WIKIFX REPORT: BlackBull partners with Interactive Brokers for global share-trading NZ platform


  Another retail-focused share-trading service hit the NZ streets last week as the derivatives and forex broker, BlackBull Markets rolled out a customised version of the US-based Interactive Brokers (IB) platform for local investors.

  The deal opens up more than 80 markets and over 23,000 listed companies for online consumption by NZ investors, according to Caleb Wilkinson, BlackBull operations team lead.

  Wilkinson said as well as broad global access, the new equities-trading platform is generally cheaper than services offered by rivals such as Sharesies, Hatch and Stake – all of which rely on the online broker, DriveWealth, for entry into US markets only.

  He said the IB product offering can also cater to more sophisticated investors with options and margin-trading available, for example.

  “Were not really competing with Sharesies or Hatch,” he said. “We launched the share trading service because our existing clients were asking for it – we had to make a decision to either build our own platform or outsource and Interactive Brokers offered a great solution.”

  NZ investors can sign on to IB direct already, Wilkinson said, but the service tends to be a little patchy given the business does not have on-the-ground support here.

  “Were making Interactive Brokers easy to access for Kiwi investors,” he said.

  However, the IB service does not include the NZX – although BlackBull can trade local shares for clients via a more traditional manual broking process.

  Sharesies offers NZ and Australian equities through different mechanisms while Stake recently added ASX shares to its palette.

  “We‘re looking to build an NZX share-trading platform – that’s the next step,” Wilkinson said.

  Established in 2014 in Auckland as an online contracts for difference (CFD) trader, BlackBull was granted a derivatives licence by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in 2020.

  In a statement last week, Benjamin Boulter, BlackBull chief operating officer, said: “From the very start, we have prioritised what investors care about. The breadth of our product offering, our dramatically low fees, and our NZ-based customer support are sure to win over investors old and new.”

  The company has about 50,000 clients in NZ and offshore with staff numbers growing from about 20 last year to 60 or so today.

  BlackBull enters the direct retail share-trading game amid growing competition in the popular space now headlined by Sharesies, which just saw member numbers pop above 500,000.

  But as well as Hatch and Stake carving out significant niches, incumbent players including Jarden, ASB, Craigs and Forsyth Barr (currently constructing the Trove platform) are also fighting to retain market share. It is understood, too, that other global firms – such as UK fintech star, Revolut – are eyeing up the NZ market as an easy add-on for commodified share-trading services.

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