The bro­ker scores

Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Cover Story - Ed­i­to­rial: Heidi Di­et­zsch Anal­y­sis: Phibion Makuw­erere

ABSA STOCK­BRO­KERS & PORT­FO­LIO

man­age­ment has been op­er­a­tional for six decades and caters to ev­ery level of in­vestor. It of­fers a se­cure trad­ing plat­form with up-to-date in­for­ma­tion and ac­cess to the stock mar­ket.

The group has been putting in a lot of work to widen its ap­peal to clients. It now of­fers di­rect ex­po­sure to shares such as Ap­ple and Google, and through its World Trader fa­cil­ity clients can go long or short in se­lected ETFs that track US in­dices. Absa is fo­cus­ing on at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing young savers.

Ed­u­ca­tional videos are avail­able for this mar­ket, as well as in­no­va­tive, cheap prod­ucts such as tax-free sav­ings ac­counts and ETFs. The bank fares es­pe­cially well on re­spon­sive­ness and trans­parency. E-mail queries are an­swered pro­fes­sion­ally and swiftly, fol­lowed up with phone calls.

It ap­pears to be meet­ing its goal of of­fer­ing an in­ex­pen­sive stock­broking ser­vice. Al­most 80% of clients say the ser­vice is af­ford­able or very af­ford­able. Clients tend to re­main loyal: 48% have been with it for more than five years. And 28% be­lieve ser­vice has im­proved.

THIS FIRM PRIDES IT­SELF ON of­fer­ing tra­di­tional stock­broking com­bined with value-for-money of­fer­ings. Clients have ac­cess to phone-in and on­line deal­ing ser­vices with ac­cess to port­fo­lio man­agers.

In the past year Afrifo­cus has been awarded a Cat­e­gory 1 and 2 FSP li­cence, en­abling it now to of­fer a more holis­tic ser­vice in­clud­ing pri­vate stock­broking, full dis­cre­tionary port­fo­lio man­age­ment and wealth man­age­ment.

The firm says off­shore in­vest­ing is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant to clients and it pro­vides this through unit trusts as well as through sin­gle stocks on the Ve­loc­ity plat­form.

A com­pre­hen­sive prod­uct range is of­fered, in­clud­ing CFDs. The firm also pro­vides re­search and 26% of clients say they use it ex­ten­sively in mak­ing in­vest­ment de­ci­sions.

More than half the client base con­sists of tra­di­tional in­vestors who are older than 35 and are reg­u­larly sav­ing from their in­comes. Al­most three-quar­ters place trades tele­phon­i­cally, con­firm­ing the firm’s old-school val­ues. Also, per­son­alised ser­vice is ex­cep­tion­ally im­por­tant to clients — al­most 80% say they have met a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in per­son, while 89% have a ded­i­cated stock­bro­ker who as­sists them with trad­ing. Clients are largely sat­is­fied. One says: “I am a small trader. De­spite this, my stock­bro­ker has been proac­tive in as­sist­ing me and pro­vid­ing me with the in­for­ma­tion that I need. Over­all, I am ex­tremely sat­is­fied.”

BP BERN­STEIN CON­SID­ERS it­self a niche stock­bro­ker with ser­vices still based on the tra­di­tional ad­vice-based stock­broking model. The firm caters par­tic­u­larly well to tra­di­tional in­vestors, en­sur­ing that they can choose ex­e­cu­tion, dis­cre­tionary or ad­vice- based ser­vices. Be­spoke man­dates are also of­fered, and char­tered fi­nan­cial an­a­lysts can as­sist clients.

Re­cently BP Bern­stein struck a bro­ker agree­ment with DMA (for­merly Saxo Cap­i­tal Mar­kets SA), which ex­e­cutes in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ments. The firm also of­fers eq­uity trad­ing, CFD trad­ing, ETNs, ETFs, Sa­trix prod­ucts and struc­tured prod­ucts.

Ac­tive day traders make up a small per­cent­age of the firm’s client base but are nev­er­the­less well looked af­ter. Clients are con­tin­u­ously in­formed of their po­si­tions and are pro­vided with trade ideas and ar­ti­cles.

More than 80% of the firm’s clients chose it based on rec­om­men­da­tions by ac­quain­tances, a clear in­di­ca­tion of client sat­is­fac­tion. Clients are also ex­cep­tion­ally loyal — 88% have been with the firm for more than five years.

THIS EX­E­CU­TION-BASED FIRM strives to pro­vide clients with af­ford­able, high-qual­ity on­line ac­cess to lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional de­riv­a­tives mar­kets.

Day traders have the nec­es­sary tools for tech­ni­cal anal­y­sis and ef­fi­cient ex­e­cu­tion, as well as the abil­ity to im­ple­ment al­go­rith­mic trad­ing. CFDs are of­fered and DWT Se­cu­ri­ties is an agent for Ve­loc­ity.

Per­son­alised ser­vice is the key. Care is taken to pro­vide clients with suf­fi­cient plat­form train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion re­gard­ing fi­nan­cial prod­ucts and how they work. Trade analy­ses are pro­vided daily.

Clients are sea­soned traders and al­most three-quar­ters say they don’t need a ded­i­cated trader to help them with their trad­ing. The clients are a happy lot and their rank­ings pro­pelled DWT to the win­ner’s podium in the cov­eted Peo­ple’s Choice award.

Al­most 60% of clients be­lieve that the firm’s ser­vice has im­proved over the past year and 57% in­di­cate that they are ex­tremely likely to rec­om­mend DWT to friends and fam­ily. Clients say the firm pro­vides ev­ery­thing they ex­pect from a stock­bro­ker.

EASYEQUITIES AIMS TO MAKE trad­ing and in­vest­ing fun — and less daunt­ing — for the av­er­age per­son. It dif­fer­en­ti­ates it­self by pro­vid­ing a friendly and re­ward­ing user ex­pe­ri­ence that builds trust through trans­parency and af­ford­abil­ity.

In­vestor con­fi­dence is built through con­tent that is ed­u­ca­tional and en­ter­tain­ing. Clients are en­gaged through shared ex­pe­ri­ences and strong sto­ry­telling. The firm’s colour­ful and lively web­site at­tracts young in­vestors through in­fo­graph­ics and by speak­ing their lan­guage. EasyEquities is ac­cru­ing new clients at a healthy rate — al­most 90% have been with the firm for less than three years.

In the past year EasyEquities has in­tro­duced a dol­lar-based US of­fer­ing that al­lows clients to in­vest in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. It also launched EasyFX, en­abling clients to eas­ily trans­fer money from their rand ac­count into their US-dol­lar ac­count, for easy ac­cess to US mar­kets.

Clients’ re­sponses are in line with the firm’s ob­jec­tives — 67% say the cost of the over­all ser­vice they re­ceive is very af­ford­able. One client says: “I’m a big sup­porter of EasyEquities be­cause they made ac­cess­ing the stock mar­ket easy and en­joy­able.”

IT’S IM­POR­TANT TO FNB SE­CU­RI­TIES to cater to all types of in­vestor — from the in­de­pen­dent tech-savvy types who pre­fer to con­trol their own in­vest­ments, to those who want per­son­alised ser­vice with ac­cess to in­vest­ment pro­fes­sion­als.

In the past year it has be­come a mar­ket par­tic­i­pant on the ZAR X plat­form, in­tro­duced an au­to­mated so­lu­tion for elec­tive cor­po­rate ac­tions and over­hauled its web­site. It launched Pow­er­Trader, which makes it eas­ier for in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers to man­age clients’ port­fo­lios. It in­tro­duced its own CFD trad­ing plat­form and clients can now view their CFD and eq­uity port­fo­lios si­mul­ta­ne­ously on­line.

Al­most 90% of FNB clients say they are sat­is­fied with the range of se­cu­ri­ties and as­set classes avail­able.

A wide range of re­search is of­fered, in­clud­ing fun­da­men­tal anal­y­sis of JSElisted shares, and 29% of clients in­di­cate that they use the re­search ex­ten­sively when mak­ing in­vest­ment de­ci­sions.

Over­all sat­is­fac­tion with ser­vice is ex­cel­lent, say 46% of clients.

GT247.COM’S UNIQUE SELL­ING point is that it makes trad­ing easy, ac­ces­si­ble and af­ford­able, while still of­fer­ing a full suite of ser­vices that in­clude free re­search and ac­cess to a trad­ing team that pro­vides tele­phone ex­e­cu­tion as well as mar­ket ad­vice.

GT247 and EasyEquities are dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions of the same com­pany. In­no­va­tion is part of the cul­ture and GT247 is one of the few bro­kers to of­fer cryp­tocur­ren­cies, along with CFDs, com­modi­ties, lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­dices and more than 65 cur­rency pairs. Mo­bile, desk­top and web­based plat­forms are of­fered and daily mar­ket pod­casts, blogs, re­views and ed­u­ca­tional notes are value-added ser­vices.

Most of the clients are ac­tive day traders and they are well catered for. Traders have ac­cess to the GT Pri­vate Broking desk which can as­sist them in de­ci­sions and mar­ket re­quire­ments. The MT5 plat­form, which in­cor­po­rates an al­go­rith­mic trad­ing so­lu­tion, al­lows clients to du­pli­cate other GT247.com clients’ trades.

GT247.com’s clients are pleased — 63% rate the user-friend­li­ness of the trad­ing plat­form as ex­cel­lent, while 64% have the same opin­ion re­gard­ing the value for money they re­ceive.

THIS WELL-ESTAB­LISHED FIRM con­sid­ers it­self to be the largest CFD provider in the world in terms of ac­tive traders.

The firm does not pro­vide ad­vice but of­fers mar­ket analy­ses, re­search and other tools at no cost. These in­clude Au­tochartist, an al­go­rith­mic chart­ing tool that pro­vides trade in­sights across as­set classes, a data­base of global ETF fact sheets and weekly and daily news­let­ters.

IG spe­cialises in ac­tive day traders who have ac­cess to four trad­ing plat­forms. It has its own web-based trad­ing plat­form and of­fers an ad­vanced DMA plat­form, called L2 Dealer, to so­phis­ti­cated traders. MT4 and Pro­Re­al­Time are avail­able as third-

party trad­ing plat­forms. Many new de­vel­op­ments have been in­tro­duced in the past year. IG now of­fers seven cryp­tocur­ren­cies. Ed­u­ca­tional re­sources have been over­hauled and the IG Academy has been launched to en­sure that clients at all lev­els have ac­cess to ex­pert knowl­edge.

Client com­ments are over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. One says: “IG is ex­cel­lent over­all. They have an amaz­ing mo­bile app. The chart­ing is great and their ser­vice is very good.”

THIS AD­VICE-BASED FIRM PRO­VIDES full dis­cre­tionary port­fo­lio man­age­ment for lo­cal and global share port­fo­lios, and prides it­self on the per­son­alised ser­vice it of­fers.

En­hanced tax re­port­ing has been de­vel­oped for client port­fo­lios in the past year and the firm will soon launch its nextgen­er­a­tion client web­site.

The client base con­sists of so­phis­ti­cated ex­ec­u­tives who need a min­i­mum NAV of R1m to be con­sid­ered. They can in­vest in man­aged long-term share port­fo­lios. Clients’ re­tire­ment funds are man­aged in a seg­re­gated share port­fo­lio to of­fer a com­pre­hen­sive, com­pul­sory in­vest­ment ser­vice. Fur­ther­more, the firm pro­vides an in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment ser­vice through its global, flex­i­ble unit trust. It aims to cre­ate long-term wealth for clients through cap­i­tal growth and div­i­dends by util­is­ing its core stock-pick­ing skills. In­de­pen­dent’s goal is to out­per­form the bench­mark and peer group av­er­age with­out as­sum­ing ad­di­tional risk.

MO­MEN­TUM SE­CU­RI­TIES CATERS TO all client types but has a strong fo­cus on tra­di­tional in­vestors. The firm is a di­vi­sion of the MMI Group and can draw on group re­sources to pro­vide so­lu­tions and prod­ucts, in­clud­ing lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional of­fer­ings and plat­forms.

Re­cently it in­tro­duced a Mo­men­tum Se­cu­ri­ties listed note to fa­cil­i­tate an af­ford­able off­shore ex­po­sure ve­hi­cle for clients. The firm has also part­nered with Julius Baer, a Swiss multi­na­tional pri­vate bank, to fa­cil­i­tate a high-end, holis­tic pri­vate wealth man­age­ment ser­vice for high net worth clients.

Young savers have ac­cess to tax-free sav­ings ac­counts, as well as the new off­shore ETN. The firm pro­vides de­riv­a­tives, CFDs, sin­gle stock fu­tures and an ex­e­cu­tion-only desk to ac­tive day traders.

Mo­men­tum’s clients pre­fer a per­son­alised ser­vice, and the firm is able to pro­vide this. More than half of its clients have met a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the firm in per­son and 62% have a ded­i­cated stock­bro­ker who as­sists them with their trad­ing.

PSG WEALTH AIMS TO as­sist clients in mak­ing bet­ter in­vest­ment de­ci­sions by fo­cus­ing on four key ar­eas: ad­vice, re­search, man­aged re­la­tion­ships and a com­pre­hen­sive range of prod­ucts.

The firm places an es­pe­cially high pre­mium on re­search. Its in­vest­ment re­search team, made up of eq­uity and fund an­a­lysts, pro­duces a wide range of re­search that in­cludes ad hoc trade ideas and mar­ket up­dates that are sent daily, as well as eco­nomic re­ports that are sent weekly, monthly and quar­terly. Clients value this re­search and more than 30% use it ex­ten­sively when mak­ing in­vest­ment de­ci­sions.

PSG re­cently ac­quired the 28E Cap­i­tal client base, as well as its staff with a com­bined cen­tury of stock­broking ex­pe­ri­ence. 28E ex­celled in Peo­ple’s Choice rank­ings in pre­vi­ous edi­tions of the Top Stock­bro­ker sur­vey.

PSG has its own trad­ing plat­form that

It has in­vested in sys­tems, so­lu­tions and com­pa­nies to en­hance its ser­vice de­liv­ery

al­lows clients to trade se­cu­ri­ties and Lisp prod­ucts (linked in­vest­ment ser­vice providers). This plat­form also pro­vides a dig­i­tal por­tal for fi­nan­cial ad­vice and a risk pro­filer, and can gen­er­ate per­sonal fi­nance re­ports for clients.

PSG aims to meet the needs of a wide spec­trum of in­vestors, rang­ing from the novice who just started sav­ing to ul­tra-high net worth in­di­vid­u­als. Al­most 40% of clients be­lieve PSG’s ser­vice has im­proved over the past year and 90% are likely to rec­om­mend it to ac­quain­tances.

RAND SWISS IS A REL­A­TIVELY young firm, but since its in­cep­tion in 2015 it has put to­gether a full-ser­vice lo­cal and off­shore of­fer­ing. It also has a strong re­search ca­pa­bil­ity and pro­vides daily morn­ing notes to ac­tive traders as well as fun­da­men­tal notes, eco­nomic notes and trade ideas.

Rand Swiss says the high num­ber of fi­nan­cial pro­fes­sion­als who use it as their pre­ferred stock­bro­ker val­i­dates their claim to be a low-cost, high-qual­ity ser­vice firm.

Clients get a sin­gle point of con­tact through which they can ac­cess all ma­jor mar­kets.

Rand Swiss pro­vides di­rect mar­ket ac­cess and places a high pre­mium on ed­u­ca­tional as­sis­tance to clients. It hosts monthly ed­u­ca­tional work­shops as well as ad hoc events and we­bi­nars. A li­brary of tu­to­rial videos is avail­able to clients.

In the past year the firm has fo­cused on ex­pand­ing its af­flu­ent client base. It is flesh­ing out its pri­vate client ac­counts with more fea­tures and high-end prod­ucts suit­able only to high net worth clients.

THIS AD­VICE-BASED FIRM TAKES great care in se­lect­ing ap­pro­pri­ate so­lu­tions or port­fo­lios for clients, whether model or be­spoke. Help­ing the client to choose a suit­able so­lu­tion within their means is a pri­or­ity for Sas­fin, and it re­gards the ad­vice clients re­ceive as crit­i­cal.

The firm has in­tro­duced in­no­va­tions in the past year. Its web­site has been re­vamped and new on­line tools have been in­tro­duced. It has also in­vested in sys­tems, so­lu­tions and com­pa­nies to en­hance its ser­vice de­liv­ery and ex­pand its so­lu­tions.

Data an­a­lyt­ics have been im­proved and now in­cor­po­rate in­ter­nal dash­boards. It says it is now able to bet­ter un­der­stand its client com­po­si­tion, and this en­sures that de­ci­sions are made aligned to client needs. Sas­fin also of­fers carry ac­counts, a mech­a­nism that al­lows clients to bor­row cap­i­tal against their port­fo­lios with­out hav­ing to sell the shares in their port­fo­lios.

The firm ac­quired 100% of SIPP In­vest­ments this year. SIPP, which in­cor­po­rates Sas­fin Se­cu­ri­ties’ so­lu­tions, is an SA tech­nol­ogy-driven busi­ness with man­aged port­fo­lio tools, cal­cu­la­tors and prod­ucts for re­tail clients and wealth ad­vis­ers.

Sas­fin has loyal clients who pre­fer a per­son­alised ser­vice. Al­most three­quar­ters have been with the firm for more than five years and more than 90% have a ded­i­cated stock­bro­ker.

OP­ER­AT­ING FOR THREE DECADES, Sharenet’s model is built on four foun­da­tions: value for money, an in­no­va­tive and rel­e­vant trad­ing plat­form, the re­li­able pro­vi­sion of ac­cu­rate fi­nan­cial data, and ac­cess to qual­ity trad­ing tools and mar­ket re­search.

In the past year the firm in­sti­tuted an ex­ten­sive web­site and brand over­haul and in­tro­duced many new ser­vices. These in­clude ad­vice-based ac­counts, man­aged share port­fo­lios, man­aged ETF so­lu­tions, an RMB be­spoke note prod­uct and in­ter­na­tional se­cu­ri­ties. Sharenet has also launched a new app with on­line and live trad­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and port­fo­lio views.

The firm caters well to all types of in­vestors, but ac­tive day traders es­pe­cially have am­ple choice. Af­ford­able trad­ing is of­fered and prod­ucts in­clude CFDs, ETFs eq­ui­ties, shares and in­dex fu­tures. Clients also have ac­cess to live price data, tech­ni­cal anal­y­sis, trad­ing cour­ses and cryp­tocur­rency sem­i­nars.

Sharenet is sat­is­fy­ing clients: al­most 60% rate their over­all sat­is­fac­tion lev­els as ex­cel­lent while 63% say the firm’s ser­vice has im­proved over the past year.

One client says: “From the begin­ning my ex­pe­ri­ence with Sharenet has al­ways been great. More im­pres­sively, the ser­vice has im­proved over time, and I mar­vel at its abil­ity to in­no­vate and up the game with­out sac­ri­fic­ing its val­ues.”

AN­OTHER STEL­LAR PER­FOR­MANCE puts Stan­dard Bank OST/Stock­broking on the win­ner’s podium as the over­all Top Stock­bro­ker of the Year again. A com­bi­na­tion of ex­cel­lent client sup­port, a wide range of avail­able in­stru­ments and trad­ing tools and af­ford­abil­ity en­sures this win.

Stan­dard OST of­fers a self-di­rected of­fer­ing for clients who wish to man­age their port­fo­lios them­selves, as well as a fully ad­vi­sory ser­vice for clients who want to take a more hands-off ap­proach. All of­fer­ings are avail­able for lo­cal and off­shore mar­kets.

New de­vel­op­ments in­clude UCount tier­ing, which en­sures that clients get more value by be­ing re­warded for the trades they make. Clients are able to re­deem their ad­di­tional UCount points into their tax-free sav­ings ac­counts or use them to buy items at the UCount Re­wards On­line Mall.

Stan­dard OST’s Web­trader plat­form en­ables clients to in­vest in a range of so­phis­ti­cated off­shore fi­nan­cial in­stru­ments across var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional stock ex­changes. The plat­form gives clients ac­cess to trade shares and ETFs on 31 in­ter­na­tional ex­changes, and they can lever­age their in­vest­ments with CFDs on more than 5,600 stocks.

The bank caters ex­cep­tion­ally well to all client types but puts in a spe­cial ef­fort to in­stil a cul­ture of sav­ing in young peo­ple. Clients in this seg­ment can open an Auto Share In­vest or tax-free sav­ings ac­count, which al­lows them to in­vest as lit­tle as R250 a month into a select list of shares or ETFs at a 0.25% bro­ker­age rate.

Free ed­u­ca­tional cour­ses and ma­te­rial are avail­able to help young savers un­der­stand in­vest­ment prod­ucts.

THIS ALL-ROUNDER PRIDES IT­SELF on its abil­ity to cul­ti­vate per­sonal client re­la­tion­ships and pro­vid­ing world-class trad­ing plat­forms and thought lead­er­ship con­tent from skilled pro­fes­sion­als.

The firm in­tro­duced in­no­va­tions this year, in­clud­ing a re­search blog and an out­bound re­search ser­vice, a wealth man­age­ment team, an im­proved on­line real-time chat en­vi­ron­ment and cryp­tocur­rency trad­ing.

Unum pro­vides di­rect mar­ket ac­cess and a wide range of in­stru­ments that in­cludes pan-African trad­ing, for­eign ex­change and com­mod­ity trad­ing and off­shore op­tions.

The firm caters to all types of clients, but its big­gest client seg­ment is tra­di­tional in­vestors. This group is of­fered hedg­ing strate­gies, as­set al­lo­ca­tion strate­gies and model or be­spoke port­fo­lios.

Al­most 90% of Unum’s clients say the firm’s ser­vice has im­proved in the past year, a fac­tor — along with its new ser­vices — that pro­pelled it to win the Most Im­proved Bro­ker award.

All clients in­di­cate they are most likely to rec­om­mend the firm to ac­quain­tances.

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