Innovation and dynamism have always been the order of the day in the world of investments and finance. In fact this sector is an early adopter of new ideas and technologies, allowing investors from all walks of life to invest in asset classes that were accessible only to the affluent in the past.
Since the late 1990s, investors could finally do away with the human intervention of the stockbroker and gained direct access to the market via online platforms. This was a game changer, as brokerage firms passed on the control and relative cost savings into the hands of the investors. Nowadays, individuals who know how to manage their own investments are able to trade directly online, bypassing the middle man.
Advisors and stockbroking firms, through their physical set-up and years of experience offer a very effective way to access the markets. However it is also a costly option, particularly for smaller ticket investments. They charge brokerage fees, which are up-front charges with a relatively high minimum for their services, nominee fees when holding securities under custody and even take a percentage of any earnings on discretionary portfolios.
Online trading is not free, but comparatively inexpensive and with significantly smaller minimum fees, making investments of a smaller size more viable. That said, online trading platforms do expect users to trade frequently and in most instances fees are applied after periods of inactivity.
Undeniably, trading online for one’s self, without the assistance of a market expert, does bring with it greater risk both in way of selecting the right investment and also in the execution of the actual trades on the market.
Selecting stocks wisely, coupled with a timely entry and exit strategy, is the key to building wealth over time. The benefit of lower charges is quickly forgotten as capital is destroyed should a self-purchased speculative investment turn sour. Self-discipline is therefore critical.
Trades are executed through the simple click of a mouse or tapping of a finger. Hence, the more knowledgeable investors can really gain full control over their investment decisions. Furthermore, access to real-time data (usually at a small monthly cost) and the immediate routing of orders on the market is a benefit which is secondary to none.
Through its collaboration with Saxo Bank, Bank of Valletta offers the seasoned investor the eTrader+ powered by Saxo Bank, an alternative channel to active traders, who want direct access to trade online. In fact, this highly adaptive platform offers key benefits such as the ability to place orders in real time across all major international markets, the possibility of effecting single limit as well as algorithmic or advanced orders and having 24-hour access to market prices for more than 30,000 securities.
Investments made via this service may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates and the value of investments may go down as well as up.David Pace Ross - Senior Manager Capital Markets & Institutions at Bank of Valletta