Online trading on the stock market has taken off in recent years.
I’ve been an investor in the stock market for some years now.
In this post I’m going to explain how you can get started quickly and easily investing in the stock market directly from your laptop.
It’s really easy to open an online share-broking account. You can be up and running and trading within a short space of time on the stock market of your choice – though for some national stock exchanges there can be residence requirements.
The best services to use for do-it-yourself investors are “execution-only” online sharebroker services. There are now a number of these. I have direct experience with a couple of these – Degiro and Consorsbank..
Degiro is also popular with US-based investors. With the US FATCA regulations it is more involved for US citizens to open accounts with these services, but as far as I know it can still be done.
As I’m based in Europe, my experiences with these services is as a Europe-based investor.
One of the great things about Degiro is that they don’t charge an inactivity fee like many other online share brokers. There are no management or admin fees either.
The actual trading fees charged by Degiro vary according to the national market you are trading in – but their fees are about the lowest of all providers. This makes Degiro a good choice for active traders.
Opening an account with Degiro is relatively straightforward for EU-citizens. You only need to provide your address, some personal information, and a scan of your national identity document or passport (driving licenses aren’t accepted.
For UK nationals they’ve recently started requesting your “NINO” or National Insurance Number as part of the identity verification process. I believe this is to comply with recent financial sector regulation legislation in the UK.
You can also install the Degiro mobile app to assist with the verification process – especially for the identity stage, but it isn’t essential. You can request a staff member to handle the processing manually, but this will normally take a few days.
Degiro is based and primarily regulated in the Netherlands and they seem like a solid outfit.
The other direct sharebroking provider I use is Consors or Consorsbank to use their new name. I registered with them some years ago when they started out and were called Cortal Consors. Back then it was a German-based financial startup.
Since then they’ve grown substantially and are also now a fully fledged online bank. I believe they were taken over by Bank Paribas a few years back.
Consors were actually my first direct sharebroking account. So I’m not up to date on their current registration procedure, but you can find out what’s required on the Consorsbank website.
There are several other direct sharebroking services in the Eurozone area, such as IG, Interactive Investor, and Saxo. However, I don’t have any direct experience of these other providers. Saxo especially seems to have a good customer rating among investors, though I hear they charge a high inactivity fee.
The other point that these other providers tend to charge more than Degiro for trading. So Degiro I would say is the best bet for do-it-yourself investors and they’re the service I’d recommend for traders based in the Euro area as well as in the UK.
Image: Online Trading – courtesy of Richwell Publishing