‘Something Australia hasn’t seen before’: Stake is bringing low-cost trading to the ASX – putting it in direct competition with CommSec

Stake co-founders Dan Silver and Matt Leibowitz are setting their sights locally.
  • Local low-cost broker Stake is looking to let users trade the Australian share market for the first time via its app.
  • Offering users access to both the ASX and Chi-X later this year, it comes after almost five years of focusing exclusively on Wall Street.
  • Co-founder Matt Leibowitz told Business Insider Australia the brokerage will be less than current competitors like CommSec and that the product itself will be something that “hasn’t been seen before in Australia”.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Australia’s answer to Robinhood is turning its gaze back home, as it looks to trade local companies for the first time in its history.

Stake, the low-cost trading platform, revealed on Tuesday it is expanding into its home country, making Australia’s largest two sharemarkets, the ASX and Chi-X, available to users later this year.

Founded in 2017 by Matt Leibowitz and Dan Silver, Stake began as a way to bring Wall Street to Australians at a time when the world’s largest share markets weren’t readily accessible.

“When we started, investing in US shares was a bit of a novelty that people had put in the ‘too hard’ basket. People were paying up to $100 a trade just to buy Google and we came in and made it free,” Leibowitz told Business Insider Australia.

“Now it’s actually easier to invest in the US than it is Australia, which is an indictment on how far the local market has gone. Our challenge is to redefine that and find a way to make the Aussie market better as well.”

It’s a strategy that has yielded results, with more than 340,000 customers using the low-cost broker across four different countries. Much of that growth has been fuelled during the pandemic, as the appetite for equities reached fever pitch, and investor numbers treble.

Based out of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Stake’s ambitions have now grown to compete across different markets, taking on the likes of behemoths like CommSec at home, and enabling investors to potentially use Stake for all their trading needs.

While the Australian offering is still under development, Stake is aiming to have it up and running by the end of the year, allowing users to pivot between markets within the one app.

Unlike with US stocks, local trades won’t be brokerage-free – Stake makes money on the foreign exchange – but Leibowitz promises it will be a very different beast to what’s currently in the market.

“Our goal is to make sure we provide customers with a much better experience on a number of fronts and create something, we hope, that is pretty exceptional,” he said.

“We want to be better by a long way on a number of fronts. The user experience, the pricing and the transparency we will bring is something that hasn’t been seen before in Australia.”

With Stake’s SMSF product being tested currently, and with a team of 75 staff, Leibowitz sees even greater scale on the horizon.

Just as with the US market, it’s a strategy he thinks will light the fire under the feet of local rivals.

“That natural competition is really good for consumers, so whether or not they leave to come to Stake, we hopefully are going to be driving better outcomes for them no matter who they use,” he said.

“If we can have that impact, that’s a good result.”