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Review: Tiger Brokers

by Apoorv Trivedi on

The Bottom Line

Tiger Trade is the mobile first broking platform of the Xiaomi backed Chinese fintech, UP Fintech Holding. Tiger Trade offers a gamified trading experience on its mobile and desktop platforms.

Currently Tiger offers access to only a few markets (SG, HK, China, US & Australia) and products. Their apps offers all the major features but are not as easy to setup and use as the best in class.

Their promotional commission rate is the cheapest of all brokers for Singapore, but the all-in cost is higher if you need to convert FX to trade outside Singapore. Their fully loaded, all-in pricing is materially higher than our pick, Interactive Brokers.

Tiger Brokers
Gamified trading

Gamified trading experience with full featured app but limited coverage and higher pricing


What is Tiger Brokers?

Tiger Brokers is a new generation, mobile first broker that is trying to make trading easier, more social and gamified. Their trading app is called Tiger Trade.

Tiger Brokers is a brand of UP Fintech Holding, which is a Chinese brokerage and wealth management fintech platform backed by Xiaomi, Interactive Brokers and the ZhenFund among others, and listed on the NASDAQ (Ticker: TIGR). In Singapore, it is licensed by the MAS as a Dealer and Custodian.

Tiger is licensed by the MAS for Dealing and Custody

Tiger reports more than 1.7mm account holders globally, made a profit of US$16mm in 2020 and has a market capitalization of more than US$600mm at the time of writing.

For customers in Singapore, they provide access to the following countries and products:

Countries Products
Singapore Stocks / ETFs
Hong Kong Options / Warrants
China Futures
USA DLCs
Australia Mutual Funds
Margin Financing
Securities Lending

Countries and Products covered by Tiger Brokers


How is it different from other Brokers?

Gamified & Social Trading The Tiger Trade mobile app is heavily focused on gamifying trading through regular incentives and rewards for signing up, frequent trading and referring new customers. This really differentiates the experience of using Tiger Trade (and moomoo) from the legacy brokers.

Mobile First Tiger Brokers does not have a web-based trading platform, unlike all the legacy brokers. The website only provides basic marketing & pricing information and you can login for account management activity like deposits and withdrawals. All trading transactions are only possible via the apps.

Limited Coverage Tiger Trade supports trading in 5 markets (SG, US, HK, China, Australia) and 5 products (Stocks, Options, Futures, Securities Lending and Funds) on their platform. There is no access to markets like UK, Japan or products like CFDs, FX, Bonds etc.


What are their fees like?

Tiger Trade’s all-in trading costs were consistently in the cheaper half of all the brokers we compared but it was more expensive than our pick, Interactive Brokers (IB) in every market.

Country Commission Minimum Maximum
Singapore 0.06% S$1.99 N/A
USA US$0.01 per share US$1.99 1% of trade value
Hong Kong 0.06% HK$15 N/A
China 0.06% CNH15 N/A
Australia 0.10% A$8.00 N/A

All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Singapore
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Singapore
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in USA
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in USA
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Singapore
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Singapore
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in USA
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in USA
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing an S$50K portfolio in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for a Buy & Hold investor deploying various amounts in Singapore
All-in S$ cost for a Buy & Hold investor deploying various amounts in Singapore
All-in S$ cost for a Buy & Hold investor deploying various amounts in USA
All-in S$ cost for a Buy & Hold investor deploying various amounts in USA
All-in S$ cost for a Buy & Hold investor deploying various amounts in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for a Buy & Hold investor deploying various amounts in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing different portfolio sizes in SG
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing different portfolio sizes in SG
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing different portfolio sizes in USA
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing different portfolio sizes in USA
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing different portfolio sizes in Hong Kong
All-in S$ cost for an active Trader managing different portfolio sizes in Hong Kong

Even in Hong Kong and China where their advertised commission rate is significantly lower than IB (0.03% + min HK$15 for Tiger vs. 0.08% + min HK$18 for IB), the all-in cost on Tiger ends up being a lot higher for Singapore residents due to the much higher FX conversion spread that Tiger charges.

For Singapore listed stocks, Tiger advertises a lower rate than IB – 0.06% with a minimum of S$1.99 vs. 0.08% with a minimum of S$2.50 for IB. However Tiger passes on the SGX trading and clearing fee of 0.04% separately while IB includes that in its quoted price. On a like for like basis, the true commission rate for IB is 0.04% with a minimum of S$2.50, which is nearly a third lower than Tiger.

Tiger's advertised commission
Tiger's advertised commission is 0.03% in Singapore
Tiger's all-in commission
Tiger's all-in commission is 0.06% in Singapore

Commission Free Trading Promotion Tiger offered all new users 60 commission free trades at the time of writing. This isn’t really free trading because they split their total fee into commission and platform fee in some markets (incl. Singapore) and only the commission is waived under this promotion.

Tiger offers 60 commission free trades in first 180 days
Tiger offers 60 commission free trades in first 180 days

To confirm this, we purchased 4000 shares of Singtel on 5 platforms (including moomoo) at the same time, and sold them 3 days later, again at the same time. We received identical execution price on all 5 platforms on both legs.

In this test, we did not claim the free trades on Tiger and paid the full cost (see table below). moomoo has an identical promotion (which we did claim) and the all-in cost of a “free” trade on moomoo was about 10% lower than a fully loaded trade on IB. We believe the trading cost on Tiger would be identical to moomoo, if you do claim the reward.

Total trading cost based on live trades
Total trading cost based on live trades

Our recommendation is based on a fully loaded pricing for all brokers and assuming a Buy & Hold type of investor. However active traders may find it worthwhile to use Tiger in Singapore for the duration of the promotion.

However Tiger will not be the cheapest option outside Singapore even during this period as their FX conversion spreads are a lot higher than IB.

FX Spreads charged by currency
FX Spreads charged by currency

If you already have funds in the target currency, you may consider funding the account in that currency. However you may need to pay a transfer fee in that case. We did not test this scenario. Converting the FX at the Bank is not recommended as, in our testing, the local Banks had higher FX conversion spreads than Tiger.


What tools and data do they have?

Being mobile first, Tiger offers only two trading platforms – mobile app and desktop app. Both the apps were reasonably easy to use and we were able to complete all the tasks in our test setup. Some of the settings took a while to locate & adjust and the app is not as intuitive as that of moomoo.

Task App Desktop
Create a watchlist with 15 stocks Y Y
Link the watchlist to a charting screen with 1 technical indicator Y Y
Link the watchlist to a fundamental screen with news, call transcripts, data on valuation, shareholding, estimates etc. Y Y
Set up a price alert Y Y
Launch an order screen from the watchlist Y Y
Look at exposure summary report for the portfolio with risk metrics Y* Y*
Look at performance summary report over custom time periods Y Y
Import / Export transaction history Y* Y*
*These reports are available but only have very basic data items and are not customizable.

However, unlike moomoo, all the tested features were available in both apps.

The datasets available on the app are largely similar to what most brokers offer. You can get news from a number of sources, basic historical financial data for companies like Revenue mix, profitability and other ratios, data on major shareholders and events etc.

Tiger app opens with a watchlist
Tiger app opens with a watchlist...
Tiger Chart and Analysis screen
Watchlist is linked to the Chart and Analysis screen
Watchlist is linked to the Chart and Analysis screen
Watchlist is linked to the Chart and Analysis screen
Watchlist is linked to the Chart and Analysis screen

The Tiger Trade mobile app has a number of pre-built strategies and screens under the “Discover” Tab. These fall under a few different categories like Hot Collections (SaaS, Space, Gaming etc.), Classic Technical Selector (Rise Relay, Down through 3 MAs etc.) and Tiger Lab (Super Hunter Long, Multi Factor etc.). You can also create your own filter using an easy to use tool.

Tiger Lab strategies
Tiger Lab strategies
Tiger Hot Collections strategies
Hot Collections strategies

Customer Service Tiger offers a great customer service experience. A single click on either app gets you into a chat window. First the chatbot will attempt to answer your question. To bypass the chatbot, click “Get in touch” and fill in your name and email.

In every instance, a live agent started responding to our questions quite fast and they were able to answer all our questions promptly.

After dealing with the customer service at all the legacy brokers, which were not too bad to be fair as customer service experiences go, this ability to instantly get a human to respond intelligently was a pleasure.

Community & Gamification Tiger has put some effort into the gamification of trading and the social aspects on their apps. You are often greeted with pop-ups on the mobile app offering coupons, cashbacks and coins for trading. You also get coins for participating in the community e.g. liking a post or getting your posts trending etc.

Community
Tiger has a number of community features...
...with many incentives
...with many incentives

However, we felt the community aspect on Tiger Trade was not as strong as on moomoo. The community seemed less active and less promoted then on Tiger.

As with moomoo, the desktop app is not as gamified and has fewer distractions.


Tiger vs. moomoo – which is better?

The battle of the new age brokers is a close one, with very little to separate them. By a very small margin, we favor moomoo for its better promotions and community.

While Tiger has broader product & country coverage, a fuller feature set (especially on P&L reporting) and lower minimum commission in Singapore, we feel that the only reason to prefer either of these brokers over our pick, IB, is for the promotions and the community. moomoo fairs better on both aspects and its apps are somewhat easier to use.

We found moomoo’s promotions to be better and the community more active. While Tiger offers 60 free trades in the first 180 days, moomoo simply makes all trades free. During our nearly identical usage of the platforms, we also got more cashback rewards from moomoo (2 x S$10) than Tiger (0).

In our usage moomoo also made more efforts to nudge us into trying out the community based features by highlighting the incentives for that. Tiger appears to offer similar incentives but the budge towards the community was missing, and in our opinion, the moomoo community is more active.


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