pay additional fees that can include exchange fees, foreign currency fees and local tax withholding. Customers typically cannot trade on margin and must trade during foreign market hours as well.
"If you have a big enough account that they care about you, then it's easier to go with a broker with access to foreign exchanges," said Nichols, the Morningstar analyst. Investors who opt for over-the-counter shares should use limit orders, rather than market orders, because of the bid/ask spreads, he said.
Another, albeit watered-down, option for investors is an exchange-traded fund such as the $3.4 billion iShares MSCI South Korea Index fund, which has 21.5 percent of its assets invested in Samsung, according to Morningstar. Its next largest position is in Hyundai Motor Co, with 5.3 percent of assets.
The fund, which charges 61 cents per $100 invested, has an average volume of 2 million shares traded and a bid/ask spread of 2.1 percent, according to Morningstar.