A Quick Guide on how to invest in Foreign Stocks from India: Apple, Google (Alphabet), Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Samsung, Tesla, Twitter… These are some well-known companies in the world. We all have grown up using the products/services offered by these companies. Moreover, these companies are global leaders in their respective businesses, as well as innovators, who are likely to benefit in the future. But along with using their products, can we also own some shares of these companies?
Wait, these are not Indian companies, right? Therefore, they won’t be listed on the Indian stock exchanges. Even if you’ve a demat and trading account in India, you can trade/invest only in companies listed on Indian stock exchanges (BSE/NSE). But these companies will be listed in their respective country’s stock exchanges like US stock exchanges. Then, how to buy shares of a company that are not registered in India, but trades in the foreign stock exchanges?
Don’t worry, if you really want to buy these stocks- you’ll get it. In this post, we are going to discuss three simple ways through which you can invest in foreign stocks. Let’s get started.
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 in alternative stocks? Further, which one is better to invest in- Indian companies or foreign companies?
Well, I’m really not in a position to answer the second question. It won’t do justice if a guy in his 20s sitting on the comfort of his couch judges these Indian vs MNC companies and choose which one is better. 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 cash, highly qualified professionals, employees in their management team and they are big innovators in their industry. Anyways, there are even many big Indian companies that can give competitions to many foreign companies.
Now, let me answer the first question i.e. why invest in foreign stocks. Here are my personal learnings on this question.
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, Tesla 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. Nevertheless, while deciding to invest in foreign stocks, you should also remember that India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. On the other hand, most of the international markets are a little saturated. Therefore, growth-wise, India has better potential.
Overall, it totally depends on your preference regarding where and how much to invest. As already discussed, there are both pros and cons to trade in international stocks.
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
When you invest in foreign stocks, there’s always currency risk involved. Let us understand this with the help of an example.
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 the 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?
Quick Note: Besides the above factors, you also need to keep in mind the foreign stock risks. As these stocks will be listed on foreign stock exchanges – the environment and the factors (like local government policies, local trends, etc) will affect the share price of those companies.
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.
For example, if you have an account with ICICI direct, you can invest in global markets using their broker partner Interactive Brokers LLC.
(Source: ICICI Direct)
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 that helps Indians to invest in foreign stocks. For example, GROWW, Vested Finance, Webull app, etc helps Indians to invest in US stocks.
Startups like Vested Finance 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 that 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.
For example, Motilal Oswal recently started its subscription for its Motilal Oswal S&P 500 Index Fund. It is an open-ended scheme replicating the S&P 500 Index, which consists of leading 500 companies listed in the US. A few of the popular of popular mutual funds that trade in global equities are—
- ICICI Pru US Bluechip Equity – D (G)
- Motilal MOSt Oswal NASDAQ 100 ETF
- Reliance US Equity Opp. Fund DP (G)
- Edelweiss Greater China Eqty-Direct
- Kotak US Equity Fund – Direct (G)
Quick Note: Many other Indian stockbrokers are also planning to offer their clients a facility to invest in the US and foreign stocks. For example, Zerodha is planning to offer option to invest in US stocks with no minimum investment. However, these features are yet to be launched. Nevertheless, these stockbrokers internally working on these features is a good sign for the Indian retail investors who are enthusiastic about investing in foreign companies.
In this article, we discussed three easy ways to invest in foreign stocks from India, along with the fourth way of mutual funds route. We also covered the advantages and disadvantages of investing in foreign stocks.
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. The most significant advantage is that it helps in diversifying your portfolio. However, the obstacles are higher expense charges and currency exchange rates.
That’s all for this article on different ways to invest in foreign stocks. Let me know what you think about investing in international stocks in the comment section below. Further, if you’ve got any questions on this topic, feel free to mention them below. Have a great day and Happy investing.
Hi, I am Kritesh (Tweet me here), an NSE Certified Equity Fundamental Analyst and an electrical engineer (NIT Warangal) by qualification. I have a passion for stocks and have spent my last 4+ years learning, investing and educating people about stock market investing. And so, I am delighted to share my learnings with you. #HappyInvesting