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In the world of stock trading, stocks listed on the Nasdaq or the NYSE are just the beginning of all the publicly traded companies worldwide. According to current market estimates, the premier stock market in Australia (the Australian Securities Exchange or “ASX” for short) sees an average daily turnover of over $4.65 billion Australian dollars.
With a little over 2,500 equities listed on the ASX, outside investors now look to Australia as one of the next major stock trading hubs, especially for those interested in investing in the country’s booming mining and manufacturing industries.
It’s legal for American and other non-Australian investors to buy and sell stocks listed on the ASX. Though the process is technically similar to the process of buying and selling stocks domestically, you’ll need to work through an internationally supported brokerage and trading software which will execute your trades for you. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best online brokerages that operate from down under, as well as some information on how to identify a great foreign broker on your own.
Quick look: Best Australian Brokers
- Interactive Brokers
- Saxo Bank
Best Australian Online Stock Brokers
Take a look at the brokerages that made our list!
Vantage is a forex and CFD broker that also gives you access to crypto, indices and precious metals. The platform works well for medium and high-volume traders, scalpers, swingers and long-term traders. Islamic accounts are also available.
Your fees are low when using Vantage, trades execute quickly and it’s easy to set up your account. Additionally, you know you’re safe because the platform is ASIC, CIMA, FCA and VFSC-regulated.
As you start trading with Vantage, you can avail yourself of:
- 40 forex pairs
- Over 200 global CFDs
- Indices that include the Nikkei and SP500
- Crypto CFDs
Use MT4 or MT5 to make your trades on your desktop, laptop or mobile device. You can also try social trading through partners like ZuluTrade, DupliTrade and Myfxbook. You can even learn how to trade on your own by watching one of over 120 educational videos on the site.
Set up a demo account, get 0.0 pips on certain spreads and no inactivity fees. If you require custom service, the platform offers multilingual support in English, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, German and Indonesian. Plus, there’s negative balance protection that helps you remain in the black.
Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive online brokerage aimed at professional traders. Though there is no minimum balance required to open an account with Interactive Brokers, the company charges “inactivity fees” ranging from to USD a month for users who don’t make a certain number of trades per month. Interactive Brokers is a U.S.-based brokerage firm and one of the few American brokerage platforms that offers support for international trading as well as American markets, options, futures and forex trading.
Customer service options are also available and convenient for brokers around the world, with 24/7 phone, email and chat support. Fees and commissions with Interactive Brokers are low; you can expect to pay about 0.08% of your trade’s value for most Australian purchases, though discounts are available for orders valued at over $3 million AUD.
Interactive Brokers offers an extensive range of trading tools for free when you open an account and its mobile app mimics the website’s compatibility. Though International Brokers may be difficult to use and prohibitively expensive for casual traders, professional traders who look for a single suite of international investing tools will love the company’s focus on low fees and commissions.
eToro is a simple platform that allows for copy trading and a “virtual dummy account” that helps you learn how to succeed as a trader. Remember, however, that this platform focuses on cryptocurrencies.
You can trade:
- and 25 more
International traders can also access extra securities.
The best part of eToro is the dashboard—which mirrors a social media site. It’s easy to review your account statistics and understand what’s happening. Customer support is available via live chat 24/5. If you want to do your own research, there is a help center with lots of information.
You may also use the eToro app on iOS or Android to manage your account on the move.
Saxo Bank is a versatile online broker offering:
- Mutual funds
Serving several European markets, Australians can contact the customer service team via email, phone or the online contact form. You can even search the FAQ section for the information you need.
Low spreads ranging from 0.4 to 0.6 pips and reasonably monthly fees allow you to open an account that suits your trading volume and expertise. You can also bring your trading with you by using the Saxo Bank app on your Android or Apple mobile device.
TradeStation offers a massive platform for advanced traders who are consistently making money online. The platform has a large number of analytical tools and educational materials. You can study before making investments, and you can use any form of technical or fundamental analysis you prefer. Plus, you can invest in stocks, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs, crypto, futures and options.
Yes, this platform might be a bit much for new traders. However, it doesn’t overwhelm you with fees and high minimums. You can open an account with a zero minimum balance. There are no fees on stocks or ETFs, and the fees for options and futures contracts are reasonable.
Try the TradeStation mobile app to partake in all the investing tools that the website offers. Call for customer service, email or live chat with their team. This platform serves as an especially good option for anyone who wants to expand their trading or step up to professional tools.
Trading in Australia: What You Need to Know
Let’s get the most obvious difference out of the way first — when you’re buying and selling Australian stock, prices will be listed in Australian dollars (AUD). Some online brokerages allow you to switch your displayed currency, which can make things easier for new traders. You can also keep an online currency converter up on your computer while you’re trading. XE.com is a free dynamic currency conversion tool that provides live exchange rates and is a great tool for foreign traders.
There’s new lingo to learn
Thankfully, the rules for trading stocks on the ASX are very similar to the process you use when trading on any one of the American markets. However, Australians use a number of unique terms that may confuse foreign investors or non-native Aussies. Some of the most common terms you’ll hear that are unique to Australian stock trading include:
- Share market: The “share market” is the total market on which stocks and shares of funds are bought and sold. In the United States, we usually refer to the total market as the “stock market.”
- ASX code: The ASX code is a series of three to five letters and numbers used to quickly identify a share or stock. For example, if you wanted to buy or sell shares of Australian software development company Flamingo A.I. Limited, you’d search for it by using its ASX code, FGO. In the United States, we usually refer to these as “tickers” or “symbols.”
- Indices: An indice or series of indices is a measure in the change in value for a group of assets. In the United States, we usually refer to these as “indexes.”
- Parcel: A parcel is a distinct load of shares that you’ve bought or sold. For example, if you have placed an order to buy two sets of 500 shares of FGO stock at different times, you may hear someone say that you’re purchasing two parcels of stock. A parcel does not have a defined number of stocks included within it; it must simply just contain more than one share. In the U.S., we sometimes refer to this as an “order” or a “bulk order,” depending on its volume.
These are just a few of the different terms you’ll see when working on the Australian market. If you see a word you don’t understand, a quick search on almost any search engine will quickly offer you the American equivalent. You can also take a virtual crash course in Aussie stock lingo by visiting the ASX’s official online glossary, which contains almost every term you’ll encounter while trading in Australia.
Commission structure may vary wildly from brokerage to brokerage
In the United States, it’s very rare to see a brokerage firm offer varying commission rates depending on the size of the trade. Most brokers offer a single fixed price to complete the trade on your behalf, no matter how many shares you’re buying or selling in a single trade. For example, one of Ally Invest’s most commonly-advertised features is its flat-fee $4 commission per trade. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a single share of stock or one million shares, you’ll pay Ally $4 if the trade is a single movement.
In Australia, things are a little bit different. Though some brokerages do copy the American style, it’s more common to see brokers charge a variable rate depending on the total value of the trade. For example, CommSec, one of the largest brokers in Australia, charges a flat-rate of up to $29.95 AUD for trades valued at less than $25,000 AUD and 0.12% of the total value of the trade for trades that constitute more than $25,000 AUD worth of stock.
Mobile app availability and research offering aren’t always a given
Traders in the U.S. highly value features like mobile app compatibility, comprehensive platform options, and education and research offerings, all of which are expected to be offered for free when you open an account. In Australia, it’s common for brokerages to offer “premium” trading resources and tools, which are offered in exchange for a monthly fee. Mobile trading apps are also a relatively new idea in Australia and mobile offerings are limited.
What to Look for in an Australian Stock Broker
Reasonable commissions and fees
Because many Australian brokerage firms divide their commission structure based on trade size, fees can quickly cut into your profits, especially as a large-scale trader. Before you choose a broker, carefully read the company’s list of fees and consider how much you’ll be trading before making your decision.
A complete asset offering list
Not every brokerage firm in Australia will offer you access to every security type. If you’re only interested in trading Australian stocks, every online brokerage will cover your needs. However, if you’d also like to trade currencies (forex), options or equities on markets outside of Australia, you’ll need to double-check that your brokerage also supports these trades. Keep in mind that Australian brokerages often charge varying commission rates for trade size and may also employ a varying commission structure depending on asset types as well.
Account security features
Prosecuting account fraud and theft is significantly more difficult to do successfully internationally than it is domestically. Look for brokerages that offer increased security measures (like two-factor authentication and reCAPTCHA) and make sure you enable them on your account before you begin trading.
Expanded customer service options
Did you know that Sydney, Australia lives in the future? Most major Australian cities are 16 hours ahead of New York City, which can make standard customer service hours inaccessible for foreign traders (unless you enjoy making phone calls at 4 a.m.). Look for a brokerage firm that offers 24/7 phone customer service or choose a brokerage with online chat or email support to save on international calling bills.
Trade Forex in Australia
Like trading in the United States, the best way to make money stock trading is to get a firm handle on the basics of the market before you deposit anything in your account. If you’re new to stock trading and you want to begin with the Australian market, the official website for the ASX offers a comprehensive education center that’s totally free for anyone to use. Before you choose an Australian brokerage to complete your trade, take a look through the massive catalog of courses, seminars, and newsletters available from the ASX.
Can I trade stocks in Australia?
Yes, anyone can trade stocks in Australia.
Do Australian stock brokers show trades in US collars?
Some brokers will show you the trades in US dollars if you ask.
Where can I find stock brokers in Australia?
You can find Benzinga’s list of recommended Australian brokers on the list above.