Investment platforms are services that enable you to invest your money into assets like funds and shares. There’s a growing number of them available to New Zealanders including Sharesies, InvestNow, Kernel, and Hatch. In this article we break down the options, covering what they offer, their fees, and an overview of their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision on which to use.
Looking for KiwiSaver investments?
This article will focus on non-KiwiSaver investments. Check out our article below for a guide to KiwiSaver schemes:
– The ultimate guide to KiwiSaver funds and schemes
This article covers:
1. Fund Managers
2. Fund Platforms
Update (2 Nov 2022) – Minor updates to Kernel and Sharesies
1. Fund Managers
Fund Managers are companies who offer and manage funds, an investment where the fund manager invests your money into a diversified bundle of assets on your behalf. Broadly speaking there’s two types of fund managers:
- Active fund managers – Research and pick which assets to invest in, with the aim of outperforming the market e.g. they’ll pick companies they think will do better than the average.
- Passive fund managers (index funds) – Invest in an index (i.e. an entire segment of the market), with the aim of matching the return of the market. They believe that it’s incredibly hard for active managers to consistently beat the market over the long-term, and tend to have lower fees as they don’t have to employ people to research and pick companies.
Fund Managers make money by charging fund management fees, where they take a percentage cut of the amount of money you’ve invested. For example, if you invest $10,000 in a fund charging a 1% management fee, your fund’s value will reduce by $100 per year to reflect this fee.
More info on funds:
For more info on funds in general check out our “Funds 101” article. Or see our “Ultimate guide to index funds” article for a comprehensive look at the index fund options in NZ.
– Funds 101 – What’s the difference between an Index Fund, ETF, and more?
– The ultimate guide to index funds in New Zealand
Smartshares is owned by the NZX and offers over 30 funds. All of their funds are passively managed (index funds) apart from a few cash and bond funds which are actively managed.
Smartshares’ funds are available through several channels – some of the below pros and cons specifically relate to investing in their funds directly via Smartshares.
- Minimum investment (for investing direct via Smartshares) – $500 per fund for one-off investments or $50 per month for regular investments.
- Fees – 0.20% – 0.75% management fee. A $30 one-off set-up fee applies if investing directly via Smartshares.
- Wide range of funds – Smartshares’ funds cover a wide range of asset classes including NZ shares, global shares, thematic funds, and bonds. They’ll suit a wide range of investors.
- Good fees for core funds – Smartshares’ core range of funds invest in popular indexes like the NZX 50, ASX 200, and S&P 500. They have competitive fees ranging from 0.20% to 0.46%, making them useful core building blocks for an investment portfolio.
- Units can be held under your own name (If investing direct through Smartshares) – The units you buy will be registered under your own CSN, rather than held by a custodian (however there’s limited benefit to this arrangement).
- Can invest through other platforms – Smartshares’ funds are ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) which are listed on the NZX. This mean you can also buy them through brokers like Sharesies. Their funds are also available through Fund Platform InvestNow. These platforms will be covered later in this article.
- Non-core funds can be expensive – Smartshares’ fees for their non-core funds typically start from 0.50%, making them relatively expensive compared to other index fund options.
- Fund offering can be confusing – A lot of Smartshares’ funds overlap with each other, causing confusion for many investors. For example, the S&P/NZX 50 ETF and the NZ Top 50 ETF both invest in the same set of companies.
- Tax inefficiencies – Smartshares’ ETFs are Listed PIEs, which means they’re taxed at a flat rate of 28%. This could be inefficient for investors on lower tax rates as they’ll have to wait until the end of the tax year to claim back any excess tax paid. In addition, their international funds mostly invest in Vanguard or iShares ETFs (instead of holding the funds’ underlying companies directly) which can result in some tax leakage.
- Can’t sell your investment through Smartshares (if investing direct through Smartshares) – Smartshares doesn’t offer their own facility to sell your funds. You’ll have to sell your units through an NZX broker like ASB Securities, or alternatively transfer your units to InvestNow/Sharesies and sell through them.
- Slow trading process (if investing direct through Smartshares) – It can be a slow process to get your money invested, as investment orders are only processed once per month.
Be sure to check out our reviews for further insights on each platform! See below for our Smartshares review:
– Smartshares & SuperLife review – The smart way to invest in shares?
SuperLife is also owned by the NZX and is pretty much an extension of Smartshares’ offering. They offer over 40 funds which mostly invest into Smartshares ETFs (e.g. the SuperLife NZ Top 50 Fund invests exclusively in the Smartshares NZ Top 50 ETF). There’s a few key differences between the SuperLife and Smartshares equivalents of each fund which we’ll cover below.
- Minimum investment – $1
- Fees – 0.39% – 1.34% management fee + a $1 per month account fee.
- Offers pre-built investment options – SuperLife offers diversified funds (ranging from Income to High Growth), which packages up multiple Smartshares funds to build a diversified portfolio of shares and bonds. They also offer an “Age Steps” option which assigns you to a fund depending on your age. Both options can be useful for investors who are unsure on how to construct an investment portfolio on their own.
- Can be more tax efficient than Smartshares – SuperLife’s funds are Multi-Rate PIEs so are taxed at your Prescribed Investor Rate (as opposed to Smartshares’ flat 28%).
- Offers ability to sell your investments – SuperLife allows you to sell your investments directly through their platform (unlike Smartshares who requires an NZX broker to sell)
- Offers rebalancing – SuperLife can automatically rebalance your portfolio for you, by selling off some of your share investments and reallocating the money to bond investments whenever your share investments become overweight.
- Higher fees for most funds – Many of SuperLife’s funds have higher management fees than their Smartshares equivalents. For example, the Smartshares US 500 ETF’s fee is 0.34%, while the SuperLife US 500 Fund’s fee is 0.44%.
- Fund offering can be confusing – Some of SuperLife’s funds can be redundant and confusing. For example, both the NZ Top 50 Fund and NZ Shares Fund invest into the Smartshares NZ Top 50 ETF – apart from the name there’s nothing to differentiate these two funds.
– Smartshares & SuperLife review – The smart way to invest in shares?
Kernel is a fast growing index fund manager with a small but unique selection of 17 funds.
- Minimum investment – $1 per fund
- Fees – 0.25% – 0.45% management fee + a $5 per month account fee if investing $25,000 or more.
- Great fees – With Kernel’s fund management fees starting from 0.25%, they’re one of the cheapest investment options in NZ, especially if you’re investing less than $25,000.
- Unique investment options – Kernel’s range of funds is small but unique, covering NZ and international shares, as well as some interesting sector and thematic funds (e.g. funds investing in infrastructure, electric vehicles, and clean energy). For shorter-term investors they have Balanced and Cash Plus funds which contain investments into bonds and cash.
- Well-built funds – Kernel have built their funds with efficiency in mind. Their funds invest in their underlying companies directly to avoid tax leakage, and pay distributions from their funds quarterly (rather than 6-monthly) to reduce cash drag.
- The account fee – This fee kicks in once you reach an account balance of $25,000 or more. It equates to $60 per year and can be quite hefty (effectively adding an extra 0.24% fee onto a $25k portfolio).
- Trading isn’t daily – Orders to buy or sell units in Kernel’s funds are only processed on Mondays and Wednesdays. This means it could take a while to get your money in or out, especially when public holidays get in the way. However, this reduces costs and makes it less tempting for investors to trade in and out of funds.
– Kernel review – High quality index funds
Simplicity offers three diversified funds (Conservative, Balanced, Growth) investing in a mix of local and international shares and bonds, and two single sector funds (NZ Share, and NZ Bond).
- Minimum investment – $1,000
- Fees – 0.10% – 0.31% management fee
- Low fees – Simplicity charges 0.31% for their three diversified funds, which is cheap compared to most other fund managers. Plus their NZ Share and NZ Bond funds charge an ultra-low 0.10%.
- Ethical exclusions – Simplicity excludes a few contentious industries from their funds. That’s good for those looking to avoid exposure to companies involved with the likes of fossil fuels, gambling, tobacco, and weapons.
- Tax inefficient – Simplicity’s funds get exposure to their international investments via Australian domiciled funds. As a result they’re unable to claim all of the tax credits available to NZ investors. This tax leakage is estimated to have at least a 0.15% p.a. negative impact on the fund.
- Small range of funds – Their range of funds is simple, but there’s no cash option (for very short-term investing), nor an “aggressive” option.
- Non-index investments – While Simplicity is largely seen as a passive fund manager, their Growth, Balanced, and Conservative Funds have small allocations to alternative investments including mortgage lending, build-to-rent housing, and private equity. While some are fans of this, others consider these initiatives to be marketing gimmicks that detract from the low-cost, passive investment strategy that Simplicity is best known for.
- High minimum investment – The minimum investment of $1,000 makes Simplicity a less accessible option.
– Simplicity review – Could there be better fund options out there?
Milford is an active fund manager offering 6 diversified and 5 single asset class funds.
- Minimum investment – $1,000 per fund
- Fees – 0.20% – 1.35% management fee. Some of their funds also charge a performance fee when they perform better than the fund’s benchmark.
- Past performance – The majority of Milford’s funds have outperformed the market over the medium to long-term. They’ve earned a reputation of being one of New Zealand’s most trusted fund managers.
- Good range of funds – They have a wide range of diversified funds from Conservative to Aggressive, so will suit a wide range of investment timeframes and risk tolerances. Their single-sector funds are useful for investors looking for exposure to a single asset class.
- High fees – Being an active fund manager, Milford charges high fees compared to passive managers like Smartshares and Kernel. They also charge performance fees on a few of their funds, which means they may take a cut of your fund’s returns.
- High minimum investment – The minimum investment of $1,000 makes Milford a less accessible option.
– Milford review – Better than index funds?
The big banks
All of the major banks (ANZ, ASB, BNZ YouWealth, Kiwi Wealth, Westpac) offer a selection of investment funds, which are mostly actively managed. All of their funds invest in a diversified range of shares and bonds coming in “Growth”, “Balanced”, and “Conservative” flavours, with Growth funds investing mostly in shares, and Conservative funds investing mostly in bonds and cash.
- Minimum investment – Varies between banks. See below review for details.
- Fees – Varies between banks. See below review for details.
- Recognisable brands – The major banks are well known and typically places you’d trust with your money.
- Can manage your finances in once place – These funds are closely integrated with your bank so you can view them through online banking alongside your everyday bank accounts. But that’s not necessarily a good thing, as having your investments so accessible can make it tempting to withdraw them.
- High fees – Banks tend to charge relatively high fund management fees.
- Crap performance – Most (but not all) bank funds have had a history of lacklustre performance.
- Lack of single asset class options – They don’t offer funds investing in a single asset class e.g. a fund investing purely in NZ shares.
– ASB, BNZ YouWealth, Kiwi Wealth review – Are managed funds with your bank worth it?
Other Fund Managers
There’s heaps of other fund managers that you can invest your money through. Here’s a few other examples:
2. Fund Platforms
Fund Platforms (often known as “fund supermarkets”) are services that allow you to buy and sell funds from lots of different fund managers. They’re essentially a middleman between investors and Fund Managers.
Fund Platforms make money from Fund Managers who pay them a commission for listing their funds on their platforms. You won’t find all Fund Managers on a Fund Platform, as many managers (like Simplicity and Kernel) choose not to list their funds.
InvestNow offers over 150 funds on its platform, from 27 different Fund Managers including Smartshares, Milford, ANZ, Macquarie, and Vanguard.
- Minimum investment – $250 per one-off transaction, or $50 through a regular investment plan.
- Fees – No transaction or account fees. You’ll only have to pay the fund management fees and spreads for any funds you invest in.
- Huge fund selection – InvestNow has over 150 funds including funds investing in NZ shares, overseas shares, bonds, cash, and even Bitcoin and peer-to-peer lending. The range of funds are a mix of actively managed and index funds, and is sure to suit many investors’ needs and investing preferences
- Increases accessibility – InvestNow’s minimum investment starts from $50, making it easy to invest in funds that would usually be difficult to access. For example, investing direct through some fund mangers often requires a minimum investment of $5,000 or more. Other fund managers don’t even deal directly with retail investors.
- Multiple managers under one roof – InvestNow allows you to invest in numerous funds from different Fund Managers under one roof, saving you from having to sign up with multiple managers.
- Strong alternative for accessing Smartshares’ funds – Buy and sell orders for Smartshares funds are processed daily (compared to investing direct via Smartshares where buys are processed monthly, and sells need to be done through a broker which incurs brokerage fees).
- No account or transaction fees – The only fees you’ll pay for using InvestNow are the fund management fees of the funds you invest in, as well as the spreads that apply to some funds. They’re one of the most cost effective platforms in NZ.
- Offers the Foundation Series funds – These are two diversified (Growth and Balanced) funds on InvestNow which provide direct competition to Simplicity. Fees are 0.37% and don’t have the same tax leakage issues as Simplicity has.
- Poor user interface – It’s 2022 and InvestNow still doesn’t have a mobile friendly interface. Their desktop interface isn’t too flash either. But this isn’t a dealbreaker in our opinion – having an inferior UI won’t make the performance of your investments any worse. In fact it may discourage excessive trading or tweaking of your portfolio.
- No fractional investing into Smartshares – InvestNow only allows you to buy whole units of Smartshares funds. As a result you’ll end up with uninvested cash after every Smartshares buy order you make.
– InvestNow review – The most efficient way to invest?
– InvestNow Foundation Series vs Simplicity funds – Tax leakage an issue?
Flint is a newly launched competitor to InvestNow offering around 100 funds from 12 different fund managers, including SuperLife, Milford, and Fisher Funds.
- Minimum investment – $250 per purchase.
- Fees – No transaction or account fees. You’ll only have to pay the fund management fees and spreads for any funds you invest in.
- Comprehensive fund selection – Flint offers almost 100 funds covering a wide range of asset classes, suiting many investors’ needs and investing preferences
- Good accessibility – Flint allows you to invest in funds from different Fund Managers under one roof, saving you from having to sign up with multiple managers. Their minimum investment is $250 makes it easy to invest in funds that would otherwise have minimums of thousands or more.
- No account or transaction fees – The only fees you’ll pay for using Flint are the fund management fees of the funds you invest in, as well as the spreads that apply to some funds.
- Great user interface – Flint’s UI is simple to use, mobile friendly, and makes it easy to find key facts about their funds including fees, past performance, and distribution yields.
- SuperLife may be a handy alternative to Smartshares’ funds – SuperLife’s funds do not have the same cash drag issue as Smartshares funds on InvestNow as they allow the purchase of partial units. They also allow you to be taxed at your PIR, rather than a flat 28% rate on Smartshares. However, some SuperLife’s funds have higher management fees than their Smartshares equivalents.
- Limited features – Flint doesn’t yet have auto-invest, distribution reinvestment, or joint accounts. But as a brand new platform, we expect some of these features will be added over time.
- Smaller fund selection compared with InvestNow – While Flint’s fund selection is comprehensive, they still have fewer options compared to InvestNow.
– Flint Wealth review – A superior InvestNow clone?
Other Fund Platforms
- Sugar Wallet – A new startup platform that offers access to Simplicity’s three diversified funds. They charge a $3 per month account fee when investing over $250 (while Simplicity don’t), while not offering any major new features, so we don’t see why you’d invest through Sugar Wallet over investing directly via Simplicity.
– Sugar Wallet review – Clipping the ticket?
Brokers allow you to buy and sell shares in individual companies on the sharemarket. They also allow you to buy and sell ETFs (funds listed on the sharemarket, like those offered by Smartshares and Vanguard). With access to individual companies, brokers provide more control compared to investing in funds, as you’re not leaving the decision on what companies to invest in to a fund manager. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing as it makes you responsible for researching and picking companies to invest in. Each broker differs in the markets they offer access to:
Brokers make money by charging brokerage fees whenever you make a trade (buy or sell shares). They also charge foreign exchange fees when you convert your money to/from a foreign currency, which is needed if you’re buying shares in overseas markets.
More info on shares:
For more info on shares check out our Shares 101 article.
– Shares 101 – How to buy shares, which companies to pick, and more
NZ vs Overseas ETFs:
Many brokers allow you to invest in overseas ETFs (e.g. Vanguard’s ETFs). The below provides a comprehensive comparison between investing in a local ETF (Smartshares) and an overseas one (Vanguard).
– Smartshares US 500 (USF) vs Vanguard S&P 500 (VOO) – Which ETF is better?
Sharesies is a broker allowing you to buy and sell shares listed on the NZX, ASX, and US sharemarkets. They also offer a very small range of unlisted funds.
- Minimum investment – $0.01
- Fees – A transaction fee of 0.5% for orders up to $3,000 + 0.1% for amounts above $3,000. Plus a foreign exchange fee of 0.4% to change between NZD, AUD, and USD.
- Accessible – Sharesies allows you to buy tiny fractions of a share, meaning you can invest in shares with as little as one cent.
- Cheapest broker for small investments – With their percentage based brokerage and FX fees, Sharesies is the cheapest broker for investing small amounts. For example, you could invest as little as $100 at a time without being hit hard by fees.
- Access to three markets – With NZX, ASX, and US markets on offer, Sharesies allows you to hold investments from all three markets under one roof.
- Easy to use – Sharesies’ user interface is clean, easy to use, and mobile friendly. They even have native mobile apps for iOS and Android. However this isn’t necessarily a good thing – checking your portfolio more often doesn’t make you a better investor. In fact it could make you worse off by encouraging you to constantly tweak your portfolio or panic sell investments when they go down.
- Full control over currency exchange – Sharesies’ investors can change their funds between NZD, AUD, and USD at any time they like, perhaps when they feel the exchange rate is more favourable. Other platforms (like Hatch and Stake) usually automatically convert your NZD to USD as soon as you deposit funds.
- Growing number of features – In recent months Sharesies has been rapidly adding new features such as auto-invest for individual shares, and voting for NZ shares. They’ve indicated that there’s even more to come.
- Still behind on features – Despite their efforts on feature development, Sharesies is still slightly behind the competition. The platform lacks features like being able to transfer ASX and US shares to another broker (you can only transfer NZX shares into the platform and out of the platform for a fee of $5), live market prices (prices are delayed by 20 minutes), and dividend reinvestment plans (given Sharesies holds your shares in custody).
- Fees are not always cheap – For example, buying Smartshares ETFs would be cheaper through InvestNow who don’t charge any brokerage fees at all. In addition Sharesies can work out more expensive than competing brokers (like Interactive Brokers or Hatch) for larger transactions.
- Tax quirks – Sharesies automatically pays tax on your overseas dividends for you. This may be seen as a convenient feature but can be problematic for some investors – for example, those earning less than $200 in overseas dividends per year may not even need to pay tax on these dividends in the first place.
- Unsuitable for short-term investment – Sharesies offers cash and bond ETFs, but Sharesies’ brokerage fees are likely to eat up a significant chunk of their relatively low returns. Accessing cash and bond funds through a Fund Platform like InvestNow or direct via a Fund Manager would be a more feasible option.
Keen to start building your investment portfolio with Sharesies? Sign up with this link, and you’ll get a bonus $5 in your account to invest!
– Sharesies review – Still a good investment platform in late 2021?
Hatch allows you to buy and sell shares and ETFs from the US sharemarkets.
- Minimum investment – $0.01
- Fees – $3 USD per transaction or $0.01 per share for trades over 300 shares. Plus 0.5% foreign exchange fees for converting between NZD and USD.
- Cheaper than Sharesies for large investments – With their flat brokerage fee, Hatch generally works out cheaper than Sharesies if you’re making investments larger than ~$1,100 NZD in size.
- More features – Hatch has a great set of features including auto-invest, stop-loss orders, ability to participate in a selection of US IPOs, and the ability to transfer your shares to/from another broker (but this may cost you a couple hundred dollars).
- Kids accounts – Hatch offers kids account along with discounted brokerage rates starting from $0.50 USD. But even when taking into account Hatch’s kids rates, Sharesies is still cheaper than Hatch for transactions of up to ~$200 NZD in size.
- Flat fee can be painful – Hatch’s fee structure means it’s not cost effective to invest small amounts. For example, their $3 USD fee would make up a high proportion of a $100 investment. It could also make reinvesting dividends prohibitively expensive.
- Only one market – Hatch only give you access to the US market, however they’ll be adding many other markets soon.
- USD cash is held in a FIF – Typically foreign cash doesn’t count as a foreign investment (FIF) so isn’t subject to the FIF tax rules. However, Hatch is a special case and keeps your USD cash in a FIF, so could result in you having to apply the less favourable FIF tax rules where you’d normally be exempt.
- Unsuitable for short-term investment – Hatch has some cash and bond ETFs, however they’re unhedged to the NZ Dollar. Given cash and bond assets are typically bought for their low volatility, exchange rate fluctuations may defeat the purpose of having these investments and make them unsuitable for short-term investors.
– Hatch review – Hard to recommend
Stake offers a similar service to Hatch, offering only US listed shares and ETFs.
- Minimum investment – $0.01
- Fees – 1% on NZD-USD currency exchange (with a minimum fee of $2 USD). No brokerage fees.
- No brokerage fees – Stake doesn’t charge any fees when you buy or sell shares. This could make them a cost effective option if you intend to regularly trade in and out of investments.
- High foreign exchange fees – Stake charges a 1% fee (with a $2 USD minimum) to swap between NZD and USD. This can make Stake more expensive than Sharesies and Hatch for long-term buy and hold investors, even when you factor in Stake’s zero brokerage.
- Extra fees required for premium features – Stake offers an optional “Stake Black” add-on for $9 USD per month, which gives you the ability to trade on unsettled funds (which is usually free through other brokers) and access OTC stocks. They also charge an optional 0.5% express funding fee (with $2 USD minimum) to get your deposited funds onto the platform faster.
- Day trading restrictions – For accounts with less than $25,000 USD, you can’t make more than 3 day trades within a 5 day period.
- Unsuitable for short-term investing – Stake has some cash and bond ETFs, however they’re unhedged to the NZ Dollar.
- Adults only – Stake doesn’t allow under 18s to have an account with them.
– Stake review – Is there a catch to their $0 brokerage fee?
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is an American brokerage firm providing the ability to buy and sell shares from over 30 different markets including the US, Australia, UK, Canada, and Hong Kong.
- Minimum investment – $0.01
- Fees – Varies by market, product, and selected fee plan (they offer “fixed” and “Tiered” plans). Full details on their fees can be found here.
- Heaps of investment options – IBKR offers investment into over 30 markets, a selection unrivalled by any other NZ broker. They also offer options and futures trading, as well as margin lending. However, NZX shares aren’t available through IBKR.
- Competitive fees – Fees for US trades start from $1 USD for brokerage and $2 USD for foreign exchange (assuming we’re using their “fixed” fee plan). This makes IBKR cheaper than Hatch for all transaction sizes, and cheaper than Sharesies for US transactions larger than ~$500 NZD in size. For Aussie trades, fees start from around $9 AUD, making them cheaper than Sharesies for transactions larger than ~$1,000 NZD.
- Affordable DRS access for US shares – The Direct Registration System (DRS) allows you to register your US shares in your own name (as opposed to being in custody of a broker). IBKR allows you to transfer your shares to DRS with a fee of $5 USD per transfer. This is much cheaper than Hatch and Stake’s DRS fee which is upwards of $100.
- Overseas based – IBKR is a reputable international broker, but some investors will prefer a locally domiciled broker with a NZ based support team.
- Hard to use – IBKR is packed with heaps of features and investment options, but this can make the platform significantly more difficult to use than Sharesies, Hatch, and Stake.
- Withdrawal fees – IBKR gives you one free withdrawal per month, but all subsequent withdrawals cost $15 NZD.
- Unsuitable for short-term investing – IBKR has some cash and bond ETFs, however they’re unhedged to the NZ Dollar.
– Interactive Brokers & Tiger Brokers review – Better than Sharesies & Hatch?
ASB Securities is a traditional broker allowing you to buy and sell shares in companies listed on NZX and ASX, as well as a few international markets.
- Minimum investment – ~$500 per company.
- Fees – Brokerage fees start from $15 for NZX trades of up to $1,000. Their full range of fees can be found here.
- Shares registered under your CSN – Any NZX or ASX shares you buy through ASB Securities are registered directly under your CSN/HIN, meaning you have immediate access to participate in dividend reinvestment plans your company may offer, as well as voting rights (compared with Sharesies where your shares are held under custody, sacrificing these features).
- Live market data – ASB Securities provides free access to live prices and market depth, to help inform you at which price you should place your orders at.
- Bond trading – ASB Securities gives you access to buy and sell individual bond issues listed in New Zealand.
- Margin lending – ASB Securities offers the ability to leverage your investments by borrowing money to buy shares.
- Expensive – With fees starting from $15, ASB Securities can be considerably more expensive and less accessible than other brokers. Fees for overseas markets can be prohibitively expensive (starting from from $90 for US shares).
- No fractional shares – You’ll need to buy and sell whole shares e.g. you couldn’t buy half a Mainfreight share.
– Buying shares on the NZX – Sharesies vs ASB Securities and Jarden Direct
- Jarden Direct – Provides a similar service to ASB Securities, offering shares on the NZ, Aussie, US, and UK sharemarkets.
- ShareMeUp – Allows you to buy (but not sell) a limited number of shares listed on the NZ sharemarket. Shares get registered directly under your CSN. They’re cheaper than ASB Securities/Jarden Direct but more expensive than Sharesies.
- Tiger Brokers – Offers shares on the Australian, US, Hong Kong, and Singapore markets, as well as a few other investments like options and futures. Pretty much an expensive alternative to Interactive Brokers.
- BlackBull Markets – A new NZ based brokerage platform which is essentially just a front-end for accessing Interactive Brokers. They also offer NZX trading, but this is currently only available through email/phone rather than an online platform.
- Craigs mySTART – A service which includes professional investment advice and research, and allows you to invest in a limited selection of 260 shares and funds.
New Zealanders are spoilt for choice these days when it comes to investment platforms. Comparing one platform with another is often like comparing apples with oranges, but you could fit them into three broad categories:
Fund Managers – Manages and offers funds. They offer some of the simplest investment options and would suit those wanting to be more hands off with their investments. The likes of Kernel and Simplicity are popular platforms to use, with their low-cost passively managed funds.
Fund Platforms – Offer a variety of funds from different fund managers. They provide a bit more flexibility and accessibility over investing directly with individual fund managers. InvestNow in particular is a popular platform, allowing access to 27 fund mangers (including Smartshares), with no account and brokerage fees.
Brokers – Offer the ability to buy and sell individual shares and ETFs listed on the sharemarket. They would suit more hands on investors wanting control over which individual companies to invest in. Sharesies would suit those investing small amounts at a time, while Hatch or IBKR would better suit those making larger transactions.
Overall there’s no definitive best option, and the platform you should use comes down to your personal investing preferences, keeping in mind fees and features. We’d approach choosing one by first deciding on what type of investment you want to invest in (e.g. funds vs shares), then picking a platform that offers that type of investment. And remember there’s nothing stopping you from using more than one platform, particularly if you want to spread your portfolio across different types of investments.
For examples on how to construct a long-term investment portfolio using some of the above platforms, see our below article.
– 6 ways to build a long-term investment portfolio in New Zealand
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The content of this article is based on Money King NZ’s opinion and should not be considered financial advice. The information should never be used without first assessing your own personal and financial situation, and conducting your own research. You may wish to consult with an authorised financial adviser before making any investment decisions.
Great article and very comprehensive! Thank you!
I’m currently in the process of consolidating several platforms into just one for simplicity.
Thanks Nigel! Fewer platforms works better in our opinion – much easier for the brain to keep track of 😀
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