Sharesies review: NZ and US share trading made easy
If you’re looking for a simple way to dive into buying shares, check out what you can do with Sharesies.
Whether you’ve been in the investing game for a while or want to to buy shares for the first time, Sharesies makes things simple. There are three types of investment opportunities with no minimum investment – you decide how much you want to spend, even if that’s as little as 1c.
Sharesies is not only for adults, as you can set up an account for your child for them to learn about investing and potentially grow their savings.
What can I invest in with Sharesies?
There are three types of investment you can make through Sharesies:
- Companies – Like the look of a2 Milk? Think Amazon shares are on the up? You can choose to buy shares in companies listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the NASDAQ.
- Exchange traded funds (ETF) – an ETF is a fund made up of a number of companies. For example, through a single ETF you can invest in the top 50 companies in New Zealand, or the largest 500 American companies. Just like stocks, ETFs are listed and traded on stock exchanges.
- Managed funds – Managed funds are similar to ETFs in that they are an investment in a group of companies, rather than just one. However, managed funds are not listed on stock exchanges. Sharesies offers a number of managed funds provided by four fund providers: Smartshares, Pie Funds, AMP Capital and Pathfinder.
In total you have access to more than 3,000 companies and funds across New Zealand and the US.
Sharesies offers an auto-invest feature which can make following a chosen investment strategy easier.
It works like this:
- Choose the what you want to invest in. Either pick your own investments (known as a ‘DIY order’), or pick from one of Sharesies pre-made orders.
- Choose how much you want to invest and at what frequency. For example, you could choose to invest $100 at the same time every month.
- Set a start date and make sure you have the available in your wallet. As long as you have the funds available in your wallet, your scheduled investment will take place automatically.
Note: Currently it is only possible to invest in NZ funds with auto-invest. This means it cannot be used to invest in US or NZ companies directly, for example.
Available auto-invest pre-made orders
- Responsible order. This is a diversified portfolio suitable for people with the environment and social responsibility in mind. It includes exposure to the Pathfinder Global Responsibility Fund, the Pathfinder Global Property Fund, the Pathfinder Global Water Fund, and the AMP Capital NZ Responsible Fund.
- Global order. This portfolio has exposure to NZ top 50, the 500 biggest US companies, plus Europe, Asia and emerging economies.
- Kids order. Only available on a Kid’s Account, this portfolio focuses on responsible investing and involves exposure to the Pathfinder Global Responsibility Fund, the AMP Capital Global Shares Fund, the Pathfinder Global Water Fund and the NZ Core Fund.
How much does it cost?
When you join Sharesies you’ll be automatically signed up to the monthly subscription, although you can change to an annual subscription of $30 if you prefer. There is no fee if you have a portfolio value of $50 or less on either monthly or annual subscriptions.
The monthly subscription cost varies depending on the value of your portfolio:
|Portfolio value||Monthly fee|
|$50 or less||$0|
|$50 – $3,000||$1.50|
|More than $3,000||$3|
If you’re creating an account for your child, you’ll pay half the adult price.
There are two other charges that you’ll also need to consider:
- Transaction fees: When you buy and sell companies, a small transaction fee (also known as a brokerage fee) will apply. This fee is 0.5% for orders up to $3,000, plus 0.1% for amounts over that.
- Management fees: ETFs and managed funds have a built-in management fee, and you may also be charged a buy or sell fee. It is worthwhile looking into what fees may apply as they can differ fund to fund.
- Exchange fees: As you can only trade on US markets with US dollars, your currency must be converted which involves a fee of 0.4%. This fee is charged when converting NZ to US dollars and US dollars back to NZ dollars.
Does Sharesies have a mobile app?
There is no Sharesies app at the moment, however, you can add a web-app bookmark to the home screen of your Android or iOS device.
Is Sharesies safe?
Sharesies looks after your money and your investments in what is called a custodial system. It is not able to do anything with the money unless you give the instruction to do so. This is a legal requirement and the system is audited every year.
The money that you put into Sharesies is held in Sharesies Nominee Limited, a different company to the one that runs the site (Sharesies Limited), and under the CSN of New Zealand Depository Nominee Limited.
Sharesies is a Registered Financial Services Provider under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 and its Financial Service Provider registration number is FSP550746.
It’s important to remember that there is risk involved in investing and it is possible to lose some or all of the money you invest.
How to sign up
To sign up, simply click on the ‘Go to site’ button at the top of this page and you’ll be taken to the Sharesies website to learn more and open an account.
To open an account you must:
- be at least 16 years old
- be able to verify a New Zealand residential address, and deposit from an NZ bank account
- Provide tax information if you are living overseas
To open a Sharesies Kids Account you must:
- Already have an existing Sharesies account
- Provider ID of the child (this could be a birth certificate, NZ passport or overseas passport)
- Provide an IRD number, and confirm foreign tax residency
Acceptable ID includes a valid New Zealand driver’s licence or a valid New Zealand passport. For other forms of ID you can use, check out the Sharesies website.