Can anyone advise what the best way to invest directly in offshore companies is? Can this be done via opening a different kind of Standard Bank account? Similarly, how can I open an account to trade in local bonds? Again can this be done through Standard Bank?
Don't try to invest offshore from SA based platforms - you will get crucified with costs, especially if those platforms have the dubious practise of settling in rands each day. Best thing to do is open an offshore account and trade directly with international brokers. Ameritrade was the forum's choice, if I remember correctly (I personally don't have an offshore portfolio anymore - I use my RA's to handle my offshore exposure)