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How to Buy ETFs in Australia

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on March 23, 2024

As far back as March 2021, the Australian exchange-traded fund (ETF) sector has managed assets of $100 billion, representing a considerable increase in recent years. 

Even more, it is anticipated that a record-breaking 190,000 Australians would invest in exchange-traded funds for the first time this year. In this guide, we’re going to fill you in on why everyone is talking about ETFs, and how can you get some. 

Note: We provide helpful info and assistance. As we are not financial advisers, please use your judgement when making financial choices.

Table of Contents:

ETFs & How They Work 🎛️

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are a kind of mutual fund whose shares may be bought and sold on the stock market. Exchange-traded funds provide exposure to a wide variety of markets, sectors, and investing techniques. In order to get this kind of return, many ETFs follow an index.

How They Work

Exchange-traded funds allow investors to get exposure to many asset classes, including stocks and fixed income, via tracking the rise or fall of a market index (such the FTSE 100 or the S&P 500). ETFs also self-correct through a competent and attentive manager.

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eToro AUS Capital Limited AFSL 491139. eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. See PDS and TMD.

Step 1 📕 – Decide On A Trading Account

A Primer on Buying Exchange-Traded Funds

To begin, choose a reliable online share trading platform such as eToro (our #1 choice).

Exchange-traded funds are purchased with the intent of being held for a lengthy period of time. Take this into consideration while deciding which provider to join. You should also think about the fact that certain brokers provide commission-free ETF purchases.

In general, the cheaper the brokerage, the better, but it’s still crucial to choose a broker that can meet your specific demands.

Step 2 📗 – Open A Trading Account 

Determine Your Financial Strategy 🏎️

After deciding on a trading account, you will need to register. Broker registration is often free, however some accounts may have inactivity penalties. If you’re a new client, you’ll need to supply the following information during the online registration process:

  • Provide your full name, current address, birthday, and phone number
  • Your Social Security number 
  • ID Required
  • Link any digital bank account

Step 3 📗 – Choose Your Exchange-Traded Fund

Determine What Best Suits Your Roadmap 🗺️

It is crucial to choose an investment strategy that fits your personal risk tolerance, financial goals, and other factors.

After all, there’s no use in putting yourself through unnecessary peril in pursuit of your objectives.

In the case of an ETF, this is particularly accurate. There are two types of ETFs, known as passive and active. Whatever one you choose to invest in, and how much of your portfolio you allocate to each, may be influenced by your long-term financial objectives.

The goal of the managers of a passive ETF is to provide results that are similar to those of the larger equities market, sector, or trend, which you are trying to mimic. Consider the S&P 500 or the ASX 200. If you adopt a hands-off strategy, all you’ll be doing is following the market’s movements.

Nonetheless, there are many managers who choose to take an active role in the market. The goal is higher returns, but this strategy often comes with higher management costs and increased risk.

Step 4 – Enter In The ETF Ticker Symbol 

Start Your Trade ✅

Choose the exchange-traded fund you want by name or ticker code and submit a purchase order for a certain number of shares.

The next step, after deciding which ETFs you wish to invest in, is to actually make the purchases. To do so, you will need to look out the ticker code of the ETF you wish to buy and place an order for it.

Shares may be ordered in several different ways, depending on the services offered by your broker. Limit orders and market orders are the two primary options. To buy anything as soon as feasible, use a market order, while to set a certain price, use a limit order.

Step 5 – Check In

See How Your ETF is Doing 🕶️

While the ETF is now in your possession, you should monitor its progress.

After all, you want to make sure it still serves your interests. You could keep putting money into it if step 3 pans out. It may be time to sell if its performance has been subpar.

Yet, you must provide the ETF sufficient time for your thesis to materialise. Short-term market fluctuations may not be indicative of your assets’ true value over the long run.

How To Invest In ETFs With An App

eToro is Our Most-Loved ETF App ❤️‍

Key Features:

  • Buy stocks and a range of other assets
  • Invest your money in ETFs
  • CopyTrader
  • Social investor’s group
  • Use your Apple or Google phone
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  • Useful and easy to use
  • Find the most important financial assets, such as cryptocurrency
  • CopyTrading


  • Withdrawals incur a fee
  • After 12 months of inactivity, there are fees
  • Extra costs for crypto

Reasons to Choose This Provider ❤️‍

More than three thousand stocks, cryptocurrencies (Cryptocurrency ETFs Explained), and ETFs are available for trading and investing on the eToro platform providing traders and investors with a wide range of opportunities for short-, medium-, and long-term financial gain.

Join a Community of 30 Million+ in Over 100 Countries

About 30 million users from over 100 different countries make up eToro’s global trading and investment community. Several eToro investors have outperformed market averages in the past, thus the platform is a haven for seasoned pros.

Share Your Experiences with Others

Similar to other social media platforms, the eToro News Feed allows users to connect with one another, discuss market events, and even meet new friends who have similar interests.


Invest in a portfolio based on individuals with eToro Top Trader Smart Portfolios.

What to Expect 🌞

Like other trading platforms, eToro has a compulsory registration and verification process for new users. All the usual pieces of information are required to set up an account. 

After that, you’ll need a government-issued ID, a phone number, and a utility bill to verify your account. As soon as the client’s identity has been confirmed, trade may commence through the site.

Either a domestic wire transfer or an online bank account may be used to deposit funds for trading. So says the system. In the not-too-distant future, there will be a wider variety of financing opportunities available. Online banking is the most convenient option for making deposits. 

Plaid users may now link their eToro and bank accounts for seamless trading. For our purposes, Plaid acts just as an intermediary. Bank fees are often assessed when a deposit is made by wire transfer.

Funding an Account

There is a minimum online bank transfer of $200 that the customer must deposit. This applies to the original deposit in addition to any deposits made in the future. If a customer wants to make a deposit, and they pick wire transfer, the least amount they may send at once is $500. A daily limit of $10,000 is allowed.

How ETFs Work: Buying Guide 📕 

The term “exchange traded fund” refers to a pool of stocks or options that trades like a single security on a stock exchange.

Simply put, it is a kind of pooled investment vehicle designed to replicate the performance of a certain market index, underlying theme, commodity, or other asset class. Passive index funds were the forerunners of ETFs, but the market has seen tremendous growth over the last decade.

The iShares Core S&P/ASX 200 ETF is a market-tracking exchange-traded fund (ETF) that invests in the 200 largest businesses on Australia’s stock exchange. 

This ETF’s market weighting gives investors a fractional stake in each firm. That’s why BHP and Commonwealth Bank have a bigger stake than, say, Corporate Travel Management.

Investors may purchase and sell ETFs just like regular shares of stock thanks to their unique ASX codes.

The immediate creation of a diversified portfolio is a major benefit of ETFs. Buying additional assets, such as Australian shares, worldwide shares, fixed income, debt, foreign currencies, commodities, or metals, is as simple as buying the default part of a market.

Unlike ETFs, a mutual fund is not listed on an exchange like the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Technical Section: Categories Of Exchange-Traded Funds 📙 

First created as a passive investment index, the lowly ETF has seen a series of transformations since its inception. Nowadays, almost every investment strategy imaginable, from the more common passive approach to active strategies and even thematic ones, may be matched with an exchange-traded fund.

Following are some of the most common exchange-traded fund categories:

Passively-Traded ETFs 

Indexed exchange-traded funds, or index funds, are investments designed to mimic the performance of a market index or other benchmark. You may, for instance, put your money into a fund that follows the S&P 500 or the S&P/ASX 200 (Australia’s stock market) (US stock market).

Actively-Traded ETFs 

Active ETFs, also referred to as ETMFs (exchange traded managed funds), seek to beat the market or an index. They tend to carry a greater degree of risk and cost more to handle as a result.

Smart Beta & Factor ETFs

They include elements of both proactive and passive approaches. They are similar to an index but take into account extra factors, such as a greater emphasis on smaller enterprises. Smart beta ETFs are exchange-traded funds that follow alternative indexes that are constructed to invest in a basket of firm stocks according to their own criteria. Success is defined as a rate of return higher than that of the market.

Synthetic & Structured ETFs

With synthetic ETFs, though, things begin to become more involved.

Exchange-traded funds may get exposure to investments in two ways: physically and synthetically. The assets comprising the index that a physical (or standard) ETF seeks to mimic have been bought by the ETF issuer.

With the use of derivatives, structured or synthetic ETFs aim to mimic the performance of their underlying assets. This is due to the fact that keeping physical assets in storage is not always an option. 

In light of the challenges associated with keeping huge quantities of gold, many gold and commodities ETFs are artificial. You are not purchasing physical gold but rather a contract that offers profits depending on the price fluctuations of gold.


The value of derivatives, such as commodities or stocks, is derived from the value of the underlying asset. Contracts with predetermined returns dependent on the underlying asset’s price fluctuations are known as derivatives.

A word of caution: structured products might be much riskier than a low-cost index ETF due to the employment of potentially complicated investing techniques.

Exchange-Traded Commodities 

Exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) or commodity ETFs mimic the price movements of a real commodity like gold, oil, or grains.

Costs 💳

The ETF unit price will be the first investment expense you are aware of. You should also be mindful of other less visible expenses. Although while ETFs often have lower costs than unlisted managed funds, this is not always the case.

If you want to know all there is to know about the costs associated with an ETF and how they may effect your investments, you need to read the PDS issued by the ETF issuer. In general, you should expect to pay:

Administrative costs. Often known as the management expense ratio, these are charged on exchange-traded funds in the same way that they are charged on any other managed fund (MER). The ETF issuer collects this cost, and it is included into the price per unit.

Fees charged by a broker. The purchase and sale of ETF units are subject to brokerage fees. Depending on the online broker you choose, these costs might be as little as $10 or $20.

Spreads. The difference in price between buying and selling. This is the amount you’re prepared to spend over the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for an ETF unit. The greater the margin of error, the higher the potential loss.

Takeaway 📚 🤠

To invest in a diverse portfolio of securities without breaking the bank, ETFs are a great option. 

Shares in a fund that aims to replicate the performance of the market as a whole may be purchased instead of individual equities. While considering an ETF investment, however, it is important to remember that you will incur some extra fees.

How appropriate are ETFs for first-time investors? Investing with ETFs is a great way to get your feet wet in the market without a lot of hassle. A few features make them accessible to novices, such as:

  • ✔️ You may invest passively and yet get good results.
  • ✔️ Investing in a passive fund is a simple way to spread your risk.
  • ✔️ They remove the need for worrying about building a portfolio.
  • ✔️ They are inexpensive.
  • ✔️ They may be tax efficient because of their typically smaller turnover.

Investing in ETFs might be a convenient method to save for the future. 


Common Questions About How ETFs Work

1. Who made the first ETF?

Some people consider State Street Global Advisors’ SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), which debuted on January 22, 1993, to be the first ETF. Although the SPY didn’t exist until 1992, it had several forerunners, including Index Participation Units (IPUs) traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) that followed the Toronto 35 Index.

2. In what ways do exchange-traded funds vary from index funds?

One common definition of an index fund is a mutual fund that attempts to replicate the performance of a certain index. Like other ETFs, an index ETF is intended to carry the equities that make up an index. However an exchange-traded fund is often cheaper and more liquid than an index mutual fund. Unlike mutual funds, which only trade via brokers at the end of each trading day, ETFs may be purchased at any time throughout the trading day.

3. How do exchange-traded funds function?

Providers of exchange-traded funds design and launch new ETFs based on predetermined investment strategies. The ETF’s provider trades the underlying equities on the market. It is possible for investors to receive dividends (What Are Blue-Chip Stocks?), reinvest their proceeds, and enjoy other advantages without actually owning any of the underlying assets.

4. Exactly what does an ETF account consist of?

It is not usually essential to open a separate account only to buy exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs are appealing because they can be traded like stocks at any time of day. This is why buying exchange-traded funds often just requires a low-cost brokerage account.

5. Just how much does an ETF cost?

Typically, ETF investors will pay for the fund’s administrative and overhead expenses. The expenditure ratio refers to the proportion of an investment that is eaten up by these fees. Due to the industry’s rapid expansion, they’re now among the most cost-effective ways to invest. Nevertheless, the cost ratio of an ETF may vary widely depending on the kind of ETF and the investing strategy it employs.

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