How to find a good stockbroker

Australia has plenty of stockbrokers available, and there’s a flourishing financial services sector in Sydney, Melbourne and beyond. But it’s not always a good idea to simply opt for the first stockbroker you find: from ensuring they offer the instruments you require to being certain that they fit into Australia’s strict regulatory frameworks, there’s a lot to check out. Here, then, are some ways to find the best options.

Industry recognition

The Australian stockbroking sector is a highly connected one. For you as a trader, that is good news, as it means that the research into which brokers are the best – and which aren’t so good – has already been done. A good place to look for this kind of information is the industry press and awards circuit: the Bull’s Stockies awards lists the best stockbrokers in Australia, while reading the business pages of the Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers can also highlight some of the most respected brokers on the market.

Do they offer your stocks?

Different stockbrokers provide different services, so if you have a specific sector or index in mind you should check with the providers you speak to before you sign up to ensure they have your preferred options on offer. If you’re looking to trade the FTSE 100 in London or another global stock exchange, you might find it better to go with a specialist international broker who can advise on the ins and outs of trading in your chosen market.

Check they’re regulated

Once you’ve got a broker in mind, you’re going to need to check that the one you’ve chosen has the appropriate license to offer trading services in Australia. To do that, you can head over to the website of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission – or ASIC – to find out whether there’s been any problems with your chosen broker. You should also be able to find out from the broker’s site whether or not it is regulated in Australia.

If you’ve found what seems like a good deal from a broker, checking that the appropriate regulatory framework is in place can seem like something of a drag. However, it’s important to do this: ASIC’s work is designed to protect traders and their deposits, and its importance shouldn’t be overlooked. On occasion, ASIC will publish lists of financial services firms which it advises against doing business with – and if the firm you like the look of is on this list, you should ensure you avoid it.

Trading stocks is something that many Australians do successfully every single day, often with the help of a skilled broker. But finding the right broker can be easier said than done: from making sure they offer the stocks you require to checking that they’re a recognised member of the industry, there’s plenty to consider when looking for a broker that can meet your needs.

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