How Malaysians Can Buy Shares In Facebook: A Step-by-step Guide

Facebook-IPOSpeculators across the world are wondering if the hype of Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO) will be artificially driving up its price. In fact, according to Reuters, Facebook’s IPO is already oversubscribed, despite some concerns about slowing growth, high valuation and signs the company is having trouble increasing revenue from mobile advertising.

Below are a few recent quotes/comments by market experts on the topic:

“Most retail investors will be shut out of the offering and won’t get the IPO price, meaning they likely will have to pay more in the days that follow if they want an early piece of the action.” – The Wall Street Journal

“The valuation can be justified only if investors assume that Facebook can continue its rapid growth.” – Gerard Hoberg, Associate Professor of Finance at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.

“When the smoke clears, it is likely for Facebook to carry a $100 billion market capitalization over top of $1 billion in 2011 net income.”

Rumour has it the Facebook IPO will create more than 900 millionaires, mostly among Facebook’s early employees. It is no wonder that many casual investors have strong desires to buy a piece of the stock, just to own a part of the company they use so often.

Do Malaysians want to buy shares in Facebook? After all, Malaysia is one of the most sociable countries on Facebook.

For those who are interested, the research team has put together a table that compares some of Malaysia’s top brokers. With more than a dozen brokers in Malaysia, it is often a colossus task finding and identifying the right broker. iMoney’s research is primarily focused on costs (how to avoid being charged unnecessary fees) and ease of use (how can Malaysians effortlessly own Facebook shares), and below are some of their top recommendations:

Broker Fees And Charges Ease Of Use
Maybank Brokerage: 0.4% (minimum of USD25)Total fee assuming a RM10,000 investment: RM75 Pros:
– Multiple Bank Branches For Account Set Up (Store Locator)
– Online Application (For Existing Maybank Customers)
– Online Trading Access
– Phone AssistanceCons: n.a.
CIMB iTrade Brokerage: 0.4% (minimum of USD25)
Contract Stamp: 0.1%
Bank Charges: RM20 (buy only)Total fee assuming a RM10,000 investment: RM105
– Multiple Branches For Account Set Up (Store Locator)
– Downloadable Application Forms
– Online Trading Access
– Phone AssistanceCons: n.a.
OSK188 Brokerage: 0.1% (min of USD25) based on USD value + 0.3% (min of RM28) based on RM value
Stamp Duty: 0.1%Total fee assuming a RM10,000 investment: RM115
– Online Trading Access
– Phone AssistanceCons:
Limited Branches For Account Set Up
Alliance Brokerage: 0.15% (min of USD20) based on USD value + 0.6% based on RM value
Contract Stamp: 0.1%Total fee assuming a RM10,000 investment: RM130
– Online Trading Access
– Phone AssistanceCons:
Limited Branches For Account Set Up


So how do you actually get a piece of Facebook share?

A step-by-step guide to buy Facebook shares

Before you can purchase any Facebook shares (or any overseas shares for that matter), there are generally a few things you need to do:

1) Open a foreign shares security trading account with a broker

To do this, you will need to bring along

  • a copy of your NRIC,
  • a recent bank statement, and
  • an account opening fee (usually around RM10 to RM30)

to the nearest branch of your preferred broker. Some brokers (e.g. CIMB) have downloadable forms online that you can complete prior to visiting the branch in order to reduce your wait time. Maybank allows you to complete the application online if you’re an existing customer.

2) Register for an online trading account

This is an additional step if you would like to buy your Facebook shares online (i.e. not through phone transactions). Most brokers would offer to register an online trading account for you while you set up your security account at the branch, however, you must explicitly request for this.

3) Log-on and find the NASDAQ stock market

Like most technology-related companies, Facebook will be listed on the US NASDAQ share market. To find Facebook shares, you will need to look under the stock code “FB”.

4) Purchase Facebook shares

Based on a number of market commentaries, Facebook is expected to see its shares sold between USD28 to USD35 (or around RM84 to RM105) upon listing. Depending on your broker, you may be able to purchase shares in lot sizes of 100 or less.

It would generally take 3 working days from the time you transact to the time you actually own the shares (commonly known as a settlement period of T+3).

Can’t wait to get started?

Check out which broker in Malaysia offers the best overseas brokerage rate.


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