USA direct shares/stocks purchase from Australia

OK, so I want to get my slice of the growing American Pie, but how's it done cost effectively and efficiently ?
Could add NABtrade to my NAB account, but seems a bit clunky and who uses Big4 anyway ?
Could go through my Citibank account but they charge $75 + costs and takes days etc.
So looking around for an online broker and there aren't many avenues for Australian investors - it's like we're blacklisted and probably something to do with over the top regulations making it too difficult for brokers to set up shop here. TD Ameritrade have been and gone twice on Aussie soil.

And there only seems to be Etorro or Stake but again isn't instantaneous.

Now going back to Citibank - within Citibank Worldwide - transfers between Citi accounts anywhere in the world are (almost) instantaneous and with good FX rates according to their website.
So, is there a US Broker utilising Citigroup to accept cash deposits into the holding account for placing trades?

Interested to know a good work around or other suggestions.
Or there may be a Reddit or whirlpool forum someone can point me to.

Only looking to purchase 1 or 2 stocks and hold.


  • The American pie is about to get toasted any day now. It would be wise to wait for it cool down a bit.

  • tastyworks. best way to deposit money is using currencyfair. takes about a week to transfer money

    • +2 votes

      A week ? What planet is this happening on ?
      So they play the money market while you wait.

      • 🤷 that's just how it is with US brokers. this is just the cheapest way.

        • I understand It’s the norm but it just seems so prehistoric.
          I can understand the delay for identity confirmation opening an account. (Some brokers want you to post paperwork.)
          But instantaneous funds transfer is possible for international goods purchases.

          • @MITM: Your funds aren't instant on good purchases. There is a facility behind them, merchants most certainly don't get their funds cleared on the spot.

            • @plmko: Yeah, they are. Not sure if you’ve bought anything online lately but Click on CONFIRM BUY and guaranteed your money is out of your account then and there. Then you get a confirmation email saying your goods will be dispatched by the end of the day.
              Might take a month to deliver - but the transaction was instantaneous.

              • @MITM: they are not settled instantly, that's what you mean. Also if you want to have speed you sacrifice direct ownership Contracts of Difference, if you want direct ownership look around i don't even know if there is a company that can do what your asking (due to regulation).

                Note i don't think you understand international transaction. yes fund come out of your account instantly that a debit and then there is a credit on the other side if you are using a third party (paypal) then it can be done almost instantly as they have your details on file and can verify both side of the transaction so it quite fast. Where are international stock trades are very slow for security reasons.

              • @MITM: Yes, but the merchant does not get the money paid into their account instantly. They dispatch the item because the payment has been confirmed as valid by the card issuer / payment process, but it can easily take a few days for the payment to process and to actually receive the money.

          • @MITM: "I understand It’s the norm but it just seems so prehistoric."

            It's still common for people to use cheques for everyday stuff like shopping over there, so a week to transfer money OS isn't a huge surprise! It can still take a few days from bank to bank in Australia.

            • @91rs: My friend just mentioned that for some of the companies he deals with and manages in the states, an "electronic wire transfer" is actually your bank printing a cheque with the right details and mailing it to the recipient bank.

              • @wackedupwacko: Can't remember when I last received a cheque/check in my business - would be years now. I can't even remember where my check book is.
                But go to some cities in China with cash and they look at you as if you're from the stone age. Some shops simply can't sell you anything if you don't have a mobile.

      • This. Something big is def coming. Banks settling books has not changed in over 100 years. Crypto is the way forward.

      • much quicker now. takes about a day all up.

    • Does currencyfair sent the transfer in your name? Most US brokers require this.

    • TW - can’t open an account from Australia !! WTF ?
      NZ -yes

    • fees on depositing and withdrawing from tasty?
      seems to be a bit of a rip

    • what about transferwise?

  • Stake have recently made changes to their fee structure so it's not as good as before.

    I think Schwab is an option but I haven't used it. There's a bit of discussion r/ausfinance

  • IG.

    • I’m with IG and having fun playing the US crude swings. But playing only with pocket money. The IG platform is not terribly robust and has completely crashed at least 3 times this year costing me a few trades. But it is convenient trading on a mobile in bed.

  • If you don't want a particular US stock, but just a stake in the S&P500, an easy way is to buy an index such as IVV.
    (or IJR if you want small cap).

    These make the tax implications easier to manage, since domiciled in Australia. (i think this is the term for it)

  • Oooh playing with fire on this one.
    There are many saying the american share market is over inflated right now and i'd agree.
    But then again you do get the potential buffer of the Australian dollar that may prop you up.

    Worst comes to worst the AUD collapses along with the American share market (which is highly possible).

    I'll stick with gambling on 1 thing at a time and keep forex out of it.

  • Index's should be much lower BUT never ending Fed $$$$$ making the equation very difficult to call !
    Only advice is make a quick/instant decision based solely on new arrival Trump tweets short term .

    • Politics aside, the Fed isn’t going to let the economy fail. They are getting more braver each economic crisis as to how much to print.

      • I don't see how propping up the 10 biggest companies in America is going to benefit the nation. But hey new monetary policy is here to stay. Stagflation is by no means sustainable and future generations will be left mopping up the mess unfortunately.

        Trump really has had a tumultuous 3 years with lasting effects.

        • Bizarre - which 10 companies are you referring to ?

          This episode is peanuts and an Act of God.
          Take WW2 for example (not an Act of God but self inflicted). 5 years of human misery. Billions on armaments. Billions on destruction. Billions rebuilding. Billions on investing. 10 years later and it was the Happy Days of the 50's. We still enjoy the benefits today of good economic management.

          • @MITM: Basically the 10 biggest companies on the US share market are the easiest and most stable way of sinking money into the system. With the central banks buying them its creating a zombie market which is overvalued.

            • @Drakesy: Not sure that's how it works - the Fed can't buy companies, that would be interfering with the free market. But the Fed is currently lending to companies via bond issues (printing money) at very favourable rates to keep any needy companies liquid. Unfortunately that means cashed up profitable entities like Warren Buffet Berkshire Hathaway who sold all their airline holdings and are sitting on a pile of cash ready to lend to struggling companies - such as airlines - at high rates who couldn't otherwise access funds through normal channels - a credit squeeze. The Fed has prevented a squeeze which would've trickle all the way down to your credit card and home loan as per the GFC.

      • printing money is not a an infinite bucket they can splash into, eventually the impact on inflation etc outweighs the benefits and things get very ugly then. So for the time being they can do this but this cannot continue indefinitely.

  • I haven't done this but am wondering if it's possible to open up a multicurrency bank account which will give you a US account number and routing number.

    From there open a US based brokerage account with a cheap broker

  • Wait, you just want two stocks for a buy and hold, just use whatever. Even if it costs you a little more it’s not really worth the effort is it?

    If you’re trading many times a month, you’d want a platform you love and a price that’s good. But all you want is to own a business for years, just whatever gets the job done and move on with life.

    • Correct, Investing not trading so minimal entry costs incl FX preferred.
      TiO’s tip above should “get the job done”
      Tastyworks (Australia) plus my Citibank for speed and economy. Now I can move on.

  • you can also purchase shares in your name from Computershare in the US.
    Although going with someone like Schwab is probably easier.

  • If you trade a lot, interactive brokers. Brokerage is $1 per 100 shares.

  • Interactive Brokers Australia all the way.

    By far the cheapest and most professional platform.
    You do have to trade once a month to make it worthwhile. If you don’t trade you will be charged the minimum which is $10 or so anyway.
    Any trading fees get taken off this minimum monthly.

    If you don’t want to take any currency risk, look at hedged SPX ETFs like IHVV.

    • What I do not like about IB Australia is the US securities you hold have no protection in the event of IB running into any financial issue. Sure, it's unlikely at this stage, but who knows.

      Previously when Aussies were part of IB in the US, we had the same protection as yanks. SIPC protection, 500k in securities, 250k in cash. Now, we have nothing. Schwab gives us that protection.

      Also, IB AU doesn't allow automatic dividend reinvesting for aussies which is a shame.

      • This is true for all foreign stock brokers. No protection like CHESS system we have in oz.

        • +2 votes

          I am aware, and my comment had nothing to do with that. It has to do with the insurance that brokers have to protect their clients.

          IB goes bust, US client has protection.
          IB goes bust, AU client has NO PROTECTION.
          Schwab goes bust, US client has protection.
          Schwab goes bust, AU client has protection.

          • @bohn: People should only invest what they are willing to lose. It shouldn’t be the government’s job to protect people’s bad investments.

            • +4 votes

              @whooah1979: Your investments might be in Microsoft or Apple, why should you lose your investment if something happened to your broker lel… rightio.

              • @bohn: That is the nature of speculating. People that don’t like the risk can keep their money under their mattress.

                • @whooah1979: Or just choose a different broker that does give you protection.
                  Anyway, for most people, perhaps like yourself, it wouldn't matter.
                  Such small funds being invested - no big deal if the broker goes down.