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6 features to look for in your next trading provider, beyond just fees

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Looking for a new broker? Go beyond just the lowest-fee option.

Sponsored by IG Australia Pty Ltd (AFSL 515106). Trade CFDs 24 hours a day to take advantage of both rising and falling prices. Or open a share trading account to trade $0 international commission shares. Other fees and charges apply.
Disclaimer: General information only. All forms of investments (in particular, trading CFDs, commodities & forex) carry significant risk, including the risk of losing more than the invested amounts, market volatility & liquidity risks. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Such activities are not suitable for most investors. Seek independent advice and consider the PDS and TMD on the provider's website before making any trades.

It's an old investment adage to pick the lowest-fee broker in order to maximise overall profits. But investors could be costing themselves returns by choosing the lowest-fee option, an adviser warns.

It goes without saying low fees are important.

After all, you don't want your returns being eroded by higher brokerage fees, inactivity fees and a range of other account-keeping fees.

But, as IG analyst Kyle Rodda explains to Finder, they aren't the be-all and end-all they are made out to be.

"The old cliché is you get what you paid for, so I think there's a large element of knowing that something often comes cheaper for a reason," he says.

"By the same token, a quality platform and trading tools will pay for themselves."

He points out premium features come at a premium price and can reward active traders. However, you may or may not need them pending your own personal investment journey.

Here are 6 features investors could look for in their next broker:

1. Diverse investment options

Before picking a broker you'll need to have an idea of what you actually want to invest in.

This ranges from Australian markets, to foreign markets, ETFs, bonds, options and everything in between.

For investors looking to diversify their money into a range of markets and in different products an all-in-one broker could make the most sense for them.

2. Research and education resources

This is especially important for newer investors.

Investing is a combination of learned experiences and new information that can help investors make a more informed decision.

As Warren Buffet once said he reads over 500 pages a day.

While you might not read as much as Buffet, an investor is going to need to stay up-to-date with current information if they are going to make informed decisions.

Ranging from in-depth market research, education pieces, news articles and analysis on a stock, all of this information can help you become a better investor.

Rodda says these educational tips can even help the most savvy investor.

"Depending on what stage in your trading or investment journey you are on, having access to education and analysis tools will be vital to improve your knowledge and performance, or enhancing your experience," he says.

3. Affordable account minimums

The minimum account deposit and trade minimums vary greatly broker to broker.

Some brokers in Australia that gain access to overseas markets will let investors get started for as little as 1 cent.

Others will require several thousands of dollars.

Investors who don't want to trade larger amounts should find a broker that meets these needs.

It's important to understand if your broker will require minimum trading during a set period as it can be an added-on cost.

4. Easy-to-use mobile and online platform

Another key consideration is an easy-to-use online and mobile platform.

It sounds simple, but like anything in life if a trading provider is difficult to use, chances are you'll just not bother.

"An easy-to-use platform that can set you up from the outset with your trading goes a long way to accelerating your learning and ensuring you're set up for success," Rodda continues.

"Markets move quickly obviously, so you want a platform you have confidence in, that's intuitive, and can allow you to make potentially quick decisions and perform thorough analyses."

5. Trading tools/features

Going hand in hand with an easy-to-use mobile and online platform and education, investors who want to improve their understanding of markets could benefit from a raft of trading tools and features.

Key features that a broker such as IG could provide include real-time market data and news, technical analysis charts, conditional orders and a watchlist.

"Everybody is different in what they like, but typically, access to clear charts, with comprehensive analysis tools, and a news feed is very important," Rodda says.

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.

6. Support networks

You don't want to get stuck unable to make a trade and without any support.

Like with most things tech related, issues can arise and you want a broker that is able to get you back trading as soon as possible.

Brokers will offer different support for their clients including through social media platforms, live chat, email and over the phone.

With this in mind, aim for a broker that works with your communication style.

How to sign up to a broker

After doing your research and deciding on a broker that works for your individual needs, you can sign up for a broker in just a few steps.

While every broker has slightly different set-ups, generally you'll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Choose your membership level: Some providers offer different members packages. If you are with a tiered member broker, find a membership plan that works with your individual needs.
  2. Provide your details: Brokers will need proof that you are who you say you are. Normally you'll need to provide your basic information including address, phone number, Tax File Number and photo ID.
  3. Link to your bank account: You'll most likely need to supply a bank account in order to trade to and from your selected broker.
  4. Submit your application: Once you've filled out the relevant paperwork your account will usually be ready in 1–2 business days
  5. Start trading: Simply log in to your account, select the product you want to trade and start trading.

Start trading with IG

Name Product Minimum Opening Deposit Minimum Opening Deposit Commission - ASX 200 Shares Available CFD markets Platforms
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IG Disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. This information is general and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person. CFDs do not give you any interest in the underlying asset. Please consider the PDS and Target Market Determination available from before entering into any CFD transaction with us. Promoted by IG Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 93 096 585 410, AFSL 515106).

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