platform fees, have sales charges from 0.5 per cent on certain funds and none for others.

Phillip Securities is one of several retail-focused brokerages here, a group that includes Maybank Kim Eng, DMG & Partners Securities and DBS Vickers.

The investing landscape has changed over the years, with new players offering lower fees and investors becoming increasingly savvy.

Phillip Securities is also holding a promotion for Singapore-listed stocks, slashing commission rates from 0.18 to 0.12 per cent and the minimum charge of $18 to $10 until June 30 - for those with a Phillip cash prepaid account.

Phillip Securities executive director Lisa Lee told TheStraits Times that having nocharges for unit trust tradeson Poemsis part of its strategy to allow customers to consolidate their assets with the platform.

This comes close to what FSMOne, devised by online unit trust distributor Fundsupermart.com, was charging before it had to stop its stock trading service in Singapore stocks last month.

Most brokerages here charge retail investors about $25 in brokerage fee per transaction to buy and sell Singapore shares online, regardless of the trade's value.

Newer retail stockbrokers have tried to offer lower rates in the past.

For instance, Standard Chartered made waves for doing away with minimum commissions when it first entered the retail stockbroking business in 2011. Investors paid as little as $1 or $2 for relatively small trades.

But in August last year, its online platform started implementing a minimum fee of about $10 for each trade for most clients.

While the Poems promotion on stocks is short term, The Straits Times understands the brokerage is studying a possible extension.

Ms Lee said: "Online trading is here to stay and we are prepared to embrace it for customers who have preference to invest or trade online.

"However, we also believe that a certain group of customers still value the human touch, and hence, will continue to pay for the advice and services provided by the financial advisers and trading representatives."

She said that the company's long-term strategy is to provide a one-stop trading platform for multiple products.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Phillip Securities scraps sales fees for unit trusts traded online'. Print Edition | Subscribe