Open an International Trading Account with TD Ameritrade Asia

I had been registered with TD Ameritrade, Inc. since January 2015. After one and a half year of membership, I received a notice from TD Ameritrade, Inc. on 15 of July 2016 stating that my account will be closing on 4 of November 2016.

Below was the email I received from TD Ameritrade:

Dear Valued Client,

TD Ameritrade, Inc. has made the business decision to no longer offer brokerage services in your area, starting on November 4, 2016.1 However, we are pleased to inform you that there are a number of choices available to you for your account:

1. Move Your Assets Within the TD Ameritrade Family:
You may choose to open an account with TD Ameritrade Asia Pte. Ltd. (“TD Ameritrade Asia”). By transferring your account ending in 1486 to TD Ameritrade Asia, you will still have access to many of the same great benefits you have today, such as:

Our multi-award-winning thinkorswim® trading platform: a powerful, easy-to-use trading platform offering advanced customizable charting capabilities and elite-level analytics tools for trading on U.S. equity, options, and futures markets.

Service when you need it: a dedicated support team located in Singapore to help make your transition easy.

Free platform demonstrations and education: free weekly online platform demonstrations where you can learn how to use the thinkorswim platform to execute your trading strategies.

You will be able to transfer your account with no blackout period and little or no disruption to your trading. You will also remain on the same commission schedule you currently have.

How Do You Move Your Assets to TD Ameritrade Asia?

If you wish to open an account and move your assets to TD Ameritrade Asia, please follow these two easy steps:

Complete the online application
Go to www.tdameritradeasia.com and click “Open an Account.”

Submit the account-opening documents and the Internal Transfer Form
Once you complete the online application, you will be prompted to submit the account-opening documents and a completed Internal Transfer Form. You can fax these to (+65) 6238 6601 or mail them to TD Ameritrade Asia at: 1 Temasek Avenue, #15-02 Millenia Tower, Singapore 039192.2

If you have any questions or need assistance with this process, please contact the TD Ameritrade Asia office at (+65) 6823 2250 or via email at [email protected]

2. Transfer Your Account to Another Firm:

To do so, open an account with the receiving firm and have that firm initiate the transfer. Please allow three weeks for processing. If you choose to transfer to another firm, TD Ameritrade, Inc. will waive our transfer fee. However, until the transfer is initiated, any standard fees related to your account will continue to apply.

3. Liquidate Your Account and Request a Full Withdrawal:

You can sell all your securities and request a check, ACH, or wire transfer for the sale proceeds by logging in to your account and clicking My Account > Deposits & Transfers.

Wire, check, and ACH withdrawal requests (U.S. bank accounts only) are processed within one to two business days after they are received in good order. When liquidating assets, you’ll also need to allow for settlement time before the withdrawal can be made. If you choose to wire funds, TD Ameritrade, Inc. will waive our wire fee. However, until the wire is initiated, any standard fees related to your account will continue to apply.

Key Dates

Account Liquidation: If you have not transferred your full account out of TD Ameritrade, we will liquidate your account for you.

– On October 3, 2016, your account will be restricted to closing trades only, and we will not accept deposits of funds into the account except those intended to meet a margin call.

– On November 4, 2016, we will liquidate the account and mail a check for your account balance to your address of record. If your account holds securities positions, we will sell those securities and mail you a check once the trades have settled.

This came as a shock to me. Anyway, I chose to open the account at TD Ameritrade Asia (option 1 from the email above) so that I can keep my existing investments at TD Ameritrade intact.

I applied to TD Ameritrade Asia the next day on 16 July 2016.

I sent the required documents on 18 July 2016.

Documents to open an account at TD Ameritrade Asia

Documents to open an account at TD Ameritrade Asia

That was quite a lot of documents required (see picture above).

Four days later, I received an email from TD Ameritrade Asia telling me that I was not meeting the customer account review (CAR) requirements on 22 July 2016.

Below is the detail of the email:

Hi _____,

With regards to your TD Ameritrade Asia new account opening, we will need the following from you to complete the application

· As you did not meet the customer account review requirement, you will need to do the SGX quiz
· A copy of your employment pass (Front & Back)

SGX Quiz

SGX Quiz & Additional Information – Attached Instructions

If you do not meet the requirements in the CAR form, we require you to take the SGX learning module available at the “Online Education Programme.”

You may attempt the Quiz until you pass. The Quiz is free of charge.

Successful completion of the quiz following the module will qualify you to trade the listed Specified Investment Products TD Ameritrade Asia offers.

Once you have passed the test, please send the results together with your replies to the 2 questions below:-
a. The number of correct answers on any previous attempts BEFORE passing the quiz (if applicable)
b. The name of any brokers who have rejected your application to open an account to trade Specified Investment Products

Regards,

Desmond Lim
Representative, Accounts

Here is the attachment: SGX Quiz Registration.

I took the quiz on 23 July 2016 and sent the passing result to [email protected] right away. Note: Be prepared to take about an hour or two to go through the courses and take the quiz.

Once you passed the quiz, you will receive an email notification. Sample quiz result notification email from sgx.com:

Dear ____ _____ ____,

Congratulations!

You answered 18 questions correctly out of a total of 20 questions. Your overall score is 90%.

You have PASSED the quiz.

Thank you for taking time to complete this quiz.

We hope you have found the SGX Online Education Programme useful.

Regards,

SGX elearning System Administrator

My account was ready on 27 July 2016 with a welcome email from TD Ameritrade Asia.

On 29 July 2016, the transfer from my TD Ameritrade account to TD Ameritrade Asia account is completed with all my open trades and cash balance moved to TD Ameritrade Asia. However, I am no longer be able to access TD Ameritrade dashboard.

So there it is: it took about two weeks (14 days) to move your asset from TD Ameritrade to TD Ameritrade Asia.





Chok Leong

June 30, 2016

Woo-hoo! A new record of monthly dividend income is set at RM 1558.60 this month, breaking the RM 1500 mark. The last record (RM 1492.69) was set 13 months ago in May 2015. It is an increase of RM 65.91 (1558.60 – 1492.69)! A 4.42 % increase.

Every cent counts. How long to go for the next record?

1558.60

1558.60

Below is the detail of the dividend income that I received during this month:

Payment Date Company Code Type Amount
02/06/2016 NESTLE 4707 130
03/06/2016 ZHULIAN 5131 4.5
03/06/2016 MAYBANK 1155 Final 90
15/06/2016 PIE 7095 175
16/06/2016 MBSB 1171 Final 54
16/06/2016 MBSB 1171 Final 54
16/06/2016 MARCO 3514 First & final 139.3
17/06/2016 AHEALTH 7090 Final 48
17/06/2016 CENTURY 7117 Interim 41
20/06/2016 WELLCAL 7231 Second interim 34.5
23/06/2016 LYSAGHT 9199 Final 105
23/06/2016 BTECH 0011 Final 6.3
24/06/2016 APM 5015 120
27/06/2016 KEN 7323 First & final 84
28/06/2016 CCMDBIO 7148 55
28/06/2016 HAPSENG 3034 150
28/06/2016 LIIHEN 7089 132
29/06/2016 PADINI 7052 120
29/06/2016 MWE 3921 16
Total 1558.60

Note: The above info is just for recording purposes. There is no recommendation what-so-ever to buy or sell any stock. Before making any investment decision, the readers need to do their own research and assessment.

There were 18 companies paying dividend this month alone! This seems like a lot of companies to manage. But I don’t care because I am adopting the laissez-faire approach in investing.

Another thing to take note for this month is that my total accumulated dividend income since June 2013 reached RM 17756.30 over a 37-month period. This translates into roughly RM 479.90 dividend income per month.

End of report.

Buy and Forget: The Minimal-Effort Investment Philosophy

Most of the extremely successful investors are long term investors like Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch and Fong Siling (Cold Eye) to name a few. They buy and hold stocks for the long term.

Warren Buffett holds stocks for an average of four to five years (according to data that I am unable to retrieve for the moment). However, everyone knows that his favourite holding period is forever.

Our favorite holding period is forever. – Warren Buffett

Peter Lynch mentioned in his book One Up On Wall Street that most of his big winners take three to ten years or more to play out.

Fong Siling too is a major proponent of long term investing and he made it very clear in all his books and writings and talks.

There is no doubt that going long term is the right choice when investing instead of going short term or speculating. Going long term means you are going for the biggest profits instead of quick tiny profits that do not last long.

Going long term also means buy-and-hold. You buy a stock and hold it for as long as it is generating profit for you. You don’t sell unless something goes wrong with the company’s fundamental.

Buy and hold is a simple concept. However, I am not satisfied with it because the “hold” signals that there is extra effort needed.

Buy and Forget

I have another idea: Buy and forget. This strategy is more relaxing.

By replacing the word “hold” with “forget”, you remove one dimension of consideration out of the investing equation: you no longer need to worry about the “selling” decisions. You only have to worry about half of the equation: what to buy. This can cut down a lot of investing effort.

This also means that you can do your investment homework only once that is valid for life. You make your buying decisions once. Instead of doing homework that is only valid for 1 or 2 days or even 1 or 2 minutes as in trading, you learn from Buffett where you look for a business: “where you have to be smart only once instead of being smart forever.” It is easier to be smart once rather than to be smart forever, right? One smart choice, and you will be good forever instead of the other way around.

If you keep buying and selling, buying and selling, you would need to be smart most of the time to make money. I wish you good luck for that. Whereas if you keep buying and forgetting, you would only need to be smart once to be very well of at the end.

Call that extreme lazy investor. I am that lazy. But it serves me well by having better odd of success in investing. Or a better word for lazy is patient. I can use the time that I am not actively involved in the markets by doing other things that matter the most to me in life. Although investing is important, I don’t want it to be the only thing in my life. I am greedy, as well as lazy.

The key is therefore to remember to forget after buying a specific company. By remembering to forget, you have mastered the gist of buy and forget investment philosophy. This is easy to achieve if you stay away from the market. Since as far back as 1885, psychologists have been plotting “forgetting curves” that illustrate just how fast we forget. We lose 70 % of what we just heard or read. So you get the idea.

Businesses can last forever

Businesses can last forever. Especially the good businesses. That is what I believe.

Just look for humble business that are available around you: the honest, disciplined and frugal kedai runcit that survived and thrive till this day. It is a small but profitable business that allows the owner to feed a whole family and even send all the kids to university. In the end, each kid becomes independent and generates new income on their own. That is explosive growth from the way I see it.

It makes sense for me to adopt the minimal-effort investment philosophy: buy and forget because time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre. You don’t have to worry about wonderful company because it will take very good care of itself. What this means is that if you have to worry about the business that you are buying, it is not a good business to begin with after all.

Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre. – Warren Buffett

In order to implement the buy and forget investment philosophy, you would need to have free cash to invest. My idea is that people can only have more money in the future if they don’t need the money now. How? You need to figure this one out yourself. According to scientific findings, things that you put in effort to find out yourself will stick with you longer.

People can only have more money in the future if they don’t need the money now. – Chok Leong

Examples from my own experience

I started the buy and forget investment experiments since 2013. Here are some of the best results:

HAPSENG (3034) since 2013

HAPSENG (3034) since 2013

I bought HAPSENG (3034) since 28 May 2013. After 36 months, the stock price moves from RM 1.81 to RM 7.65. It is a 322.65 % movement.

LIIHEN (7089) since 2013

LIIHEN (7089) since 2013

I bought LIIHEN (7089) since 3 September 2013. After 33 months, the stock price moves from RM 0.447 (split-adjusted) to RM 3.35. It is a 649.44 % movement.

Of course, there are losers. The worst performer is ZHULIAN (5131) which is down 53 %.

Note: I don’t even include dividend incomes in the above calculation.

You can do the math and see if buy and forget is worth your attention. Best performer: + 649.44 %. Worst performer: – 53 %. The downside is limited but the upside is unlimited.

The risk is low because all the stocks I bought pay dividends. Even if the best performing stock returns back to it original buying price, I still gain something. The margin of safety is HUGE.

The worst case is for all the companies to go belly up. What is the odd? If that is the case, then there is something wrong with the country’s economy. We all should migrate.

The essence

You can have more money if you don’t need the money now.

You can have more money by investing the money you don’t need now.

You can adopt the least effort investment philosophy: buy and forget if you are too busy to keep up with your portfolio by doing it right at the beginning.

As Peter Lynch said, you don’t have to have 10 winning stocks out of 10 to make money in the market. 6 winnings stocks out of 10 are enough to generate decent returns. I can use the above experiment results to back that up.

Are you ready to buy and forget? Sometimes, a small step can change your life.