Herald Sun

STILL BROKING NEW GROUND

- KA­RINA BAR­RY­MORE

TWENTY years ago, 16 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion di­rectly owned shares. Now it’s 33 per cent.

The value of com­pa­nies on the Aus­tralian Stock Ex­change was $300 bil­lion — now its $1.7 tril­lion. And av­er­age wages were $33,000, com­pared with $77,000 now.

These are just some of the ma­jor changes in the Aus­tralian eco­nomic land­scape as the na­tion’s online broking in­dus­try chalks up its first 20 years.

“The Aus­tralian share mar­ket has grown sig­nif­i­cantly over the past 20 years and has been a ma­jor source of wealth cre­ation for self-di­rected in­vestors,’’ Com­mSec man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Rayson said yesterday.

Com­msec, which started its online busi­ness 20 years ago to­day, is the big­gest of sev­eral online bro­kers based in Aus­tralia.

Ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change, online broking is now the most pop­u­lar method of in­vest­ing in the share mar­ket.

Last year, 58 per cent of trades were made through an online bro­ker, com­pared with 31 per cent who used a full-ser­vice bro­ker.

In its latest share own­er­ship study, the ASX found in­vestors traded online to have more con­trol over their in­vest­ments and be­cause it was cheaper.

Aus­tralian Share­hold­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Diana D’Am­bra said the large ma­jor­ity of the group’s mem­bers in­vested through one of the many online broking sites.

“Mostly our mem­ber­ship like to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity and plan­ning,’’ she said.

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