Tiger Brokers review
The low-cost share trading platform is working hard to build a loyal customer base in New Zealand. In this review, we assess Tiger Brokers and explore who its service is right for.
- Tiger Brokers offers users access to US, Australian, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Chinese investment opportunities.
- The platform outperforms many competitors on both brokerage and currency conversion fees.
- Both mobile and desktop apps are available for making trades, tracking investments, and following markets.
- Investment options: Shares, ETFs, options and futures.
- Transaction/brokerage fee: From USD $2 flat fee (varies with market)
- Subscription fee: N/A
- Available markets: US, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, China
- Minimum investment: USD $1 (for US fractional shares)
- Mobile app: Yes (and desktop)
Current Tiger Brokers promotions
- $30 cash bonus: For new customers that make a deposit to their account
- Zero transaction fees and zero currency exchange fees (AU and US only): See our ‘Fees’ section for details.
- Refer a friend: Refer someone to Tiger Brokers and you’ll get a stock voucher worth NZD $10.
- SPECIAL BANKED BONUS: Sign up through our link and get NZD $50 cash bonus when you also deposit a cumulative net of at least NZD $2,000 within 7 days of your first deposit.
An introduction to Tiger Brokers
Tiger Brokers is an international trading platform that provides Kiwis with access to various share markets, including the US, Australia, Hong Kong, and China. Although the company is headquartered in Singapore, it operates under the regulatory oversight of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in New Zealand, ensuring compliance with local regulations.
The platform aims to cater to both novice and experienced investors by offering a blend of accessibility found in micro-investing platforms such as Sharesies and Hatch, along with a range of more advanced investment options seasoned traders will appreciate. Users can reach out to the customer service team through channels including phone, online chat, and email.
Tiger Brokers is focused on establishing a strong presence in the New Zealand market. To attract customers, the company emphasises competitive fees and rewards for new users, potentially making it an attractive option for those interested in investing in the financial markets.
Tiger Brokers has a broader selection of trading options than most platforms and provides access to several markets others do not.
Here we look at each available market and what trading options are available for each.
Tiger Broker’s US market offering is the broadest of all, with a strong selection of investment options, including:
- Stocks: Invest in either full or fractional stocks. Note that fractional stocks have a different fee structure (learn more in our section on fees below).
- ETFs: A popular investment choice for those looking for diversification in a single investment. ETFs also let investors buy into a particular area of interest, such as electric vehicles, innovative tech, robotics, etc. Learn more about ETFs in our guide.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) stocks: OTC stocks are those which are provided through a broker-dealer instead of a centralised exchange like the NYSE or NASDAQ. A company may trade as an OTC stock if it cannot meet the requirements to trade on a stock market.
- Options: Options are an investment where you can buy or sell a specific asset, like stocks or commodities, at a set price within a specific time frame. It gives you the option, but not the obligation, to make the trade. This allows investors to speculate on the price movements of assets without actually owning them.
- Futures: Futures trading involves buying or selling contracts that promise to deliver a specific asset at a predetermined price and date in the future. Unlike options, futures trading obligates both parties to fulfil the contract’s terms.
There are few investment options for the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), although this is to be expected for a smaller market.
Through Tiger Brokers you can invest in more than 2,000 stocks and ETFs. The platform also provides ASX market data to make more informed decisions.
The Hong Kong Stock Market Exchange (HKEX) is a major global stock market on which many Chinese companies in particular are floated, including Tencent, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.
Tiger Brokers is one of New Zealanders’ few options for accessing the HKEX; investors can buy stocks, ETFs, options and futures. Market data is available through the platform at no extra cost.
The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) is not quite as large as the Hong Kong equivalent (almost 800 companies vs more than 2,000). But it’s a very international exchange with around 40% of companies floated on it based outside of Singapore.
Once again, Tiger Brokers is one of the few available options for investing in the Singapore market for Kiwis. Investors can access stocks, ETFs, and futures on the Singaporean exchange through the platform.
Tiger Brokers provides access to China A-shares — stocks of companies that are based in mainland China. While these were once only available to Chinese citizens, this changed in 2003.
This Investopedia guide provides more information on A-shares.
Promotional fee offer
As of mid-June 2023, the trading platform introduced zero transaction fees for four transactions made each month for US and AU shares. This applies to the USD $2 flat free for US shares and the AUD $5 flat fee for AU shares. However, it does not apply to a fee that exceeds this flat fee (see below for more detail).
It also introduced zero-foreign exchange fees for the first NZD $2,000 of currency exchanged, every month, for life (applies to conversions to and from NZD to USD and AUD only).
Tiger Brokers is highly competitive when it comes to fees. In our share trading platform fee comparison, we found Tiger Brokers often had the lowest fees for US shares and Australian shares when compared to the competition.
Unlike some other share trading platforms, how Tiger Brokers applies its fees differs depending on the market. For example, for US, Australian, and Hong Kong share markets, a flat fee applies up until a particular threshold, when an extra fee applies either per additional stock or as a percentage over the total amount.
Note that the information shown here reflects Tiger Brokers’ fee changes on 17 June 2023.
- Whole stocks and ETFs: A flat fee of USD $2 for trades up to 200 shares plus USD $0.01 for every additional share
- Fractional stocks: 1% of the trade value (maximum of USD $1)
- OTC stocks: USD $0.0099 per share (maximum of 1% of the trade value)
- Options: USD $0.95 per contract (minimum $2.99)
- Futures: From USD $1.99 (varies with investment)
- Stocks and ETFs: A flat fee of AUD $5 for trades up to AUD $20,000, plus 0.025% for any amount beyond that.
- Stocks and ETFs: A flat fee of HKD $15 for trades up to HKD $25,000, plus 0.06% for any amount beyond that.
- Options: 0.3% of the trade value (minimum HKD $18 per order)
- Warrants and CBBCs: 0.05% of the trade value (minimum HKD $45 per order)
- Stocks and ETFs: 0.12% of the trade value (minimum of SGD $3.5)
- China A-shares: 0.06% of the trade value (minimum CHN 15)
Currency conversion fee
As Tiger Brokers offers access to foreign markets, the purchasing of shares and other investment assets includes a currency conversion fee.
For NZD to USD and AUD conversions, that fee is 0.35% (lower than the market average of around 0.5%)
Trading on any foreign market includes what are known as ‘pass-through’ fees. While Tiger Brokers collect these fees for all trades, they are actually charged by, and ‘passed through’ to, third parties such as regulatory agencies and the stock market itself,
For example, for US trades a small settlement fee of USD $0.003 per share is charged by the US Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. The US Securities and Exchange Commission also charges a fee of 0.000008 multiplied by the trade value for sell orders, while a fee of USD $0.000145 per share is charged by the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), also only for sell orders.
Note that pass-through fees do not apply to the purchase of fractional shares.
See the Tiger Brokers website page on commissions for more on which pass-through fees apply.
Top features of Tiger Brokers
There are plenty of share trading platforms to Kiwis, so what makes Tiger Brokers different?
Access to Asian, as well as US and Australian markets
A wealth of share trading services provide New Zealanders access to US markets such as the NASDAQ or NYSE. But those that let them invest in Asian markets are much less common.
With its headquarters in Singapore, it’s perhaps no surprise that the platform offers access to markets from across the region, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and of course, those in mainland China itself (specifically the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange).
Options and futures trading
Tiger Brokers lets investors trade options and futures, as well as the standard stocks and ETFs all services offer.
Trading in derivatives is more complex and riskier than standard share trading, making them unsuitable for most newbies. However, more experienced investors will appreciate the added choice and opportunity.
Mobile and desktop apps
Mobile apps are nothing new for share trading services, with Sharesies and Stake (among others) offering user-friendly and intuitive mobile tools.
Available for both Mac and PC, the desktop app lets users make trades, monitor investments and make smarter choices with up-to-date market data. Admittedly, its profit and loss charts, K-line trends, and candlestick charts can be a little intimidating for more casual investors, but it will be a welcome addition for more seasoned vets.
Check out Kiwi Investments’ comprehensive walk-through video of the Tiger Brokers desktop app for more details.
Tiger Brokers also has a range of other features to factor in when making your decision, including:
- Free real-time US & ASX market data.
- A demo account that lets you practice stocks and options trading with a US $100K virtual fund.
- A trading window of up to 16 hours for US stocks.
- Invest in fractional shares from USD $1.
Is Tiger Brokers safe?
Tiger Brokers is legit in that it is well-regulated across a number of regions. In New Zealand, it is regulated by the New Zealand Financial Market Authority (FMA) and is registered with the Financial Service Providers Register under Tiger Brokers (NZ) Limited (FSP473106).
For reference, it is also regulated by the following bodies in other regions:
- Australia: Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
- United States: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), plus four other bodies.
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
- Singapore: It has a Capital Markets Services License.
From a security standpoint, it employs encryption to protect data during the login and trading process. It is also ISO 20000 certified (the international standard for IT Service Management) and ISO 27001 certified (the leading international standard focused on information security).
The platform also employs two-factor authentication (2FA) to help ensure users’ accounts are not accessed by anyone other than account owners.
Pros and cons of Tiger Brokers
- Low fees, both brokerage and currency conversion fees.
- A range of international markets is available.
- Offers both a mobile app and a comprehensive desktop app.
- Includes options and futures trading for more advanced investors.
- Customer service via phone and online chat is available for NZ customers.
- Fee structure is more complex than some other platforms.
- Fractional shares are only available for US stocks.
Tiger Brokers’ competitive fees and wide range of markets make it a compelling choice for Kiwi investors, especially those who want access to Asian markets.
With a more comprehensive and complex offering than popular trading platforms such as Sharseies and Hatch, Tiger Brokers may appeal more to experienced investors or those who want to take that next step. However, it does also have a customer service line and online support options available to help those who need a little assistance on that journey.