Asset management in Taiwan

Hey there,

I am an European national legally resident of Taiwan. I am new to investing and trading, but I need to start as having money parked in the bank makes no sense.

I don’t think I’d see myself getting into direct buying of stock, forex and so on. However, from what I started reading, a good idea could be using an asset/financial manager and invest into index funds. I looked at Vanguard and Interactive Brokers. Problem: their asset management services are not available to non-US residents.

From what I’m reading one could use a broker from Taiwan. That’s where I’m less confident though. Vanguard and IB have online accounts in English, or even mobile apps. I don’t speak Chinese and mobile banking in Taiwan is pretty much horrible, regardless of language.

Ideally I would do everything by myself online if it were possible. With IB I can open an account but that’s for their direct trading and buying stocks. Something I don’t have the skills, experience or time to do.

What would you do?

What I would do: Open a brokerage account with Interactive Brokers. This is a pain in the ass but it can be done if you have the patience to get through their paperwork requirements.

Once the account is open, you can buy ETFs directly online, and you do not have to be a US citizen to do this. For example, SPY (this is a stock ticker) gives you the S&P 500 and the management fee is incredibly low at 9 basis points (0.09%), which is similar to what Vanguard charges for its non-ETF funds (SPY is managed by State Street). SPY is currently yielding 1.8% but the tax man will skim off part of that. I believe the tax rate is 30% for nonresident aliens but do check on that. Also, please don’t take this as an investment recommendation – the S&P 500 mostly goes up, but sometimes it goes down. If you don’t like SPY, there are thousands of others to choose from.

You can also muck around with doing the same thing through a local broker (google “listed ETFs in Taiwan”). Management fees are likely to be higher but maybe the tax implications will offset this. Also the website will be all Chinese.

Another option is to open a wealth management account with your bank, or with one of the foreign banks here (HSBC, Citi, Standard Chartered, DBS, etc.). I’m a US citizen and therefore excluded from these services (Land of the Free!) so I can’t make any recommendations. Just beware of the fee structure – these guys are incentivized to generate income and you are the source of that income.

Thanks for the advice.

While looking at IB, though, I was looking at a service like the one they offer at

This is for US residents only. Same with Vanguard, to buy their index fund plans.

If you don’t like SPY, there are thousands of others to choose from.

My problem is that I don’t have the time or the knowledge to make educated and timely investment decisions when it comes to buy and sell individual stocks, especially when the choices span 1000s of possibilities. That’s why I am looking for some type of managed solution. Also, it appears to me that the yield of those index funds is higher. But then again not being an expert I might be reading it wrong.


Ops wrong person

Try Charles Schwab, I believe they are the few who are setup for non US Citizens to do this.
ETF/Index funds definitely an easy way to go.

Fair enough. Sorry, I’m not aware of such a service for non-US residents. There might be one, I just don’t know about it.

The easy thing to do is to just buy SPY, which gives you the S&P 500. The yield you get will be whatever dividends the underlying stocks as a group pay to their shareholders. (Minus taxes of course). Yes, there are funds that have higher yields but that is because they are invested in a different group of stocks, or are differently weighted to hold more high-yield stocks. The fund management company isn’t paying you more dividends than the underlying stocks yield. An example of this is VYM which is currently yielding 2.99%. It is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that is managed by Vanguard. So you buy it through a broker, not from Vanguard directly, but it gives you the same exposure (and big ETFs like SPY and VYM might also be commission-free so it costs you nothing to purchase them – you would have to check with the broker to confirm that however).

So sure you can obtain higher yields, but then you would have to engage in “stock”-picking (actually ETF picking), which is not something you want to do.

I like IB because they aren’t entirely US-centric and you can buy shares in non-US exchanges (e.g., Canada, the UK, EU, and I think HK and Singapore too). I’m not sure how that works with Schwab. But maybe it doesn’t matter for your purposes given that you don’t want to pick stocks anyway. So whichever service requires less paperwork hassle to prove that you’re not a vicious terrorist or cocaine kingpin is the one that I would recommend.

Throw most of it into cryptocurrency and ride with the wind.

Second thoughts maybe not.

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Fellow European here. IB is a good choice, but you don’t wanna buy anything on the US stock exchange. If you do, you will pay a 30% tax on dividends. Best thing to do is use IB to buy ETFs one the London stock exchange. Ishares and Vanguard have a decent collection of them. If you want something simple, just put everything in ticker VWRD. Simple world index fund, can’t go wrong with that one.

Some good advice here which seems to match what I’ve been reading elsewhere. I think I’ll go with IB and look at Ireland/UK ETF stock (will see SPY/Vanguard). Seems the best choice. Thanks

Throw most of it into cryptocurrency and ride with the wind.

Nope! :zipper_mouth_face: