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Online Share Trading

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Auto share invest / tax free investment

Occasional Visitor


Does anyone know the difference between these?

Which can i use to buy and sell shares online with going through a trader or broker?



Hi Ernest,


I guess it depends entirely on what you’d like to achieve – i.e. do you want to trade or invest? Would you like to invest actively or once a month? Do you want to be able to trade any shares listed on the JSE?


Auto share invest allows you to invest in some of the listed shares on the JSE - although the number of shares itself is limited. There are also limits on when you can buy and there's a minimum investment amount of R500.00


Tax-free investments are available only for specific exchange traded funds (ETFs), there are no tax-free shares. It’s also important to note that there’s a difference between tax-free savings account and a tax-free investment account. A tax-free savings account (TFSA) is offered by Standard Bank while a tax-free investment account (TFIA) is offered by Standard Online Share Trading.


You should pick your platform based on your investment or trading needs. 


For more info on ASI click here

For info on bank TFSAs, click here

For info on TFSIs click here (for Online Share Trading)

For info on Online Share Trading click here


I have had both Auto share invest and TFSA accounts open, on the normal Standard Bank Online Banking and Online Share Trading platforms open.  If I remember correctly, the Auto Share Invest account option, on the Online Banking Platform, started as an effort to allow people to invest smaller monthly sums of money (on their own, without going to a broker) into the Top 40 or Top 100 shares on the JSE.  The share transaction fees were kept low, as the Auto Share Account "aim" was to get people to save / invest smaller amounts monthly.  So, fees had to be kept low.  Additionally, since the Auto Share Invest Account was available on one's normal Online Banking Profile, you didn’t have to pay another monthly fee to invest or trade (as you would have had to do, if you had an Online Share trading account open).  The one downside of the Auto Share Invest account (when I had it open) was that you could only place a "buy" once a month and could only "sell" once a week (I think).  So, you could not "trade" on the Auto Share Invest account.


The Tax Free Savings / Investment account became a savings option in 2015 and was also made available on the Online Banking Platform - similar in "look" to the Auto Share Invest platform but limited to buying / selling ETFs.  I think the main difference in the two, aside from the share / ETF investing options, is that fact that the Auto Share Invest was aimed to get people to save small amount monthly, while the Tax Free account, gives you an additional "tax free" benefit with a current limit of R33K a year.  As far as I recall there was no cash limit on Auto Share Invest Account - but limited to buy and sell trades a month.


I originally had Auto Share Invest for my kids on the Online Banking platform.  As soon as the TFSA became an option I transferred the cash from the Auto Share Invest accounts into the TFSA accounts on the online Banking platform.  After two years I found out I could "host" their TFSA accounts on my own OST account, and have now their TFSA accounts on my OST account.  In effect, pay a single monthly OST fee for my own TFSA, and their two TFSAs as well as my OST accounts.


If you want to trade single stocks on the JSE, then you cannot do this, at the moment, on the Standard Bank TFSA.  If you open a TFSA with FNB or ABSA, you can trade single stocks.  I don’t know why Standard Bank cannot or does not allow single stock trading on the TFSA.  You are limited to ETF trading / investing on the Standard Bank TFSA platform.  BTW - I have asked OST this, but have not got an effective answer (usual guff like "we are considering this, but it’s not a current option"....).  If you want to trade single stocks you can on the Auto Share Invest account, but then are limited in terms of the buy and sell times / dates.  Maybe consider paying the 100 bucks a month and opening an OST account.  This way, you can host your TFSA and trade all shares / ETFs on the JSE.  The other benefit of the OST account is that you get the 5-6 odd % on cash deposits.


(I stand to correction on the above - it’s been a while since I've been on the Auto Share Invest dashboard).