The NZ equities trading platform space could become more crowded later this year with a new provider considering a tilt at the action.
Selwyn Loekman, BlackBull Markets director of operations, said the newly licensed Auckland-based derivatives trader planned to launch a direct equities platform later this year.
“We hope to offer direct equities and equities futures for both the NZ and global markets,” Loekman said.
After launching in 2014, BlackBull has built up a clientbase in Asia and Europe for its ‘institutional level’ currency and derivatives trading service.
However, until August when it gained a licence from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), the company could not deal with local or Australian clients.
Loekman said BlackBull had now reached the scale where it could meet the FMA derivatives licensing capital and compliance requirements.
“We always wanted to offer our services to local investors and, with the FMA licence, we can now focus on growing our NZ client base,” he said.
Earlier in September, BlackBull – founded by Loekman and fellow Kings College alumni, Michael Walker – hired former OM Financial derivates dealer, Anthony Murphy, as head of sales for NZ.
Immediately, BlackBull will be competing in the contracts for difference (CFD) sector with the likes of CMC Markets but Loekman said the firm had wider ambitions to bring its fintech nous to other financial trading areas.
“Ultimately, we’d like to be a full-service broker,” he said.
The move would bring another competitor to a market that currently includes Sharesies, Hatch and Australian firm, Stake. Other platform players such as InvestNow and the yet-to-launch Flint Wealth have also flagged direct equities as a natural add-on to managed fund digital distribution.
Meanwhile, across the Tasman – where Sharesies also hopes to play – a new discount online equities trader hit the ground running last week. Partly backed by founders of buy-now-pay-later platform darlings, AfterPay and Zip, the new Superhero service offers a flat A$5 fee for ASX trades.
Superhero has a A$100 minimum trade size with no other direct ongoing subscription or other fees.
Unlike NZ, the Australian online discount broking market is already pretty chocka with firms such as SelfWealth operating at the lower end (with $9.50 per trade fees) and four big bank-based options that charge close to A$20 a trade.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia-owned CommSec is the largest online share broker and has fended off challenges from cut-price competitors – including US giant Charles Schwab – in the past.
However, zero-fee brokers, notably the US-based RobinHood, have seen a huge surge of users in 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns and social media spruiking spurred a new crowd of younger investors to have a crack at the share market.