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New Zealand ranked 3rd behind Hong Kong and Singapore in overall economic freedom by The Heritage Foundation with an overall score of 84.4 out of 100 in 2019. New Zealand’s primary stock exchange is known as New Zealand Exchange Limited (NZX), and it provides a trading venue for the local equity, derivatives, energy and debt markets.
Its currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZD) or “kiwi,” which remains among the most actively traded worldwide. It was ranked the 10th currency in terms of global OTC turnover by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in 2016.
If you’re based in New Zealand and want to trade in the stock market, you can find several stockbrokers that could meet your needs. Not all brokerages are created equal, so make sure to carefully consider your needs before you open an account.
The Best Stock Brokers in New Zealand
- Best Overall: Interactive Brokers
- Best Mobile App: TradeStation
- Best for Experienced Traders: Tastyworks
- Best Monitoring Service: Forsyth Barr
- Best Research Platform: Somerset Smith Partners
What You’ll Need to Know Before You Start Trading
The stock market and the rest of the financial sector in New Zealand have the oversight and regulation of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), which was started after the passing of the Financial Markets Bill by New Zealand’s Parliament in 2011. The regulatory agency is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
In order to trade shares in New Zealand, you must have a common shareholder number (CSN) assigned to you. This number is common to all New Zealand share registries for listed securities and identifies your stock holding as separate from all others.
In addition to the CSN, New Zealand shareholders require a faster identification number (FIN), also known as an authorization code. The FIN is associated with your CSN and consists of a 4-digit number issued by share registries. It is required to sell New Zealand stock holdings. If you don’t have a CSN or FIN, your broker can obtain 1 for you when you open your account.
An important element regarding trading in the New Zealand stock market or any other capital market in New Zealand is how climate and geological factors can significantly influence local stock prices and the valuation of the kiwi.
For example, the 2010 Canterbury earthquake caused approximately $40 billion in damages and the drought in early 2018 both affected the country’s economy significantly. Local conditions can notably influence stock and commodity prices.
What to Look for in an Account
Consider several elements before you decide on a stockbroker to trade the New Zealand stock market. Most importantly, you should have a clear idea of your needs for trading and/or investing. Here are a few factors you might consider:
- Broker FMA regulation. The security of your funds is an important consideration when you choose a stockbroker. New Zealand’s FMA oversees operations and regulates all stockbrokers in the country.
- NZX membership. In order to trade efficiently on the NZX, your broker should be a member of the NZX exchange to execute orders for your account. Members generally have a representative present at the exchange to oversee customer orders.
- Website and trading platform. How you enter orders and receive confirmations depends on whether the broker has an online presence and offers an electronic and/or web-based trading platform. Alternatively, many stock brokers can still take orders and confirm fills over the phone.
- Brokerage fees and costs. The commission you pay could make a big difference if you trade frequently. If you day trade, scalp or use other short term trading strategies, you’ll likely pay more. Nevertheless, if you trade infrequently, higher commissions won’t affect you as much.
- Other services. In addition to filling stock orders on the NZX, some regional brokers offer other services. These range from an execution service in commodities, forex and ETF trading to investment management and investment banking.
The Best Stock Brokers in New Zealand
We singled out 5 of the best broker after reviewing stock brokerage firms in New Zealand. All of the brokers highlighted execute trades on the NZX and offer other brokerage services and extensive resources for clients.
1. Interactive Brokers
With respect to markets, this international broker gives you access to trade on more than 120 world exchanges with its Integrated Investment Account.
IBKR allows clients to trade ETFs, futures, options, warrants, precious metals, forex, bonds, funds
IB’s trading platforms include an intuitive Client Portal for less experienced traders, a professional Trader Workstation (TWS) platform filled with useful features that might appeal to more sophisticated traders, a WebTrader web-based platform and mobile applications for Android and iOS devices.
rThe broker also has a hands-free addon called IBot that is available for the TWS desktop version, IBKR mobile
The minimum deposit to open an IB account is $10,000. Customer service is available 24/6 and can be accessed through email, live chat
TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective and offers full platform capabilities. It is considered 1 of the best international brokers with a presence in New Zealand.
TradeStation’s platform was originally designed for professional traders. With TradeStation’s new TS GO account option, new traders can have access to professional-grade stock screeners, educational development tools and charting capabilities as the pros. The broker’s education center and real-time data access represent an excellent place to begin your trading journey or learn more about how to trade.
From stocks to ETFs to futures contracts to cryptocurrencies, TradeStation offers a wide variety of tradable assets. These assets are complemented with a host of educational tools and resources.
TradeStation also offers unbeatable $0 commissions on stocks and most ETFs.
Tastyworks is a sophisticated options and futures broker aimed toward experienced traders. The platform was designed by the founders of thinkorswim with functionality and precision for complicated options trades and strategies. Tastyworks offers stocks and ETFs to trade too, but the main focus is options.
Options on tastyworks are only charged a 1-way, $1 commission — far cheaper than almost all competitors. Commissions on futures and micro futures are also affordable, and there’s no minimum required to open a cash account. It’s $2,000 if you want to use margin.
Tastyworks might be a platform for advanced traders, but signing up and getting an account funded certainly isn’t an advanced process. The signup process takes less than 5 minutes and all necessary documents and forms can be easily found on the tastyworks website. Accounts can be funded via ACH from any bank account with U.S. currency.
4. Forsyth Barr
With 21 regional offices throughout New Zealand, Forsyth Barr has served the New Zealand investment community for more than 80 years. The company has been confirmed by the FMA as a qualifying financial entity and is a New Zealand Exchange firm (NZX) and accredited market participant. The company provides a full range of financial services for individuals, corporations and institutional clients.
Forsyth Barr prides itself on its research offerings and its leading analyst team, as well as global affiliations that ensure worldwide coverage of all major world capital markets. In addition, Forsyth Barr provides a complete range of investment banking services and has a good reputation for raising money and debt capital for New Zealand’s public entities.
The company’s portfolio management and monitoring services cover over $6 billion in client investments, which include investment administration and reporting services. The broker also offers online and mobile trading platforms and forex trading.
5. Somerset Smith Partners
Founded in 1934, Somerset Smith provides investment advisory services, financial planning
The company is 1 of the oldest brokerages in New Zealand and provides research from various sources on all major New Zealand and Australian listed companies, as well as on many major international companies. The firm’s brokerage service can extend to a full investment advisory service.
Other offerings from Somerset Smith include access to new listings from allocations the firm receives, domestic and international share markets, quality research and non-listed investments such as managed funds, property investments, funds and interest-bearing securities.
In addition to its wealth management services, Somerset Smith offers succession planning and trusts. The company can be contacted during New Zealand business hours through a telephone number or through a form on its website where you input your name, email address
6. Best for Versatility: TradeZero
TradeZero is a versatile and simple trading platform that you can use on your desktop or mobile device. There are free trading options, affordable fees and 24/7 customer service. Plus, you can invest in technical analysis by using the charts and indicators native to the platform.
Register for a free account and learn how to use it. When you want to take advantage of all the features of TradeZero, you can register for a Pro account for just $59 per month.
Get Ready to Trade
Once you’ve decided on the New Zealand stockbroker of your choice, you can begin your trading experience. Strongly consider either preparing a trading plan or following someone else’s if you can’t come up with your own.
Keep in mind that the more you know about the markets that you plan to trade, the more likely you are to be successful.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I buy stocks in New Zealand?
You can buy them through ADRs, mutual funds, ETFs or through a broker with access.
What are good brokers for buying stocks in New Zealand?
Benzinga recommends TradeStation, Interactive Brokers and Tastyworks.