CMC markets let you trade shares in both Australian Domestic and International markets with competitive brokerage rates. Here’s my detailed review.
CMC markets let you trade shares in both Australian Domestic and International markets with competitive brokerage rates – starting at $0 for purchases less than $1,000 then $11 or 0.10% for their classic account, and $9.90 or 0.075% for their Alpha subscription, with $0 brokerage on international shares*). With over 300,000 active customers and offices in over 12 countries, CMC Markets is a well established and trusted company in the finance industry having operated for over 30 years.
This article will explore some of the features of CMC Markets share brokering service, and weigh up some pros and cons of using CMC Markets on your journey to Financial Independence.
* International shares are brokerage free for US, UK, Canada and Japan, but subject to currency conversion fees and floating foreign currency exchange rates set by CMC Markets. For other international countries, it is $59 or 0.59% per trade.
- CHESS sponsored access to share markets
- $0 brokerage on purchases less than $1,000
- Over 15 international markets to choose from
- High international brokerage for countries outside of the US, UK, Canada or Japan
- Emphasis on day trading and complex investing tools
Verdict: With some of the lowest brokerage around on small trades, CMC markets are well worth a look when searching for a CHESS sponsored broker.
Founded in the UK in 1989, CMC Markets grew to become one of the leading retail CFD trading and FOREX brokers globally allowing people to day trade a range of products. With offices in over 12 countries, CMC Markets is regulated in the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and Australia. As of today, they are the second largest retail share trading provider in Australia after ANZ Share Investing transferred its customers over to CMC Markets in 2023. They are even listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: CMCX), with a market capitalization of over AUD $500 million.
Whilst CMC markets provide access to a diverse range of financial products, we aren’t necessarily here for that – those on the path to Financial Independence are looking at CMC markets for their basic and low cost share trading features so we can buy and hold conventional shares, like the low fee ETFs and LICs we know and love!
Management and team behind CMC Markets
CMC Markets is run by over 700 employees across 12 countries, with their global headquarters in London, England (United Kingdom).
“CMC Markets received the highest client satisfaction ratings for the ease of navigation, charting and low brokerage – Investment Trends 2017 First Half Online Broking industry report”Irene Guiamatsia, Research Director [Investment Trends]
CMC Markets provide great customer support, with hundreds of detailed guides, FAQ and help articles on their website. They offer email and phone support in a number of common languages, and are active on social media on Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Facebook. I was able to get in touch with them through email with a response in under an hour.
Strangely, they seem to turn their live chat function on and off, and this receives mixed reviews from customers.
What trading features do CMC Markets offer?
With a standard CMC Markets brokerage account, you can trade with execution times under 1 second in the following markets;
- Australian shares
- International shares
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Listed Investment Companies (LICs)
- Interest Rate Securities
- Managed funds
- Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
- Algorithmic trading
CMC Markets educational material
CMC Markets also offers a heap of free guides and educational information on their blog about trading and the share market in general – such as their introduction to share trading guide. They also provide detailed guides on how to use their various investment products, which is good.
Funding and Margin trading with CMC markets
The standard way to fund your investments is through your linked Macquarie Cash Management Account which CMC markets will open on your behalf when you sign up. Prior to 13 July 2020 this was with BankWest, however, it has since moved to Macquarie. You can deposit funds using BPAY or direct bank transfer.
Since taking over ANZ’s Share Investing, CMC Markets can now make transactions using an ANZ Cash Account. More detail on the available linked bank accounts and transferring information can be found on the CMC funding and withdrawals FAQ as details may change over time.
UPDATE!!. I personally am not a fan of trading on leveraged/margin and more complex trading tools because of the increased risk and stress factor, and prefer to fund my investments directly. CMC also recognise the risk with the below information available on their site.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.CMC Markets
Brokerage fees of CMC Markets
CMC Markets offers two tiers of online brokerage for investors buying Australian shares, depending on their annual brokerage spend or portfolio size. International shares (US, UK, Japanese and Canadian markets only) are brokerage-free but have a minimum trade of $1000 and are subject to a currency conversion fee and foreign currency exchange conversion rate set by CMC Markets.
For other international countries, trading costs are $59. You can also make phone trades, but these are horribly expensive in comparison (like $60 a pop expensive!) so I would suggest you just drop the idea entirely.
$0 brokerage is available on orders up to $1,000 on the ASX., this is a great option for investors looking to buy more frequently in smaller parcels. With the smaller purchase size and more frequent trading, accounting can become a problem, this is where a portfolio tracker such as Sharesight or Navexa comes in handy.
Alpha Invest with CMC Markets
If you either spend over $3,000 per annum in brokerage, have over $2.5 million invested or have $1 million in international turnover investors are eligible for the Alpha Invest program. This reduces your percentage brokerage to their lowest offering and gives you access to all of CMC Markets trading features and information. ASX brokerage with alpha is just $9.90 or 0.075% whichever is greatest.
With the entry requirements for this program, most retail investors will be ineligible for Alpha, however, it may be worth looking into depending or your portfolio size and investing style.
Standard Trader with CMC Markets
If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for Alpha Invest (the overwhelming majority of us) then you will fit into the Standard Trader tier. This is their ‘no frills’ option which provides you with all the basic features most investors would need.
ASX brokerage with Standard is a competitive $11 or 0.10% whichever is greatest.
The Standard Trader is by far the most popular option, and I think is best suited to most people on the path to Financial Independence.
CMC Markets mobile app
CMC markets have mobile applications that let you trade on your phone or tablet (Apple iOS and Android), so you’re not just limited to a laptop or desktop PC.
On their mobile applications, CMC Markets have full functionality to access your stockbroking account, transfer money, place, amend or cancel direct, conditional and linked share trading orders, as well as review your trading history.
Is CMC markets trustworthy?
CMC Markets is a highly trusted international broker, and use SSL encryption and third party verification for their online trading platforms. They are regulated by the;
- Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC)
- Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO)
- Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
- United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
How to sign up for CMC Markets
Signing up for a CMC Markets share trading account is pretty straight forward, they have a standard online registration form which you can fill out, and then you need to wait for it to be approved. You can open an account for;
- Individual account
- Joint account
- Trust account
- Company account
You need to provide CMC Markets with the standard identification and security documents, which might take up to a couple of days to be processed. Then you simply transfer via BPAY into your CMC Markets cash management account and are ready to make your first trade.
Personal details that you will need for the application include:
- Your Tax File Number (TFN)
- Your Driver’s licence number
- Your bank account details (to set a linked account)
Check out CMC Markets FAQ Stockbroking Application and accounts User guide for a detailed list of alternatives.
Stand-by for an update here as I get an account and review how to actually log in and buy shares using CMC markets.
CMC Markets is a well established global financial firm that lets you trade shares in both Australian Domestic and International markets with competitive brokerage rates. I dislike their percentage based brokerage structure and their incentives to trade more frequently or use complex trading strategies.
Those of us on the path to Financial Independence typically have a buy and hold mentality using a couple of diversified low-fee ETFs – we do not need to see live or dynamic pricing since we aren’t day traders, and we usually have well thought out investment strategies which typically only involve making one investment trade or so per month.
However, their percentage-based brokerage fee only kicks in for trades over $11,000, and below this, you will be paying a flat rate of $11 per trade (Standard trader account). Many of us will not be investing over that threshold, so $11 is a pretty good rate in my opinion and the $0 brokerage on ASX trades less than $1,000 is hard to go past.
Furthermore, CMC Markets provides a user-friendly mobile app, and if you have the self discipline to avoid being sucked into day trading, then CMC Markets makes an attractive, low cost choice as a trading platform to buy your shares.
Do you use CMC Markets? Let me know your experience with them in the comments below!
Other brokers to choose from
Be sure to check out the following reviews on brokers and other trading platforms that offer online trading to buy Australian and international shares. As always, make sure you are fully educated before making a choice on any particular one.
Big 4 banks
- CommSec Share trading [this is who I started out investing with]
- NAB Trade
- ANZ Trade
- Westpac Trade
Fintechs and smaller banks
- Pearler [this is who I currently invest through]
- Stake US Share Trading
- CMC Markets
- IG MarketsGroup
Financial Disclaimer: CaptainFI is NOT a financial advisor and does not hold an AFSL. This is not financial Advice!
I am not a financial adviser and I do not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). In this article, I am giving you factual, balanced information without judgment or bias, to the best of my ability. I am not giving you any general or personal financial advice about what you should do with your investments. Just because I do something with my money (or use a particular service or platform) doesn’t mean it is automatically appropriate for your personal circumstances. I do not recommend nor endorse any financial or investment product, and my usage or opinion of any product should not be interpreted as an endorsement, advertisement, or intent to influence.
I can only provide factual information based on my journey to Financial Independence, and that is provided for general informational and entertainment purposes only. I make no guarantee about the performance of any product, and although I strive to keep the information accurate and updated as it changes, I make no guarantee about the correctness of reviews or information posted.
Remember – you always need to do your own independent research and due diligence before making any transaction. This includes reading and analysing Product Disclosure Statements, Terms and Conditions, Service Arrangement and Fee Structures. It is always smart to compare products and discuss them, but ultimately you need to take responsibility for your use of any particular product and make sure it suits your personal circumstances. If you need help and would like to obtain personal financial advice about which investment options or platforms may be right for you, please talk to a licensed financial adviser or AFSL holder – you can take the first steps to find a financial advisor by reading this interview, or by visiting the ASIC financial adviser register and searching in your area.