How do I find a good stockbroker?
We compare online brokers with full service brokers and show you what to look out for.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
🧪How we chose these brokersFor our Top Picks, we compared our Finder partners using a proprietary algorithm in August 2020. Keep in mind that our top picks may not always be the best for you, and you're encouraged to compare for yourself to find one that works for you. Read our full methodology here to find out more.
Are you looking for a stockbroker to help you get started buying and selling shares on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and other international stock exchanges?
A good broker can mean the difference between being a successful share trader and suffering investment losses, so it’s important to compare a range of options before choosing one to go with.
Read on for tips and advice on how you can find the best stockbroker for you.
Choosing a broker is one of the most critical decisions that any investor will ever make. From the advice they offer to the fees they charge and the markets they allow you to access, the stockbroker you choose will have a huge impact on your success as a share trader.
However, before you can start comparing the services of stockbrokers, it’s first important to understand that there are, broadly speaking, two different types of brokers available: full-service brokers and online brokers.
A full-service broker is the traditional person 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 provide detailed investment research and advice on which shares you should buy and sell.
An online broker, on the other hand, is a term used to refer to online share trading services. These online platforms, such as CommSec and IG Share Trading, make it easy for everyday investors to buy and sell shares online. Rather than advising you on which shares to buy or sell, online trading platforms simply allow you the market access you need to make trades.
Compare online stockbrokers
Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up. “Standard brokerage” fee is the cost to trade $1,000 or less of ASX-listed shares and ETFs without any qualifications or special eligibility. If ASX shares aren’t available, the fee shown is for US shares. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.
Which option is right for me?
Whether you should choose an online broker or a full-service broker really depends on your investment experience, personal preferences and how much you plan to invest.
The benefits of online broking services are that they are cheap, easy to use and convenient. Brokerage typically ranges from around $5 to $30 per trade and there are trading platforms available to suit everyone, from casual investors to experienced traders.
Online brokers don’t offer the same level of advice as full-service brokers. 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. 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
Choosing between online brokers and full-service brokers
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. To help make the choice easier, ask yourself a few simple questions:
How much money do I want to invest?
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.
How much do I know about investing?
Consider whether you may benefit from the tailored expert advice that a full-service broker may offer.
How much does each option cost?
Consider how the brokerage fees charged by full-service and online brokers will affect your investment budget.
How much control do I want to have over my investments?
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?
Do I need more than one broker?
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:
What you can buy and sell
Compare the investments that different brokers can advise you on and help you trade, such as shares, warrants, ETOs, 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? How does the fee vary depending on the size of the transaction? Fees for full-service brokerages can range enormously, anywhere from $50 - $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.
Minimum investment amount
There may be a minimum amount that you must invest before you are eligible to access a broker’s services.
The broker’s questions
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 will be able to 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.
What full service brokers are available in Australia?
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:
- Bell Potter Securities Limited
- Commonwealth Securities Limited
- Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Australia
- Morgans Financial Limited
- Phillip Capital Limited
- Shaw and Partners Limited
- Macquarie Equities Limited
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.
What you can trade
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.
Ease of use
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.
Research and analysis
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?
Flexible trading options
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 will be able to access the help you need if you ever have a problem with your account or a particular transaction.Back to top
The latest in share trading and investments
SPONSORED: Read our simple guide to the key factors you need to take into account when choosing ETF investments.Read more…
Steps to owning and managing Corteva shares.Read more…
Steps to owning and managing Southwest Airlines shares.Read more…
Steps to owning and managing PPG Industries shares.Read more…
Steps to owning and managing O’Reilly Automotive shares.Read more…
Steps to owning and managing IHS Markit shares.Read more…
More guides on Finder
Should you buy Coinbase shares?
Coinbase is set to be one of the most anticipated public listings of 2021, but this is no normal IPO. Here's what you need to know.
How to invest in the Didi Chuxing IPO from Australia
Everything we know about the Didi Chuxing IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
Bendigo Invest Direct share trading review
Your in-depth review of the Bendigo Invest Direct share trading platform and what it offers for Aussie investors.
How to buy Robinhood stock from Australia
Robinhood is set to go public as soon as June. Here's what you need to do to buy in from Australia.
How to sell shares in Australia
All the key info you need to know to sell shares you inherited or received as a gift.
How to buy Roblox (RBLX) shares from Australia
Steps to owning and managing Roblox shares.
How to invest in the Deliveroo IPO from Australia
Everything we know about the Deliveroo IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
Find out your credit score using Credit Simple
How to find out your credit score using this free tool.
How to invest in the BTCC Bitcoin ETF
The world's first physical Bitcoin ETF has launched onto the stock market. Here's how to invest if you're in Australia.
How to buy Bumble shares from Australia
Everything we know about the Bumble IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
Ask an Expert