One of my readers (an expat Canadian named Jon) was looking for investment options in Japan. 

He wanted to invest with low cost index funds, but found nothing available.  As a result, he opted for a Singapore-based brokerage–the same one I use.  Best of all, he didn’t have to fly to Singapore to open it.  Here’s the story, in his own words below:


The process of opening a DBS Vickers Securities trading account while living in Japan as a Canadian non-resident was relatively easy. Initially I thought that I would have to visit Singapore but once I looked into it further, there was no need, as I chose not to open a bank account in Singapore and I only wanted to open a foreign market trading account (not one for trading on the Singapore market).

The first step was to fill out the Individual/Joint Application Form. I had a few questions so I contacted DBS Vickers and they walked me through this 2-page form over the phone. Next I needed to sign a form which DBS Vickers provided which acknowledged I was a Canadian citizen residing outside of Canada. I also had to sign Standing Instructions for Foreign Markets for Clients Trading Online. Finally I signed a W-8BEN which is a United States Tax Withholding Form. In addition to the above mentioned forms, I needed to send a notarized copy of my passport. I sent these documents through registered mail to Singapore.

In the mail, two weeks later, I received a letter titled Online Trading Account Information (with Trading Representative) which asked me to register my trading account to accept Second Factor Authentication (2FA). After completing that simple process online, as directed in the letter, I waited two more days to receive, by mail, a new password. Two days after that I received the 2FA device. The next week I received my Registration Code.

What I thought was the final step in the process was transferring money from my Citibank account in Japan directly to DBS Vickers Security in Singapore. Since I was going to trade in both Canadian and US Dollars, I had to send two separate transfers. The detailed information on how to transfer money can be found on the DBS Vickers website. Although my bank charges a fee to send the money, DBS Vickers does not charge any fee to receive it.

I ran into a hiccup after I deposited money as I still was not allowed to trade. I am still not 100% sure why this happened but my DBS Vickers Trading Representative said that if I took the online SGX e-Learning System quiz I would instantly be qualified to trade. It took me about an hour to work my way through the tutorials and I passed the quiz with only two wrong answers (which proves it wasn’t a hard quiz, as I’m no genius).

In total, the process took about three weeks to set everything up. The DBS Vickers customer service department is fantastic. I phoned them at least five times when filling out the forms and they answered all the questions instantly. I am happily trading now and looking forward to the markets to take a downswing as I have another deposit to make in the near future.

I hope people are able to find this helpful.