The Australian fintech start-up streamlining access to US stocks
Australian investors could soon be able to buy international shares direct from their Facebook Messenger app, using the social network’s recently unveiled chatbots.
That’s one of the possibilities under consideration by start-up online broker Third Party Trade, which opens to investors today and aims to make it easier and cheaper for Australians to buy US shares.
Facebook this month highlighted plans for chatbots through its Messenger app, which would allow users to interact with businesses and make purchases through the app.
Third Party Trade chief executive and New York-based Australian Michael Giles says investors could soon use Messenger to ask a chatbot for the latest price of Apple shares, and receive a message with the price. Investors could then instruct the bot to buy them 10 shares of Apple, for example.
For now, the financial technology company allows investors to create a Third Party Trade brokerage account and use it to buy shares while visiting different websites, in much the same way as social media users can log into their Twitter account and use it across different websites or apps to share content. For example, someone reading a business news website that already allowed readers to search for information about US stocks, could now use their Third Party Trade account to buy stock directly from that news site.
The platform allows developers to build their own apps — such as a roboadviser, or an Acorns-style automated saving and investing product — that can be used in conjunction with the brokerage service.
And the company is also partnering with licensed brokers to offer a wholesale international share trading product that can be white labelled. Existing Australian brokerage customers could log into their account and see a note asking if they wish to open a US brokerage account. The Australian broker can then push an existing customer’s data to Third Party Trade, allowing an account to be created without requiring the customer to deal with account opening paperwork.
Australian investors can currently open international share investing accounts with the big four banks and a number of other brokers, but the high cost of trades compared to local investments and the extra paperwork involved can sometimes act as a deterrent.