My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. – Warren Buffet (One of the World’s greatest investors)
Read the quote again. Let’s say you have some lucky genes. The compound interest rate is available for all of us. What about living in America? What if you’re living in Sri Lanka but you want to invest in the US stock market?
Ustocktrade has made it possible for you. Now you can own shares of some of the world’s best companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart while living in Sri Lanka.
Read on to find out how you can start investing in the US stock market.
What is Ustocktrade?
Ustocktrade is the first stock trading platform to allow Sri Lankan citizens, residents, and eligible investors the opportunity to invest in World Financial markets beginning with the United States without requiring an international broker.
Who is behind Ustocktrade?
Tony Weeresinghe is the CEO and Founder of Ustocktrade. He has more than 20 years of experience in automating global stock exchanges. He was the founder of Millennium IT, a Sri Lankan company which was later acquired by the London Stock Exchange. He was also a member of London Stock Exchange.
He is also the founder of e-Channelling, a company that now has become a household name in Sri Lanka. You can learn more about Tony by reading our exclusive interview with him where he shared his entrepreneurial journey here.
What is the “Why” of Ustocktrade?
Over the years, Tony realized that retail investors (individuals like you and me) are at a disadvantage when it comes to stock trading due to high cost, complicated trading requirements, lack of affordable resources and poor trade executions.
Tony wanted to change this. He wanted to give the same benefits to retail investors that only the rich enjoyed. He wanted to democratize wealth and bring Wall Street to Main Street.
The best part is, profits from Ustocktrade will go to a charity called The Cainan Foundation, which aims to build self-sustaining boarding schools for disadvantaged children in developing countries, starting with Sri Lanka. Tony and Cindy (his wife) purposefully founded Ustocktrade to fund their charity organization
How can a Sri Lankan benefit using Ustocktrade?
Through Ustocktrade, Sri Lankans now have direct access to some of the world’s most traded stocks. Whether users want to buy and hold or make multiple buy/sell orders in a short period of time, there’s something for everyone.
This wasn’t available earlier for common Sri Lankan investors like you and me. With Ustocktrade, you can now buy and sell shares in the US stock market without any barriers.
How can you open an Ustocktrade account in Sri Lanka?
To open a trading account with Ustocktrade, you’ll first need to open a personal foreign currency account PFCA in USD with Sampath Bank. All required docs are available at https://www.sampath.lk/en/applications .
PFCA account is simply a bank account that deals with a foreign currency. For example, you can open an account that allows you to deposit and withdraw US dollars.
For now, you can only buy stocks on Ustocktrade with US dollars. So if you’re a person who earns in US dollars or if you have a way of getting US dollars to your PFCA account, you can easily start investing with Ustocktrade.
How can you buy/sell stocks on Ustocktrade? Can you trade using my phone as well?
Can you buy any US company stock using Ustocktrade?
You can use Ustocktrade to invest in most equity securities listed on U.S. stock exchanges as well as select Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) and Exchange Traded Notes (ETN’s)
I don’t have any idea about investing in stocks? Can I still use Ustocktrade?
Ustocktrade offers a free trading simulator to anyone who wants to learn more about trading before they invest real money. The simulator can be accessed at http://www.ustocktrain.com/. With this simulator, you can invest virtual cash without spending any real money. You can use this free of charge to test the waters before getting in with real money. Click here to register free.
Can you use Ustocktrade to trade in Colombo Stock Exchange?
No. Only securities listed on NY and NASDAQ stock exchanges can be traded. But they are planning to bring in the Colombo Stock Exchange on board in the future. Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date.
How secure is Ustocktrade?
Ustocktrade uses stock exchange-level security when handling your information. Your sensitive information is fully encrypted, securely stored, and not sold or distributed to third parties.
Is there a cost involved in using Ustocktrade?
Ustocktrade charges $1 per transaction*. That means when you buy/sell they charge $1 for each transaction. They also charge a monthly $5 membership fee. That’s it. They will not charge a percentage from your transactions. So no matter how big your transaction is, they will only charge the $1 transaction fee.
*Sell orders are subject to additional regulatory fees. See their fee schedule for more details
I don’t have a lot of money to invest. Can I still benefit from Ustocktrade?
This is completely up to you. With a $5 USD monthly membership and $1 per trade, Ustocktrade is the most affordable option for LK investors. Also, they don’t have a minimum account balance, so you can start with an amount that you are comfortable with.
How can experienced Sri Lankan investors use Ustocktrade to make more money?
If you have been in the Sri Lankan stock market for a while, you will know the benefits of investing in a market like the US where the return is way better. With Ustocktrade, you will be able to diversify your investments and make high returns.
When you sell the stocks, when will you get the money?
When a sale is completed, those funds appear in your portfolio and you can use it to buy more shares immediately. If you decide to withdraw funds from your Ustocktrade account to your bank account, funds will be available within 1-5 working days.
How will you get your dividends?
Dividends will be paid into your Ustocktrade trading account. If you want them into your Sampath Bank account, you will have to withdraw funds from your Ustocktrade trading accounts once you receive the dividends.
What are the trading times? Can you buy/sell shares even after the market is closed?
Orders can be executed only during standard US market hours: (9:30AM to 4:00PM EST), 7:00PM to 1:30AM Sri Lankan time except during market holidays. For a full list of market holidays, click here, or follow them on Facebook. (These times will change depending on daylight savings time in USA.)
Is there a limit to how many trades you can make within a day?
There is no limit to how many trades you can make within the day.
Are there any plans to let Sri Lankans invest using LKR?
This is something that they are working on, but we are unable to provide a time frame as to when they will be able to offer this.
What are the future plans of Ustocktrade?
Ustocktrade will launch in several more countries around the world. As they grow, they will continue to democratize wealth by offering the retail investor an opportunity to build their wealth through investing in stock markets.
Well, now you know how Sri Lankans can invest in the US stock market. Do you have any questions for us? Share your thoughts on the comments below. We are happy to answer your questions.
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