Binary Options in Singapore: Competing for the Money Flow in the 3rd Largest Trading Hub
Singapore is the 3rd largest trading hub in the world in terms of daily turnover. With this vast amount of money up for grabs, binary options brokers in Singapore and in offshore locations have upped their game in the dash to compete for Singapore’s trading dollars. How can traders interested in tapping into these opportunities do it using the binary options market?
Binary Options trading in Singapore
Singapore’s financial markets are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Signapore (MAS). This agency was formed in 1971, and regulates all sectors of the financial services industry. The MAS also serves as the Singaporean Central Bank. This regulatory framework covers not just the individual financial markets, but also the payment systems that service these markets. There are therefore implications to this as to how binary options in Singapore can be traded and how the participants in this market can transact on their trading accounts.
With regards to licensing, the MAS expects all financial services companies that offer brokerage services to Singaporean citizens to be licensed to perform these services. However, there is also a tolerance for offshore brokers to market their products to Singaporeans, provided these offshore brokers are properly regulated in their home countries.
Binary options trading in Singapore is allowed by law, but it must be done with regulated entities. The MAS has issued several investor alerts on its websites, warning investors about trading with unregulated binary options brokers. Some of these warnings have gone unheeded and there are still instances of traders losing money to unregulated offshore brokers. To further prevent this, the MAS has setup two tools to help traders avoid getting scammed.
- The MAS now maintains a Financial Institutions Directory, which contains a comprehensive list of all financial service companies (including binary options brokers) that are regulated by the MAS. This enables traders to perform quick checks on a broker that claims to carry MAS regulation. This tool was developed to counter instances of fake claims of MAS regulation by certain unscrupulous brokers.
- The MAS also maintains an Investor Alert List which contains brokers that have been blacklisted by the MAS for making false claims about being licensed by the MAS.
- The MAS website contains comprehensive education about what binary options really are, so that traders can fully understand what they are getting into when they sign up to trade binary options.
Currency Pairs & Spread
A mixture of platforms used by several brokers means that various types of binary options are traded in Singapore. All asset categories are traded. Spreads are not usually offered or displayed, but are built into the trading costs incurred by Singapore traders.
Most Singapore binary options trading is done with offshore brokers. Therefore, the most popular trading platforms are the turnkey platforms developed by companies such as Tradologic, SpotOption, Hello Binary and O-Systems.
Issuance of bonuses to Singapore binary options traders will depend on where the brokers they do business with are located. Offshore brokers in Cyprus, Japan, Australia and the UK prohibit the issuance of bonuses. Brokers that operate from Vanuatu, Mauritius and Seychelles still provide trading bonuses.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Singapore is a well-developed financial hub with robust payment systems. It also features a large migrant worker population. These two factors have led to the development of payment systems that largely support financial trading and remittance payment services. Therefore, traders in Singapore can deposit and withdraw funds with the following systems:
- Credit/debit Cards: Cards issued by MasterCard, VISA, Diner’s Club Singapore and other major brands are accepted on the platforms of the top binary options brokers in Singapore.
- International bank transfers from banks in Singapore can be done to and from trading accounts with offshore brokers.
- Digital wallets used in Singapore include PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney and a few country-specific channels such as eNets.
Legality & Regulations
What are the legal considerations attached to the conduct of the brokerage and trading of binary options in the Singapore? Despite the conditions set out for licensing of binary options brokers in Singapore, not many companies have taken up this invitation. There are several reasons for this.
- Most binary options brokers seek to open offices where they are guaranteed a large market and low operating costs.
- Singapore is mostly a conservative society that takes in changes slowly. The stock exchange (Strait Times Index) and the forex market are better established in Singapore. Many brokers have decided to do business in those markets than take the risk of setting up shop in the relatively new market.
- The preference of Singaporean binary options traders is overwhelmingly in favour of offshore trading.
- There is also the language preference. Singapore is a multi-cultural society, and many brokers that target Singapore are able to offer their services in Malay, Mandarin and English.
It looks certain that it will take a long time for Singaporean traders to be weaned off foreign brokerages in preference for local ones.
What are the most frequently asked questions about Singapore binary options brokers and the market in general?
- Are binary options legal in the Singapore?
Answer: The trading of binary options is legal in Singapore, but the MAS is in favour of Singaporeans trading with MAS-regulated brokers.
- I am not fluent in English. Are there brokers that offer their services in Malay or Mandarin?
Answer: Many offshore brokers offer their products in Malay and Mandarin, thus targeting the ethnic populations in Singapore.
- As a citizen/resident of Singapore, am I allowed to trade binary options with offshore brokers?
Answer: Even though the MAS prefers that Singaporeans trade with binary options brokers with a Capital Markets Service License, there is no prohibition on trading with licensed, offshore brokers.
- How do I check the status of a binary options broker?
Answer: The MAS maintains the Financial Institutions Directory, which has a list of all financial service companies in Singapore that have the Capital Markets Services license. It also maintains the Investor Alert List, which contains a list of blacklisted brokers that have made false claims of MAS licensing.
- What organization regulates Singapore binary options brokers?
Answer: The regulatory body for binary options brokers in Singapore is the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
- What is the FMA’s official designation of binary options brokers in Singapore?
Answer: Binary options brokers in Singapore are deemed to be derivative trading investment firms. Therefore, the FMA’s official designation for them is “derivatives issuer”.
Best Binary Options Brokers in Singapore
Considering the state of binary options trading in Singapore, we present the top binary options brokers for Singapore.
Singapore is the largest trading hub in Asia, but as has been revealed in this article, there is not much local presence in the binary options brokerage business. Singapore’s binary options dollars are still being firmly controlled by offshore brokers, and despite MAS approval of the product, local companies still prefer to operate in the local stock exchange and forex market.
For traders in Singapore, the best option is to use offshore brokers that are licensed. The investor alert list and the directory of financial institutions on the MAS website should be used to get first-hand information about any broker before binary options investments are made.