How to start in­vest­ing in over­seas shares

The Western Star - - Money Saver Hq - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

IN­VESTOR Roger Qian’s de­sire to own a slice of well-known over­seas com­pa­nies re­sulted in him tak­ing the leap and dab­bling in US stocks.

But the 31-year-old IT prod­uct man­ager said he would only pur­chase big busi­nesses whose prod­ucts he had used him­self or he had knowl­edge about.

“Uber, Slack and Be­yond Meat were com­pa­nies I knew or be­lieved would gain in pop­u­lar­ity in the fu­ture,” Mr Qian said.

Mr Qian is one of 50,000 Aus­tralians who has used Syd­ney­based US equities bro­ker Stake to in­vest over­seas.

This al­lows in­vestors to buy into com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Ama­zon, Net­flix, Telsa and Uber on­line or us­ing a smart­phone app.

Mr Qian said he wanted to find an easy and cost-ef­fec­tive way to in­vest in­ter­na­tion­ally and he has tipped in more than $20,000 in the past year.

“I in­vest in the com­pa­nies I love and I might re­visit my port­fo­lio ev­ery quar­ter to see if I should buy or sell,” he said.

Stake co-founder Dan Sil­ver said many in­vestors us­ing its plat­form al­ready held shares on the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change and wanted to ex­pand their share port­fo­lios glob­ally.

“About 77 per cent of our cus­tomers al­ready have a lo­cal Aus­tralian trad­ing ac­count while three quar­ters have never traded US shares be­fore,” he said. “So they in­her­ently need less ed­u­ca­tion and are com­fort­able nav­i­gat­ing around a bro­ker­age plat­form.”

Stake charges cus­tomers a for­eign ex­change fee for con­vert­ing Aus­tralian to US dol­lars of $US7 for ev­ery $A1000 trade.

Robo ad­vice plat­form In­vestSMART’s chief mar­ket strategist, Evan Lu­cas, said it had never been eas­ier to in­vest over­seas.

“What­ever com­pany it is, whether it’s Aus­tralia, the US or Europe you should do some due dili­gence,” he said.

Mr Lu­cas said Aus­tralians also needed to be aware they had to fill out a W-8BEN form at the time of pur­chase. “You have to com­plete it be­fore you have any abil­ity to trans­act on the New York Stock Ex­change,” he said.

He also sug­gested peo­ple un­sure about which US stocks to buy could con­sider in­vest­ing in ex­change­traded funds that took a slice of mul­ti­ple US com­pa­nies.

These can be pur­chased on the ASX in Aus­tralian dol­lars, and the tax im­pli­ca­tions are han­dled in Aus­tralia, not over­seas.

COST-EF­FEC­TIVE: Roger Qian has been ex­pand­ing his port­fo­lio of shares, in­vest­ing in com­pa­nies he is fa­mil­iar with or uses, whether they are in Aus­tralia or over­seas. Pic­ture: Im­age/Monique Harmer

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