Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Twitter… foreign These are some well-known companies in the world. We all have grown up using the products/services offered by these companies. But along with using their products, can we also own a part of these companies?
Wait, these are not Indian companies, right? Therefore, they won’t be listed on the Indian stock exchanges. These companies will be listed in their respective country’s stock exchanges. So, how to buy shares of a company that are registered in the foreign stock exchanges?
Don’t worry, if you really want to buy these stocks- you’ll get it. Always remember the famous movie dialogue by King Khan- “Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho … to poori kainath use tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”
Why should you invest in foreign stocks?
Before we start this post, let us first discuss why should you invest in foreign stocks? Are they better than Indian companies? Here, you need to make up your mind why you want to invest in foreign companies. There are over 5,500 listed companies in the Indian stock market. Aren’t they enough? Why do you need to invest alternative stocks?
Well, I’m really not in a position to answer the second question. These are giant multi-billionaire companies that we are talking about here. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Samsung, Cisco, Tesla, etc are too big companies to comment upon. These companies have lots of highly qualified professionals, employees in their management team. It won’t do justice if a boy in his 20s sitting on the comfort of his couch judges these companies. Nevertheless, I can share a few of my personal opinions regarding why to invest in foreign stocks.
Top reasons why many Indian invests in the US
Here are my top reasons why many Indian invests in the US or other foreign stock exchanges:
1. People want to invest in their favorite companies
Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, etc. are the darlings of this generation. And of course, many people want to invest in these companies.
2. Diversification with Global Investments
Investing in foreign stocks helps in diversification. Let’s assume that the Indian equity market starts falling due to some local region. However, investing in foreign stocks can mitigate the risk in your portfolio as the local reason may not have a significant effect on the international markets.
3. To seize bigger opportunities
Once you start to invest in foreign stocks, there are no boundaries anymore. You can hunt for better (profitable) opportunities in the international markets.
Besides the above-mentioned points, few investors believe that foreign companies have better resources, facilities, government cooperation, and standards. That’s why they invest in these foreign companies, compared to Indian companies.
Cons of Investing in Foreign Stocks
There are two sides to every coin. Here are a few critical points to know before you invest in foreign stocks:
1. Be ready for the high charges
While investing in international stocks, you’ll be transacting in foreign currencies. For example, if you are trading in the US stock market, you have to pay the brokerages in the US dollar. And hence, the stock brokerages may be a little higher compared to the charges in the Indian stock market. Similarly, the annual/monthly maintenance charges may also be higher compared to domestic accounts.
2. Profits are subjected to the currency exchange rate
Let’s assume that you are investing in the US stock market. When you bought the US stock, the currency exchange rate was $1= Rs 68. However, next year- when you sold the US stock, let say the Indian currency got stronger, and the currency exchange rate becomes $1 = Rs 62. In such a case, you have already lost 8.8% due to the change in exchange rate. That’s why when you invest in foreign stocks, profits are always subjected to the currency exchange rate.
3. Up to $250,000 can be invested overseas by the Indian residents
As per the RBI notification in the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), an Indian resident individual can only invest up to $250,000 overseas per year. With the current exchange rate of ($1= Rs 68), this amount turns out to be over 1.7 Crores. Anyways, if you have a family of four, you can invest 4 x $250,000 = $ 1 Million. That’s enough money to invest, right?
How to invest in foreign stocks?
Now that you have learned the basic concept of investing in the international stock exchanges, here are three simple ways to invest in foreign stocks—
1. An account with Indian Brokers having a tie-up with a foreign broker
Many full-service Indian brokers like ICICI Direct, HDFC Securities, Kotak Sec, Axis Securities, Reliance money, etc has a tie-up with the foreign brokers. They have made it very simple to open your overseas trading account with their partner (foreign) brokers. You can invest in foreign stocks using these full-service brokers.
2. Open an account with the foreign brokers
A few international brokerage firms like Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab International Account etc permits Indian citizens to set up an account and trade in US stocks, mutual funds, etc. In fact, US-based brokerage like ‘Interactive brokers’ also has an office in India where you can visit, get your queries answered, and open your overseas trading account.
3. Investing in Foreign stocks through new startups Apps
In the past few years, many new starts have been launched in India and abroad than helps Indians to invest in foreign stocks. For example, recently launched startup Vested Finance, helps Indians to invest in US stocks. They are a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered investment advisor. Similarly, you can also invest in foreign stocks using the Webull app, another popular startup company that is also committed to building the best investing and trading experience for India and Global stock markets.
Extra: Buying Indian MF/ETFs with global equities
There are a number of mutual funds/ETFs who invest in international markets (global market, emerging market, etc). You can invest in those mutual funds/ETFs to indirectly invest in foreign equities.
This is the easiest approach to invest in foreign stocks. An advantage of investing through mutual funds is that you won’t need to open any overseas trading account. Further, you won’t also require to invest a hefty amount. Compared to direct investing in foreign stocks (where you might be asked to maintain a minimum of $10,000 deposit), investing in mutual funds/ETFs are cheap.
Investing in the foreign market will help you widen your investment horizon. Here, you can invest without boundaries in your favorite companies. Moreover, in the era of the internet- it’s not much difficult to invest in the international market.
Nevertheless, investing in the international stock market has both advantages and disadvantages. The most significant advantage is that it helps in diversifying your portfolio. However, the obstacles are higher expense charges and currency exchange rates.