GOING FOR BROKE
Which sockbrokers went the extra mile for clients?
Retail investors are being driven offshore by SA’s hostile political environment, coupled with flat markets, in search of lower risk and better returns. Stockbrokers are adapting accordingly — beefing up their offshore capabilities and fine-tuning other areas to meet clients’ evolving demands.
These factors are also accelerating the trend, highlighted in last year’s Top Stockbrokers survey, of the integration of stockbroking and wealth management services. Clients’ angst over their investments is driving demand for more guidance and planning in long-term investment strategies.
These market dynamics, highlighted by stockbrokers in our survey, ensure a fluid, ever-changing industry that is proving capable of adapting to the low-return market of the past three years.
Standard Online Share Trading/Stockbroking is the Top Stockbroker of the Year. Over the eight years that we have been conducting this survey, it firmly established itself as the one to beat. It won our maiden award in 2010 and was again the overall winner in 2014 and 2016, while finishing second every other year. That is testament to its enduring quality and its agility, despite being such a large organisation, in being able to meet clients’ ever-changing needs. Standard uses its muscle well, drawing on the vast resources of the wider bank when needed to present an offering unmatched in terms of scope and breadth of products and services, backed up by attention to detail and an ability to maintain client satisfaction.
In the two main category awards, FNB Securities is the Top Advice Broker and IG SA wins the Top Online Broker Award. These are particularly important for retail investors seeking a broker to meet their
Standard uses its muscle well, drawing on the vast resources of the wider bank to present an offering unmatched in scope and breadth
FNB Securities has been putting in a lot of hard work to adapt to the changing environment, particularly to the trend of merging retail investment and wealth management needs. Early this year it consolidated its investment offerings under one roof. FNB Securities and its Share Invest offering now fall under the wealth & investment division, with clients having access to various experts who can help them with wealth management, fiduciary services and transactional banking, alongside stockbroking.
While the firm has always excelled at the upper end of the market, it has beefed up its offerings at the lower end, and its consolidated offering now caters strongly to all segments.
IG’s award as Top Online Broker recognises its excellence in its area of specialisation. It trades only in CFDs, offering them on a range of instruments from local and international shares to bonds, currencies, index futures and commodities. It even offers CFDs on crypto currencies, providing rare access to bitcoin and others for retail investors.
It does not offer advice but does provide clients with comprehensive market analysis and research tools, and has beefed up its educational offerings. It is also implementing a new trading platform globally, with local implementation due in October.
The People’s Choice award, coveted because it is based purely on client feedback, goes to 28E Capital, with DWT Securities, the winner of the past two years, now second.
GT247/EasyEquities/GT Private Broking is ranked third, and it receives a special mention as the best-ranked provider of tax-free savings accounts. It is also rated as the best value broker.
While 28E caters to clients from novices to sophisticated investors, it specialises in active day traders. CFDs and all derivative instruments listed on Safex are offered and 28E is this year’s top-ranked CFD provider. It also pays close attention to young savers, recently introducing its 28E Satrix savings plan with no administration fees.
28E was second in the People’s Choice survey in the past two years and, like all the topranked brokers in this survey, has been working hard to improve. Clients have recognised that, with two-thirds saying it has improved over the past year. More than half its clients believe they receive excellent value for money.
In the overall rankings the second- and third-placed firms, Unum Capital and Rand Swiss, are relative newcomers to the market. Unum Capital, however, has been around for some time as part of the Vunani Group, though recently separated from it. Its biggest client base is the traditional investor, with advice forming a core part of its offering, backed up by wide-ranging research. But it impressed with its comprehensive range of offerings — it is able to cater to all client archetypes and offers full online and telephone-based trading. Besides the standard offerings, it provides access to Kenyan, Nigerian and Zimbabwean stock markets. Unum was also rated the most improved broker.
Rand Swiss, formed only in mid-2015, has put in an excellent performance to take third place. The firm impressed in its debut participation in our survey last year but was hampered because too few of its clients completed the People’s Choice survey — and we highlighted that it was one to watch. This year, with sufficient clients voting, Rand Swiss — which is not a registered stockbroker but holds licences from the Financial Services Board — scored well across all categories.
Standard is the only big player in the top five of the overall rankings, while FNB