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5 features to look for in an investment platform this year


Your investment platform is one of the most important tools you have as an investor, so make sure you're getting access to all of the features you need.

Sponsored by HSBC Invest. Get up to $200 in brokerage rebates when you open an HSBC Invest account and trade before 2 December. Plus enjoy a $300 cashback when you transfer an investment portfolio of $50,000 or more to your HSBC Invest account before 2 December 2022. T&Cs apply

Modern investment platforms have made it easier for new and experienced investors alike to build their trading portfolios.

Whether you're all about the apps or prefer the old-school desktop approach, there are a wealth of choices available.

But not all investment platforms are created equal. As such, here are a few handy hints about what you should be looking for in your next investment platform.

1. News feed

Access to up-to-the-minute news is critical for any investor. Without the latest information, you won't be able to make informed trading decisions.

You should also be able to tailor your feed to news items that directly affect your needs.

Additionally, you should be able to set up notifications – whether via SMS, email or app – to let you know when the big events are happening. This way, you can quickly filter through the information relevant to your investing needs.

For example, HSBC Invest allows you access to live news, ASX data and company announcements.

You're also able to adjust your news preferences to suit your existing portfolio and your watchlist.

Features like this enable you to make trading decisions with all the pertinent info at hand.

2. Ability to trade a range of different products

It's incredibly rare for retail investors to build a portfolio around a single asset type. Instead, diversification tends to be a better option.

So, why shouldn't you expect the same from your trading platform?

Rather than having multiple accounts for trading different asset types, why not just use one that lets you trade across a variety of sectors?

It also helps you avoid paying fees to multiple providers (more on that later)

Everyone's specific trading needs are different, so you should make sure you check closely to see if a platform meets your needs prior to signing up. For example, being able to trade shares, ETFs, managed funds and more from the one platform should be a baseline expectation.

If you're just starting out, picking the right platform will make it much easier to build a diversified portfolio.

And if you're already an experienced investor but you're finding that your portfolio is spread across too many platforms – well, it might be time to consolidate them.

3. Being able to check pricing and conduct trades in real time

When you're actively trading, timing is everything.

It's crucial to be able to make quick decisions and ensure that you're buying or selling for the best possible prices. Mere minutes can make a big difference to your bottom line!

Reputable share platforms will clearly outline the timeline for pricing and trading. That way, you'll be able to lock in prices at a guaranteed rate – rather than having to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

4. Fees vs services

When it comes to trading, fees are pretty much inevitable. They're part of the cost of doing business.

With that said, this doesn't mean you should just accept costs at face value.

You need to take a close look at what you're being charged – and when you're being charged.

  • Are you paying a subscription fee to utilise the platform?
  • Are you charged a transaction fee when you buy or sell?
  • What other charges – if any – are being applied?

You also need to look at what sort of services are being provided for these costs.

As an example, HSBC Invest charges $19.95 per trade on trades up to $20,000.

However, you also receive a number of features, too. Some of these include:

  • You're set up with an HSBC transaction account to use for trading.
  • You've got smartphone access to the platform.
  • You get unlimited stop loss and advanced conditional orders.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to trading, so make sure you consider a few different options to find the one that suits you best.

Just make sure that you're getting good value with what you pay for.

5. Support and educational resources

Trading is difficult enough, so why go about it alone? A good trading platform can support you in getting the most out of your portfolio.

But support is more than just customer service when things go wrong… although it is definitely a perk. Look for platforms that offer you a range of additional tools to help you become a better investor.

For example, some trading platforms will feature demo accounts or a testing mode that allows you to test your trading strategies out – without risking your cash.

Others will allow access to brokers or advisors. Advice may also be provided through tools such as periodic research reports.

This support can extend to tax preparation, too. The ability to carry out automatic reconciliations or earning reports can also be extremely handy.

So when you're choosing an investment platform, make sure you look closely at the support offered after you've signed up.

Access shares, exchange-traded funds and managed funds all in one place with HSBC Invest

Sponsored by HSBC Invest. Get up to $200 in brokerage rebates when you open an HSBC Invest account and trade before 2 December. Plus enjoy a $300 cashback when you transfer an investment portfolio of $50,000 or more to your HSBC Invest account before 2 December 2022. T&Cs apply

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product on the provider's website.

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