Superhero removes account fee, rolls out live data to all users

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Low-cost online share trading platform Superhero has announced the abolishment of its $9 premium account fee and the expansion of premium features to its entire customer base.

The decision means Superhero will now only be offering a single account (replacing the basic and premium tiers) through which all users will have access to formally premium features such as live market data and limit orders for no monthly account fee.

“We know the features of our premium account are some which investors expect and some investors look for. Making the cost free for these features puts us ahead of our competitors and ensures we live up to our mission of making investing accessible to all,” said Superhero co-founder and chief executive, John Winters.

According to Mozo Senior Research Analyst, Mitch Pollard, Superhero now sits alongside CommSec and Westpac as one of the few platforms to offer a live data feed for free.

“Access to live market data is a pretty standard feature from most brokers, but it typically comes at a cost for users,” he said. “So this decision from Superhero puts them in a relatively small group of platforms which do offer this feature as part of a free account tier.”

This week’s announcement is just the latest in what has been a busy first few months for the fledgling fintech which only opened its doors back in September 2020, but has since taken on over 50,000 customers.

Last month, Superhero rolled out its mobile app for iOS and Android to complement its existing desktop platform, and it released PayID integration which allows users to fund their trading accounts near-instantly depending on their bank.

Meanwhile, back in December Superhero announced its intention to enter the super game. The fintech revealed that it would be aiming to launch its own retail superannuation fund in early 2021 which, Winters told the AFR, would provide users with a "low cost, transparent and controlled experience.”

The Superhero model

Superhero launched to much fanfare last year, with its low-cost brokerage model drawing comparisons at the time to US-based stock trading platform Robinhood.

Users are able to start trading with a minimum investment of $100 and they are charged a flat $5 fee for purchasing ASX shares and $0 for ETF purchases - making Superhero’s brokerage prices some of the lowest currently available on the market.

So how is Superhero able to keep costs relatively low? As Pollard explains, it all comes down to the share ownership model being used, which in Superhero’s case is a custodian model.

“With CHESS sponsored ownership, shares are held in your name under a Holder Identification Number (HIN),” he said. “So, if you were to make a trade it would be recorded on the ASX servers that Joe Smith made this trade, at this time, and you would have the legal ownership and full rights of that share.

“Under a custodian model, shares are held as a group by the broker which acts as the ‘custodian’ for them. They’re still legally yours, but they’re being held in trust, so this may mean you don’t always have direct access to voting rights, dividend reinvestment plans and corporate actions - but you are entitled to the proceeds those shares may generate.

“What that lets Superhero and other brokers using this model do is save money on brokerage, by pooling a lot of their users' purchases together and then making, say, one actual purchase against the market.”

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