It’s final – the 2009 Stockies Awards for the best in the industry has been decided by none other than you. Yes, the very people who use the products and services of online brokers in Australia were asked to cast a vote for the best in the industry. We let you decide who was the top broker in Australia for online share trading, CFDs, forex, options, warrants, futures, margin lending and the best stock forum. 

Based on the opinion of more than 15,000 traders and investors who voted over the past four months, the votes are in – so let’s roll out the winners. 

Winner – Best CFD Provider

You awarded the best CFD Provider in Australia to IG Markets. 

Tamas Szabo, CEO of IG Markets Australia says that winning The Stockies is a big vote of confidence for the IG team. “What is important to us is that the judges of the award, traders and investors from around Australia, have reviewed our service from a practical viewpoint and given us a big vote of confidence in the process,” says Szabo. 

Szabo credits IG’s popularity to its determination to deliver hassle-free trading for its clients. “How can we help our clients trade more easily?” is always back of mind, says Szabo; a philosophy that could partly explain why IG Markets is the fastest growing CFD provider in Australia, according to Investment Trends. 

IG Markets offers CFD trading over Australian and international shares, forex, indices, energies and metals. Traders can take the pick of two trading platforms – its browser-based PureDeal platform, or its Direct Market Access version, called L2 Dealer. Tech savvy traders can even trade PureDeal using their iPhone. 

“Our focus is on stgeloping long term relationships with clients and giving them the tools and strategies they need,” says Szabo. A good example is its DealThruCharts, a charting tool that lets traders input trades directly from charts; or its Australian-denominated CFDs for foreign indices and commodities (investors can avoid currency conversions and fluctuations by locking in their exposure in Australian dollar terms). IG Markets also launched a Chinese language CFD trading service this year. 

Of course, all of this has to be delivered at low cost. “We pride ourselves on providing some of the lowest rates across a huge range of world markets,” adds Szabo.

Winner – Best Forex Broker
You awarded the best forex broker in Australia to Global Forex Trading (GFT), who also took out an award for Finalist – Best CFD Provider. 

GFT’s impressive IT capabilities, such as its sophisticated trading platform DealBook® 360, goes some way to explaining why traders are taking to trading forex with them. 

Brendan Gunn, sales manager at GFT says: “While we’re always honoured to receive an award, it’s especially gratifying when the award is chosen by traders and investors.” 

GFT offers spot forex over more than 120 currency pairs for accounts starting at just $350. Traders can take out standard forex accounts or there are mini accounts for those just starting out. 

Gunn says that GFT’s objective is to offer traders the services and tools to be the best traders they can be. GFT’s desktop trading platform, DealBook® 360 lets traders customise the software according to their level of experience. 

“Since our beginnings 11 years ago, we’ve been pioneers in the industry,” says Gunn. “We’ve just released a new beta version of our DealBook® 360 software that includes some really exciting features, including chart-line ordering, the Rank Correlation Index indicator, real-time margin calculation for spot forex and more. The upgrade should be available for download soon.” 

He says that in 2009, more features and functionality will be added to help traders trade to their highest potential. “We’d like to thank all those traders and investors who voted for us,” says Gunn. 

Winner – Best Online Broker
You awarded the best Online Broker to CommSec, who also took out Best Margin Lender and Best Options Broker. 

CommSec is the biggest online broker in Australia, and many traders take confidence in dealing with the biggest player. Access to IPOs and new issues and CommSec’s free online research is a big plus for many investors, including DIY super investors who can also buy managed funds for their super fund via the broker. 

Matthew Comyn, managing director of CommSec says that the broker is constantly striving to raise the bar to meet the high levels of service and product innovation that its customers’ expect. “Receiving an award voted by traders and investors, gives the team a great indication that we’re on track in delivering on these expectations,” he says. 

Comyn says that its recently launched Cash Management Trust (CMT) has been popular with investors who want to earn interest on funds that aren’t currently employed in the market. The CMT pays 4.75% in interest and can be used to settle share trades or used as collateral for a margin loan. 

Another popular feature is CommSec’s Apple iPhone application that lets traders watch the market, view their portfolio and trade on the move. 

Comyn says that CommSec’s mission is to give its active traders the edge. Its dynamic trading platform, CommSecIRESS offers worldwide access and international market information.

Winner – Best Stock Forum You awarded the best stock forum to Aussie Stock Forums. With around 22,000 members and 351,000 posts, Aussie Stock Forums is becoming the favourite forum for Aussie share investors. 

“It’s very humbling to know that so many Aussie traders and investors think we are the best stock forum in the country and I would like to thank everyone for their support,” says administrator of the forum, Joe. “There were a few members in particular who campaigned very hard for us.” 

Joe says that Aussie Stock Forums has “a great sense of community, and a friendly, constructive environment.” Aussie Stock has a beginner lounge, as well as specific areas of chat covering derivatives, commodities, forex and international markets. 

“I also think people appreciate the breadth of the discussion on the forums,” says Joe. “We’re not just about discussing individual stocks but all aspects of trading and investing. We have some very knowledgeable contributors. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our team of volunteer moderators.” 

Winner – Best Margin Lender  The Best Margin Lender for 2008 is awarded to CommSec, who pipped St George and BT for the top spot. 

Winner – Best Options Broker
In addition to taking out Best Online Broker and Best Margin Lender, CommSec was also chosen by TheBull readers as Best Options Broker.