Stock Portfolio

What is a stock portfolio?

A stock portfolio is basically nothing more than a bank account. However, instead of simply holding the money value, a share deposit contains various securities such as shares, funds, ETFs or derivatives and bonds, which can be bought and sold. The share depository is therefore the depository for these types of securities and at the same time the administration center for such securities. In contrast to a current account, it is not money that is kept and could be transferred, but securities that are traded or transferred.

Nowadays, you can open such a securities account at many banks, online and offline, and also at many brokers. It is also possible to have more than just a securities account with a bank or a broker.

Difference between stock portfolio and securities portfolio

Anyone who is interested in the stock market, shares and trading will at some point need a stock portfolio to buy or sell such securities. The term share depot or also only depot falls very often. Experienced traders already know their way around and know that the term “securities account” is also used. Inexperienced newcomers, however, are often not aware of the difference between a stock portfolio and a securities account. But in the end there is no difference, because the terms are synonyms. Thus, in the same context, both a stock portfolio and a securities portfolio or just the short form portfolio can be used and the same thing is always meant.

How does a stock portfolio work?

In recent years, the number of shareholders in Germany has steadily increased, as other asset classes such as savings books, call money or growth savings simply no longer yield any significant interest. Shares, on the other hand, can be a worthwhile investment in both the short and long term. This is why the number of newcomers to the stock market is constantly rising, although the overall quota of shareholders in Germany is still rather low by international standards.

Newcomers are not yet familiar with all the functions and modes of operation of the most important financial instruments, which is why it is also difficult to imagine exactly how a stock portfolio works. But it is actually very simple. As soon as you open a stock account with the desired broker or bank, you can access the various trading places such as Xetra, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Stuttgart Stock Exchange etc. You can buy and sell securities such as shares, options or derivatives on the various trading places such as Xetra, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Stuttgart Stock Exchange etc. Which shares or bills one can buy and sell, however, depends strongly on the respective broker or bank. If you buy only one security, this purchase will be booked by the bank and deposited in your own stock portfolio. The securities are thus kept in this deposit.

If you sell securities, the bank or broker will handle the sale and you will receive the proceeds (for successful trading preferably at a profit). The bank then takes the sold securities out of the stock portfolio and sells them on the stock exchange. The customer then receives the corresponding income on a deposited reference account. With the large providers, one has usually set up a separate clearing account for the proceeds. The money for a share purchase is then also debited from this account.

Once a purchase or sale has been completed, each transaction is stored in the custody account documents with all important data such as market value or sales value and thus remains accessible to the customer.

What does a share deposit cost?

Depending on the provider, the costs of a stock portfolio can vary considerably. The most common providers for the normal consumer such as Comdirect, OnVista, FlatEx or the S-Broker charge very different fees for maintaining a stock account. While some providers offer a free custody account, others charge a basic monthly fee for the custody account. These fees are usually very low and rarely exceed five euros per month. With the free depots there are usually still separate conditions such as keeping a current account or a certain number of trades (i.e. purchases and sales) per month or quarter.

The actual costs of trading are not so much the basic fees for a stock portfolio but the transaction costs for buying or selling securities. Depending on the provider, a trade can quickly cost between 10 and 15 euros. This also explains why some securities accounts are free of charge, but a minimum number of trades is necessary.

How do you open a securities account?

Who is new in the surrounding field and topic stock exchange on the way, which imagines the opening of a share depot usually as large hurdle, the opening of this depot is usually not too large or complex affair. First of all, one should of course think about the provider that is right for you personally. If you then know where you want to open your securities account, you can usually open a securities account via the bank’s or broker’s website. Personal data such as name, age, address and previous trading experience are naturally requested. Because some stock brokers and banks do not let inexperienced customers trade with certain investment products such as options or bonds at all or only at their own risk.

The information provided when opening a securities account also includes a reference account. Those who already have a current account with the respective provider choose this account. Once you have completed the individual steps, the securities account is almost open. A few days or a few minutes after opening the custody account (depending on the provider), you will receive a coupon for a PostIdent identification or a link with which you can identify yourself directly online. Both procedures aim at proving the authenticity of the information provided. With the PostIdent procedure, this is simply done by a brief visit to a post office; online it is possible with a smartphone or webcam. In both cases, all you need is a valid identification document such as an identity card or passport.

As soon as the identification is done, you can transfer money to the custody account and use this capital to enter the world of trading. Of course, the identification procedure sounds like a lot of work and bureaucracy, but that is far from being the case. The PostIdent identification in a post office takes less than five minutes. Online verification is similar.

How many shares can I hold and trade in a securities account?

Some users often ask themselves whether a securities account has a certain limit and whether a maximum amount of capital or number of shares may not be exceeded. Both are no problem at all, as there is no upper limit. Of course, you can only invest as much capital as you have available. There is still the possibility of special securities loans, but this is something for professionals and not for the normal trader.

In order to achieve the broadest possible diversification, so that the risk is better spread and you are not dependent on just one or a few companies, you should always pay attention to diversity. Therefore there are no maximum limits to the portfolio and you can easily bring companies from different regions, industries or with different size and market capitalization into the portfolio.

As a trader you should always pay attention to further education and learn new things. Our courses are very well suited for this purpose, as depending on the orientation and strategy, you will be provided with different aids and learn new things that will improve your own trading. All courses can be found under the heading Learn to trade. If you prefer to orientate yourself on market signals, but cannot always provide them yourself, you will find a good selection of our trading signals on the website.

Advantages and disadvantages of an online stock portfolio

Most of the stock portfolios found in the popular media or on the well-known portals such as Cash flow or for shares with head are online stock portfolios. However, there are also stock accounts of local bank branches, whether Volksbank, Sparkasse or Commerzbank. Therefore one can inform oneself for a good personal comparison also with the house bank about the conditions and the Product portfolio before one locks on-line a shared depot. That does not mean also that the security depot of the house bank or the local bank branch is to be administered only similarly. Because also there one can trade then comfortably via the Internet. Online share depots offer however usually more advantages than disadvantages and are often better than the possible depots with the house bank.

Advantages of online share portfoliosDisadvantages of online equity portfolios
mostly inexpensiveno personal contact
fast processing(non-transparent) processes without explanation from a consultant
easy handlingShare portfolios through the house bank /
local bank branch also offer trading over the Internet
simple overview

The stock portfolio comparison

With a simple Google search you will find numerous comparisons of the individual share portfolios with each other and here you can certainly look at one or the other in depth. Just the depot comparison of Finanztip is suitable for a more exact search, although one should pay attention to the test criteria. However, we would like to give a short overview of the common providers.

Comdirect Bank

costsadvantagesdisadvantage
free custody account management with sufficient trading activity or maintenance of a current accountTrading on all German stock exchangesSavings plan conditions are expensive in comparison
Order commission in the first 12 months
EUR 4.90 + 0.25% of the order volume
Trading on US stock exchangesFixed price
Order commission min./max. after the first 12 months
9.90 euros / 59.90 euros
Deposit insuranceEntry charges for most funds
Live data and fast order executionCustody account management not permanently free of charge (if inactive or without a current account)
Trading app

OnVista

costsadvantagesdisadvantage
free depot managementTrading on all German stock exchangesLimited savings plans
Order commission 7 eurosTrading on US stock exchangesFixed price
favorable savings plan conditions (1 euro per execution)
Live data and fast order execution
Trading app

Trade Republic

costsadvantagesdisadvantage
free depot managementTrading appTrade only through Lang & Schwarz
Order commission 1 euroTrading stocks from all over the worldsometimes problems with the course setting
with high user traffic
free savings planshigh spreads
Live data and fast order execution
Trading app

FlatEx

costsadvantagesdisadvantage
0.1% per year based on the market value of the securities heldfavorable savings plan conditionsDepot management not free of charge
Order commission
5.90 euros to 40,000 euros
5.90 + 0.04% from 40,000.01 euros order volume
Trading on all German stock exchangesno German deposit insurance
Trading on US stock exchangesFixed price
Live data and fast order execution
Trading app

S broker

costsadvantagesdisadvantage
free custody account management (with one trade per quarter)free depot management (subject to conditions)Front-end load
Order commission at the beginning of
4.99 euros + 0.25% of the order volume
Trading on all German stock exchangesFixed price
Order commission min./max. later
8.99 euros / 54.99 euros
Trading on US stock exchanges
favorable savings plan conditions
Live data and fast order execution
Trading app

Which is the best equity portfolio for me?

With the large offer and the mass of very similar share depots over brokers and on-line as well as local banks one can lose fast the overview and does not know so really where one should open a share depot. Who wants to find the personally suitable depot, should actually think about it in advance and also compare the web appearance of the suitable candidates on personal fit with each other. Ask yourself four important questions first:

  • What must the stock portfolio be able to do?
  • How much am I willing to pay for the portfolio?
  • Do I want a quick and easy overview of the portfolio or should it be structured in small steps and more analytically?
  • Which investment products do I want to trade and are they available from the possible provider?

Online bank or online broker?

Apart from the differences to the local branch banks, there is of course also a difference between the online banks addressed and the online brokers. If you want to have everything with one provider and prefer to open a current account, credit card and securities account with the same contact person, you should opt for a securities account with the respective direct bank. Because there, you are usually already familiar with the user interface and do not have to learn many new operating options. A stock account at the previous online bank can also be activated very quickly and you can usually start trading much faster. An identification is no longer necessary. A securities account at an online bank is usually a bit more expensive. At the same time, the use of a current account provides a free securities account with almost all providers, where only the order fees are incurred.

Who wants to have it more favorably, that should tend to the on-line broker. There one receives usually the more favorable conditions for the purchase and sales of securities. These are specially designed for trading and there are no other corporate divisions such as banking or credit services apart from the stock portfolios. This results in lower prices and sometimes more trading opportunities with online brokers. If you decide on a stock portfolio with the online broker, you still need an account with a bank to be able to book the corresponding capital for trading.

When it comes to the question whether online bank/branch bank or online broker, it depends on the personal preferences and wishes. Ultimately, you should also base your decision on the four questions mentioned above and use them as a basis to decide where you can find the best provider for your personal needs.

Summary

In conclusion, it can be said that a stock portfolio is the basis of all trading. Because without a portfolio, no trading in securities of any kind is possible. The functionality of a share depot appears however only in the first moment somewhat complicated and one learns as a consumer fast that most of the functions runs in the background and one does not have to have an eye on it here. However, one should rather think about the user-friendliness, user interface and selection of tradable products. Because here there can be, depending upon personal preferences, very differently suitable offerers.

For example, if you want to trade CFDs, you will not find a suitable product with some stock portfolio providers. Here, however, a specialized broker such as the JFD Bank or Plus 500 is generally recommended. Whoever is interested in trading with CFDs should also take a look at our article The choice of CFD broker – what do you really have to pay attention to. Here you can learn about the best broker.

But if you want to trade mainly other asset classes such as shares, options, bonds, etc., you can find a suitable provider with the online banks and branch banks as well as common online brokers. Think of the four questions, then you will find the right provider.

  • What must the stock portfolio be able to do?
  • How much am I willing to pay for the portfolio?
  • Do I want a quick and easy overview of the portfolio or should it be structured in small steps and more analytically?
  • Which investment products do I want to trade and are they available from the possible provider?

Especially when it comes to costs, one should pay attention to the total costs. A free stock portfolio with very high order fees is not always the better option. Often it can also make sense to pay a little more for the portfolio itself, but to save on order fees.

Conclusion

Our conclusion is therefore quite clear: Think about what you need in advance and choose the right provider for a stock portfolio. Then you have made the most sensible decision. In order to limit the search and selection however, you can limit yourself gladly to the described offerers. Because here you will certainly find what you are looking for.

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