high-net-worth clients more reluctant to trade, but more open to borrowing using their shares as collateral, as well as derivative and wrapper structures. Increased taxes in SA, says Macdonald, have driven increased demand for tax-free savings accounts and for the ETFS that can be held in these accounts. Currency hedging and trading in currency futures are also growing in popularity.
In this market, stockbrokers have been working hard to improve, adding products and services to widen their appeal, particularly to improve access to offshore investment markets. Technological advancements are also prevalent. But they have also been focusing on the “little things” that are so important to the client experience, such as upgrading websites to make it clearer and simpler for users. We recognise their efforts with the Most Improved Broker award, won this year by Unum Capital.
Standard Bank Ost/stockbroking is the Top Stockbroker of the Year for the third consecutive year. It also won in the survey’s maiden year in 2010 and in 2014. The firm has established itself as the one to beat, despite many changes to our survey structure and methodology as it has evolved over the years.
The depth and breadth of its offerings cannot be matched, complemented by close attention to detail. It uses its muscle well, drawing on resources from the wider Standard Bank Group when required, easily accommodating the market trend of integrating stockbroking with wider personal finance, wealth management services and excellent research offerings.
Standard is also the topranked broker for “available instruments and trading tools” and “client support including research and educational tools”.
Rand Swiss, which launched only in 2015, takes second place overall. It is another firm that is integrating stockbroking with other investment offerings. Director Gary Booysen says it has been focusing on growing its three divisions: stockbroking and trading; asset management and discretionary portfolios; and wealth management. The latter was launched last year.
A major addition was the official acceptance of Rand Swiss’s status as an Sarbapproved Treasury agent, facilitating low-cost international transfers for clients.
Absa Stockbrokers & Portfolio Management made strong gains this year to take third place. It’s a commendable effort in the face of the brief marriage then divorce from Barclays Plc, which has taken up a lot of management attention.
While Absa caters well to clients across all archetypes, it makes a special effort to nurture novice investors into sea- soned traders. It has been putting in a lot of effort to widen its appeal and now has an impressive offering in which traders can go long or short in selected ETFS that track US indices. Absa is also this year’s top-ranked firm for “responsiveness and transparency”, factors which are scored as part of Intellidex’s mystery shopping exercise.
DWT Securities, a niche derivatives broker that caters mainly to day traders, wins the People’s Choice award, which it also won in 2016. Its clients are fiercely loyal and overwhelmingly positive in their ratings. Unum Capital is second and Sharenet third on the People’s Choice votes.
Afrifocus Securities is the Top Advice Broker of the Year, with Sasfin Securities second and FNB Securities third. This category specifically recognises those firms that specialise in face-to-face and telephone-
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