[SPONSORED] Beginner's Guide: Investing in Overseas Stock via moomoo

Published September 25, 2021

Updated September 24, 2021

~13 mins read

In Singapore, capital markets products and services on moomoo are offered by Futu Singapore Pte. Ltd. (FUTU SG), licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), License No. CMS101000.
All views shared in this post are done independently based on author's research.

Thanks to the decade of digitisation we are in today, consumer offerings across different industries have been getting more and more competitive, including the international brokerage space for retail investors. Investing abroad used to be a privilege reserved to the extraordinary few with either thick-enough pockets to subsidise the fees payable to local brokerage houses; or huge-enough wealth to deal directly with international brokers and hedge funds alike.

That is no longer the case today, where investors whom are keen to venture beyond our tanah air (home country) can easily do so by searching for different online brokerages, installing an app (or just use the web), complete the account verification remotely, fund the account and it'll all be good to go!

If you sign up & deposit SGD 2,700 (or USD 2,000 / HKD 16,000) during the promotional period before end of September, you can also get additional SGD 88 cash coupon which you can use to purchase shares and if you trade 5x, you will get an additional 1 free AAPL share!



What Is moomoo?

moomoo? Holy cow!?

No, not what you're thinking, definitely not this moo...!

We're talking about the moomoo App, an one-stop digital trading platform developed by Moomoo Inc., a subsidiary of Futu Holdings Ltd.

The moomoo Mascot

We might've come across some advertisements or forum posts with this cute little cow mascot, as they've been pretty famous recently after having officially launched their moomoo App through Futu Singapore Pte. Ltd. (FUTU SG) for our Singapore neighbours since March 2021, being one of the newest kid in the block.

With their launch, investors now have another option to choose from the variety of international brokerages offering competitive low-cost investment platform with accesses to several key international markets (US, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore).


Is moomoo Safe?

As with most new brokerage houses, their legitimacy is always one of the concern that people may have. After all, we wouldn't want all of our monies saved for investments going down into the drain overnight - which probably explains the top question compiled by Google below: "Is moomoo Safe?"

"Is moomoo Safe?" - Random Google Users

Whilst moomoo App was only launched recently in the Singapore market from March 2021; the founding company FUTU Holdings (behind the moomoo App) however are not new to the scene. They have been in the stock brokerage product offering as early as 2007 with their Futubull Trading App, focusing primarily on the China / Hong Kong market. Think of the moomoo App as the international version focusing on the oversea investors - like those of us in South East Asia. You can find out more about FUTU's offering and licensing information across different countries here.

moomoo App's official presence in Singapore (through Futu Singapore Pte. Ltd., wholly owned by Futu Holdings Ltd.) definitely helps to reinforce their legitimacy. As part of their official establishment in Singapore, they are regulated directly by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to ensure strict compliance and investors' protection - closer to our borders. Additionally, up to $500,000 of US securities in your account are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) in the States.

Let's not also forget the big brother Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), being one of the largest shareholder with 22.80% ownership of FUTU Holdings based on the latest available SEC Form 424B5 Filings as of April 2021.


Why Choose moomoo App?

As with selecting our home, picking up our #OOTD, or buying our phone; everyone's circumstances and priorities are different, and there's never a one-size-fit-all - and the same could be said for international brokerage. For those whom are interested, I have explained in depth on my rationale of comparing brokerage in my previous post, which I'll be also applying the same thoughts process in dissecting the benefits of trading via moomoo App.

  • Easy access to 4 countries' stock market: US, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore
  • Low Commissions charged by FUTU SG, especially for HK/China shares. During promotional period you will also get 180 days worth of commission-free* trading. Full pricing schedule available here.
    • for US-listed Stocks (min. $0.99 USD or $0.0049 USD per Share) plus fixed platform fee of $1 USD and any other clearing fees levied by exchanges.
    • for HK-listed Stocks (min. $3 HKD or 0.030% of trade value) plus fixed platform fee of $15 HKD and any other clearing fees levied by exchanges.
    • for CN-listed Stocks (min. $3 RMB or 0.030% of trade value) plus fixed platform fee of $15 RMB and any other clearing fees levied by exchanges.
    • for SG-listed Stocks (min. $0.99 SGD or 0.030% of trade value) plus fixed platform fee of $1.50 SGD and any other clearing fees levied by exchanges.
  • Low barrier of entry - No Minimum Holdings ($0) and ZERO inactivity fees ($0/month)
  • Free Withdrawal for SGD currency into Singapore Bank account. Other currencies / foreign transfer may incur fees from the bank.
  • Easy account funding if you have Singapore bank account depositing SGD directly. You can also deposit USD or HKD, but into their Singapore onshore account (which makes no sense to deposit any other currency than SGD). Third party transfers (e.g. Wise) are not accepted.
  • Free currency exchange with rather competitive rates - definitely not real-time spot rate and expect approx. $1~$2 (or approx 0.5%~1%) differences from spot rate
  • FUTU SG is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Additionally, up to $500,000 of US securities in your account are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) in the States.
  • Whilst moomoo App is relatively new in the Singapore market introduced by FUTU SG since March 2021; their parent company FUTU Holdings have been in the game since 2007 through Futubull in China/HK.
  • Has social community & news aggregator feature allowing you to analyse stocks/interact with other investors within the app. However, the social community features is only restricted to posts/comments/followers and no copy-trading yet at this juncture.
  • Comes with even level 2 real-time data for the US market (and level 1 for SG/HK/China markets)

Most importantly - since moomoo powered by FUTU is still in their early users acquisition stage, all new signups are entitled with their attractive Welcome Package which you can get 1 free AAPL share (worth ~200 SGD), with 180 days worth of commission-free* trading!

* commissions free trading waives only the trade commissions and you will still be incurring the platform fees or exchange houses clearing fee.


Getting Started with moomoo App

After all, what's the harm trying it out to see if we like it, and get freebies worth at least ~200 SGD while we're at it?

Even if we ended up disliking the app and decided to liquidate all of our holdings via moomoo App and withdraw all the monies back into our Singapore SGD account (for free), we won't be losing much. As a matter of fact, thanks to confidence of FUTU SG in retaining the user base through in-app user experiences, they also have a very attractive sign-up welcome bonuses which provides us with enough incentive to try the app.

moomoo powered by FUTU SG's Special Welcome Package for New Users during Mid-Autumn Festival

So if you have decided to go ahead and give it a try - here's a quick glance on what you'll need!


Sign-Up and Claim the Welcome Package via Web

Firstly, sign-up for a securities account with FUTU SG using this referral link to lock-in the Special Welcome Package with 200+ SGD worth of freebies (plus SGD88 cash coupon if you complete the initial funding deposit of $2,700 SGD during the Mid-Autumn Promotion).

Sign Up Steps - Locking in the Sign-Up Rewards

The sign-up process is relatively pain-free and you can sign up with either your email or mobile. You'll also need to complete the OTP verification later so make sure you use accurate mobile/email address!

Once you have completed the sign-up process - congratulations, you have locked in the benefits of the Special Welcome Package from FUTU SG as long as you fulfil the requirements!

You may now proceed to install the moomoo App from the Google Playstore / Apple Appstore - as you'll need it before you can proceed with the rest of the steps to select your Country of Residence - which most of us would be falling under "Other" category (you can select your actual Country of Residence later during the detailed registration process).

Sign Up Steps - Selecting Country of Residence

Complete Account Registration Process via moomoo App

Once you open the moomoo app for the first time, you will see the "Log In" or "Sign Up" button. Since we have already claimed the rewards earlier, you can proceed with the "Log In" using the same email (or mobile) and the password previously created.

If you haven't validate your email (or mobile), you will need to do so before proceeding with the rest of the steps to fill in all the necessary details and the standard disclosure/risk assessment questionnaires.

In general, you will be:

  • Keying in your basic information (i.e. name, date of birth, gender)
  • Uploading your proof of identity together with a selfie. Passport is the default option for Foreigners outside of Singapore, but some countries can also choose to upload our NRIC (especially if your passport have expired during the Covid lockdown period)
  • Your tax information - IMPORTANT! If you are paying taxes, you typically will have some form of "Income Tax Number" which can be included. If you have multiple tax residency, make sure to highlight them as well. When in doubt, always consult your tax agents.
  • Providing your residential country and address, including a valid proof of the address (e.g. recent bank statements or utility bills)
  • Your personal financial declarations (i.e. employment details, net worth and income, investment experience and objectives)
  • Signing the Risk Disclosure Form and W-8BEN Form.

Once all of the above are done, your account will be reviewed and approved within 1 - 3 days. In my case, it took less than 1 working day for the approval to be done (I applied on a Sunday @ 30 May 1PM and my account was approved the next morning at 9:06 AM).

You should also receive a confirmation email that your account application is being reviewed. Don't worry about what you have filled in - you will get a set of PDF copy on the completed account application form through your email, after your account is fully activated & verified (i.e. after completing Email, Mobile and Identity verification)


Initial Account Funding

Once your application is approved, you can now finally fund your account to claim the free AAPL share. To be eligible for the share, you must deposit at least $2,700 SGD during the initial deposit - so make sure you remember that!

Note that FUTU SG does not accept fund transfer in third party's name - which means you cannot use Wise to fund your FUTU SG securities account directly. Whilst FUTU SG accepts currency deposit from any international accounts in your own name, for currencies in USD, HKD, or SGD - it is not recommended as it may incur additional fees charged by the banks when performing telegraphic transfers.

The cheapest way to fund the account is to deposit only in SGD, using your personal Singapore account, directly into FUTU's Singapore onshore account with SGD as the denominated currency. This way, you avoid hefty fees charged by banks (i.e. intermediary fees, foreign transfer fees, etc.). If you don't have a Singapore account yet - check out my previous guide on Opening CIMB Singapore account without visiting Singapore for Malaysians.

Once you have your Singapore account ready, you can simply fund your Singapore account using Wise, and then later transfer the amounts into your FUTU SG securities account following the below steps. If you need to trade in currencies other than SGD, you can opt to perform currency conversion later within the app (more on this later)

FUTU SG Securities Account Funding Steps

Another good thing about the fund transfer is that - you'll get a unique virtual account assigned to you for depositing the monies. Which also means that you don't need to worry about forgetting to input "reference codes", which are usually practised by most other brokerages.

The fund would take approx. 15 minutes - 3 business days to show up in your account. It'll definitely be quicker if you use Singapore account and performs the local FAST transfer, which from my experience took about 5 minutes for the fund to be reflected.

My experience when funding my account using Singapore banks

Redeeming your Rewards & Free Shares

Once your account is fully approved and funded, you should be able to see the rewards notification under your app [Me] > [Messages] > [System Notice] section. Don't forget to also activate the coupon rewards in your [Me] > [Coupons] section within the app, so that you can enjoy the 180-days commission free trading (note: platform / exchange fees still charged).

Checking / Claiming your rewards in moomoo App

To get the 1 free AAPL (worth ~SGD 200 or ~USD 150 as of writing) share credited to your account, you just need to make at least 5 trades on any market or products. Assuming you make 5 trades in the US with zero commissions, even after factoring all the platform / exchange fees, you'll probably be spending approximately ~USD 5+ to get rewarded with 1 share worth ~USD 150. Not bad of a deal aye?


Converting Your Currency

If you have funded your account initially with only SGD and desires to purchase US stocks, then you'll need to first convert your currency within the moomoo app itself. Thankfully like the rest of the processes, it is relatively simple. Whilst FUTU SG might not offer the best exchange rate like some of the competitors, thankfully there are no fees involved when it comes to currency conversion regardless of the size - all in all, it'll still be cheaper than trying to perform telegraphic transfers from any of our local banks.

Converting 1,000 SGD into USD within moomoo App
Converting 1,000 SGD into USD based on Google Rates

Performing Your First Trade

Once your cash is ready, you can now go ahead and buy your stock through the moomoo app. The process is very similar with most brokerage where you can search a company by their name (or stock ticker), hit "Trade", configure the order type (limit/market order, desired price, quantity, and Time-in-Force) and submit. You can also do some basic research within the app itself, going through the news aggregator, fundamental analysis, or simply the sentiments of other traders / investors.

moomoo app Buying Stock Steps - Summary

In case if you the "Buy / Sell" buttons are missing and shows "Unlock Trade" - you just need to key in your Trading PIN first before the "Buy" / "Sell" button appears. Another word of caution - as all accounts have margin facility enabled by default, if your cash is insufficient, the order will be placed through the margin facility which will incur margin interest until you replenish the margin with cash balances.

moomoo app Buying Stock Steps - Margin Purchase Alert

There will be built-in alerts to warn you when attempting to place an order through the margin facility. Please make sure to only utilise it if you are really keen to trade on a margin and are confident to outperform the margin interest rate - as it has a pretty high margin rate between 4.8% to 6.8% p.a.. NEVER trade with the money you cannot afford to lose.


What's Next?

I hope this guide have been helpful in your journey in deciding whether to use the moomoo App as your international trading platform - especially for those who just want a fuss-free and quick way to access the US, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore market with a mobile-first focus.

For investors who just want a simple and quick access to US, HK, CN, and SG market, whilst retaining relatively cheap commissions (at least when compared to local brokerages), then moomoo App by FUTU SG might be for you. They may not pack the top of the ranks, but the sign-up offers are attractive enough to give it a try and decide whether to stay and trade via moomoo (or exit to other players)

Their presence in Singapore, with local bank accounts accepting inward SGD transfer have definitely helped to speed up all kind of investment funding, whilst keeping the fees incurred due to foreign exchange relatively low - by using our own Singapore account which Malaysians can easily open and Fintech services like Wise to keep all the cost low. Unlike some of the international brokers, at least we are not forced to go through telegraphic transfers from local banks just to fund our brokerage account and get slapped by expensive fees / unfavourable exchange rates aye?

Even if you are hesitating, there's no harm to go ahead and sign-up and get the $200+ SGD worth of freebies, especially if you have $2,700 SGD lying around in your cash piles.

I liked the moomoo App as it has everything accessible within the mobile app - interactive & detailed charting, technical & fundamental analysis, integrated news aggregator, level 2 real-time data for the US market, and most importantly with a relatively competitive commission model.

Unfortunately, due to my very specific needs of having investments in Ireland-domiciled ETFs through London Stock Exchange (as part of my long-term passive investment strategy), I won't be able to enjoy the moomoo App at this juncture unless they decided to include LSE in the future - hence my moomoo app will be sitting idle for now.

Thanks for reading and I will see you again in my next post! If you haven't already, be sure to follow me on my Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for latest updates!

Cheers,
Gracie


DISCLAIMER
All views shared in this post are done independently based on author's research for educational purposes and shall not be construed as investment advice - always do your own due diligence.

This IS A SPONSORED POST and also contains affiliate link where I will get rewarded when you sign up with my link and fulfils certain criteria.

* by using my moomoo referral link, YOU will get 1 AAPL share if you deposit at least SGD$2,700. If you complete the deposit before 30th September 2021, you will also get an additional SGD$88 cashback credited directly into your FUTU SG securities account!
As for myself, I will be getting some commissions when your account is successfully funded with at least SGD$2,700. Part of the commissions will go to a non-profit community charity foundation.
** by using my Wise referral link, I will get 30 GBP for every 3 successful referrals when you complete your first transfer and part of the commissions will go to a non-profit community charity foundation.

For those who wants to read the full terms and condition: Mid-Autumn Special Promo | Welcome Package. Note that rewards are only applicable when sign up are done using my referral link above - as there may be different public promotions running on the website.

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