Financial Mail - - CROSSWORD 2035 -

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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