South African investors can now trade top offshore companies
SOUTH AFRICAN RETAIL INVESTORS are fast becoming part of the global marketplace and can now genuinely trade the shares of household names such as Microsoft, Apple, Du Pont – even take a punt on embattled petroleum giant BP if they want. Last year the JSE began offering futures contracts that allowed investors to take positions in many such big name companies, but the reality was investors were still getting exposure only in rand and only for the future price of the company rather than being able to directly participate in the shares and enjoy the dividends from them.
That’s changed recently after an announcement by PSG Online it had adapted its online trading platform to accommodate international trading. That was followed up by a similar announcement by Sanlam iTrade.
PSG Online CEO Corrie de Bruyn says South African clients can now trade shares on 15 stock markets in Europe and the United States via its platform, while iTrade clients can trade shares, currencies, commodities and exchange-traded funds on the New York Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and Australian Stock Exchange.
“That means investors would at any time be able to check on the status of their offshore share portfolio and trade online, as is the case with local share investments. In the same manner, investors would have the option to select on which stock market – for example, London or New York – or in which currency a transaction should be concluded,” says De Bruyn. That would form part of a client’s offshore allowance and would be done as part of a foreign exchange “swap” with either PSG or Sanlam’s trading business units.
John Vorster, director of trading at PSG Online, says South African traders have shown some interest since the new functionality was announced. “We’ve had dozens of enquiries in the first week and similar numbers of registrations. Local JSE equity traders are very excited about the opportunity to become involved in