Finding an options adviser

One of the most important decisions you need to make as an options trader is your choice of adviser.

You may already be using a broker to trade the sharemarket. If your broker also advises on options it is mandatory they be accredited to advise on options.

Services required by the option trader
Types of broker
Qualifications required by an options adviser
Choosing the right adviser

Services required by the option trader
The needs of the option trader are different to those of investors who only invest on a buy-and-hold basis.

Option trading generally will require more frequent monitoring than share trading alone, because of the leveraged risks associated with it. You should be confident that your broker offers the level of service which you require.

Types of broker
In Australia, options are traded through three types of broker:

  • full service brokers - those that offer you advice, research and other services.
  • discount brokers - those that offer no advice, but simply execute your instructions to buy or sell. Your instruction can be electronic (over the internet) or by telephone.
  • a combination of trade execution service and limited other services

Your choice of broker will depend on your previous trading experience, your level of confidence and time.

Qualifications required by an options adviser
To give advice regarding derivatives transactions, an adviser must be accredited by ASX. The accreditation requirement is designed to enable advisers to give quality advice and service on ASX derivatives products.

Accreditation can be at Level 1 (the basic level of competency required) or Level 2 (covering more in depth strategies).

See Accredited options advisers to access a list of accredited advisers in each capital city.

Commissions charged by brokers vary and can be:

  • a flat fee, charged on a per transaction basis,
  • on a percentage basis i.e. a percentage of the gross value of the order, or
  • a combination of these two, such as a flat fee for orders up to a certain dollar value, and a percentage charge thereafter

If you are an experienced trader, and do all your own research and price monitoring, you may only require a broker to execute your orders. For this service you usually pay a lower commission. If you are new to the marketplace, you need to consider this aspect carefully, and balance the benefit of cheaper commission against that of having an experienced adviser work for you.

Choosing the right adviser
You may wish to contact several advisers to find out about:

  • the service they provide
  • the brokerage they charge
  • the size of accounts they handle
  • their investment philosophy

It is also useful to meet with an adviser in person before making your final decision. You should feel comfortable with your adviser and have confidence that they will provide the sort of service you require.

Under the Corporations Law and ASX Market Rules, an adviser must consider a person’s investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs in making any securities recommendations. It is important that you have confidence that your adviser understands your circumstances before you instruct them to act on your behalf.