More gen Ys turn to direct investing


By Julie May

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Investors were entering the share market at an earlier age, with 28 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds now owning shares directly, new data released by CommSec yesterday revealed.

The business, which had undertaken a review of share trading and economic developments in Australia over the past 20 years, said generation Y investors were a growing proportion of new direct investors in the share market compared to two decades ago.

“Twenty years ago the majority of investors in the market were aged in their late 40s to 50s,” CommSec managing director Paul Rayson said, adding the emergence of online broking had made the share market more accessible and affordable to younger investors.

“Our review shows that in 1995 only around one in five new investors using our platform were aged under 35, [whereas] now just over half of our new customer base is aged under 35.

“This shift in age demographic is a striking feature of a change in consumer behaviour looking back over the past 20 years.

“It demonstrates how younger people have embraced technology and become more self-directed in their approach to financial decision-making.”

Overall, 33 per cent of Australians over the age of 18 (an estimated 5.94 million people) held shares directly compared to 16 per cent or 1.98 million Australians in 1994, the study showed.

Rayson said the shift had also translated into a bigger cohort using mobile devices for investing.

Investment Trends research showed 60 per cent of current online investors used a mobile device to monitor the market, trade shares and transfer funds.

“In CommSec, we have seen trading via mobile devices experience rapid growth over the past 12 to 18 months,” Rayson said.

“Around 25 per cent of logins and 13 per cent of daily trades are now performed via mobiles [and tablets].”

Further, investors still remained relatively cautious by ensuring their holdings were diversified across various sectors and that extended beyond domestic share ownership, with 5 per cent of the Australian population now owning international shares, he said.

Of the Australian adult population, share ownership by women had also increased to 27 per cent and for men it was 38 per cent.

Meanwhile, the annual "ASX Australian Share Ownership Study" earlier this month showed non-investors were also keen to get into the market, but had little knowledge of how to go about it, and if they were to invest in shares, would look to experts for advice.

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