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Are you looking for a stockbroker to buy and sell Australian and global shares? There's a few things to consider when you sign up. The best stockbroker for you will largely depend on the exchanges you want to access, your current trading experience, how often you want to trade and the overall fees you will be paying.
To find the best stockbroker that suits your circumstances, you'll need to compare your options. Read on for tips and advice on how you can find the best stockbroker for you.
Before you start comparing stockbrokers, it’s first important to understand that there are broadly 2 different types of brokers available: full-service brokers and online brokers.
A full-service broker is the traditional service most of us think of when you hear the word “stockbroker”. Full-service brokers, such as Morgans and UBS, offer a high-level investment service to their customers and do all of the buying and selling of stock and other assets for you.
After assessing your financial situation and investment goals, this type of broker will typically provide detailed investment research and advice on which shares you should buy and sell.
On the other hand, there's online brokers. Now you're probably more familiar with online brokers, that are also known as share trading platforms.
Online platforms such as CommSec and IG Share Trading are much cheaper than full service brokers. But there's a downside, they offer no personalised advice and require you to do all the trading yourself.
Important: The standard brokerage fee displayed is the trade cost for new customers to purchase $1,000 of either Australian or US shares. Where a platform charges different fees for both US and Australian shares we show the lower of the two. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.
Like anything in life, you get what you pay for.
When it comes to either type of broker, the costs vary greatly.
Starting with online brokers you're looking at somewhere between $3 to $30 per trade in brokerage. There are trading platforms available to suit everyone, from casual investors to experienced traders. In some instances you can get cheaper brokerage, with things like what country you invest in and who you've signed up with changing the fees greatly.
However, depending on the trading platform you choose and the membership level you select, you may be able to access detailed company research, analyses, and buy and sell recommendations from the online broker’s expert staff. Of course, you may need to pay an extra fee to access these services.
Meanwhile, the advantage of using a full-service broker is that you have an expert advising you on investment decisions and they do all of the trading for you.
The downside to this is that full-service brokers come at an extra cost, with brokerage fees typically starting from around $70 – $200. Brokerage fees are usually charged as a percentage of the total buy or sell transaction amount, so you will need to factor this extra expense into your calculations when deciding whether a full-service broker is the right choice.Back to top
You may be starting to realise that choosing between a full-service stockbroker and an online broking service isn’t always a clear-cut decision.
If you only have a small amount to invest, you may decide that it might not be worth your while to pay a full-service broker’s fees.
Consider whether you may benefit from the tailored expert advice that a full-service broker may offer.
Consider how the brokerage fees charged by full-service and online brokers will affect your investment budget.
Would you prefer to have full control over where your money is invested, or do you want a broker who can take care of all your buy and sell trades for you?
Some investors use multiple brokers to access expert advice on different investment sectors.
Once you know the answers to the above questions you should be a lot closer to working out whether you should choose a full-service broker or go for the DIY option and open an account with an online share trading broker.Back to top
If you’ve decided you want a full-service stockbroker to help you make the right share trading decisions, consider these factors when comparing brokers:
Compare the investments that different brokers can advise you on and help you trade, such as shares, warrants, options, futures and more.
Compare the fees charged by stockbrokers for the services they offer. Is there a flat fee or a fee charged as a percentage of the transaction amount? Does the fee vary depending on the size of the transaction? Fees for full-service brokerages can range enormously, anywhere from $70 – $300 per transaction.
Make sure you’re fully aware of the services your broker provides. Will they offer advice and then execute the trades you instruct them to, or will your broker be authorised to trade on your behalf.
Some broking firms may have specialist areas of knowledge, for example the resources sector, which may be worth considering if you are looking to concentrate your investments in specific industries.
There may be a minimum amount that you must invest before you are eligible to access a broker’s services.
Before a full-service broker can offer advice, they must first take the time to understand your financial situation and investment goals. Look for a broker that shows an in-depth interest in your investment needs and asks all the right questions to form a complete picture of your requirements.
Finally, consider how you can contact your broker if you ever have a question about your portfolio. Will you be contacted regularly with updates on the performance of your portfolio? How often will your broker monitor it and will you be informed of any adjustments that need to be made? You can also use the ASX’s find a stockbroker tool to help you get in touch with the right broker for your needs.
There are plenty of full service brokers available in Australia, some of which also have online share trading platforms if you choose that route. Some of the most popular of these include:
If you’ve decided to sign up for an online broking service, keep the following factors in mind when comparing the benefits and drawbacks of different share trading platforms:
Compare the fees you will need to pay each time you buy or sell a parcel of shares. This could be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction amount and it could also vary depending on the size of the trade.
It’s free to maintain a basic account with many online share broking services, but some charge ongoing membership fees. Many providers will also allow you to access regular company news, research and analyses if you pay an ongoing monthly fee.
Can you trade shares on the ASX and a selection of other global stock exchanges? Can you trade anything else other than shares through your online account?
Check to see whether the trading platform imposes minimum and maximum limits on your trading transaction amounts.
How easy is each provider’s trading platform to use? Is it simple and intuitive or is it too confusing to place a trade? Many brokers offer free demo accounts that can help you answer these questions.
Compare the market analysis and stock recommendations you can access through each online broker. Will you need to pay an additional fee to access these services?
Can you take advantage of options such as stop loss orders to create a more advanced trading experience?
Does the provider offer a smartphone and/or tablet app to allow you to trade on the go? Is phone trading also available and, if so, does it attract any extra fees?
Finally, make sure you can access the help you need if you ever have a problem with your account or a particular transaction.Back to top
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Follow these tips to find the best share trading platform for you.