The first decision every investor makes is choosing their broker. This page covers everything you need to know about your options and features some recommendations based on different types of investors.
On this page we cover the following topics:
- Definition: What is a broker?
- Different types of brokers
- All the details you need to know
- Recommendations for different investors
What is a broker?
A person or company that buys and sells shares on your behalf. As retail investors, when we want to buy shares we do not contact someone that owns the shares and make a deal with them. Instead we place an order through an intermediary, who then execute the order on our behalf. This intermediary is called a broker.
There are a variety of different types of brokers that we outline on this page. Whichever type you choose, they all take your order to buy or sell shares and then match that order with someone looking to take the other side of your trade (i.e. sell shares to you, or buy shares off you).
The different types of brokers
Are part-broker, part-advisor. They are most hands on, but also most expensive option.
Focused on making accessing the share market easy and at the lowest possible cost.
Offered by all major banks, they are the middle ground offering good service and resources but with a little more cost than online only brokers.
Designed for beginner investors, these brokers allow people to invest with just a few dollars.
All the details you need to know
|Platform||Brokerage & fees||Minimum investment||Markets||Research||Key features||Watch out for...|
|Commbank||$10.00 (Up to and including $1,000)|
$19.95 (Over $1,000 up to $10,000 (inclusive))
$29.95 (Over $10,000 up to $25,000 (inclusive))
USD $19.95 up to $5000USD
USD $39.95 or 0.4% + stamp duty 50bps
|$500||Aus & 25 international||Yes - investment banks; Morningstar||Options, warrants, margin Loans, fixed Income|
Trade without settlement
|Must settle in CDIA for broker rates|
|Westpac||$19.95 or 0.11%|
USD $19.95 for trades up to USD $5,000
USD$57.95 or 0.65%, whichever is greater
USD$115.00 or 0.90%, whichever is greater
|$500||Aus & 25 international||Yes - investment banks; Morningstar|
Advanced Research packages available
|Options, warrants, margin loans, fixed income, advanced charting||Must have Westpac cash investment account.
Crazy account keeping fees for inactivity on intl
|NAB||$14.95 up to $5000|
$19.95 $5000 - $20,000
$14.95 up to $5000
|$500||Aus & 25 international||Yes - investment banks; Morningstar||mFunds, options, warrants margin Loans, fixed income, advanced charting|
Subscriptions - premium charting, alerts
IRESS Trader integration
|Bank Of Melbourne - Directshares||1st Trade $19.95 up to $5000|
2nd trade $19.95 up to $18,000
|$500||Aus & international||Yes - investment banks; Morningstar||Free alerts|
|Suncorp Share Trade||$21.95 up to $10,000|
$24.95 up to $5000
$69 or 0.69%
Foreign Exchange 0.6%
|$500||Aus & 11 markets||With Suncorp Share Trading, you will have access to Dow Jones newswires, Morningstar and ASX Company announcements.||mFunds, warrants|
$41.25/month - dynmaic data
|IG||3+ (previous month) $5|
0-2 trades $8
Free (instant currency conversion)
Forex 0.7% spread
$50 subscription fee, quarterly
|$500||Aus, US, UK, Germany, Ireland||Yes - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; Reiuters, In-house analysts||Award winning trading platform||CFDs!|
|CMC|| Less than 11 trades oer month $11 or 0.1%|
11-30 trades $9.90 or 0.8%
International (US, Canada)
|$500||Aus & International||Yes||Frequent trader program, shares, options, mFunds, CFDs||CFDs!
|Bell Direct||First 10 trades p/m $15 up to $10,000|
$10 live data p/m (free after 5 trades per month)
WebIRESS $79 p/m
|$500||ASX only||Broker research||Daily trading ideas, advanced charting, free conditional orders, mFunds, exchange traded bonds, interest rate securities|
|Saxo Markets||Custodian $6.99|
US USD $9.90
UK GBP 8
0.12% custody fee
|SelfWealth||$9.50||$500||Australia||No||Social platform - follow other investors; align portfolios; see where you rank|
$0 month - unlimited free trades (market orders only)
$9 month - free trades; advanced orders;
$19 month - trade on unsettled; analyst level data ($30k portolfio)
First funding: $5 to complete W-*Ben
FX - 0.7%
2% fund with card
|eToro||0% commission - US|
Other stocks are offered as derivatives and bear commission
|$50|| US markets - 0% commission (aussie investors)|
|News & analysis||Fractional shares, social platform, follow traders, copycat portfolios||Leverage|
|Vanguard Personal Investor||Pay $0 brokerage on Vanguard's ASX-listed ETFs and $19.95 or 0.15% (GST inclusive), whichever is greater, on other ASX transactions.|
0.20% p.a. capped at $600 p.a. per account
Interest Rate Charge:
0.50% p.a.1 of the balance of your Cash Account
|$5000 managed funds, then no minimum|
|CommSec Pocket||$2 up $1000|
0.20% above $1000
|$50||Mixed expsoure through ETFs||No||7 options to choose: Aussie200, Aussie Dividends, Global 100, Emerging Markets, Health Wise, Sustainability, Tech Savvy||- ETFs only
- Watch out for brokerage as a percentage
|Raiz||$2.50 per month less than $10,000||$5|
|Spaceship||$0 on $0-$5000|
0.1% above $5000 (spaceship universe portfolio)
Recommendations for different investors
For Australian stocks: the online only brokers (IG, CMC, Self Wealth)
For US stocks: Stake & eToro
If you want to start investing with small amounts (less than $500) then the micro investing apps are the best option. Have a look at CommSec Pocket or Vanguard Personal Investor
The broker that offers the most markets is Saxo (36 markets)
The Big 4 Banks each offer a lot of markets as well (26 markets)
Dollar cost average into ETFs or Index Funds: Microinvesting apps especially CommSec Pocket or Vanguard Personal Investor
Dollar cost average into stocks or other assets: Online only brokers with cheapest brokerage, for example IG, CMC or Self Wealth
eToro and Self Weath offer the most social platforms (e.g. news feeds, follow other investors)
For short-term traders, that are looking for charting tools and live data, the best options are Saxo, CMC and Bell Direct
For long-term investors, that are looking for analyst reports and education tools, the best options are the Big Banks
If you want to day trade, the #1 focus should be on reducing the cost of buying or selling (as it’ll add up!). Stake and eToro offer commission-free trading (however only for US market). For Australia, if you are trading regularly, IG offers the lowest cost to trade.
eToro offers the most assets to trade for Australians – over 5,000 assets everything from cocoa beans to crypto.
Looking for more information?
Check out our podcast episode on brokers. Listen here, or search ‘Equity Mates’ on your preferred podcast player.
Facebook Discussion Group
If you’ve got any more questions about brokers, head over to the Equity Mates Facebook Discussion Group. There are thousands of like minded investors that can answer your questions and tell you their experiences with different brokers.
Investing is a lifelong journey and it is much more fun to travel with others. So join our community and share our journey as we all work to become better investors.