If you’re based in New Zealand and wish to buy stocks online, you will need to use a regulated share broker. Most platforms allow you to use an NZ debit/credit card to fund your account, so you can easily buy and sell shares at the click of a button.
With that said, there are dozens of online share brokers that accept NZ residents, so it’s crucial that you do your homework before making a decision.
In this guide, we explore the best 5 New Zealand share brokers and platforms of 2020. We also give you some handy tips on what you need to look out for when choosing a brokerage firm, as well as a walkthrough on the steps required to get started with a share purchase today.
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If you’re just after a quick summary of the best share brokers in NZ, take a look at the list of top-rated brokers below.
- Plus500 – Low-cost CFD trading platform known for its low spreads – CFD Service. Your capital is at risk
- IG – Share dealing broker with over 10,000 shares
- SAXO Bank – Invest in over 19,000 shares
- Trade Station – Broker with great educational resources
- Interactive Brokers – Reputable broker established in 1978
- Macquarie Group – Access to NZ and international shares
- Jarden – Popular NZ-based broker with wealth management services
- Forsyth Barr – Share broker with personalised dealing guidance
- Somerset Smit – Established share broker founded in 1934
In a nutshell, a share broker – otherwise referred to as a share dealing platform or stock broker, allows you to buy and sell shares from the comfort of your home. That is to say, you simply need to open an account with your chosen broker, deposit some funds, and then select which shares you wish to purchase.
The best New Zealand share brokers will give you access to thousands of companies. This will include firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange, and many others. Once the shares have been purchased, there is nothing else to do until you decide to cash them out.
As such, any dividend payments that your chosen shares pay will be applied directly into your brokerage account. This then allows you to re-invest them into other companies, should you choose to. Crucially, you need to ensure that your chosen New Zealand share broker is regulated by a tier-one licensing body like ASIC in Australia or the UK’s FCA.
The online share dealing space is getting more and more competitive – with heaps of brokers now accepting NZ residents. This gives you ample opportunity to find a broker that best meets your investment needs. Although it is always best to compile your own research, below we discuss some of the most popular New Zealand share brokers currently active in the space. Each broker is heavily regulated and accepts several NZ payment methods.
1. Plus500 – Commission-Free Stock Trading CFD Platform
Plus500 is an online platform that allows you to trade share CFDs. In other words, you will not own the underlying asset, as you will merely be speculating on the future value of the stocks. Doing this via stock CFDs at Plus500 comes with a number of benefits. For example, the platform offers commission-free trades and relatively competitive spreads.
This means that you can speculate on the price of the stock CFD in a cost-effective manner. Plus500 also permits margin trading at the platform, so you can buy or sell shares with leverage of up to 1:5.
Additionally, Plus500 is also a good option if you are thinking about short-selling CFDs. This is where you are speculating on the value of the share CFDs going down. In terms of the specifics, Plus500 allows you to open an account in minutes, and minimum deposits start at just £100 ($195 NZD).
Supported payment methods for NZ residents include a debit/credit card, bank account, and Paypal. You won’t need to pay any fees to get money into the platform, nor does Plus500 charge anything for withdrawals.
Plus500AU Pty Ltd (ACN 153301681), licensed by: ASIC in Australia, AFSL 417727, FMA in New Zealand, FSP 486026; Authorised Financial Services Provider in South Africa, FSP 47546.
|Commission||0% (spreads on CFDs)|
|Inactivity fees||$10 per quarter after 3 months inactivity|
- Commission-free CFD provider – only pay the spread
- Thousands of financial instruments across heaps of markets
- Ability to trade stock CFDs with leverage of 1:5
- You can buy or sell a companies Share CFDs if you think its value will go up or down
- Takes just minutes to open an account and deposit funds
- CFDs only
- More suitable for experienced traders
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk
If you’re undecided as to whether you want to buy shares in the traditional sense – or trade them on a short-term basis via stock CFDs, it might be worth considering IG. Once again, this particular broker is headquartered in the UK, but it offers full support for those residing in New Zealand. This means that you will benefit from a trusted reputation that dates all the way back to 1974.
In terms of the fundamentals, the share dealing platform at IG hosts over 10,000 equities. This covers companies from heaps of stock exchanges – both large and small. For example, while the big boys of the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ are hosted, as are firms listed in Canada, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. Best of all, you can buy shares from just £8 ($15 NZD) per stock.
This is reduced down to £3 ($5 NZD) if you place at least three trades per month. If you are looking to use the IG stock CFD department, you will also have access to thousands of companies. You will pay a variable trading fee depending on the marketplace you want to access, and both short-selling and leverage are available. Regardless of the make-up of your investment, IG supports a range of NZ deposit and withdrawal methods.
At the forefront of this is a local debit/credit card or bank account transfer. The platform requires all new users to deposit at least £250, which is about $490 NZD. This can be done via your desktop device or through the IG mobile application. Finally, IG is licensed in several countries, including the UK and Australia.
|Commission||UK shares £3 if more than 3 trades made in the previous month, £8 if 2 or fewer trades
US shares free if more than 3 trades made in the previous month, £10 if 2 or fewer trades
All other shares 0.1% with a minimum of EUR 10
|Inactivity fees||£12 a month after 2 years of inactivity|
- Trusted NZ broker with a long-standing reputation
- Good value share dealing services
- Leverage and short-selling also available
- Spread betting and CFD products
- Access to heaps of international stock markets
- Great research department
- Minimum deposit of £250 ($490 NZD)
- US stocks have a $15 minimum commission
3. SAXO Bank – Best for Investing With Larger Amounts
SAXO Bank is a Denmark-based investment bank that offers fully-fledged share dealing services. It has a highly extensive library of stocks that you can buy at the click of a button. In fact, SAXO Banks lists a whopping 19,000 companies across 37 different stock exchanges. This makes the broker ideal if you are looking to gain exposure to multiple international marketplaces.
When it comes to fees, SAXO Bank charges a variable rate that will ultimately depend on the specific exchange you want to buy shares from. For example, UK equities are charged at 0.10% of your total order size, albeit, this comes at a minimum cost of £10 ($20 NZD). If it’s US stocks like IBM, Apple, and Facebook you are after, this comes out at $0.02 per share – with a minimum charge of $10.
Crucially, this pricing structure is competitive on the proviso that you are trading larger amounts. If you don’t, the minimum commission can make the broker somewhat expensive. You will also need to meet a much higher minimum deposit amount at SAXO Bank, which stands at £500 ($950 NZD). If you are happy to do this, you can deposit funds with your NZ debit/credit card or bank account.
SAXO Bank fees:
|Commission||UK shares 0.10% at a minimum of £10, US shares at $0.02 per share with a minimum of $10|
|Inactivity fees||£25 per quarter after one-quarter of inactivity|
- Ideal if you are looking to invest a larger amount into the stocks space
- More than 19,000 shares listed
- Access to over 37 stock exchanges
- Ability to deposit and withdraw funds with an NZ debit/credit card or bank account
- Holds a fully-fledged investment banking license
- Excellent reputation in the online brokerage arena
- Minimum deposit of £500 ($950 NZD)
- Fees can be expensive if you are trading with smaller amounts
Launched in 1982, TradeStation is a Florida-based broker that is regulated by several US licensing bodies. This includes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Crucially, this means that you will be buying and selling shares in a heavily regulated arena.
In terms of what you can buy, sell, and trade – the broker covers major stock markets in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Once again, this allows you to create a super-diversified portfolio across multiple exchanges. When trading US stocks or ETFs, you will pay a very competitive commission of $0.007 per share.
This comes at a minimum commission of just $1.50. Buying shares in UK companies is also cheap, with the commission rate standing at just 0.12% with a minimum charge of £1.50. European companies will also come at a commission of 0.12%, and the minimum fee stands at 1.75 EUR. You will need to meet a $500 ($775 NZD) minimum deposit at TradeStation, which you can only meet with an NZ bank account. As such, neither debit/credit cards nor e-wallets are supported.
|Commission||UK shares 0.12% at a minimum of £1.50
US shares $0.0007 per share at a minimum of $1.50
All other shares 0.12% with a minimum of £1.50
|Inactivity fees||$50 per year if less than $2,000 average end-of-month equity balance or less than five trades placed|
- Stocks listed from US, UK, European, Asian, and Australian exchanges
- Super-low commission model that starts at just $1.50 per trade
- NZ bank accounts supported
- Heavily regulated in the US by FINRA and the SEC
- ETFs and other financial instruments available
- Does not accept debit or credit cards
- Minimum deposit of $500
While the above three New Zealand share brokers currently lead the way in the share dealing space, there are many others consider.
- Interactive Brokers NZ: Launched way back in 1978, Interactive Brokers is one of the most established share dealing sites in the space. Regulated by reputable licensing bodies like the SEC (US) and FCA, you should have no concerns regarding safety. Although you will have a highly comprehensive list of shares to choose from, pricing is on the high side.
- Macquarie Group Limited: If you are looking for a managed investment service, Hobson Wealth can point you in the right direction. The platform provides access to New Zealand and international shares, ETFs, and more.
- Jarden: Jarden in an NZ-based institution that offers direct brokerage and wealth management services. You will have the capacity to invest in New Zealand and Australian shares, bonds, and even IPOs.
- Forsyth Barr Share Boker: This particular broker offers personalised share dealing guidance. This is because it has a Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) status by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).
- Somerset Smith Partners: Founded in 1934, Somerset Smith Partners is a wealth management provider that also offers brokerage services. As such, you will access to domestic and international equities, as well as financial advice – should you want it.
When it comes to the actual investment process, NZ share broker sites now tailor their services to newbies. The initial process requires you to open an account – which simply needs some personal information such as your full name, home address, and date of birth.
As per strict anti-money laundering laws in New Zealand, you will also need to upload a copy of your passport or driver’s license, alongside a proof of address.
Once you get past the fundamentals – which can be done in less than 10 minutes with new-age brokers like Plus500, you will then be able to deposit some funds.
As we have covered throughout our guide thus far, most brokers will support an NZ debit/credit card or bank account. Some NZ share brokers will also offer support for e-wallets like Paypal. As soon as your brokerage account is funded, you will then have access to shares across several markets. A typical share broker transaction would like the following:
- You sign up with an NZ broker and upload some ID
- You deposit $500 NZD into the broker with your everyday debit card
- You decide to buy $100 NZD worth of shares in Apple
- $100 NZD is subsequently deducted from your brokerage account balance, leaving you with $400 to invest elsewhere
As you can see from the above, not only were you able to buy shares in Apple at the click of a button, but you were only required to purchase $100 NZD worth of stock. As such, although Apple now trades at well over $330 per stock, the best New Zealand share brokers allow you to engage with ‘fractional ownership’.
All New Zealand share brokers will charge a fee for their stock dealing services, so it’s important that you have a firm grasp of what you are paying before signing up.
This might include:
- Share Dealing Charge: This is the fee that you will need to pay to buy and sell shares at your chosen NZ stock broker. This will either come as a variable fee or a flat fee. For example, IG charges a flat fee of £8 ($15 NZD) or £3 ($5 NZD) per trading depending on your account volume. SAXO Bank, however, charges a variable fee with a minimum commission. Other share brokers – such as Plus500, charge no trading commissions or share dealing fees at all!
- Annual Fees: Some share dealing platforms opt for an annual fee alongside a lower trading commission. This is usually charged as a variable percentage against the size of your account balance. For example, if you have $4,000 worth of stocks held at the share broker, and the platform charges 0.5% per year, this amounts to an annual fee of $40.
- Non-Trading Fees: Don’t forget about non-trading fees. For example, IG requires a 0.5% and 1% fee when using Visa or MasterCard, respectively. You also have inactivity fees, which are charged when your account is deemed dormant.
To give you an idea of how much you are likely to pay when trading shares online in New Zealand, check out the NZ share broker fees comparison table below.
NZ Stock Broker Fees
|Charge Per Trade||Annual Fee||Conversion Fee|
|Plus500||0% commission (although CFD spreads apply)||Free||0.50%|
|IG||For US shares, £10 if less than three trades made in the previous month. For all other shares, 0.1% fee at minimum AUD 10||$50 AUD per quarter (less than 3 trades)||0.50%|
|SAXO Bank||From AUD 8||0.12% (minimum AUD 10 per month)||1%|
If you have read our guide up to this point, you will know first-hand that there are generally two options available to you when accessing the stocks and shares space. This covers ‘share dealing’ and ‘stock CFD trading’ – which we unravel in more detail below.
Share dealing is the process of investing in a company in the traditional sense. That is to say, by buying shares in your chosen company, you will own a proportion of the firm. In turn, you will be entitled to stock dividends as and when they are paid, as well as the right to vote in shareholder meetings. Crucially, share dealing is best suited for those of you that wish to buy and hold stocks for a number of years.
Stock CFD Trading
Stock ‘trading’ is somewhat different from that of traditional share dealing, as you will be speculating on the company on a shorter-term basis. This is because you will be looking to make smaller, but more frequent gains.
In order to do this without being hammered by higher spreads and commissions, you will likely be trading stock CFDs. This means that you will not actually own the stocks and thus – will not have a right to dividend payments.
You will, however, be able to trade stocks with leverage (up to 5:1 at most NZ broker sites) – as well as short-sell companies. Ultimately, if you are simply looking to buy equities and sit on your investment for a number of years, you will be better suited for share dealing as opposed to stock trading.
Whether or not your money is safe when using a New Zealand share broker platform will depend on the specific provider. By this, we mean that the regulatory standing of the broker will dictate how safe your investments are. For example, all of the brokers listed on this page hold at least one regulatory license – albeit, most hold several.
For example, the likes of Plus500 is licensed by the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, while TradeStation is regulated with the SEC and FINRA. Each of these regulatory bodies has a stringent reputation in the brokerage space, as they offer safeguards such as:
- All client funds must be held in separate bank accounts from that of the broker’s working capital. In other words, it cannot use your money to cover its own costs.
- All account users must provide one form of a government-issued ID and proof of residency. This counters the risk of fraud and ensures that the platform remains compliant with New Zealand regulations on anti-money laundering.
- Reputable license issuers such as those mentioned above will perform quarterly audits on the broker. Once again, this ensures that you are able to buy shares in a safe environment.
All in all, while individual metrics like fees, commissions, payment methods, and customer support are no doubt important – ensuring that you are using a heavily regulated share broker should be at the forefront of your selection process.
Buying shares in New Zealand as a first-time investor can be a daunting task. With that said, there are now heaps of online share brokers that make the process super easy. Once you have bypassed the initial registration and identification stage, you can easily deposit funds with your local NZ debit/credit card or bank account.
After that, you simply need to select which stocks you wish to buy, and the New Zealand share broker will take care of the rest. Ultimately, just make sure that you spend a bit of time researching the credentials of the platform – especially with regards to its regulatory standing, fee structure, and supported stock exchanges.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
What is a New Zealand share broker?
A share broker - otherwise referred to as a share dealing platform or online stock broker, allows you to buy and sell shares at the click of a button. Once you have opened an account and made a deposit, you will be able to choose from thousands of companies.
Are New Zealand share brokers safe?
This depends on the share broker in question, as not all platforms are heavily regulated. This is why we suggest sticking with platforms that hold a license with the likes of the FCA, ASIC, or CySEC.
Do New Zealand share brokers accept EFTPOS?
If your EFTPOS payment card is issued by Visa, MasterCard, or Maestro - then yes, most New Zealand share brokers will accept it.
What stock exchanges do New Zealand share brokers offer?
Once again, this depends on the share broker in question. Nevertheless, most platforms support major stock exchanges found in the UK and the US. Some brokers will also give you access to companies listed in Australia, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and of course - New Zealand.
Is there a New Zealand stock index that I can invest in?
There certainly is. The NZX 50 Index (NZ50) covers the 50 largest companies listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.