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How to buy shares in Ireland 2022

Start investing in the stock market today using our 6-step guide.

How to buy shares in 2022

  1. Choose a stockbroker: Find an online share-trading platform or a stockbroker in Ireland that matches your criteria
  2. Sign up for an account: You’ll typically need to be over the age of 18 and an Irish resident to sign up
  3. Plan before you buy: Work out how much you can afford to invest and how long you’ll be holding the shares for
  4. Choose the shares you want to buy: Do you want to buy shares from Ireland, global shares, dividend-paying or penny stocks?
  5. Order your stocks: Search for the company name or ticker code and set a market or limit order to buy
  6. Pay for your shares: Ensure you have enough funds in your account ahead of the settlement date

To buy shares in Ireland you typically need to be over the age of 18 and signed up to a stock brokerage account, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Luckily, with stock market activity surging in 2020, it’s never been cheaper or easier for Irish residents to start investing.

This guide will take you through the basics of investing in Ireland, including how to buy shares online, how much it costs and whether it’s a safe option for you. If you’re ready to start buying shares, you can begin by selecting an online broker below.

How stock trading works

As the name suggests, shares or stocks represent a “share” of a company. When you buy a share, you own a small part of a company. The price of your stock rises if the company is doing well and falls if it underperforms.

Just as you’d trade goods over Amazon or eBay, stock trading takes place over a digital marketplace known as the stock market or stock exchange. In Ireland, the most common exchange is the Irish Stock Exchange (Euronext Dublin), while in the UK, it’s the London Stock Exchange. Further afield in the United States, there’s the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ.

How do you make money from stocks?

You make money from stocks the same as you would any other product – by selling for a higher price than what you initially paid. The difference between the buy and sell price will be your profit or loss.

The other way to earn money is through dividends. A dividend is a percentage of a company’s annual profit that some companies choose to pay to their shareholders. These are typically paid twice a year and you can either bank these or reinvest them to compound profits.

Step 1: Find a stockbroker

To buy and sell shares, you’ll need to sign up with a stockbroker. You have two main options here – you can buy shares online using a share trading platform or use a full-service broker.

A full-service broker is a traditional brokerage firm or investment bank such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The main benefit is that these brokers do all the trading for you based on your instructions and may offer advice. The downside is these brokers can charge a premium fee for the service provided.

The cheaper option in Ireland is to use an online broker, which allows you to place trades yourself. There are dozens of platforms available to Irish residents and they offer access to financial securities like stocks, ETFs, CFDs and more.

Take a look at Irish online trading platforms in the table below. Depending on what you’re after, it may save money to use more than one platform — for example, one for Ireland shares and another for other markets such as US or UK stocks.

Compare online brokers

warning iconWarning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89 % of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Brokerage Fee Markets What you can trade?
eToro
IE stocks: No

US stocks: $0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Currencies, CFDs, Indices, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Trade more than 1,000 stocks globally with eToro's social trading and investment platform
DEGIRO
IE stocks: €2

US stocks: $0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss.
Degiro lets you invest in a variety of financial instruments in different markets around the world.
Until 30 June 2022, pay no transaction fees up to €100 when you make your first transfers as a new Degiro customer. T&Cs apply.
Saxo Markets
IE stocks: €12

US stocks: US$7
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Bonds, Currencies, CFDs, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Saxo Markets provides an online platform for trading stocks, shares, CFDs, and forex around the world
Zacks Trade
IE stocks: No

US stocks: US$1
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Funds, Options, Bonds
Investing carries a risk of loss
The Zachs Trade platform offers stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, and more with access to more than 90 exchanges worldwide
Freedom Finance
IE stocks: €2

US stocks: US$2
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Bonds
Investing carries a risk of loss
Capital.com
IE stocks: No

US stocks: €0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Currencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Access thousands of the world's leading indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies and shares on a single platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

There are plenty of factors you’ll need to take into account when choosing a broker in Ireland. For example, if you’d like to trade on the go, check out our guide to the best stock trading apps for more details.

How to buy shares without a broker

Just to clear up any confusion, stock trading platforms are technically brokers – only without the personal interaction. If you’re looking to go online to buy stocks, you can use the table above to compare platforms.

However, there are also a few ways you can buy shares in Ireland without a broker at all:

  • Managed funds. You access shares without a broker by investing in a managed fund. These funds typically hold multiple company stocks, selected by a fund manager.
  • IPOs. Some crowd-funding platforms allow you to buy stocks when a company first lists on a stock exchange, called an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
  • Your company. Some firms offer their staff company shares as part of their employment contract. These are called employee share purchase plans.
  • Off-market transfer. It’s possible to inherit shares or be given shares by someone else without a broker. This is called an off-market share transfer.

Step 2: Sign up for an account

To sign up to a broker in Ireland, you’ll generally need to be at least 18 years old and an Irish resident.

Registering for an account with a broker is usually free but there may sometimes be subscription costs or fees to transfer funds to your account. If you’re a new customer, you might need to provide the following information:

  • Your name, address, date of birth and contact details
  • Proof of ID
  • Bank account details
  • Trading experience

Depending on the broker you choose, it can take as little as a few minutes for your account to be approved or it can take up to a fortnight.

You may be asked to deposit a specific minimum amount in order to open an account although this isn’t always the case. In most cases, you’ll have the option of funding your account through bank transfer, credit card or debit card.

Step 3: Plan before you buy

Stocks can be a great investment but they’re also pretty risky. The more companies you hold and the longer you can afford to have money locked into stocks, the less risky your investment is. So it’s important to have a timeline and some actions in mind if things change.

To build a plan, you’ll need to consider the following key questions:

  1. How much can I afford to invest in stocks?
  2. How much can I afford to lose?
  3. How long can my money stay in the stock market?
  4. What will I do if prices start to fall?
  5. What about if prices rise?

Once you can answer these questions, you can start mapping out the types of stocks you want to invest in. As a rule of thumb, the riskier the investment, the bigger your potential profit. Work out if you can afford to buy high-risk stocks (such as penny stocks) or if you should stick to safer long-term investments like blue-chip stocks or index funds.

Step 4: Pick your stocks

With thousands of stocks to choose from, you’ll need to do some research around which ones match your investment goals. Bear in mind that it’s safer to have a diversified portfolio of stocks from different sectors and even countries to avoid major losses if one market falls.

You’ll often have access to market research, analysis and even stock recommendations through your platform, so use this info to help make an informed decision. The other option is to follow the buy, hold or sell ratings of top brokers like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Just keep in mind that even the experts get it wrong a lot of the time.

Here are a few tips to help you decide:

  • Do you trust the company? The best company to invest in is one that you both understand and trust. Pick a company that you believe will continue growing and can be trusted to use its profits wisely.
  • Do you use its products? Are you a fan of Apple or do you use Facebook every day? These could be good options because you’ll also be among the first to notice if the company starts underdelivering to customers.
  • Debt + profit levels. Are debt levels under control and is profit growth meeting exceptions?
  • Expansion. Does the company have plans to expand into new global markets or sectors? A growing company usually means a rising share price.
  • Dividends. Does the company pay a dividend? If not, are you expecting the company’s share price to rise?
  • Stock price. Is the stock overvalued? An expensive stock is where the share price has risen beyond its perceived value, which could mean it’s going to fall in the near future.

Ask an expert: How do you pick the right stocks?

Roger Montgomery

Roger Montgomery
CIO, Montgomery Investment Management

Only invest in quality companies. To identify a quality company search for a sustainably high rate of return on equity. High rates of returns on equity drive better long term returns for investors in those companies. A company that can sustain such returns usually has a sustainable competitive advantage.

Look for sustainable competitive advantages from a great reputation, geographic location, benefits from scale, technology, Patents, innovation or IP, the Network Effect or barriers to entry. Always remember the most valuable competitive advantage is the ability to raise prices without a detrimental impact on unit sales value.

.

Ask an expert: How do you pick the right stocks?

Eleanor Creagh

Eleanor Creagh
Senior Market Strategist, Saxo Markets

Do your own research (financial health, earnings, quality, potential growth etc.), believe in the business yourself and don’t buy a stock because someone gave you a hot tip.

Stick to your investment plan and risk manage – cut losers and allocate that capital elsewhere and let winners run.

Lastly, focus on building a balanced, diversified portfolio that can weather the economic cycle, over picking the next winning stock. No one is right all of the time! The power of consistency and compounding returns (compound interest – the 8th wonder of the world according to Einstein) over a long period of time is far greater than a get rich quick stock pick.

Step 5: Order the stocks

Once you’ve decided which stocks you want to buy and how much you want to spend, the next step is to order them. If you have a full-service broker in Ireland, you’ll need to call or email your broker to place your trade. If you’re using an online broker, you can trade stocks manually via your broker’s platform.

  1. Select your stocks by entering the company name or stock code
  2. Enter the number of stocks you’d like to buy or the amount you’d like to invest
  3. Choose your order type – you can usually opt to buy at the current price or use a limit order to pick a better price
  4. Preview and confirm purchase

There are a few different ways that you can order your stocks, ranging from simple to quite complex instructions. The names tend to differ between brokers and not all offer the full range of options, but these are some of the more common types:

Market order. This is the most basic order type, where you buy or sell shares as soon as possible at the most current available price.

Limit and stop orders. This allows you to buy or sell stocks depending on a specific price. For example, if Tesco‘s share price is €4 but you want to buy at €3, you can set a limit order to execute once its price falls to €3 or lower. You can also set a “stop loss” to minimise losses by selling if a stock price falls below your buying price.

Trailing order. This is a type of limit order where the limit is based on a percentage change or a price difference from the market price. For example, the Bank of Ireland has a price of €3.30 and you’d like to buy it for around €3 but only if its price dips temporarily rather than indefinitely. You could set a trailing price trigger of €3 with a stop value of 5%. This means your order would be triggered once APT falls to €3 and then placed only once it rises by 5% to €3.15.

Once you’ve entered all the specifics of your transaction, you’ll then get a chance to review the details before placing your buy order. If you place a conditional order (a non-market order), you’ll typically receive a notification by email or text message once the order has been carried out.

What are bid, offer and last prices?

Some brokers display the “bid”, “offer” (or ask) and “last” price of stocks. Think of these as similar to auction prices, where buyers and sellers are offering their best prices.

A bid price is the highest price any trader is offering to buy a company’s stock at that moment and the ask or offer price is the lowest price any seller is willing to accept. The last price is the most current price – and also the last price bidders agreed upon.

Although the last price is the stock’s most recent price, it’s not necessarily what you can expect to pay if you make a market order. Instead, you’ll be paying the latest bid price and you’ll get the ask price when you sell.

Step 6: Pay for your shares

The funds needed to pay for your shares will automatically be charged from the linked cash account that you selected in Step 2. In most cases, you can fund your account using a bank transfer, credit card or debit card.

If you’re using an online broker, you’ll need to have sufficient funds to cover the cost of any trade transactions you make, including fees that apply. The trade settlement period is typically two business days (commonly referred to as T+2), which means your account will be charged two days after you’ve bought the shares.

If you don’t have enough funds in your account by the time you’re charged, you’ll be hit with a hefty late fee.

Next steps – Monitor the performance of your shares

Congratulations, you’ve bought some shares!

Keeping your investment plan in mind, the next step will be to monitor the performance of your stocks. How often you do this will depend on your plan. For example, if you have a long-term investment strategy, you may only need to check in every few months. If you have a short or medium-term strategy, it may be a good idea to check each night or each week.

Pay taxes on profits

Yes, you do need to pay tax on any profits you make from shares in Ireland, including dividends. The Capital Gains Tax applies to the trading of shares and amounts to 33% of your profits. If you earn a dividend on your shares, you’ll also be liable for Income Tax which ranges from 20 – 40%. Depending on your financial situation, you may also be subject to Universal Social Charge (0.5 – 8%) and PRSI rates (4%).

Do get in touch with a financial advisor and your stockbroker to get a better understanding of how much you could end up paying in taxes.

How much does it cost to buy stocks?

Share prices range from one cent to thousands of euros per stock; however, there are some rules around how much you need to invest.

Minimum investment

Certain funds, like the Emerging Markets Value Fund on the ISE, require a minimum investment amount. On the other hand, you can invest as little as a couple of euros into most ISE equities.

Some brokers also allow fractional investing where you can buy in fractions rather than whole stocks. So, say Bank of Ireland is priced at €3 a share, instead of investing €3, you could buy a third of a share at €1.

Broker fees

The other main cost you need to think about is the brokerage or commission fee. This is the fee charged by your broker every time you buy or sell stocks. Brokerage fees are around €2.50 to €10 for ISE trades on most share trading platforms – sometimes called “discount brokers” – and anywhere from €20 to €100 for full-service brokers.

Other fees charged by brokers include the currency conversion fee (for foreign stocks), account fees and inactivity fees. These are important considerations since any fees you pay your broker will reduce your earnings and impact how much you invest per trade.

Risks of stock trading

Before you start buying and selling stocks, be aware of the risks:

  • You can lose money. A company’s stock can plummet to zero in the worst case scenario. If you’ve invested in such a company, you could lose your entire investment.
  • Bankruptcy. Shareholders are usually the last to be paid when a company goes bankrupt. When this happens, there’s a good chance that you won’t get your money back.
  • Emotional toll. Daily share market fluctuations can cause plenty of stress for investors. If you can’t handle the ups and downs, you may be better off looking for a safer and steadier investment option.
  • Unexpected problems. Even if you do a lot of research into a company, it’s simply not possible to predict the future. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, bad company news and even changes in government policy can all occur unexpectedly and adversely affect the price of shares.
  • Lack of expertise. While investing in the share market sounds quite easy in theory, it can get quite complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. First-time investors should be wary of getting ahead of themselves.
  • Getting in over your head. A final word of warning if you’re thinking of investing in shares: don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure to use your common sense and take a cautious approach – good advice no matter whether you’re planning on investing in shares, property or anything else.

Frequently asked questions about buying shares in Ireland

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.

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