Sanlam expands online trading facility

30 July 2010

Local financial services group Sanlam has launched iTrade, a new offering that gives South Africa’s online traders access to foreign listed instruments on 16 global stock exchanges, allowing investors to easily diversify their portfolios and giving them access to some of the most traded companies globally.

According to Gerhard Lampen, head of Sanlam’s online trading platform, Sanlam iTrade now offers one of the most advanced trading platforms available.

“Clients will be able to trade shares, currencies, commodities and exchange-traded funds, among other instruments,” he said in a statement this week. “The New York Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and Australian Stock Exchange are among the 16 exchanges now available to equity traders.”

‘Right time’ for offshore investment

Lampen says it is the right time to launch offshore trading to investors, and believes exchange controls on individuals will be abolished in the next 12 months.

“Currently South Africans can invest up to R4-million offshore but there is very little stopping government from lifting these controls on individuals as very few people made use of this allocation,” he said.

He believes the JSE’s recent launch of single stock futures on foreign equities is a precursor to lifting the controls.

“In view of the strong rand, it is prudent to invest between 20 and 30% of a portfolio in international markets. Investors need to hedge against those things they can’t foresee,” he said, adding that offering investors access to international companies, currencies and commodities allowed them to diversify their assets.

“The major aim with the new launch is to give our clients exposure to global markets – something most South African investors have not had before,” he added.

Advanced trading technology

Lampen said that Sanlam had chosen online Danish investment bank Saxo Bank’s platform and access to global markets, because it had highly advanced trading technology and an award-winning platform.

Bolus and Bolus Investments, the introducing broker to Saxo Bank, will offer clients the necessary trading help.

“Bolus and Bolus provides assistance with opening an account, transferring funds to Saxo Bank, training on using the platform and trading the different instruments, as well as a fully staffed help desk,” he said.

Free demonstration models

Sanlam iTrade doesn’t charge clients for the offshore trading, although Saxo Bank does charge a fee, with costs varying depending on the trading instrument, stock exchange traded on, or live price feeds needed by the client.

Lampen says demonstration models are available free of charge on the Sanlam iTrade website.

In order to trade offshore, clients open a trading account with Saxo Bank through Bolus and Bolus. They then transfer money into the Saxo account – and can start trading immediately. The minimum investment is US$10 000.

SAinfo reporter

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