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How do I find the best stockbroker in South Africa?

We compare online brokers with full service brokers and show you what to look out for.

Are you looking for a stockbroker to buy and sell South African and global shares? The best stockbroker for you will depend on which stock exchanges you want to access, how experienced you are and how often you trade.

To find the best stockbroker that suits your circumstances, you’ll need to compare your options. Read on for tips and advice on how you can find the best stockbroker for you.

Full-service brokers vs online brokers

Before you start comparing stockbrokers, it’s first important to understand that there are broadly two different types of brokers available: full-service brokers and online brokers.

A full-service broker is the traditional service most of us think of when you hear the word “stockbroker.” Full-service brokers, such as Morgan Stanley and UBS, offer a high-level investment service to their customers and do all of the buying and selling of stock and other assets for you.

After assessing your financial situation and investment goals, this type of broker will typically provide detailed investment research and advice on which shares you should buy and sell.

Your other option is an online broker (aka online share trading platform). Online platforms such as CM Trading and IG Share Trading are much cheaper than full service brokers, offer no personalised advice and require you to do all the trading yourself.

Compare online stockbrokers

Name Product Number of Stocks CFDs Shares Available Markets
eToro
2,000+
Yes
Yes
Worldwide with exception.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Get commission-free US stock trading plus access to forex, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and commodities with the world’s leading social trading and investment platform.
Plus500
2,000+
Yes
No
Worldwide with exception.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade over 2,500 financial instruments with one of the largest CFD providers in the world.
Prime XBT
Access to global markets
No
Yes
US, IN, ES, JP, AU, UK, CN, DE, CA, CH, MX, NZ, CH, HK, FR
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade cryptocurrencies and traditional financial instruments such as commodities, indices, and forex across 50+ markets.
Zacks Trade
Access to global markets
No
Yes
US, CA, MX, AUT, BEL, FR, DE, IT, NL, ES, NO, SE, UK, CH, HK, JP, SG, RU, AU
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, and more on 90+ international exchanges. Offers customizable trading platforms with over 120 technical indicators for your charting needs.
Eightcap
Access to global markets
Yes
No
UK, DE, AU
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade a wide variety of instruments on the award-winning MT4/5 platforms with this Australia-based CFD and forex broker.
Firstrade
Access to US stocks
No
Yes
US
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Enjoy $0 commission trading for stocks, options, funds, and more with this internationally-acclaimed discount broker.
CM Trading
N/A
Yes
No
US, FR, DE, UK, AU, ZA, CH. HK, JP, ES, NL, IT
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Licensed international brokerage and CFD provider that offers advanced trading solutions designed for both new and experienced traders alike.
Exness
N/A
Yes
No
CH, VN, TH, PH, SG, ID, IN, UAE, ZA, SA, EG, BR, CR, MX
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Enjoy fast trade executions at competitive fees with this award-winning retail forex broker.
Interactive Brokers
Access to global markets
No
Yes
US, MX, RU, ES, UK, DE, IL, HK, SG, IN, KR, AU, CH, HU, CA
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Take advantage of low trading fees, multiple platform support, and an extensive list of asset classes across global markets, including stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, and funds.
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What are the costs?

Whether you should choose an online broker or a full-service broker really depends on your investment experience, personal preferences and how much you plan to invest.

The benefits of online broking services are that they are cheap, easy to use and convenient. Brokerage typically ranges from around R50 to R300 per trade and there are trading platforms available to suit everyone, from casual investors to experienced traders.

Online brokers don’t offer the same level of advice as full-service brokers. However, depending on the trading platform you choose and the membership level you select, you may be able to access detailed company research, analyses and buy and sell recommendations from the online broker’s expert staff. Of course, you may need to pay an extra fee to access these services.

Meanwhile, the advantage of using a full-service broker is that you have an expert advising you on investment decisions and they do all of the trading for you.

The downside to this is that full-service brokers come at an extra cost, with brokerage fees typically starting from around R700 – R2000. Brokerage fees are usually charged as a percentage of the total buy or sell transaction amount, so you will need to factor this extra expense into your calculations when deciding whether a full-service broker is the right choice.

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Choosing between online brokers and full-service brokers

You may be starting to realise that choosing between a full-service stockbroker and an online broking service isn’t always a clear-cut decision. To help make the choice easier, ask yourself a few simple questions:

How much money do I want to invest?

If you only have a small amount to invest, you may decide that it might not be worth your while to pay a full-service broker’s fees.

How much do I know about investing?

Consider whether you may benefit from the tailored expert advice that a full-service broker may offer.

How much does each option cost?

Consider how the brokerage fees charged by full-service and online brokers will affect your investment budget.

How much control do I want to have over my investments?

Would you prefer to have full control over where your money is invested, or do you want a broker who can take care of all your buy and sell trades for you?

Do I need more than one broker?

Some investors use multiple brokers to access expert advice on different investment sectors.

Once you know the answers to the above questions you should be a lot closer to working out whether you should choose a full-service broker or go for the DIY option and open an account with an online share trading broker.

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How to choose a full-service broker

If you’ve decided you want a full-service stockbroker to help you make the right share trading decisions, consider these factors when comparing brokers:

What you can buy and sell

Compare the investments that different brokers can advise you on and help you trade, such as shares, warrants, ETOs, futures and more.

Fees

Compare the fees charged by stockbrokers for the services they offer. Is there a flat fee or a fee charged as a percentage of the transaction amount? How does the fee vary depending on the size of the transaction? Fees for full-service brokerages can range enormously, anywhere from R700 – R3000 per transaction.

Services

Make sure you’re fully aware of the services your broker provides. Will they offer advice and then execute the trades you instruct them to, or will your broker be authorised to trade on your behalf.

Specialist expertise

Some broking firms may have specialist areas of knowledge, for example, the resources sector, which may be worth considering if you are looking to concentrate your investments in specific industries.

Minimum investment amount

There may be a minimum amount that you must invest before you are eligible to access a broker’s services.

The broker’s questions

Before a full-service broker can offer advice, they must first take the time to understand your financial situation and investment goals. Look for a broker that shows an in-depth interest in your investment needs and asks all the right questions to form a complete picture of your requirements.

Regular contact

Finally, consider how you will be able to contact your broker if you ever have a question about your portfolio. Will you be contacted regularly with updates on the performance of your portfolio? How often will your broker monitor it and will you be informed of any adjustments that need to be made? You can also use the JSE’s stockbroker list to help you get in touch with the right broker for your needs.Back to top

How to choose an online broker

If you’ve decided to sign up for an online broking service, keep the following factors in mind when comparing the benefits and drawbacks of different share trading platforms:

Brokerage fees

Compare the fees you will need to pay each time you buy or sell a parcel of shares. This could be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction amount and it could also vary depending on the size of the trade.

Ongoing fees

It’s free to maintain a basic account with many online share broking services, but some charge ongoing membership fees. Many providers will also allow you to access regular company news, research and analyses if you pay an ongoing monthly fee.

What you can trade

Can you trade shares on the ASX and a selection of other global stock exchanges? Can you trade anything else other than shares through your online account?

Trading limits

Check to see whether the trading platform imposes minimum and maximum limits on your trading transaction amounts.

Ease of use

How easy is each provider’s trading platform to use? Is it simple and intuitive or is it too confusing to place a trade? Many brokers offer free demo accounts that can help you answer these questions.

Research and analysis

Compare the market analysis and stock recommendations you can access through each online broker. Will you need to pay an additional fee to access these services?

Flexible trading options

Can you take advantage of options such as stop loss orders to create a more advanced trading experience?

Additional access

Does the provider offer a smartphone and/or tablet app to allow you to trade on the go? Is phone trading also available and, if so, does it attract any extra fees?

Customer support

Finally, make sure you will be able to access the help you need if you ever have a problem with your account or a particular transaction.

Compare online stockbrokers

Best online share trading platforms.

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