US Brokers

I’m looking for an additional US Broker - I already use Interactive Brokers & am satisfied with them but I don’t want to exceed the SIPC insured amount with any one broker. So I looked at Stake - no commission but no interest paid on any cash in the account. SAXO are too expensive. Got the account opening form for Schwab but that’s about 30 pages long & my eyes glazed over it looked so complicated! So has anyone got any other recommendations for brokers to trade the USA markets - preferably low commissions & paying at least some interest on cash in the account? OR am I looking for something that’s not available? Cheers Annabella

Interest rate in the US is 0, so if a broker is paying you interest then they are getting it elsewhere. If you are worried about them going broke, then I would stick to the stronger brokerages as they would be the last to fold. I used to use IB but there were some problems with them at the time. (probably ok now). I use Schwab and they were particular on their paperwork, but doable. They are commission free for buys and sells on stocks and etf’s - any amounts. They did pay interest when rates were higher but not now. Self Wealth in Australia are introducing a US service soon, but they will be charging a flat US$9.50 per buy and sell trade.


A watchpoint in doing what you’re contemplating is that my understanding is that in order to access the SIPC limit multiple times, the accounts need to be held by different entities. For example if you had an account in your name and one in your SMSF’s name then you’d have two separate $500,000 limits - one for each account. However if for example you had two accounts in your name, their balances would be combined for the sake of the SIPC calculation and the limit on the total would be $500,000.


Take a look at CMC Markets they are currently offering zero brokerage on US, UK, Japanese and Canadian exchanges any cash is held in a bank west acct in your name.

Annabelle, I would be careful in selecting a small broker. Until 2016 I was investing my US portfolio using Halifax stockbroking . Due to the difficulty in changes to the platforms used with Halifax , I switched my international accounts to Commsec. I am so glad I did. Commsec is a far better platform to use with much better information even though trade costs are higher. Since I switched to Commsec , Halifax is now under administration. The investors in Halifax are now fighting to get their stocks and cash back. The administration has been going nearly 2 years and looks like going on for at least another year before they start recovering stocks and cash. At best they may get back 70-80% of the funds invested. I am kept informed by the Halifax administrators of this as I am on the email list. I have dodged a bullet and feel far more secure using a broker like Commsec.

Hi Annabelle
Are you investing in your own name or as an SMSF?

I use Schwab, and can understand your eyes glazing over. Their application form is long but much of it is not used, depending on your circumstances.

Thanks for all the useful replies Guys :blush:Don- yes it will be 2 accounts for our smsf - so same name - so that’s why I’m looking for an additional broker - on the basis that lightening is unlikely to hit 2 very different brokers at the same time! Jeff - glad you dodged the bullet with Halifax - we didn’t completely dodge the bullet that was Sonray in this country - that’s why I won’t trade without HIN here - but unfortunately no HIN for overseas! I will take a look at CMC Markets & I guess I will re-look at the Schwab form again - but I guess most of the form will need completing as it’s for a SMSF! Thanks Annabella

Hi all . I have just started using Selfwealth as a broker for my US trading. I find the platform easy enough to use but they do have a couple of limitations that annoy me . Namely , you can not lodge market orders outside of trading hours . Two things that really annoy me tho are in relation to their portfolio “Dashboard” as they call it. Their end of trading day closing prices are not always accurate . After fridays US trading ,of my 12 positions that I hold , only 7 displayed the actual closing price as per Beyond Charts or Yahoo finance . This occurs on a regular basis. In addition , the daily account value change displayed on the “Dashboard” showed a profit of USD$739.00 when in fact I had a portfolio loss of USD$69.00 for the session !! Does anyone here experience similar issues ?? It is not a huge problem but I just find it annoying . I have already been in contact with Selfwealth and in their reply blamed their data supplier !!

SWT is good for cheap brokerage trading the ASX and owning the underlying through CHESS.
The price you pay (apart from their cheap brokerage) is with poor communications, having a platform with limited usability, and dealing with a brokerage that relies on other parties that enables them to have cheap brokerage. If you understand that then SWT is worth using. US trading is a different ballgame.
I don’t use the US trading facility for a number of very good reasons. It charges US$9.50 for all trades, I imagine it converts currency at uncompetitive rates and the platform has the same limitations as per trading the ASX which would be a problem unless you never sleep.
A much better proposition would be to use a US broker directly where many have unlimited free trades for all buying and selling of US stocks and ETF’s, there are no conversion fees other than when you are sending or repatriating money to/from your account with the brokerage, and the platforms have all the reporting you need, live and accurate pricing and ability to place trades at market, limit, stop, stop limit etc.