Online Stock Trading in Malaysia

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 11, 2021

Known as the crossroads of trade between the East and the West, Malaysia has an expanding economy and educated population that make it a relatively favorable environment for foreign and domestic investment. Malaysia’s strong financial sector offers ample opportunities for trading and investing in local stocks.

In order to operate in the Malaysian stock market, you need to pick a competent stockbroker. Keep in mind not all brokerages are created equal, so make sure to carefully consider your needs before you open an account.

Best Online Stock Brokers in Malaysia:

Our Picks for the Best Stock Brokers in Malaysia

Remember to consider your needs as an investor or trader before you decide on a broker.

Best Overall: TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers the best of both worlds. It offers 0-commission trading and a vast library of educational articles and videos that are ideal for a new investor’s 1st brokerage account. But you'll also find technology like the thinkorswim platform with tools needed to pull off labyrinthine options trades or sell livestock futures at 3 a.m. 

TD Ameritrade has an array of account types. Multiple trading platforms across a variety of accounts gives everyone a choice when using TD Ameritrade. Companies can use TD Ameritrade to set up 401(k) plans or SEP IRAs, parents can open Coverdell ESAs or 529 plans and individual investors can open Roth IRAs or standard brokerage accounts. 

TD Ameritrade clients can trade stocks (including OTCs), ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures and currencies.

The company offers 24/7 customer support through via phone and email. Live chat support is available during working hours, plus hundreds of physical branches are open nationwide.

Best for Day Traders: UOB Kay Hian

As the largest broker in Singapore and one of the largest in Asia, UOB Kay Hian makes our list of top brokers for its trading platform, a wide range of markets and competitive commissions that seem suitable for day trading and other short term strategies. The broker’s commission is a minimum of RM 8 per trade and 0.10% of the value of securities traded.

In addition to its presence in Malaysia, UOB Kay Hian has over 80 offices throughout Asia. Other products you can trade with UOB Kay Hian include foreign securities listed on Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and American stock exchanges, in addition to ETFs, futures and structured warrants.

The broker’s web-based trading platform is known as UTRADE. It features a variety of trading tools including a stock screener, which searches for winning trades, ChartGenie charting software, a fundamental analysis tool called ShareXplorer and a TechAnalyzer that analyzes chat price patterns. UTRADE is available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

UOB Kay Hian’s award-winning research on regional stocks includes market commentaries from industry experts. The broker’s research team is composed of 50 analysts that regularly suggest stock picks.

The broker offers trading seminars at its offices in Kuala Lumpur, and its customer service department can be accessed via telephone, email and through a form on its website.

Honorable Mention: Macquarie Group Limited

Australia-based Macquarie Group was founded in 1969 and has offices around the world, including in Kuala Lumpur. It meets all the Malaysian regulatory requirements and offers stock brokerage services, as well as asset management, corporate and asset finance, banking and financial services and trading in markets around the world.

You can trade a variety of assets, including stocks and warrants on Bursa Malaysia and other stock markets around the world, in addition to equity derivatives that focus on Asian, Australian and South African markets.

You can trade forex, currency options, FX forwards and swaps, fixed income securities and structured products. You can even trade agricultural, energy and metal commodity futures.

Macquarie’s Electronic Execution trading software offers over 100 liquidity venues from 50 countries via its intuitive interface. The trading platform gives you 24/6 trading access starting with the New Zealand pre-market on Sunday afternoon and ending with the New York market closes on Friday afternoon EST.  

Customer service is available via email and telephone. The broker also has an extensive corporate research department that provides information coverage on a wide range of markets and sectors.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is a popular international broker based in the United States. Interactive Brokers does not have an office in Malaysia and is not a member of its Bursa Malaysia stock exchange, so its Malaysian clients cannot trade local markets through this broker.

We included it here for Malaysian traders who want access to other global markets. You can also open an Islamic account with this broker.

If you open an Integrated Investment Account, you can trade a wide range of assets that are listed on more than 120 exchanges around the world.

For example, you can trade stocks, foreign exchange, metals, futures and options, funds, ETFs, structured products and bonds through this broker. Trading platforms include its Trader Workstation (TWS) and Client Portal platform for novice traders, plus is IBKR WebTrader web-based platform.

You can use the mobile app to access your account details on Android or iOS smartphones and tablets. You can also use its hands-free access add-on that operates with TWS, Client Portal and the IBKR app for mobile.

You can also contact its customer service department via phone, email and live chat.

What to Look for in an Online Brokerage

Before opening an account from Malaysia to trade stocks online, several things should be taken into consideration. These items include:

Regulation and Exchange Membership

Brokers doing business on the Bursa Malaysia must be registered with the SCM and have authority to operate on the Malaysia Bursa for the broker to execute trades on the exchange. All financial companies, including stockbrokers, must be registered and regulated by the SCM.

Trading Platform

A broker’s online trading platform should let you enter orders and receive confirmations on your stock orders, in addition to providing access to accurate stock quotes. This trading software needs to be easy to access, use and customize. Many platforms also provide news feeds and technical analysis tools.

Research

International and Malaysian full-service brokers generally provide advisory services and research. A full-service broker makes sense for you need advice on making investments. Otherwise, you may be better off with a discount broker.

Commissions and Fees

Depending on your trading style, commissions could make a big difference in your bottom line, especially if you trade actively. Even if you trade infrequently, commission costs matter and discount brokers typically charge less.

Customer Service

An online broker with a responsive customer service department is a big plus. You can access most stockbrokers in Malaysia via phone and email.

Overview: Trading Stocks in Malaysia

The country’s main stock exchange, formerly called the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, became the Bursa Malaysia Exchange in 2004. Bursa Malaysia consists of a fully integrated financial marketplace and exchange that offers a comprehensive array of financial products including stocks, derivatives, options and futures.

This Malaysian exchange provides a venue for the trading, listing, clearing and settlement of equities. It is also well-known for its offshore and Islamic asset offerings, and the exchange allows you to trade exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate investment trusts (REITs), Sukuk and business trusts (ETBS) and exchange-traded bonds as well.

Bursa Malaysia introduced Bursa Malaysia-i, the world’s first complete Shariah investment platform in September of 2016, to provide a platform for faith-based investors and to mainstream Shariah investing.

How It Works

The Bursa Malaysia exchange has a 2-tiered market with smaller capitalized stocks of emerging companies listed on the ACE Market, while well-established large capitalization stocks trade on the main exchange.

The Bursa Malaysia exchange’s main stock index is the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI). This capitalization-weighted headline index is composed of the 30 largest companies listed on the Bursa Malaysia that meet the listing requirements for the index.

The Bursa Malaysia exchange is part of a collaboration among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that includes exchanges from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, in addition to Malaysia.

Regulations

The regulating agency for the stock market and all brokers doing business in Malaysia is the Securities Commission Malaysia (SCM). It was founded in March of 1993 under the authority of the Securities Commission Act of 1993 (SCA).

The agency, which is a self-funded statutory body, answers to the Malaysian Minister of Finance and has the responsibility for developing and regulating the capital markets in Malaysia. This includes overseeing people and businesses that hold licenses under Malaysia’s Capital Markets and Services Act of 2007.  

How to Start Trading in Malaysia

In order to make a stock trade on the Bursa Malaysia, you need to open a trading account with a participating organization. In addition, you have to open another account with the Central Depository System (CDS).

The CDS account consists of an electronic book-entry system used to record, maintain and keep track of share ownership and stock transfers. The 2 accounts are then presented to a licensed broker/dealer so you can open an account to trade through. The broker can then enter orders for you on the exchange’s Automated Trading System (ATS).

Learn to Trade Stock in Malaysia

Trading and investing in stocks from Malaysia can present an excellent opportunity to participate in this emerging market that includes an active Islamic investment sector for faith-based investors observing Shariah law. Take a look at our recommended online brokers, and connect to start trading stock in Malaysia today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What are the best ways to buy stocks in Malaysia?

A

Through ADRs, ETFs, and brokerage firms with access to its markets.

Q

Can I legally trade stocks online in Malaysia?

A

Online stock trading is legal through approved firms such as TD Ameritrade.

About Jay and Julie Hawk

During her financial career, Julie developed world-class expertise in technical analysis, including Elliott Wave Theory, and was deeply involved in initiating research into automated trading and trading signal systems. As a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Guild, Julie regularly wrote trade strategies, educational material, market commentary, foreign exchange newsletters, reports, articles and press releases. In addition, Julie was interviewed for various financial markets magazines and news wires in her professional capacity as a forex and derivatives expert. Since retiring from working at banks, Julie has been writing and editing books and articles about financial markets for companies like Benzinga, as well as trading forex online and mentoring other traders as part of TheFXperts’ financial team.

In addition to trading stock index, forex and commodity futures and options professionally on exchange floors, Jay also has experience trading stocks and options for private investors and trading forex online for his own account. He has also developed extensive experience in performing and using fundamental economic and corporate analysis to inform his trading and investment activities. Jay is also an expert financial writer with particular expertise in reviewing online brokers and investor services.