How to invest in the ASX

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 19 Sep 2023

  • Learn about investing in ASX-listed index funds, ETFs, and shares.
  • Compare ASX online brokers and set up your first order.
  • Discover the pros and cons of investing in the ASX.

ASX is an abbreviation for Australian Securities Exchange, formed in 2006 through the merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and Sydney Futures Exchange. Its headquarters are in Sydney. Like most other major global exchanges, it acts as a securities market operator, clearing house and payments facilitator, and provides educational material for investors.

The ASX is a listed company (ASX: ASX), and you can buy shares in it, but ‘investing in the ASX’ usually refers to buying other Australian securities listed on the ASX, which is what this article covers. But before you start, you need to know which types of investment and which broking platforms are available, the step-by-step procedure to follow and the pros and cons to watch out for.

This is your complete guide to investing in the ASX.

What can you invest in?

Ways to invest in the ASX

The most popular types of ASX-listed securities are index funds, ETFs and individual shares.

Index funds

You can’t buy a share of a stock exchange’s entire listing, but the next best thing is to buy units in an index fund which closely mirrors the performance of major companies listed on the exchange, by pooling investors' funds to buy shares in those companies.

Some of the best-known ASX index funds are:

  • SPDR S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: STW). This fund tracks the performance of the S&P ASX 200 index, the 200 largest companies (by market capitalisation) listed on the ASX.
  • SPDR S&P/ASX 200 ESG (ASX: E200). Also tracking the performance of the S&P ASX 200 index, but with special consideration for companies meeting sustainability criteria.
  • SPDR S&P/ASX 50 (ASX: SFY). Tracks the performance of the S&P ASX 50 index.
  • Vanguard Australian Shares Index (ASX: VAS). Tracks the performance of the S&P ASX 300 index.

When you invest in an index fund, the value of your investment will rise and fall almost exactly in line with the index it tracks, and approximately in line with the broader ASX market.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

While index funds are a type of ETF, there are other ASX-listed ETFs that offer broad exposure to companies listed on the ASX without directly tracking an index. ETFs track the performance of a basket of shares, selected by a management group to follow a specific market sector or strategy.

Here are some examples:

  • BetaShares Australian Quality ETF (ASX: AQLT). The fund aims to track 40 Australian companies with a high return on equity, earnings stability and other measures of high quality.
  • VanEck Vectors MSCI Australian Sustainable Equity (ASX: GRNV). A basket of sustainable Australian companies selected by MSCI ESG Research.
  • iShares S & P /ASX Dividend Opportunities ETF (ASX: IHD). Designed to measure the performance of 50 ASX-listed stocks offering high dividend yields and meeting diversification, stability and tradability requirements.
  • BetaShares Australian Resources Sector ETF (ASX: QRE). Diversified exposure to the biggest companies in the Australian resources sector, including BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum and more.

Individual company shares

If index funds and ETFs don’t appeal, you could try investing in the shares of one or several ASX-listed companies. But be aware that this is a more risky form of investment, where significant short-term losses are possible as well as short term gains.

Buying shares in individual companies is best undertaken by investors with a reasonable degree of market knowledge and research capabilities, or investors acting on the advice of an extremely competent broker or other share trading expert.

However, if you do decide to follow this route, some major Australian companies you might consider are BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Fortescue Metal Group Ltd (ASX: FMG), and Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS).

Unsure about what share dealer to use?

Where to invest in the ASX


On website


  • Trade and invest in top financial instruments, including a wide selection of stocks.
  • eToro is regulated by CySec, FCA, and ASIC.
  • Your funds are protected by industry-leading security protocols.
  • Earn up to 5.3% annual interest on your balance.
Saxo Markets

On website

Saxo Markets


  • Invest in 23,500+ stocks from ASX, New York, Hong Kong, and 50+ other global markets.
  • No platform fees, no inactivity fees, and no FX fees on each trade.
  • Analyse, improve and manage your risk using intuitive trading tools.

On website


  • Enjoy low, transparent fees.
  • An option to Autoinvest. Set-and-forget your investment strategy.
  • Simply invest into any ETF from one of Pearler's ETF managers for at least one year, and it's free.
  • Clearing House Electronic Sub-register System (CHESS) sponsored.

On website


  • Open an account with just $100 and start investing today with a $5 flat-free brokerage ($0 on US shares) on share trades.
  • Buy and sell US shares & ETFs with $0 brokerage plus trade unsettled funds.
  • Fund your account in minutes with PayID and enjoy realtime FX transfers for fast US share trading.
Tiger Brokers

On website


  • Available for ASX, US & HK stocks trading, ETFs, and US options trading.
  • Free market data for ASX and US stocks.
  • More accessible investment to all with a demo account.

On website



  • Trade AU & US stocks, ETFs, and Options with $0 commission for the first 30 days.
  • Provides intuitive and powerful advanced charts, multiple technical indicators, and premier Level 2 Advance (Nasdaq TotalView).
  • Regulated by ASIC.


  • Invest from as little as US$5.
  • No deposit or withdrawal fees.
  • Allows you to trade fractional shares.
  • Access to advanced trading tools.


  • Scarcity of instructional resources for investors.
  • Supports AU and US markets only.

On website



  • Trade blue-chip stocks in AU and US markets.
  • Trade multi-markets and multi-products with a lower commission. No custodian fee.
  • Regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Looking for the best trading platform in Australia? Compare options with Finty.

First time investing?

How to invest in the ASX

Step 1: Choose a broker

When you buy shares online, you do it through an intermediary called a broker. There are hundreds of online brokers available, offering various options.

Some key features to look for when choosing an online broker:

  • Low-cost brokerage
  • Easy-to-use trading platform
  • Research and reporting
  • Demo account so that you can practice trading first without risking real money

If you would like to invest in the ASX, you also need to make sure that you choose a broker offering access to the Australian share market. Those listed on this page do.

Step 2: Decide how much you want to invest

You should always have an investment budget based on what you can afford. You can always buy more later if the price drops, or when you have more funds available.

Step 3: Fund your account

Share trading accounts need money added to them to become fully active, but in the early stages, it's a good idea to be cautious about how much you add.

Step 4: Choose between shares, ETFs and index funds (or opt for a combination)

ETFs and index funds are usually diversified across multiple companies, so they typically experience lower price volatility than individual company shares and can be better for long-term investment.

  • Short-term investors hoping for rapid capital gains (but also prepared for losses) may prefer to buy shares.
  • ETFs can often be traded commission-free.

Step 5: Decide your order type

Orders are your method of telling your online broker what sort of trade to make, and how you'd like your money to behave. Depending on the broker you use, you can configure many different kinds of order.

  • A market order is the most straightforward, requiring virtually no setup. Once executed, you’ll get shares at the next market price for the share or fund unit.
  • If you have a specific strategy, then you’ll probably want more options in terms of configuration. Some brokers have highly customisable orders that can be triggered by events, meaning you can buy or sell when your chosen share or fund hits a price target.

Step 6: Place your order

Once you're happy with your strategy and with funds in place, it's time to trade. On most platforms, you can place your order with the click of a button.

Step 7: Monitor your investment

Whether you are investing to gain from speculation on price fluctuations or as a long-term investment, you should keep monitoring the fund’s or company’s performance and its price movements.

Still not sure?

Pros and cons

  • Invest in your own country. Many of the stocks in the ASX are Australian companies.
  • Mirror the market. When the AXS goes up, the value of your investment increases.
  • Lots of choice. There are over 2,000 ASX-listed securities, including both shares and ETFs.
  • Risk spreading available. Diversify your portfolio by choosing an ETF or index fund to reduce volatility.
  • Mirror the market. When the ASX goes down, the value of your investment decreases.