Superhero now lets users trade Wall Street stocks, as the competition for zero-commission brokers heats up in Australia

Australians are finding a growing list of low-cost brokers, letting them trade local and US stocks. (Fabian Sommer, picture alliance via Getty Images)
  • Superhero is expanding its broker offering to Wall Street, launching US trading to Australian users on Monday.
  • Users will be able to buy US stocks and ETFs with zero commission, with Superhero to make a margin on the foreign exchange transactions.
  • It comes as young Australians increasingly look invest in the share market both at home and abroad according to new Superhero research.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The race to slash trading fees appears to have hit top speed, as Australia’s zero-commission brokers go head to head.

On Monday, low-cost trading platform Superhero launched US share trading to its 80,000 users, marking its first overseas expansion in a partnership with American clearing house Apex.

Users will be able to buy and sell shares in 4,500 US-listed companies and ETFs, paying $0 brokerage when they do. As in the case of other low-cost rivals like Stake, Superhero will instead make its margin on the foreign exchange transaction, when Australian users purchase shares in US dollars.

Superhero co-founder and CEO John Winters said the launch is aimed at sating the booming investor interest among young Australians.

“The past few years have seen a real shift towards investing in both Australian and U.S. shares, particularly from people aged in their mid-20s to mid-40s,” he said.

It comes just two week after Sydney-based platform Stake revealed it would go the opposite route, offering Australian trading after being founded as a Wall Street broker. Both now appear to be going ahead amid a flood of new investors on both sides of the Pacific.

Winters points to research commissioned by Superhero which found that nearly four in ten Australians under the age of 45 now own shares, with a similar proportion saying they’re now considering investing. Almost one in five meanwhile say they are invested in the US market.

Separate data from another rival, eToro, shows that the 10 most popular US stocks among Australians include electric vehicle makers Tesla and Nio, as well as Reddit-backed stocks like GameStop, AMC, and BioNano Inc. At the same time American zero-commission pioneer Robinhood is facing more than 50 lawsuits and has paid fines of almost $100 million for promoting risky day trading.

Closer to home though, it’s apparent that more Australians are looking for alternative places to park their cash, amid rocketing property prices, record low interest rates, and growing awareness of equity markets.

“Given the sheer size of a deposit you need to get into the real estate market in most capital cities, it’s not surprising that almost 60% think younger Aussies should be looking at investments other than real estate,” Winters said.

“I think being able to start investing with just a small amount of money is empowering for a lot of people, who are becoming more confident in growing their wealth in different ways than previous generations did.”

Superhero users can currently buy ASX-listed ETFs without paying a commission, while also trading Australian shares for $5 a pop. Stake has not yet disclosed what they will charge to invest on local exchanges, the ASX and Chi-X, but both have their eye on a new generation of investor.

“Digital natives are curious about investing and technology is now enabling a whole generation to invest in share markets in a way that is now accessible and affordable, via their smartphones,” Winters said.