DIY Investing in Funds and Shares in New Zealand: Popular Investment Platforms for Kiwis

Investing is an excellent way to grow your wealth over time- and this is especially true with shares. But where do you begin- which investing service or platform should you use? How do you start “do it yourself investing”.

I am going to introduce you to some of the best services and platforms to invest with as a DIY investor in New Zealand that you can use for DIY investing and DIY share trading. You may already be using one of these services, and that’s great, but it’s good to know what services are available to you.

Before we get started, you need to know that investing in shares is a long term pursuit. If you have less than 5 to 10 years to invest your money, then shares are probably not for you. Share markets can go up and down in a short amount of time. This increases the risk of losing money when investing for only a few years.

A better alternative for short term investments would be a term deposit or a bank saving account. That way, your money is invested and earn interest, but it is also easily accessible if needed.

Now that’s covered, let’s look at the best platforms to use as a do it yourself investing in New Zealand. To jump ahead to any service that you are interested in click below;



InvestNow

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Fund Platform
Minimum Investment:$50
Service Fees:$0
What InvestNow Offers:Managed funds, Index Funds, both for New Zealand and international investments
Suitable for:Suitable for all DIY investors. Investnow provides easy online access to over 160 funds at a low minimum investment amount with automatic regular investing available. Offers the easiest direct access to Vanguard funds

InvestNow is a Wellington-based investment platform. They are great if you are looking for a diverse range of fund (more than 100) ranging from 0% to 2.7%. Both active and passive funds. It’s a great place to start as it has a low entry point with no fees to use their platform. They offer funds from some of the largest fund managers in New Zealand such as AMP, Smartshares, Pie funds, and Vanguard and iShares funds. A great platform for DIY index fund investing.

They also offer term deposits from major banks such as ANZ, BNZ, CCB, Heartland, and SBS- so you can shop around for better term deposit rates without having to open accounts with each separate bank.

Investnow is personally what I am using for the bulk of my investing.

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Sharesies

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Fund/Share Platform
Minimum Investment:$50
Membership Fees:$0 for under $50
$1.5/month between $50 and $3,000
$3/month for over $3,000
OR $30 per year
Transaction Fee:0.5% for orders up to $3000
0.1% for orders over $3000
What Sharesies Offers:Managed funds, ETFs and individual shares
Suitable for:Suitable for all DIY investors and DIY share trading. Sharesies provides easy online access to the New Zealand share market and provides several index funds

Sharesies is a Wellington-based investment platform. Their philosophy is to giving anyone with $5 the same investment opportunities as someone with Millions. They offer a range of funds and companies to invest in. ETFs and individual companies directly on the NZX. That’s access to over 170 New Zealand companies.

Sharesies runs a subscription fee to use their platform, starting at $1.50 per month to use its platform for balances over $50.

With a wide range of NZ shares and overseas funds, Sharesies is a great platform for DIY index fund investing and DIY share trading.

Soon- Sharesies will also give you access to the US market



Simplicity

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Fund Manager
Minimum Investment:$1000
Membership Fees:$20 per year
Fund Fees0.1% – 0.31%
What Simplicity Offer:5 funds (Conservative, Balanced, Growth, NZ Share, NZ Bond)
Suitable for:Suitable for all DIY investors. Simplicity provides easy access to a range of set and forget funds either though Kiwisaver or as a DIY investor

Simplicity is an Auckland based fund provider. I say fund provider because Simplicity believes in index investing. Their funds are mage up of different index funds to match your investment profile (Conservative, Balanced, Growth, NZ Share, NZ Bond). Simplicity is probably better known as a KiwiSaver provider, but they also offer their fund to individuals.

They are a Not-for-profit fund manager, have some of the lowest fees around and 100% online. They have some of the lowest fees around because the majority of their funds are invested in Vanguard Index funds– which are also known to have very low fees.

And 15% of all fees received by Simplicity goes to the Simplicity charitable trust. And they believe in ethical investing.



Kernel Wealth

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Fund Manager
Minimum Investment:$10
Membership Fees:$0 for less than $100
$3 per month for $100+
Fund Fees0.39% for under $25,000
0.29% for over $25,000
What’s on Offer:3 New Zealand focused Index funds (NZX20, NZ commercial property, NZ level 9)
Suitable for:Suitable for all DIY investors. Kernel provides access to three index funds with dividend reinvestment as a DIY investor

Kernel Wealth is an Auckland based investment fund manager. They believe in the power of index funds, which offer you lower fees.

Kernel Wealth has built some unique PIE funds for the New Zealand Market. They offer 3 passively managed index funds.

  • NZX20 Fund: Invests in companies listed on the NZX and is designed to track the S&P/NZX 20 Index- the largest 20 companies on the NZX
  • NZ Level 9 Fund: Invests in financial products listed on the NZX and is designed to track the S&P/NZX Emerging Opportunities Index
  • NZ Commercial Property Fund: Invests in financial products listed on the NZX and is designed to track the S&P/NZX Real Estate Select Index

Kernel wealth is great for anyone wanting to set and forget invest in the NZ market. You can set up a regular deposit and auto invest which takes advantage of dollar cost averaging. And there is talk of expanding their fund offering in the future.



Hatch

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Broker
Minimum Investment:$1
Currency Exchange Fees:0.5%
Trade Fees:$3 USD per trade or,
$0.01 per share for trades over 300 shares
What’s on Offer:US individual shares, managed funds, and ETFs including Vanguard and iShares from Blackrock
Suitable for:Suitable for DIY investors and DIY share trading wanting access to US share market including managed funds and ETFs with very low fees starting at 0.03%.

Hatch is Kiwi Wealth’s digital investment platform, which makes them 100% Kiwi owned.

Hatch gives you easy and affordable access to the US share markets by partnering with DriveWealth, a US broker-dealer and member of SIPC. They can give you direct access to over 3500 companies and ETFs, which include many of the big ETF names like Vanguard and iShares by Blackrock– with fees starting at 0.03%.

There is no minimum you need to invest. And any money that you don’t invest with will earn interest in a low-risk cash deposit offering a return of around 1%. And any dividends that you receive can either be paid back into your account in USD.

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Stake

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Broker
Minimum Investment:$1
Currency Exchange Fees:1%
Membership Fee:Starter: $0
Unlimited: $9 per month
Black$19 per month
Trade Fees:Unlimited free trades
What’s on Offer:US individual shares, managed funds, and ETFs including Vanguard and iShares from Blackrock
Suitable for:Suitable for experienced DIY investors and DIY share trading wanting access to the US share market including managed funds and ETFs with very low fees starting at 0.03%.

Stake is a relative newcomer to the NZ investor market. They can give you easy direct access to the US share markets. Similar to Hatch, they have partner up with DriveWealth. You can get access to over 3,500 US Stocks and ETFs through their platform.

Stake offers unlimited commission free trading and access advanced order types. They execute your trades in real time. An you can buy fractional shares. They even let you trade on sell-trade funds before they settle.

Since stake is registered as an overseas company, meaning that they are not regulated by the NZ financial markets authority. They are fully licensed by regulators around the world, including in the UK, Australia and the USA.



Superlife

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Fund Manager/ Fund Platform
Minimum Investment:$1
Fund Fees:From 0.44% to 0.63%
Membership Fee:$12 per year
What’s on Offer:Smartshare ETFs and index funds. Superlife managed age step funds, Superlife Kiwisaver funds
Suitable for:Suitable for DIY investors wanting a set and forget approach to their investments. Superlife offers Age Step funds, which is a range of funds designed for your age.

Superlife offers you over 40 funds including a lifecycle investment option called Age Steps. They believe in a passive investment approach achieves a better long term result. The funds the offer invest in a range of index funds issued by Smartshares. 

  • SuperLife Age Steps: Sets investment strategy for you based on your age and maybe suitable if you are saving for retirement.
  • Ethica: A socially responsible ‘balanced’ fund.
  • Managed funds: Five funds that allow you to choose a fund based on your risk-return profile- these are the same as Superlife Kiwisaver funds-
  • Sector and ETF funds: 34 funds that allow you to take control and create your own investment strategy.

Superlife has some neat tools too. You can choose weather to re-invest your fund’s income back into the fund, or you can select it to invest in teh NZ cash fund. The latter is a good option if you are drawing down on your investments.

They also provide the ability for your funds to be re-balanced automatically. This will ensure that your portfolio will maintain the same risk profile over time. They only rebalance from higher volatility funds to lower volatility funds. So they will rebalance from a share fund when the fund is perfoming better than a bond fund, but they will not rebalance from a bond fund into a share fund. This lets you “skim” off the cream when the sharemarket is performing well.

And when you do retire and need a regular income- Superlife can have an automatic payment set up to pay you monthly and still have the ability to take out a lump sum if you want.

Superlife also offers Kiwisaver which allows you to have access to the same funds as a regular investor. However, their Kiwisaver membership fee is $30 per year, which is high if you have a small balance. On top of that, the fees on the same funds through Kiwisaver are all 0.1% higher than if you invest as an individual. Which I think is bad form on Superlifes behalf.



SmartShares

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Fund Manager/ EFT issuer
Minimum Investment:$500
Fund Fees:From 0.44% to 0.63%
Establishment Fee:$30 initial establishment fee
What’s on Offer:23 Smartshare ETFs
Suitable for:Suitable for DIY investors wanting a set and forget approach to their investments. Superlife offers Age Step funds, which is a range of funds designed for your age.

SmartShares is a New Zealand Exchange-traded funds issuer, but you can also directly invest with them.

Smarshares offers access to a large selection of global and domestic Exchange-traded funds across the main investment asset classes of Cash, Bonds, Shares and Property. Smartshares funds are listed on NZX so you can buy or sell them just like individual shares. 

Some of the Smartshares ETFs are invested directly in an underlying fund such as Vanguard or iShares.

Investing with Smarshares may not be as easy as other investment platforms. Investment amounts are directly debited from your bank account on or about the 20th day of the month and units will be allocated to you on or about the 3rd business day of the following month. As far as I can tell they have no online platform to track your investments. You could use Sharesight to track your investments through Smartshares-but it might be easier to use one of the other platforms who offer the full range of Smartshare products.



ASB securities

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Broker
Minimum Investment:$1
Brokerage Fees:$15 (up to and including NZ$1,000)
$30 (over NZ$1,000 and up to and including NZ$10,000)
0.30% (over NZ$10,000)
What’s on Offer:New Zealand and Australian Shares online, International shares through their broking team, ETFs and Fixed Interest such as Bond. (They also offer marginal lending for Investing)
Suitable for:Suitable for DIY investors and DIY share trading wanting access to individual shares in NZ or Australian companies

ASB securities is an online share trading platform linked to ABS bank. They are fairly convenient if you already bank with ASB as you will only have a single log-in and instant transfer of funds to your trading account.

ASB securities allows you to place trades in real time while the New Zealand and Australian markets are open, or place them after hours ready for when the market opens the next trading day. You can also change or cancel orders not yet traded.

They also have a portfolio tool to check how your overall portfolio is performing or see what trades you’ve made using Online Share Trading. With ASB securities you get the latest analyst recommendations and company announcements.



Direct Broking

Sharesies vs InvestNow vs Hatch vs ASB Securities vs Direct Broking vs Simplicity vs Kernel Wealth vs Stake vs Superlife vs smartshares
Type:Broker
Minimum Investment:Depends on the price of the share, suggested $500
Brokerage Fees:$29.90 per Trade (up to and including NZ$15,000)
0.20% (over NZ$15,000)
Click here for a full breakdown of all fees involved
What’s on Offer:New Zealand and Australian Shares online, ETFs and Fixed Interest such as Bond.
Suitable for:Suitable for DIY investors and DIY share trading wanting access to individual shares in NZ or Australian companies

Direct broking is an online platform that makes it easy to invest in shares and bonds on the NZX and ASX. They offer live stock quotes, market depth, stock charts and relevant company information. Additionally, you can use an online Portfolio to keep track of your share holdings.

Direct Broking claims to be the only New Zealand platform to offer clients free access to real-time research on listed companies in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong, through our partnership with ShareClarity.



Which Service to Use?

As you can see, there are many options available for DIY investing in New Zealand. The thing to remember is that there are fees involved. Investment services will take a slice, sometimes as much as 3%- so it makes sense to seek out the lower fees.

In my opinion- Investnow, Sharesies, and Hatch are currently the best services for Kiwis- they are all New Zealand owned and operated and offer low fees investment options. Legcacy investment services like ASB securities and Direct broking have high fees, and Stake is not regulated under the NZ markets authority.

At the end of the day- it is your choice as to which investment service you want to use.


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