SoFi, a FinTech unicorn from the U.S. recently acquired Hong Kong’s homegrown online securities firm, 8 Securities – SoFi subsequently launched a new securities trading app called SoFi Hong Kong (“SoFi HK”).
The new SoFi HK app features the same commission free U.S. and Hong Kong stock trading as 8 Securities app, with additional features in the pipeline including margin financing and frictional share U.S. stock trading.
Open an SoFi HK account in 5 minutes using online application and e-signature
- Fill in basic information such as your name, phone number, address, work, financials, investment preference etc.
- Upload proof of address and identity (HKID/Passport)
- Provide e-signature through your mobile, deposit HK$10,000 via bank transfer then upload your transfer proof
- The account will typically be opened within 2 to 3 working days, you will be able to start investing immediately afterward
Some consumers have inquired about the validity and necessity of the HK$10,000 deposit during the account opening process – this is actually a requirement by the SFC as a standard practice for opening a securities account online so it is a common practice and there is nothing to worry about!
SoFi HK app, the newly introduced SoFi points and soon-to-come fractional share trading
The SoFi HK app’s interface is similar to the 8 Securities’ app, however the color theme has been changed to SoFi’s refreshing sky blue but you can still pick between light and dark modes.
If you are an existing 8 Securities’ app user, you will notice a newly added section within the SoFi HK app called “SoFi Points”, a newly introduced reward system where users can earn points by completing various tasks within the app including open an account (20 points), log-in daily (1 point), invite friend (20 points), open an account through referral (20 points) etc.
SoFi Points can be used to redeem free shares, for example 80 points can be exchanged for 1 free share of SnapChat (SNAP). If you are an active app user who keeps a close eye on the stock market, you would be able to earn a few free shares throughout the year – a rewarding experience for loyal or active users which is uncommon in Hong Kong where most securities platforms only give out rewards to new users. Although the users should keep in mind that SoFi points will expire at the end of each year.
|SoFi Points||Rewards (and US dollar value equivalent as at 13 July 2020)|
|80||1 share of SnapChat (SNAP, US$24.27 per share)|
|220||1 share of Twitter (TWTR, US$33.82 per share)|
|440||1 share of Coca Cola (KO, US$42.25 per share)|
Additionally, SoFi HK was the first player in Hong Kong to announce fractional share trading as part of their future pipeline, this feature will allow investors in Hong Kong to invest in U.S. stock with as little as US$10 (or HK$78). U.S. stocks are typically traded on a per share basis, however even 1 blue chip share could be worth as much as HK$10,000 – for example 1 share of Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of Google, is worth more than US$1,500 or approximately HK$11,625 as of July 9th.
The fractional share trading feature will allow a “fraction” of 1 share to be purchased and sold. In other words, even with just tens of US dollars, you can become a shareholder of one or multiple blue chip companies in the U.S. such as Amazon (AMZN), Tesla (TSLA) and Apple (AAPL).
However, SoFi HK’s fractional share trading is still subject to regulatory approval, this means SoFi HK’s users will have to wait a little longer before they can enjoy this feature.
Other useful services
- US dollar exchange: SoFi users can seamlessly exchange their HKD into USD within the mobile app. One point to note is that the exchange rate displayed on the app is for reference only, the actual exchange rate may differ slightly from the displayed value. Users can also purchase U.S. stock directly without exchanging currencies in advance
- Leaderboard: SoFi’s anonymous leaderboard allows its users to learn or follow investment strategies of the most successful investors within the platform
- Academy: Investment academy feature provides multiple videos to answer questions like “What is a stock”, “What is asset allocation”, “What is diversification” and many more
In terms of fees, SoFi HK is undoubtedly the best in Hong Kong market, however if you are looking for functionality, some of the popular features like streaming quotes or news and analysis features may still be lacking.
There are other online brokerages like uSMART and Futu that offers more features so one strategy you could consider is to make use of 2 platforms – one for tracking, analysis and alert features while another is primarily for making trades – this way you could take the most advantage of SoFi HK’s low cost trading without missing out or anything.
Existing 8 Securities customers are required to update their old mobile app
If you are one of 8 Securities’ existing customers, you can start using the new SoFi HK app immediately after a quick update which will replace your old 8 Securities app with the new SoFi HK app.
SoFi HK stated that during this transition period, users may receive notifications or other forms of communications from 8 Securities Limited or “8 SL”, but this will eventually become SoFi Securities (Hong Kong) Limited or “SoFi HK” in the future.
The parent company, SoFi in the U.S. has more than 1 million users
Mike Cagney, a Stanford University business school student founded SoFi in 2011. Headquartered in San Francisco, SoFi was selected by Forbes as one of the top 5 fintech companies in the U.S.. The company has a valuation of over US$4.4 billion (approximately HK$34.4 billion), with many renowned investors like Softbank and Qatar Investment Authority as its shareholders. SoFi’s acquisition of 8 Securities was their first step into international market expansion.
Key fees and charges
While SoFi HK offers trading at 0 fees and commissions, the users will still need to pay taxes and other fees to the government (this is the same across all brokerages).
|Hong Kong stock exchange and government fee||U.S. stock exchange and government fee|
|Stamp duty: 0.1% (fees lower than HK$1 will be rounded up to HK$1)||Securities commission fee (sell): 0.00221% (minimum of US$0.01)|
|Transaction levy: 0.0027% (round to nearest cent)||Transaction levy (sell): US$0.000119 per share (minimum of US$0.01 and maximum of US$5.95)|
|HKEX transaction fee: 0.005% (round to nearest cent)|
|Clearing and settlement fee: 0.002% (minimum of HK$2 and maximum of HK$200)|
|Trading tariff: HK$0.5 per trade|
|Other charges||Other charges|
|Hosting fee: free||Hosting fee: free|
|Stock transfer fee: HK$0.2 per lot|
|Dividend fee: 0.5% (minimum of HK$28)||Dividend fee: free|
|Bonus share entitlement: HK$1 per lot (minimum of HK$28)|
|IPO: HK$88 (no charge If unsuccessful)|
|Deposit / withdraw: Free for HSBC / BOC HK$15 or US$2 for non HSBC / BOC Overseas transfer at cost (min US$35)||Deposit / withdraw: Free for HSBC / BOC HK$15 or US$2 for non HSBC / BOC Overseas transfer at cost (min US$35)|
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Investment involves risks. This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment or action. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may not get back what you invest.