Is SelfWealth the best trading platform in Australia?

By   |   Verified by Yvonne Taylor   |   Updated 28th August 2021

Finty Review SelfWealth
  • Trade in Australian and US shares and other listed investments for a flat fee of $9.50 per trade.
  • No other fees payable for a basic account.
  • Access a Premium account, including shaping your portfolio to mirror the holdings of successful investors, free for 90 days.

SelfWealth is a low-cost online brokerage service, mainly for investors with some market experience. It’s flat-fee pricing structure will particularly appeal to anyone planning higher-value trades and wishing to avoid fees calculated as a percentage of the traded amount.

If you’ve already dipped your toe in share trading, SelfWealth could offer you a low-cost platform to access not only Australian listed investments but also US markets. It has plenty to offer the seasoned investor (for a monthly fee) but it may also work for relative beginners, who get to look over the shoulders of successful investors and copy what they are doing in a 90-day free trial.

We can help you find out what’s involved, so that you can decide if it’s the right platform for your needs.

What is SelfWealth?

SelfWealth is an online brokerage service, officially SelfWealth Ltd, established in 2012 and Australian owned and operated.

It offers low-cost, flat-fee share and other investment trading in both Australia and the US, with no other commissions, and no monthly fees unless you opt for a premium account.

Who is SelfWealth designed for?

In just a few short years, SelfWealth has built a client base of 60,000 investors.

SelfWealth accounts can be opened by individuals (or groups of up to three individuals in a joint account), companies and trusts (e.g. a family trust or SMSF).

It’s squarely aimed at investors who probably already have experience in trading shares and other holdings, but baulk at the large percentage-of-trade-value commissions charged by many traditional and online brokers.

But even those with little sharemarket experience can benefit from access to the SelfWealth Community. For the first 90 days of your membership you can follow other SelfWealth members (they’re protected by a nickname or alias) who are successful investors, and see what’s in their portfolio. You can choose to optimise your own portfolio based on the holdings of these top performers. However, after the first 90 days you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription to continue accessing this information.

SelfWealth for kids

There’s no such thing as being too young to start on your investment journey. With that in mind, SelfWealth has made it possible for your children to have their very own trading accounts. You – or your child’s grandparents – can open a share trading account, with one or more adults as trustees and the child as the beneficiary.

You can start trading on their behalf with as little or as much as you wish, and add to it whenever you like. Holding shares for the long term could result in a significant nest egg to help fund their education or first home deposit, and older children can participate in investment decisions – choosing investments which align with their interests or ideals. Kids of all ages will learn the importance of having financial goals and saving for the future.

When they turn 18, shares held in the trustee account will be transferred into their own name.

How to open a kid’s SelfWealth account

Consulting an accountant about the possible tax implications is recommended before you begin.

The application process is very similar to that for opening a standard account, with just an extra ID requirement in the form of the child’s birth certificate:

  1. Sign into your own SelfWealth account.
  2. Click on the avatar at top right and choose ‘Settings’.
  3. Click ‘Open an Additional SelfWealth Trading Portfolio’ and ‘Start Application’.
  4. Select ‘Kids (Minor) and follow the prompts.
  5. Supply child’s birth certificate or birth certificate extract when required.
SelfWealth

On SelfWealth's website

Brokerage Fee

$9.50

Tradable Assets

ETFs, Shares

Tradable Indices

ASX, NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Open an individual, company, trust, SMSFs or joint account for free.
  • Provides commission-free trading – you'll never pay more than $9.50 brokerage and there are no account fees.
  • Trade with confidence with free trading tools, including market depth and live pricing.

How does SelfWealth work?

When you sign up you will be allocated an ANZ cash account, in which you deposit cash to fund your trading on the ASX. Trades are carried out by OpenMarkets, a large retail stockbroker and are CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Subregister System) sponsored using your own HIN (Holder Identification Number). That’s a lot of acronyms, but it basically means that the ASX is recording your shareholdings, and you are the beneficial owner of them, rather than having them held in a joint custodian account.

You can buy minimum amounts of $500 worth of each stock, or smaller amounts if you already hold a ‘marketable parcel’ worth more than $500 in the stock you’re buying. And the maximum amount you can buy is only limited by the funds you have in your trading account.

All trading orders have the option to be set to trade at the current market price, or at a buying or selling price limit set by you.

If you want to trade in US shares you’ll need to transfer cash from your ANZ AUD bank account to a USD bank account. There’s a currency conversion charge of 0.6% payable, which is very competitive.

How much does SelfWealth cost?

There’s a flat fee, payable on each trade, of AUD9.50 for Australian trades and USD9.50 for US trades. So, whether your trade is for as little as $500 or as much as $1 million, you’ll never pay more than $9.50.

There are two account types: a basic, free account, where there are no other commission or account-keeping fees beyond the $9.50 per trade, or a SelfWealth Premium account which has an additional $20 per month subscription fee.

The features of the two account types are:

SelfWealth Free

  • $9.50 trades on Aussie and US stocks
  • $0 account-keeping fee
  • Stock analysis
  • Live pricing information

SelfWealth Premium

  • $9.50 trades on Aussie and US stocks
  • $20 per month subscription fee
  • Stock analysis
  • Live pricing information
  • Detailed stock reports
  • Stock screener
  • Follow other SelfWealth members
  • Target portfolio option
  • Portfolio analysis
  • Unlimited news articles

What can you trade with a SelfWealth account?

You can trade in both Australian investments (ASX-listed shares. ETFs, property company shares, investment company shares and fixed income debt securities) and US investments (all major US exchanges including NYSE and NASDAQ).

But there is no option to trade in other countries, such as the UK and Japan.

How do I sign up?

Open a free trading account online, or download the app. All you need to sign up is to provide an email address and a password, your real name and date of birth, an account nickname (for the purposes of anonymity when comparing investors’ performance), contact details, and 100 points of ID (driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport, &c).

Once your account is approved you’ll be allocated a cash trading account with ANZ. You can then proceed to open a USD trading account if you wish.

On SelfWealth's website

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Low, flat trading fee. Pay only $9.50 per trade, regardless of size.
  • No other fees unless you opt for a SelfWealth Premium account.
  • Stock analysis and live pricing are included in the free account.
  • Market price trades and set price trades both available.
  • Free access to SelfWealth Premium for the first 90 days only.
  • SelfWealth Premium account allows members to follow successful investors and shape their own portfolio based on the success of others.
  • Holdings are beneficially owned under your own HIN, not in a joint custodian account.
  • Secure trading account funds held in an ANZ bank account.
  • Kids can have their own share trading account, with adult trustee(s).

Cons

  • SelfWealth Premium account is not free. If you choose this option you’ll need to pay $20 per month after the first 90 days of free access.
  • Limited to trading in Australia and the US, rather than a wide range of international markets.

Alternatives to SelfWealth

SelfWealth may not suit you if you are a complete newbie to trading investments, or prefer a more traditional broker, or want access to markets in other countries besides Australia and the US.

Check out these alternatives before you make up your mind:

  • Stake. US share trading for Australians, commission-free, but foreign exchange and funds withdrawal fees are payable.
  • Superhero. Trade ASX-listed ETFs for free, ASX-listed shares and other investment products for a flat $5 fee.
  • Spaceship Voyager. For non-expert investors who want to leave the strategy to experts. Choose one of three portfolios, fee-free for balances under $5,000, 0.05% or 0.10% fee for higher balances.
  • CommSec. Access ASX and a wide range of international markets. Fees start at $10 for low-value Australian trades, but rise quickly for larger trade amounts and international markets.
  • CMC Markets. Both ASX and a wide range of global markets available. ASX fees start low and get even lower if you make a lot of low-value trades each month, but percentage fees for high-value trades, and international market fees, are higher.
  • Pearler. A trading platform designed for long-term investors. Low transaction fees start at $9.50. Automated investment plan available.
  • Stockspot. Invest in Australian and global ETFs by choosing a portfolio type suited to the amount of risk you want to take. $5.50 monthly fee payable for account balances of $2,000-$10,000, more for higher balances.

To compare the fees and features of brokers like SelfWealth, check out our trading platform comparison.