The Australian Share Registries, which manage the registers of companies, will allow an initial minimum parcel of $500 worth of shares to be purchased. Once that original number is purchased, the investor can buy smaller parcels to add to their holding.

But as every trade incurs a brokerage fee, it may make more sense to buy as many shares as you can afford in one transaction to potentially maximise your return and minimise your costs.

So, say you wanted to buy shares in mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP) and also in the Commonwealth Bank (CBA). If you had no shares in either company – you would have to purchase $500 worth of each security, plus brokerage.

If we take the closing price on 27 March 2008, you would need to purchase 14 BHP shares at $35.76, a total of $500.64, plus brokerage. Purchasing 12 CBA shares at $42.31 per share brings your total consideration for that security to $507.72, plus brokerage.

As far as a maximum number of shares – the sky’s the limit! You could buy an entire listed company if you had the inclination … and the money.


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However, by law, you are required to inform the market once you hold a 5% stake in a company, and there are restrictions on exceeding the 20% voting threshold in public companies.

By Matt Comyn, General Manager, CommSec

Disclaimers: The views expressed in this article are those of Matt Comyn, a representative of Commonwealth Securities Limited (CommSec) ABN 60 067 254 399 AFSL 238814 and are not intented to be construed as either general or personal advice. CommSec is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL 234945.