How To Invest

How to buy shares in Malaysia (and open a Malaysian brokerage account)

If you’re Malaysian and new to investing, you’re probably wondering how to buy shares in Malaysia and open a Malaysian brokerage account. Or you could be a foreigner who wants to invest directly through a Malaysian brokerage firm and you’re thinking about which Malaysian brokerage to go with.

In either case, it’s important to pick a brokerage firm that suits your individual needs and preferences. As a value investor and Malaysian myself, here are six things I consider when I choose to how to buy shares in Malaysia and open a Malaysian brokerage account.

6 things to consider when opening a brokerage account in Malaysia

1. CDS vs. nominee account

Let me explain the difference between a CDS account and a nominee account:

Before you open a brokerage account with a Malaysian broker, you first need to open a Central Depository System (CDS) account. A brokerage account allows you to trade shares through your broker. A CDS account records the ownership of Malaysian securities (i.e. stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia).

For example, you could have a brokerage account with both Maybank and CIMB, and you buy Stock A through Maybank and Stock B through CIMB. Even though you buy two different stocks via two different brokerages, you are listed as the direct owner of both stocks in your individual CDS account. As the direct owner, you enjoy certain rights as a shareholder which includes voting rights and the right to attend AGMs/EGMs.

For trust (nominee) accounts, Malaysian brokerages will use them to buy foreign shares on your behalf. For example, as a Malaysian, I can buy Singapore Exchange (SGX) shares through my Malaysian brokerage who will then place those shares in a nominee account assigned to me. As I don’t have a CDP account in Singapore (equivalent to the CDS account in Malaysia), I am not the direct owner of the shares in Singapore. In this case, I don’t get to vote or have the right to attend AGMs/EGMs for my Singapore stocks. But I’ll still continue to enjoy basic rights as a shareholder like receiving dividends and the option to subscribe to rights issue.

2. Market access

This is important to me as I invest both Bursa Malaysia (local) and SGX (foreign) shares. As such, I need a brokerage with the facilities to execute transactions for both local and foreign shares.

Besides Singapore, I may also be interested in stocks listed in Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, and the United States. However, if you are only into local Malaysian stocks, then a brokerage which simply serves the local market will suffice.

3. Types of investment products

In general, all brokerage firms in Malaysia are more or less similar in their service offerings. You are able to trade ordinary shares, preference shares, warrants, exchange traded funds (ETFs), exchange traded bonds and sukuk (ETBS), business trusts, stapled securities, and real estate investment trusts (REITs) listed on Bursa Malaysia. (Here’s a list of 11 Malaysian REITs that made money if you invested from their IPOs.)

As I write, options trading is not available on Bursa Malaysia. As for futures and derivatives trading, these activities are managed under Bursa Derivatives which is presently owned by Bursa Malaysia.

4. Role of a stockbroker

Personally, I’m a value investor who buys and accumulates good stocks at cheap prices over the long term. Why is this important when choosing a stockbroker? Because I believe it is important to set your personal investment goals and objectives before settling on a stockbroker.

To me, the role of a stockbroker is to help me complete the execution of my trades. It is not to provide me with stock tips, recommendations to buy/hold/sell any stock at any time. This is important because we must understand that the interests of your stockbroker may be different from yours. Ultimately, you want a stockbroker that follows your investment objective. If he understands that you’re a medium/long-term investor, he shouldn’t be calling you to offer with hot tips which do not help your investment objectives.

5. Offline/online access

To me, I prefer online access over offline. It’s easy, convenient, and a lot cheaper. These days, trading platforms are designed in such a way that it is easy for you to trade stocks even if you are not an IT-savvy person. It is harder for you to make a mistake.

With that said, if you are unsure about any features on your brokerage’s trading platform, you can always call or WhatsApp your stockbroker for help. Thus, the key is to find a helpful stockbroker or trading representative. I also prefer if a brokerage firm has an office nearby, so it is convenient for me you make a trip down if ever require.

6. Brokerage fees

Below is a list of Malaysian brokerage firms and their minimum transactions fees for trading Bursa Malaysia shares:

BrokerageUp to RM100KAbove RM100KMinimum Fees
Affin Hwang 0.60%0.60%RM28
Alliance Bank0.15%-0.29%0.15%RM12
AmInvestment Bank0.40%0.20%RM28
Apex eTrade0.60%0.60%RM28
Hong Leong0.1060%-0.4028%0.1060%-0.1908%RM8.48
Jupiter Securities0.2%0.2%RM10
Kenanga (KenTrade)0.42%0.21%RM28
Mercury Securities0.42%0.21%RM12
Public Bank0.42%0.21%RM12
Rakuten Trade0.1%Flat RM100RM7
RHB Invest0.42%0.21%RM28
SJ Securities0.42%0.35%RM28
TA Enterprise0.49%0.42%RM28
UOB Kay Hian0.42%0.21%RM28

At the moment, Rakuten Trade and Mercury Securities do not offer facilities to trade foreign shares.

What’s the next step?

The next step is to choose a brokerage firm, head down to their office, and have a representative help you open a CDS account (if you don’t already have one) and a new brokerage account. They will help complete the entire process for you.

Alternatively, you can also open a CDS account through the official Bursa Anywhere mobile app. The app also provides additional features for you to manage your CDS account like viewing your Malaysian portfolio and managing your dividend payments.

Hopefully, I have given you some clear directions on how to buy shares in Malaysia and open a Malaysian brokerage account. If you have any questions I could help with, simply ask in the comments below and I’ll be glad to share what I know.

Happy investing! 🙂


Ian Tai

Financial content machine. Dividend investor. Produced 450+ financial articles featured on in Malaysia and The Fifth Person, Value Invest Asia, and Small Cap Asia in Singapore. Regular host and presenter of a weekly financial webinar with Co-founded, an online membership site that empowers retail investors to build a stock portfolio that pays rising dividends year after year in Malaysia and Singapore.


  1. Thanks for sharing.
    Just would like to check if a Singaporean without Malaysia residential address can open a Broker account and CDS account in Malaysia? If yes, where will be the annual report sent? As don’t think they can post it overseas. Thanks.

    1. Hi HT

      Singaporeans are welcome to open a stock brokerage account in Malaysia. The requirement is to have your Passport, Letter of Employment/Educational Institution in Malaysia, and Working/Student Permit in Malaysia. So, if you are not working in Malaysia, I don’t think you can open a local bank account in Malaysia.

      These days, you don’t need to wait for annual reports to be delivered to your doorstep. You can obtain it from the official website of Bursa Malaysia or from the corporate website of the respective stock. If the stock has a lousy website, that tells us something about the stock, right?


      1. Good afternoon Ian,

        i am based in the Republic of Mauritius and i would like to buy shares in Malaysian company. i am not planning to travel to Malaysia but can you advice if it is possible to open an account on line and trade.

        thank you

        1. Hi Feizal, that could be hard to achieve as you need, at least, a bank account in Malaysia to trade stocks in Malaysia. Otherwise, you may try other brokerage houses in your country which is able to allow you to trade Bursa stocks.

  2. Hi would like to know if non Malaysian / Singaporean can open a brokerage account in Malaysia? As you put UOB Kay Hian, so I presume can set up the account in Singapore at UOBKH?

    1. Hi Piggy

      You may refer to the reply above (comments posted by HT as he asked the same question). I’m not familiar with UOB Kay Hian. But, suffice to say, I believe you need a bank account in Malaysia to do online trading for stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia as it allows transactions to be settled in RM. I think, you may need to come over to UOB Kay Hian Malaysia to open a local stock brokerage account in Malaysia.


  3. good article. adding some points here.
    The nominee account need to pay the service fee for corporate action (rights issue), also every dividend received broker will has some charge. if you just has small amount of dividend, then may end up all or half of dividend gone.

  4. Hi Ian, thanks for the informative article. Just wondering why you didn’t mention about M+ online broker. I am new to this but I heard that M+ is a broker as well and their fees are relatively lower. What are your honest thoughts on this? Would really appreciate your views for a newbie for me to learn more about the different brokerage firms in Malaysia.

    1. Hi Sarah

      I had a look and found that M+ rates are set at 0.05% (cheap) or a minimum of RM 8 (cheap) per contract. If you are a Malaysian, you may consider their services as they are cheap.

      Personally, I use Maybank Investment Bank (Maybank IB) as I’m already a Maybank customer. Thus, I find it convenient to transfer funds from my bank account to my stock account. For me, as long as the cost is comparable and the service is good, I’m happy to use the same broker over the long-term.


  5. Hi Lan ,

    Thank you for your article, I’m a foreigner working in Malaysia and already have a Maybank Account, how can i Use Maybank IB to start trading in Malaysia stock Market? can i open a CDS account online using Maybank Account ?

  6. Hi Ian, I’m a local student keen to try my hand at investing. I presently have a Maybank savings account.
    1) How much is the bare minimum you would recommend to start an investment account and begin trading? Is there a strategy beginners can use to start making profits that doesn’t lead to most of my funds being eaten up through fees?
    2) What instruments do you personally prefer trading? Shares, bonds, derivatives, or?
    3) What is your experience with investment trading outside Malaysia, with foreign shares/instruments? If I wanted to trade on the NYSE, how would I go about doing that?
    4) From the above comments, I see you have a Maybank IB account. Do they have a good reputation for generating higher returns? Do you have some kind of ranking of these brokerages that can compare their fees with their average returns, to evaluate best value?
    5) You talk about picking the right broker. Wouldn’t the brokerage assign you a broker, or do you get a say? How could you get to know brokers to make a judgement for your selection?

    1. Hi Alex

      Thanks for the boatload of questions. Glad to have them. Here are my thoughts about them:

      1. If you are based in Malaysia and are new to stock investing, you may first attempt to build a prototype or mini-version of a portfolio. I think, for a start, a good transaction size would be around RM 1,500 – RM 2,000 per stock.

      2. Yes, there is a strategy beginners can use to start making profits in the first three months of stock investing where you would earn back the fees incurred. It’s called income investing.

      3. I don’t trade. I invest for dividend income.

      4. It’s not the Maybank IB account that generates the returns. The ones that generate returns are the stocks themselves. Also, it’s not about whether the stock is listed in Malaysia, Singapore, or the United States. Regardless of their location, the key for investing is to find stocks that grow profits consistently. They are found in all three countries mentioned above.

      5. I use online brokerage platform by Maybank IB. It’s easy to use. But, for SGX-stocks, I have staff from Maybank IB to assist my transactions.

      6. It’s great to start investing or exploring it at a young age. It gives you a headstart. Here’s a golden nugget. From your questions, I realized that the focus is on what products (stocks, bonds or derivatives), which market and which brokers to go to. I think, it would be helpful to share with you that the focus should be switched to enhancing your investment skills first before investing. For instance, let me ask: ‘Do you know how to read annual reports / financial statements?’ If you don’t, then, even if you have a stock brokerage account, you most likely wouldn’t be able to profit consistently from stock investing as you couldn’t tell which stock is good and which is not good.

      7. I’m not sure about your age. But, if I’m in college and I don’t know how to read financial statements, I would learn how to do so as I have time on my side. Skills like this can reap handsomely over the long-run. Many treated stocks like casino where shares are purchased like lottery tickets as they are short-sighted with gains that are short-term. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to enrol themselves into accounting courses like ACCA which I did. But, you can start with heading libraries or bookstores for good investing books or read stuff posted on the Fifth Person.

      8. In fact, you wish to learn more about income investing. I think, the Fifth Person is coming out with their online course known as Dividend Machines. The course is simple where contents are easy to digest, filled with common sense that enables you to get stock investing right from the start. I think, if you apply what they teach, you would save yourself a lot of dumb mistakes that a lot of people made when trying to make money in the stock market. But, with that said, it’s common today that ‘common sense is not really that common.’

      In short, pursue wisdom (knowledge + skills + education) first over ‘trying your hand’ in the stock market. Who knows … One fine day, I might instead be learning from you, the stock investing guru of the future.

      All the Best!

      1. Hi,

        Regarding – 3. I don’t trade. I invest for dividend income.

        Atually i always confuse the different about trade with invest for dividend income. Could you explain more?

        1. People who trade aim to profit from price difference of a stock for the short-term. Investors who invest for dividends, like myself, aim to earn recurring income year after year from every single stock investment.

    1. Hi Susan

      It depends on the stock broker. For instance, when I open a global trading account with Maybank IB, I can invest in stocks listed in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom.

      So, it’s just a matter of shopping around to see which broker has access for you to invest in stocks listed in the United States.

  7. I’m a Malaysian who working in Singapore.
    Just don’t know whether to open a CDS in Malaysia or CDP in Singapore?
    Any advices?
    By the way, my intention is to own Singapore REITs and ETFs.

  8. Hi Ian,

    I’m a Malaysian and currently working in Singapore. Found an interest in stocks value investing. Plan to open a CDP. My question is if I return to Malaysia for new employment then do I need to terminate my CDP in Singapore since my employment pass no longer valid.


    1. Hi Joseph,

      As far as we know, you should be able to keep your brokerage account in Singapore. You can check directly with the brokerage as well 🙂

  9. Dear Fifth Person,

    I noticed that you have the following articles:
    How to buy shares in Malaysia and open a Malaysian brokerage accountBy Ian Tai on January 23, 2018

    How to open a brokerage account in Singapore (and how to choose the right broker)By Adam Wong on July 18, 2017

    Do you have an article on similar nature for “how to buy shares in Hong Kong?” for a Singaporean residing in Singapore? In Singapore and Malaysia, we opened an account in CDP and CDS respectively to record the ownership of the shares. How do we do that for Hong Kong? If we invest for dividend yield (buy and hold), which broker in Hong Kong would you recommend? Do you have an article on this?

    Thanks you.

  10. I am a student who currently interested in investing REIT.
    But I get to know from a video that says the dividend gained will be lesser with higher salary.
    As a student without any income, am I able to invest REIT with my savings?

      1. Hi Ian,

        For Malaysian investors, is there withholding tax on dividends for Singapore stocks? Similar question for US/Hong Kong stocks. Thank you for reply.

  11. Hii, Im a foreign student from Jordan currently study in Kuala Lumpur.
    I would like to trade in the KLSE. am i allowed to open CDS account?
    i currently have a maybank saving account, what should i do to be to trade in the klse.

    1. Hi Zaid,

      You may just walk into any Maybank Investment Bank branch to open an account. Just bring the needed documents such as your passport … etc and let the bank staff take you through it 🙂


  12. Hello! I am a student in Malaysia pursuing my Ph.D.
    I am looking for an investment option that can fetch me ~1000MYR monthly.
    Being a Muslim I want to invest in only Halaal businesses, example I cannot invest “interest based incomes” or in “liquor firms” etc.

    Can you suggest me the approximate amount I need to invest and where should I invest. example in India we have mutual funds designed specially for Muslims like TATA ETHICAL or RELIANCE SHARIA etc. Do we have such options in Malaysia or Singapore?

    Thanks in Advance

      1. Hi , i would like to ask , can i invest in Malaysia / Singapore REITS ? Which Broker i can use ?
        Im From Indonesia , Thanks.

        Best Regards ,


  13. hi
    I am foreign student, and studying in kuala Lumpur. can I trade in Bursa Malaysia, i have a saving account in bank Muamalat.

    1. Hi Ali, I’m not sure whether Bank Muamalat has a stock brokerage department. You may check with them. If they do, then, just open one account with them. Otherwise, you may walk into any stock brokerage firms in Malaysia or call them up to ask whether you can trade stocks in Malaysia. I believe you can. But, please double confirm as I could be wrong. Regards, Ian.

    2. malaysian.i currently staying in turkey.i would like to invest with 100myr in it possible to do it? and all articles said tht i have to open cds account. can i open it via online?and what next step i need to do.thanks in advance!

  14. Hello, Thank you for your guidance … I am Iran and now Iran is in a sanction. On the one hand, I can not rely on the Iranian economy, and the other I am interested in working with the Malaysian stock exchange because I work with the Iranian stock exchange … Sincerely. … hasan

  15. Hi, I would like to ask other than the Maybank service that you currently using, what are the other brokerage company/service you would recommend. And also which factor should I look into when choosing a brokerage firm to open up and account.

    Thank you.

    1. Personally, I have never used any other brokerage apart from Maybank. But, I think, if you wish to compare, the criteria are their prices and the services offered – although I don’t think there is much difference between most brokers in Malaysia. More important than brokers, it is better to focus on the quality of stocks than which brokerage to use, as quality stocks are the ones that pay you dividends and build your wealth.

  16. Recently join arotrade, it’s a US broker, can you check whether its a genuine broker? Can’t find much info from there, how to check the company is genuine and what can I do to withdraw the fund? Now there are charging me monthly maintenance fee.

    I felt I have been cheated while I don’t know how can I withdraw my fund

    1. Hi Karen, sorry to hear that. It’s my first time learning about arotrade. Indeed, it has an impressive website but I am not sure about its genuinity. Maybe, the team at Fifth Person has better ideas. As for myself, in this case, I’m of little help. Apologize for it.

  17. Hi, like to check for Singaporean working in Singapore with no MY bank acc.

    What is the best way to buy Malaysia stock. In term of hassle free and commission to pay. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ming Jie,

      At the moment, we still use a Singapore brokerage to purchase Malaysian stocks. It is relatively hassle-free but we pay $2/month per stock in custodian fees.

  18. Hello ! would you tell me. Any one can open an CDM account. who have a Malaysian bank account. I mean is it possible for foreign students or workers to invest in Malaysin share market.

    1. Hi, I believe it is possible for foreigners to do so. But, you may need to verify it with stockbrokers. Otherwise, you may use stock brokerage accounts from your respective country to buy, sell, and hold Bursa-listed stocks.

  19. Hi just to follow up on the previous comment on singaporean entering bursa market via sg brokerages. What are some of the more popular brokerage firm that I could possibly look at?

  20. Are there any banks in Malaysia that will allow you to open trading accounts without current income / employment? I am a full time student with savings that I want to invest, but my accounts have so far been rejected by all banks I’ve tried since I don’t have current income.

  21. Hi, i am Malaysian working in Singapore. i would like to know what is the best platform to buy US ETF? i found out banking platform like maybank, cimb & hong leong to buy US ETF minimum commission is already cost $25(RM100++). Which i feel this is expensive and not that worth. I would like to save some cost on commission. Any platform which you could suggest to me in Malaysia or Singapore? Hope you can help me on this. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      We’re not sure of your question, but yes you need to set a brokerage account in order to purchase shares and receive dividends.

  22. Hello I am Bangladeshi.. if would like invest Malaysian stock Market is it possible to invest .if yes please let me know the procedure.

    1. It depends where you are now physically. If you are in Malaysia and are working, you may walk in into any local bank to open an account. Bring your documents (passport, visas, employment statements … etc) if you are visiting a branch. Otherwise, if you are in Bangladesh, then, you may ask your stock broker in Bangladesh whether you can buy Malaysia-listed shares through a Bangladeshi broker.

  23. Good day! I’m keen on US ETF’s. Could you please enlighten me on how to open a global account, suitable platform and commission charges. Thanks !

    1. If you are residing from Malaysia, just kindly walk into any of your preferred stock brokerage. I’m using Maybank IB so you may try walking into one of the nearest branches and the staff would help you to set up a local brokerage account and as well as a global trading concurrently. Maybank IB is suitable for ppl who are investing … but if you wish to trade, the transaction cost could be high, depending on how much you intend to trade per transaction. The higher the amount, the lower its transaction cost. If you intend to trade lower amount (below RM 5,000), then, it is better to use other brokers who offer better deals. That one, you may shop around. I don’t have a recommendation of any local brokers at the moment.

  24. Hi Ian,
    I’m a fifty-something about to retire Malaysian civil servant, with zero knowledge of stocks and shares. However, lately there’s been an urge to try my hand in them. What would your advice be for me? Is it too late to start? If no, where would be the best place to begin? Just to put things in proper perspective, I’m the play-it-safe with moderate expectations type of person.

  25. Hi.
    If I have both Singapore and Malaysia online trading account

    Which account are the best to trade Bursa with lowest brokerage?


  26. Hi, may I know is it a different between a trading account and cds account?Besides, if I open an account on rakuten trade, will I need to open another account in any bank? Last question, if I invested in rakuten trade (ex:Reits),the dividends will transfer into which account? look forward for your reply

    1. If you hold shares under cds account, you can attend AGM and vote. If you hold shares under a nominee account, you can’t attend AGM and cast votes. If you opted to register an account with Rakuten Trade, I don’t think you need to open another account in any bank. If you invested in REITs via Rakuten Trade, I’m not sure where it would be credited to as it’s not stated in the FAQ. But, there is such a thing known as Cash Upfront Account. I believe any cash balance would be reflected there. You may post the question to Rakuten Trade to verify.

  27. HI, may i ask is it mean that i need to open an account on rakuten trade then i can start investing? or do i need open a cds account in any bank too? Does the two account same?

    1. Hi Sam, you may use rakuten trade to start investing. The fees are competitive but it holds shares under nominee account. If you wish to hold your shares instead in a cds account and to invest in foreign shares listed in SG, HK, and US, you may opt instead of stock brokerage services offered by banks such as MBB, CIMB or PBB.

    1. That, I’m not sure. Maybe, you may try to give a call to your preferred stock brokerage firm and ask for the relevant details.

      1. Hi I used to trade with a Malaysian Broker and I have a CDS account number but now i would like to trade Malaysian stock with Broker in singapore , do I need to apply for another CDS account?? thanks

  28. Hi Ian,

    Since you’re in Maybank IB, I would like to know your opinion on my situation.

    I’m planning to value invest locally and globally for the long term. However, I may not be pumping money in for about a year after I made all my purchases.

    Obv, there will be inactivity fees and such so what brokerage would you recommend me to open an account with?

    1. Hi Luke, I’m using Maybank IB for a number of years. I’m not aware of ‘inactivity fees’ imposed. I chose Maybank IB as it is convenient for me. You may choose your preferred broker the same way too. Find a broker that you think is trustworthy, provides great conveniences and accesses to markets worldwide.

  29. Hi Ian,

    Just starting out. If I open a brokerage account to buy local shares, then decide I want to buy international shares, what do I do – open a nominees a/c or can just upgrade my brokerage a/c to a nominees a/c ?

    Thanks buddy.

    1. Hi Dev,

      You can have both accounts under the same brokerage as far as I know. Your CDS account holds your Malaysian shares and your nominee account holds your foreign shares.

  30. Hi.
    I am a Singaporean and have tried finding all the sites but realise no one mention about about how Singaporean can buy IPO in Malaysia.

    Could you kindly advise how?

    Thank you.

  31. Hi it has been difficult to log onto my bank Investment account because their server is always down or busy. I have missed many chances to buy at Low and to sell at High last two weeks. Any suggestions? Can I open an account somewhere to trade? What happens to my stock investments if I move?

    1. Hi Ivy,

      If this is due to your brokerage’s server (and not your internet connection), then I would consider switching.

      If your Malaysian stocks are held in your CDS account, you don’t need to move your holdings. Your new brokerage can link to your CDS account and trade your shares there.

  32. hi i recently bought some malaysia stock via custodian account. I am a small time investor, and do not trade frequently. should i transfer the shares to a direct CDS account to avoid paying fees? also, can singaporean open CDS account?

    1. Hi yq,

      I checked with my broker from Hong Leong and found out that foreigners are also allowed to open a direct CDS account. So if a CDS account works out better for you and costs less, why not. You may also want to check the cost of share transfer.

      Hope it helps.

  33. I am Singaporean but we have a Malaysian Registered company for many years.
    Can i approach any of the brokers or selected financial institutions to open:

    1. A personal Malaysian CD Account? (currently I am paying Brokerage monthly nominee fees);
    2. A Company CD Account for trading Malaysian shares direct with a
    Malaysian Trading firm.

    1. Hi Li Hui,

      Thanks for the feedback! We’ll consider adding M+ to the list in a future update of this article.

    1. Hi Lee,

      I noticed Rakuten Trade has recently made profits from their business
      compared to previous losses, which is a good sign.

      It’s also easier to open a brokerage account online with them these days
      without having to commute to a branch to do so. That’s all I know so far
      about them as I am not a Rakuten Trade user. Hope it helps.

      Chee Hoi

  34. Hi All, Good day.
    Does anyone know any broker (preferred online access) that offerring South Korea market trade for individual Malaysian? Especially on stock product KOSDAQ. Korea market is not that popular compared to US, UK, HK markets thus really appreciate if someone could help. Thanks in advance and stay safe 🙂

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