Is Sharesies the best investing platform in New Zealand?

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 16th July 2021

Sharesies NZ Review
  • Sharesies is an investment platform for buying and selling funds and shares in New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
  • Available only to New Zealand and Australia residents.
  • Auto-investment and fractional share trading for both adult and kid accounts.

Sharesies is an investment platform that offers trading in funds and shares in Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Designed for new investors in Australia and New Zealand, it offers an easy to use website, transparent fee structure, and no required minimum account balance.

It is one of the top platforms in New Zealand, but not the only one. With the likes of Hatch, Stake, Jarden Direct, and Tiger Brokers offering similar trading platforms, is Sharesies the one for you?

Who is Sharesies designed for?

Sharesies is an investment platform targeting new investors looking for a simple way to invest, regardless of how much money they have to put in the market. Currently, over 400,000 investors use Sharesies, who, together, have invested over $1 billion. The company is based in New Zealand and limits their services to New Zealand residents aged 16 and up or Australian residents aged 18 and up who also have a local bank account.

As a Sharesies subscriber, you gain access to invest in thousands of companies and funds in New Zealand, Australia, and in the US. With Sharesies, there's no minimum investment, making investing accessible to everyone.

Who owns them and are they safe?

Sharesies’ priority is to keep your money and investments secure. Sharesies holds your money and investments in Sharesies Nominee Limited and the NZX Depository ‘on bare trust’. If Sharesies Limited ends up in financial difficulty, your money would still be safe because it’s held completely separately in Sharesies Nominee Limited and the NZX Depository.

They maintain detailed records of the balance, investment activity, and investments in your account for easy access and viewing. In addition, Sharesies will never use money or investments held on your behalf for the benefit of the company or any other person. They also get audited annually to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations towards custodial service.

Sharesies is a certified B corporation that balances purpose and profit. They are required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

How Sharesies works

To start investing you will need to sign up on their website. Once you have signed up, pick your subscription package, and start investing.

What can you trade

You can trade shares, managed funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in New Zealand, Australia, or the US.

There's no minimum investment, which is compelling for many less experienced investors. Sharesies also offers fractional share investment options (except for limit orders in US shares). This means rather than having to buy a full share or unit in an investment, you can buy half or any fraction of a share.

Sharesies auto-invest

One of the most popular features is the option to set up an auto-invest instruction that will invest in NZ ETFs and managed funds. Currently, US and Australian shares are not applicable for auto-invest orders though they may be in the future.

You can only have one auto-invest order set up at one time, but they do allow you to include multiple funds in one auto-invest order. The process is simple. If your auto-invest order date falls on a public holiday or weekend the auto-invest order will go through on the next trading day. The minimum amount for an auto-invest order is $5.

Sharesies kids investing accounts

Children can now start their investing journey early with their own account. To configure this, you will need an adult Sharesies account to link to. Although you do not need to be the parent, you will need to have the child’s details including their IRD number and ID. By opening a kids account you become a ‘trustee’ for investing and managing the account.

How dividends are handled

If a company you've invested in decides to pay out dividends, the amount of money you get will depend on how many units or shares you own on the date that dividends are calculated, known as the ex-dividend date.

It is worth noting that not all investments pay dividends. If a dividend is being paid, this usually happens around 14 days after the ex-dividend date. Tax is also deducted on dividends. If you're eligible for a dividend, Sharesies will let you know on the ex-dividend date and the amount of dividends less taxes will then be paid into your online wallet.

Fees

Investing feesresies you need to consider the costs.

  • Investing fees. Fees are charged by the fund manager. The fees are different for each fund, so you should check the individual fund’s information before you decide to invest.
  • Subscription costs. Besides the fund fees, you may have to pay a subscription cost. You can subscribe annually and pay $30 per year, or you can pay monthly which will be based on your portfolio value. This option is ideal if you are looking to invest more than $3000 per year.
    • Portfolio value of $50 or less: $0
    • Portfolio value up to $3,000: $1.50 per month
    • Portfolio value over $3,000: $3 per month
  • Card payment fees. When you top up your wallet to invest, there are associated card fees. When you top up with a credit or debit card, or buy a Sharesies Gift (like a gift card), they apply a card processing fee of $0.18 + 2.65% to your top-up amount.
  • Exchange fees. Sharesies currently charges a 0.4% exchange fee when you change your NZ dollars into US or Australian dollars, or vice versa. You do the currency conversion in your Sharesies account before you buy or sell shares. You can only trade on the US markets with US dollars.
  • Management fees. There’s a management fee built into the price of ETFs and managed funds.
  • Admin fees. If you want to transfer out of Sharesies that will currently cost you $5 per investment. Sharesies classes this as an admin cost.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • No minimum investment amount (except for $5 minimum for an auto invest order).
  • Ideal for new investors because of the friendly design and transparent structure.
  • Offers fractional shares, making it possible to invest in companies that would otherwise be too expensive.
  • Kids accounts enable under 18s to get invested and benefit from long-term growth.

Cons

  • Fees are relatively higher than competitors, but still lower than incumbent brokers.
  • Limited to New Zealand and Australian investors.
  • No mobile app (yet).

Alternatives

There are alternatives to Sharesies such as Hatch, Stake, and InvestNow. Companies like Sharesies and InvestNow let you invest in many funds without a minimum investment. While Sharesies charges monthly or annual subscription fees, if you’re a member of InvestNow you can invest in similar funds with no annual fee.

Comparisons

See how Sharesies compares with other trading platforms in New Zealand.

FAQs

Can I transfer shares to Sharesies from another broker?

Yes, you can. You can now transfer shares you own in and out of Sharesies.

How old do you need to be to sign up for Sharesies?

You need to be at least 16 to open a Sharesies adult account in New Zealand and at least 18 years old to open an account in Australia unless you’re opening a child account on behalf of someone else.

How do I deposit funds into my account?

You can deposit money into your account, called topping up your wallet, via bank deposit, a Sharesies gift card, or a debit or credit card.

Topping up your wallet by credit/debit card is almost instant while if you top up your wallet via bank transfer this could take a few days depending on your bank. The good part though is that Sharesies will send you an email notification when the money is in your Wallet.

What is the minimum deposit required?

There’s usually no minimum. If setting up auto-invest, there’s a minimum investment amount of $5.

Does Sharesies have real time stock pricing quotes?

Quotes on the Sharesies web page are delayed by up to 20 minutes. Bear in mind that this information is from third-party sources, including independent market quotations. If you’re dealing with managed funds the actual price is set by the managed fund provider at the time the order is completed.

How long does it take to withdraw funds from Sharesies?

It can take a couple of days to process a withdrawal request. For added security reasons if the withdrawal amount is over a certain amount, Sharesies will send a text confirmation to the mobile phone number on your Sharesies account for additional security checks.

How does Sharesies make money?

Sharesies makes money from a subscription fee and other management and admin fees.

  • Investors pay transaction fees when buying or selling some investments.
  • Fund providers may pay Sharesies a rebate to have their funds available on Sharesies.
  • They earn interest from the money in your wallet.
  • They make a small amount when you convert currency.

Verdict

Sharesies is ideal for smaller scale investors who want access to US and Australian shares as well as shares in NZ. With no required minimum balance, no minimum trade amount, fractional share trading, and an easy to use website, Sharesies makes investing easy for everyone. However, if you are an active trader, their relatively higher fee structure may make it less appealing to alternatives such as Hatch or InvestNow.