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Author: Marilyn Powell
Financial Analyst
Marilyn Powell

South African Stock Trading Guide

South Africa has a rich and chequered stock trading history, which dates back to 1886, the year of the first gold rush. In turn, this directly led to the formation of the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange). Today the JSE is ranked as the 19th largest stock exchange in the world, seeing trades which amount to billions of South African Rand every year.

The JSE has seen the majority of its growth since the start of the 2000s, primarily due to advances in technology, giving many more potential investors access to stock market information via the Internet. That said, traditional stock trading is a very different concept to trading in assets such as stock CFDs. For example, you can only purchase stocks from any official stock exchange via a suitably connected stockbroker.

If you genuinely think stock trading is something you are keen to get involved in, then we urge you to do as much homework as possible first. For instance, getting to know how the world economy and events affect stock prices is a must. In this guide, we are aiming to give you an overview of the stock trading world, plus some basic knowledge about what to expect when you sign up with a broker for the first time, but there is much more to learn than we can fit into one guide.

Top Rated Stocks Sites

XTB Logo
Bonus Up-to $2000 Assets 270+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 92.76%
Over 270+ assets to trade now
Highly rated FCA licensed broker
Award-winning bespoke platforms
Loyalty rewards for regular traders
Demo account limited to four weeks
Education tools need improvement
Deposit Methods
Bitcoin Klarna Neteller Skrill
147 traded at this site today
Read Review
Admiral Markets Logo
Bonus Up-to $1600 Assets 340+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 91.48%
Over 340+ assets to trade now
Motto “Secure, reliable, flexible”
Multiple currencies supported
Superb customer support service
Account types are complicated
High minimum deposit of $200+
Deposit Methods
Bitcoin PayPal MasterCard Skrill
74 traded at this site today
Read Review
Saxo Markets Logo
Very Good
Bonus Up-to $1000 Assets 180+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 89.72%
Over 180+ assets to trade now
Broker services in 180 countries
Benefits for high capital traders
High-tech ‘SaxoTrader GO’ platform
Not a broker for newer traders
Limited customer support at times
Deposit Methods
AMEX Bitcoin Klarna Skrill
33 traded at this site today
Read Review
Plus500 Logo
Very Good
Bonus Up-to $1000 Assets 270+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 89.56%
Over 270+ assets to trade now
Fully regulated, LSE listed broker
Multiple funding methods inc PayPal
Customer support via live chat 24/7
Only one account type on offer
Some say platform needs ‘an update’
Deposit Methods
Bitcoin Klarna PaySafeCard Skrill
7 traded at this site today
Read Review
Swissquote Logo
Very Good
Bonus Up-to $1000 Assets 0+
Min. Trade $1 *Payout % 87.32%
Over 80+ pairs to trade now
UK-based with FCA approved licence
MT4 platform includes ‘Autochartist’
Lower spreads than other brokers
Substantial minimum deposit amounts
Only open to UK and EU traders
Deposit Methods
Klarna PayPal PaySafeCard MasterCard
12 traded at this site today
Read Review
Risk Warning / Ad Disclosure

Risk Warning: The products offered by the companies listed on this website carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never risk money that you cannot afford to lose.

Ad Disclosure: Some of the links that you will find on this website are advertisements for which we do receive financial gain for referring new customers.

Stocks Sites in South Africa

South Africa

Trading stocks is a hugely different concept to trading in stock CFDs, requiring a more significant investment, more knowledge and a great deal more patience. There are more authorities involved and a few other notable differences you need to be aware of. There are plenty of opportunities for you as a South African resident, and you need to know how to find them.

Mobile Trading

At present, individuals cannot trade directly with a stock exchange. All transactions must be completed by a fully licensed and registered member stockbroker. Depending on the broker you choose, you will almost certainly have access to oversee your trading account from a mobile device, but not to a trading platform where you can make trades yourself, as is the case with other financial instruments.

Deals And Incentives

As you discover more about the world of stock trading, you will quickly see that it is not the type of market which attracts clients by offering gimmicky bonuses. Stockbrokers tend to be more subtle, perhaps offering free trades, or reduced fees for loyal clients, or those with a large amount to invest.

Diverse Asset Types

Before you sign up with a broker, you must have a clear idea of the markets you want to invest in, as some stockbrokers offer access to only limited assets. If you're going to diversify into global stocks, for example, then a global broker, with an office in South Africa is best. If you are confining your investment to the JSE, then your bank may well offer the best approach and level of service for you.

Good Customer Support

Never underestimate the value of excellent customer support. Do not think of it as somewhere to go just when you have a problem, think of it as a more rounded service where you can gain knowledge and have easy access to vital information about the world economy and its potential to affect your investment.

Broker Fees And Tax

Todays Top Traders
Trader Broker Asset Profit

It is worth bearing in mind that stockbrokers all have a unique business model and associated fee structure, but one way or another, you will have broker costs to take into account. On average, this will amount to around 10% of your total investment amount, made up of administration, currency exchange and Strate expenses amongst others.

Although some brokers who provide stock trading opportunities do not specifically advertise a minimum investment amount, general advice suggests that R 5000 is reasonable. There is a good reason for that, a lesser amount invested will not allow you to invest wisely or to gain much profit once your brokerage fees have been deducted. Alternatively, if you are looking to keep costs low, then profitable penny stocks could be a great option.

South Africa operates a stringent taxation policy, and there are several forms of trading-related taxes you are liable for. It is essential to take a close look at the SARS (South African Revenue Service) website where you can review individual liabilities. If you are still unsure, then take the advice of an experienced accountant if you intend to invest substantially in stock.

South African Licencing

All stockbrokers operating in South Africa are strictly regulated. There are also many other authorities and laws relating directly to this form of trading and you will need to become familiar with them when you decide to invest in stocks:

  • The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)
  • FAIS (Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services)
  • FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act)
  • National Credit Act (NCA)
  • Strate (PTY) Limited

As we briefly mentioned earlier, the JSE can only be accessed by a suitably licensed and regulated stockbroker. This means being approved by FAIS and meeting the requirements of FICA, all while complying with the NCA. Strate is a third-party agency which is responsible for processing stock trades and keeping invested funds secure, a percentage of your broker fees will go towards this valuable service.

To conform with those requirements detailed above and before accepting you as a client, your broker will need you to provide certain documents relating to your identity, residency, proof of income and the legitimacy of the money you intend investing. These could seem intrusive, but they are necessary legal formalities put in place for the protection of both brokers and their client.

We have a team of expert reviewers, each with unique experience in trading.

How we Recommend Brokers

We have a team of expert reviewers, each with unique experience in trading. They are tasked with checking out each stockbroker on every aspect of its operation, starting with the initial registration process and finishing up with checking out the customer support on offer. We pay much attention to the types of account available and let you know if there are any incentives or other perks on offer that will give you extra value.

While completing their reviews, our panel also gets a good feel for the broker as a whole and will always recommend one who is ‘client-focused’ over one that has lower fees. At the end of the day, if you are investing a substantial amount of your money, you need to feel as though you are essential to the broker, and being treated with respect.

It is never an easy task for someone new to stock trading to find the right broker, but we sincerely hope that reading our guides and broker reviews will help to point you in the right direction. All of the vital information is broken down into easy-to-read sections and we add our rating system too. You can be assured that any stockbroker who makes it onto our recommended page is one that you can trust in and enjoy working with.

Our Review Rating System (More Info)

10% 10% 10% 15% 15% 20% 20% Pie Core
  • Account Types
  • Banking & Payouts
  • Bonuses & Promotions
  • Mobile Trading
  • Trade Types
  • Special Features
  • Customer Support
Expert Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions


Is stock trading in South Africa legal and safe?

South African stockbrokers are undoubtedly legal, being highly regulated and also required to conform with protecting their client’s investment using Strate. They are, therefore considered very safe.

Do I need to pay fees and taxes on my profits?

Each stockbroker has a unique fee structure, but expect to pay around 10% of your investment per month. There are also taxes applicable to stock trading, and these are clearly defined on the South African Revenue Service (SARS) website.

Can I test brokers before trading with real money?

Where a traditional stock investment is concerned, you are unlikely to find brokers who offer demos or simulation accounts in the same way as brokers offering CFDs or Forex do.

Is it easy to make deposits and withdrawals?

All South African stockbrokers offer only limited funding options and a bank transfer of South African Rand is almost always the preferred source. Withdrawals are subject to the broker’s T&Cs, so always check.

Can I trade using my mobile or tablet device?

It is less likely when stock trading that you will have the opportunity to place trades directly. In this scenario, mobile apps are used more for allowing an overview of your investment.

Meet The Author
Marilyn Powell
Marilyn Powell
Financial Analyst

Marilyn won’t mind us saying she’s our resident geek. She spends most of her time recommending various investments to her clients based on their financial goals and how risky an investment strategy they are interested in undertaking.

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