Online share broker CMC Markets has won Canstar’s online share trading broker of the year award for the seventh year running, while Investment Trends’ latest survey puts Bell Direct at the top of the pops.
CMC was awarded five stars in all investor categories – casual investor, active investor and trader.
Canstar says CMC’s high ratings were based on its low brokerage rates and availability of different platforms to suit different investor groups.
Casual Investor. A casual investor buys and sells shares occasionally (up to eight times a year) and uses a long-term strategy to review their investment portfolio. Education tools, ease of use and cost are important requirements.
The top platforms for casual investors are CMC Markets Classic Account, CommSec Share Trades Internet Preferred, nabtrade silver and Westpac Integrated Account.
CMC’s fee is $15 a trade (for trades up to $15,000), compared with $19.95 for nabtrade and Westpac, and $29.95 for CommSec. Some brokers have ongoing fees.
Active investor. Active investors trade around 40 times a year. They look for comprehensive research tools and low cost.
The top platforms for active investors are CMC Markets Classic Account, nabtrade platinum, nabtrade silver and Westpac Integrated Account.
Trader. A trader may buy and sell shares on a daily basis and wants access to the latest market information. Cost, availability of derivatives and a dynamic trading platform are important.
The top platforms for traders are Amscot valueRate webIRESS, Bell Direct Platinum, CMC Markets Active Investor Account, CMC Markets Classic Account and CMC Markets Premium Trader Account.
Canstar says there is increasing price competition in the market, with a new player SelfWealth charging a flat fee of $9.50 for all trades, regardless of the size of the transaction.
Canstar says there is also competition to improve mobile trading apps. With 50 per cent of Gen Y investors using their smartphone in preference to a PC or laptop to trade, brokers are adding mobile features such as price alerts, live prices, SMS alerts and market depth.
Investment Trends surveyed more than 13,000 traders and investors, who gave the top overall rating to Bell Direct. Other highly rated online brokers were CMC Markets, CommSec and IG.