The broker scores
ABSA STOCKBROKERS & PORTFOLIO
management has been operational for six decades and caters to every level of investor. It offers a secure trading platform with up-to-date information and access to the stock market.
The group has been putting in a lot of work to widen its appeal to clients. It now offers direct exposure to shares such as Apple and Google, and through its World Trader facility clients can go long or short in selected ETFs that track US indices. Absa is focusing on attracting and retaining young savers.
Educational videos are available for this market, as well as innovative, cheap products such as tax-free savings accounts and ETFs. The bank fares especially well on responsiveness and transparency. E-mail queries are answered professionally and swiftly, followed up with phone calls.
It appears to be meeting its goal of offering an inexpensive stockbroking service. Almost 80% of clients say the service is affordable or very affordable. Clients tend to remain loyal: 48% have been with it for more than five years. And 28% believe service has improved.
THIS FIRM PRIDES ITSELF ON offering traditional stockbroking combined with value-for-money offerings. Clients have access to phone-in and online dealing services with access to portfolio managers.
In the past year Afrifocus has been awarded a Category 1 and 2 FSP licence, enabling it now to offer a more holistic service including private stockbroking, full discretionary portfolio management and wealth management.
The firm says offshore investing is becoming increasingly important to clients and it provides this through unit trusts as well as through single stocks on the Velocity platform.
A comprehensive product range is offered, including CFDs. The firm also provides research and 26% of clients say they use it extensively in making investment decisions.
More than half the client base consists of traditional investors who are older than 35 and are regularly saving from their incomes. Almost three-quarters place trades telephonically, confirming the firm’s old-school values. Also, personalised service is exceptionally important to clients — almost 80% say they have met a representative in person, while 89% have a dedicated stockbroker who assists them with trading. Clients are largely satisfied. One says: “I am a small trader. Despite this, my stockbroker has been proactive in assisting me and providing me with the information that I need. Overall, I am extremely satisfied.”
BP BERNSTEIN CONSIDERS itself a niche stockbroker with services still based on the traditional advice-based stockbroking model. The firm caters particularly well to traditional investors, ensuring that they can choose execution, discretionary or advice- based services. Bespoke mandates are also offered, and chartered financial analysts can assist clients.
Recently BP Bernstein struck a broker agreement with DMA (formerly Saxo Capital Markets SA), which executes international investments. The firm also offers equity trading, CFD trading, ETNs, ETFs, Satrix products and structured products.
Active day traders make up a small percentage of the firm’s client base but are nevertheless well looked after. Clients are continuously informed of their positions and are provided with trade ideas and articles.
More than 80% of the firm’s clients chose it based on recommendations by acquaintances, a clear indication of client satisfaction. Clients are also exceptionally loyal — 88% have been with the firm for more than five years.
THIS EXECUTION-BASED FIRM strives to provide clients with affordable, high-quality online access to local and international derivatives markets.
Day traders have the necessary tools for technical analysis and efficient execution, as well as the ability to implement algorithmic trading. CFDs are offered and DWT Securities is an agent for Velocity.
Personalised service is the key. Care is taken to provide clients with sufficient platform training and education regarding financial products and how they work. Trade analyses are provided daily.
Clients are seasoned traders and almost three-quarters say they don’t need a dedicated trader to help them with their trading. The clients are a happy lot and their rankings propelled DWT to the winner’s podium in the coveted People’s Choice award.
Almost 60% of clients believe that the firm’s service has improved over the past year and 57% indicate that they are extremely likely to recommend DWT to friends and family. Clients say the firm provides everything they expect from a stockbroker.
EASYEQUITIES AIMS TO MAKE trading and investing fun — and less daunting — for the average person. It differentiates itself by providing a friendly and rewarding user experience that builds trust through transparency and affordability.
Investor confidence is built through content that is educational and entertaining. Clients are engaged through shared experiences and strong storytelling. The firm’s colourful and lively website attracts young investors through infographics and by speaking their language. EasyEquities is accruing new clients at a healthy rate — almost 90% have been with the firm for less than three years.
In the past year EasyEquities has introduced a dollar-based US offering that allows clients to invest in international markets. It also launched EasyFX, enabling clients to easily transfer money from their rand account into their US-dollar account, for easy access to US markets.
Clients’ responses are in line with the firm’s objectives — 67% say the cost of the overall service they receive is very affordable. One client says: “I’m a big supporter of EasyEquities because they made accessing the stock market easy and enjoyable.”
IT’S IMPORTANT TO FNB SECURITIES to cater to all types of investor — from the independent tech-savvy types who prefer to control their own investments, to those who want personalised service with access to investment professionals.
In the past year it has become a market participant on the ZAR X platform, introduced an automated solution for elective corporate actions and overhauled its website. It launched PowerTrader, which makes it easier for independent financial advisers to manage clients’ portfolios. It introduced its own CFD trading platform and clients can now view their CFD and equity portfolios simultaneously online.
Almost 90% of FNB clients say they are satisfied with the range of securities and asset classes available.
A wide range of research is offered, including fundamental analysis of JSElisted shares, and 29% of clients indicate that they use the research extensively when making investment decisions.
Overall satisfaction with service is excellent, say 46% of clients.
GT247.COM’S UNIQUE SELLING point is that it makes trading easy, accessible and affordable, while still offering a full suite of services that include free research and access to a trading team that provides telephone execution as well as market advice.
GT247 and EasyEquities are different divisions of the same company. Innovation is part of the culture and GT247 is one of the few brokers to offer cryptocurrencies, along with CFDs, commodities, local and international indices and more than 65 currency pairs. Mobile, desktop and webbased platforms are offered and daily market podcasts, blogs, reviews and educational notes are value-added services.
Most of the clients are active day traders and they are well catered for. Traders have access to the GT Private Broking desk which can assist them in decisions and market requirements. The MT5 platform, which incorporates an algorithmic trading solution, allows clients to duplicate other GT247.com clients’ trades.
GT247.com’s clients are pleased — 63% rate the user-friendliness of the trading platform as excellent, while 64% have the same opinion regarding the value for money they receive.
THIS WELL-ESTABLISHED FIRM considers itself to be the largest CFD provider in the world in terms of active traders.
The firm does not provide advice but offers market analyses, research and other tools at no cost. These include Autochartist, an algorithmic charting tool that provides trade insights across asset classes, a database of global ETF fact sheets and weekly and daily newsletters.
IG specialises in active day traders who have access to four trading platforms. It has its own web-based trading platform and offers an advanced DMA platform, called L2 Dealer, to sophisticated traders. MT4 and ProRealTime are available as third-
party trading platforms. Many new developments have been introduced in the past year. IG now offers seven cryptocurrencies. Educational resources have been overhauled and the IG Academy has been launched to ensure that clients at all levels have access to expert knowledge.
Client comments are overwhelmingly positive. One says: “IG is excellent overall. They have an amazing mobile app. The charting is great and their service is very good.”
THIS ADVICE-BASED FIRM PROVIDES full discretionary portfolio management for local and global share portfolios, and prides itself on the personalised service it offers.
Enhanced tax reporting has been developed for client portfolios in the past year and the firm will soon launch its nextgeneration client website.
The client base consists of sophisticated executives who need a minimum NAV of R1m to be considered. They can invest in managed long-term share portfolios. Clients’ retirement funds are managed in a segregated share portfolio to offer a comprehensive, compulsory investment service. Furthermore, the firm provides an international investment service through its global, flexible unit trust. It aims to create long-term wealth for clients through capital growth and dividends by utilising its core stock-picking skills. Independent’s goal is to outperform the benchmark and peer group average without assuming additional risk.
MOMENTUM SECURITIES CATERS TO all client types but has a strong focus on traditional investors. The firm is a division of the MMI Group and can draw on group resources to provide solutions and products, including local and international offerings and platforms.
Recently it introduced a Momentum Securities listed note to facilitate an affordable offshore exposure vehicle for clients. The firm has also partnered with Julius Baer, a Swiss multinational private bank, to facilitate a high-end, holistic private wealth management service for high net worth clients.
Young savers have access to tax-free savings accounts, as well as the new offshore ETN. The firm provides derivatives, CFDs, single stock futures and an execution-only desk to active day traders.
Momentum’s clients prefer a personalised service, and the firm is able to provide this. More than half of its clients have met a representative from the firm in person and 62% have a dedicated stockbroker who assists them with their trading.
PSG WEALTH AIMS TO assist clients in making better investment decisions by focusing on four key areas: advice, research, managed relationships and a comprehensive range of products.
The firm places an especially high premium on research. Its investment research team, made up of equity and fund analysts, produces a wide range of research that includes ad hoc trade ideas and market updates that are sent daily, as well as economic reports that are sent weekly, monthly and quarterly. Clients value this research and more than 30% use it extensively when making investment decisions.
PSG recently acquired the 28E Capital client base, as well as its staff with a combined century of stockbroking experience. 28E excelled in People’s Choice rankings in previous editions of the Top Stockbroker survey.
PSG has its own trading platform that
It has invested in systems, solutions and companies to enhance its service delivery
allows clients to trade securities and Lisp products (linked investment service providers). This platform also provides a digital portal for financial advice and a risk profiler, and can generate personal finance reports for clients.
PSG aims to meet the needs of a wide spectrum of investors, ranging from the novice who just started saving to ultra-high net worth individuals. Almost 40% of clients believe PSG’s service has improved over the past year and 90% are likely to recommend it to acquaintances.
RAND SWISS IS A RELATIVELY young firm, but since its inception in 2015 it has put together a full-service local and offshore offering. It also has a strong research capability and provides daily morning notes to active traders as well as fundamental notes, economic notes and trade ideas.
Rand Swiss says the high number of financial professionals who use it as their preferred stockbroker validates their claim to be a low-cost, high-quality service firm.
Clients get a single point of contact through which they can access all major markets.
Rand Swiss provides direct market access and places a high premium on educational assistance to clients. It hosts monthly educational workshops as well as ad hoc events and webinars. A library of tutorial videos is available to clients.
In the past year the firm has focused on expanding its affluent client base. It is fleshing out its private client accounts with more features and high-end products suitable only to high net worth clients.
THIS ADVICE-BASED FIRM TAKES great care in selecting appropriate solutions or portfolios for clients, whether model or bespoke. Helping the client to choose a suitable solution within their means is a priority for Sasfin, and it regards the advice clients receive as critical.
The firm has introduced innovations in the past year. Its website has been revamped and new online tools have been introduced. It has also invested in systems, solutions and companies to enhance its service delivery and expand its solutions.
Data analytics have been improved and now incorporate internal dashboards. It says it is now able to better understand its client composition, and this ensures that decisions are made aligned to client needs. Sasfin also offers carry accounts, a mechanism that allows clients to borrow capital against their portfolios without having to sell the shares in their portfolios.
The firm acquired 100% of SIPP Investments this year. SIPP, which incorporates Sasfin Securities’ solutions, is an SA technology-driven business with managed portfolio tools, calculators and products for retail clients and wealth advisers.
Sasfin has loyal clients who prefer a personalised service. Almost threequarters have been with the firm for more than five years and more than 90% have a dedicated stockbroker.
OPERATING FOR THREE DECADES, Sharenet’s model is built on four foundations: value for money, an innovative and relevant trading platform, the reliable provision of accurate financial data, and access to quality trading tools and market research.
In the past year the firm instituted an extensive website and brand overhaul and introduced many new services. These include advice-based accounts, managed share portfolios, managed ETF solutions, an RMB bespoke note product and international securities. Sharenet has also launched a new app with online and live trading capabilities and portfolio views.
The firm caters well to all types of investors, but active day traders especially have ample choice. Affordable trading is offered and products include CFDs, ETFs equities, shares and index futures. Clients also have access to live price data, technical analysis, trading courses and cryptocurrency seminars.
Sharenet is satisfying clients: almost 60% rate their overall satisfaction levels as excellent while 63% say the firm’s service has improved over the past year.
One client says: “From the beginning my experience with Sharenet has always been great. More impressively, the service has improved over time, and I marvel at its ability to innovate and up the game without sacrificing its values.”
ANOTHER STELLAR PERFORMANCE puts Standard Bank OST/Stockbroking on the winner’s podium as the overall Top Stockbroker of the Year again. A combination of excellent client support, a wide range of available instruments and trading tools and affordability ensures this win.
Standard OST offers a self-directed offering for clients who wish to manage their portfolios themselves, as well as a fully advisory service for clients who want to take a more hands-off approach. All offerings are available for local and offshore markets.
New developments include UCount tiering, which ensures that clients get more value by being rewarded for the trades they make. Clients are able to redeem their additional UCount points into their tax-free savings accounts or use them to buy items at the UCount Rewards Online Mall.
Standard OST’s Webtrader platform enables clients to invest in a range of sophisticated offshore financial instruments across various international stock exchanges. The platform gives clients access to trade shares and ETFs on 31 international exchanges, and they can leverage their investments with CFDs on more than 5,600 stocks.
The bank caters exceptionally well to all client types but puts in a special effort to instil a culture of saving in young people. Clients in this segment can open an Auto Share Invest or tax-free savings account, which allows them to invest as little as R250 a month into a select list of shares or ETFs at a 0.25% brokerage rate.
Free educational courses and material are available to help young savers understand investment products.
THIS ALL-ROUNDER PRIDES ITSELF on its ability to cultivate personal client relationships and providing world-class trading platforms and thought leadership content from skilled professionals.
The firm introduced innovations this year, including a research blog and an outbound research service, a wealth management team, an improved online real-time chat environment and cryptocurrency trading.
Unum provides direct market access and a wide range of instruments that includes pan-African trading, foreign exchange and commodity trading and offshore options.
The firm caters to all types of clients, but its biggest client segment is traditional investors. This group is offered hedging strategies, asset allocation strategies and model or bespoke portfolios.
Almost 90% of Unum’s clients say the firm’s service has improved in the past year, a factor — along with its new services — that propelled it to win the Most Improved Broker award.
All clients indicate they are most likely to recommend the firm to acquaintances.