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Sharesies Vs InvestNow Vs Smartshares, and beyond

We compare these popular online investing platforms side-by-side to find out which is the right choice for you.

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Sharesies, InvestNow and Smartshares are three well-known online platforms that aim to help Kiwis grow their wealth. They’re designed to make it easy to invest in shares, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and managed funds — but how do you know which of these investing platforms is the best choice?

This guide features a Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Smartshares comparison. We’ll look at the fees, features and available markets each provider offers to help you find the right investment service for your needs.

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Smartshares: How much does it cost to invest?

There’s a key question you’ll need to consider when choosing an investing platform: What fees does the provider charge?

Fee amounts and pricing structures vary depending on the platform you choose. Sharesies offers a choice between a monthly or an annual subscription, but the cost of a monthly subscription depends on the size of your portfolio.

Share brokerage fees also apply, as do management fees when you invest in an ETF or managed fund.

On InvestNow, the platform doesn’t charge any fees to customers — but you will need to pay fees charged by the fund provider, including management fees and entry and exit costs.

When you invest with Smartshares, you’ll need to pay a one-off establishment fee. Annual management fees are charged as a percentage of your total investment, but the percentage amount varies depending on the ETF.

Check out the table below to find how much it costs to invest with Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Smartshares.

PlatformSet up feeSubscription/platform feeTransaction feeExchange feesManagement fee
SharesiesN/AFrom $0 to $3, depending on the value of your portfolio0.5% for orders up to $3,000 and 0.1% for order over0.4% exchange fee when you change NZ dollars into US dollarsManagement fees are built into the price of ETFs and managed funds and are charged by the fund manager Sharesies partners with.
Smartshares$30N/ADependent on fundDependent on fundDependent on fund
InvestNowN/A (although there is a $250 minimum investment)N/AN/AUp to 2.45%, depending on managed fund

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Smartshares: Available markets

Each of these providers offers access to a different range of financial products. For example, while you can use Sharesies to invest in shares, ETFs and managed funds, InvestNow provides access to managed funds and term deposits.

We’ll take an in-depth look at which provider offers what a little further down the page. For a quick breakdown, check out the table below.

PlatformAvailable markets
Sharesies
  • NZ shares (more than 160)
  • US shares (more than 2,300 )
  • ETFs (both US and NZ)
  • Managed funds (NZ and global funds)
Smartshares
  • 35 ETFs across NZ, Australia and global stock exchanges.
InvestNow
  • Over 100 managed funds from a number of NZ and global fund providers.

Best for trading US shares

If you’re looking to trade US stocks from NZ, the most direct way of these to do so is via Sharesies. However, there are other easy-to-use share-trading platforms, such as Stake, that let you buy US shares from New Zealand.

Through Sharesies you can buy and sell shares in over 2,300 US companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).

To buy US shares, you’ll need to convert your NZ dollars into US dollars. Sharesies charges a 0.4% currency conversion fee, while the following transaction fees apply in USD:

  • 0.5% transaction fee for orders up to $3,000
  • An additional 0.1% fee for amounts above $3,000

InvestNow and Smartshares don’t allow you to buy shares in US companies directly, but they do offer exposure to US stocks through managed funds and ETFs, respectively.

Best for trading NZ shares

If you’d like to buy and sell NZ shares directly, Sharesies is once again the only one of these three platforms that allows you to do so.

You can trade shares in more than 165 companies and ETFs listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), including well-known names like Spark and The A2 Milk Company.

To buy and sell shares on the NZX, you’ll need to pay a 0.5% transaction fee on orders up to $3,000, while an additional 0.1% fee applies to amounts above $3,000.

To gain exposure to NZ shares on InvestNow or Smartshares, you’ll need to consider a managed fund or ETF.

Best for investing in ETFs

Sharesies and Smartshares both allow you to invest in ETFs.

Sharesies provides access to over 30 ETFs on the NZX, as well as ETFs from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).

There are no brokerage fees when you buy an NZ ETF, but they do apply when you buy an ETF on a US exchange (0.5% on orders up to $3,000 and an additional 0.1% on amounts above $3,000, charged in USD).

You should also be aware of the 0.4% exchange fee when you convert NZD to USD.

Meanwhile, Smartshares also offers access to a wide range of 35 ETFs. These include:

  • ETFs that invest in NZ, Australian, US or international shares
  • ETFs that track the performance of a specific index, such as the NZX 50 or the ASX 200
  • Bonds and cash ETFs
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) shares
  • ETFs that invest in global trends, such as technological innovation.

Smartshares charges a $30 setup fee when you first apply, while annual management fees vary depending on the fund you choose and range from 0.20% to 0.75%.

Best for investing in managed funds

If you’re doing a Sharesies vs InvestNow comparison, you’ll be interested to learn that both providers provide access to managed funds.

InvestNow offers access to more than 140 funds from over 20 NZ and global fund managers, including:

  • AMP Capital
  • ANZ Investments
  • Devon Funds
  • Fisher Funds
  • Milford
  • Russell Investments
  • Smartshares
  • Vanguard

You can choose from a regular investment plan or a one-off investment, and access funds that target international shares, listed property, fixed interest and more.

InvestNow doesn’t charge any transaction fees, but you’ll need to pay a fee to the fund manager. This varies depending on the fund you choose — as a general guide, expect to pay anywhere between 0.2% and over 3%.

The choice is more limited with Sharesies, where you can invest in a total of eight funds from the following fund managers:

  • AMP Capital
  • Pathfinder
  • PIE Funds
  • Smartshares

Sharesies doesn’t charge fees on managed funds, so you’ll need to check with the fund provider for details of all costs involved.

About the contenders

Sharesies

Launched in June 2017, Sharesies is an online investment platform that provides investors with access to over 3,000 companies and funds in NZ and the US. You can set up a Sharesies account if you’re an NZ resident aged 16 years or older and you have an NZ bank account.

InvestNow

InvestNow is an online investment platform based in Wellington. Launched in March 2017, it provides access to over 140 managed funds and a range of bank term deposits.

Smartshares

Wholly owned by NZX, Smartshares provides access to dozens of ETFs. It created New Zealand’s first ETF in 1996 and is headquartered in Auckland.

Bottom line

Sharesies, InvestNow and Smartshares all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you want to invest directly in NZ or US shares, Sharesies is the clear choice. And because it also offers access to ETFs and managed funds, Sharesies wins points for offering potential diversification.

But InvestNow and Smartshares both offer a wide range of choice of managed funds and ETFs respectively, so they’re well worth considering if you want to invest in those options.

Ultimately, your investment goals and appetite for risk will help determine the platform you choose. Compare Sharesies, InvestNow and Smartshares with other online investing services to find the best platform for your needs.

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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