Don’t pay for your investment data

by Doug Morris

Tax prep is well underway in Australia, which means investors and their accountants are scrambling for cost base, capital gain, and dividend data. Unfortunately, for many people this becomes an expensive exercise in reconfirming things that have already been communicated to us for free as investors.

This retroactive annual ritual is a surefire way to drive up your investment admin costs and take time away from researching new ideas.

In terms of the fees we’ve come to expect, online brokerage rates are falling, which is great. Most of us know to avoid platforms that charge fees regardless of performance, and advisers are moving towards fee-for-service models.

Money Magnet - featured

But there’s another cost centre for investors: registries. As investors ourselves, we noticed that some of the share registries are charging for access to your investment data.

In one case, one report download will cost you $45 per tax year! That’s the equivalent of 2 months worth of Sharesight’s premium Investor Plan.

Assuming you own 10 investments that pay 2 dividends per year that works out to be $2.25 per data point. Here’s hoping those were some fat dividends!

At Sharesight we make a lot of investment data available for free. Our approach is to invite investors to load their portfolios, use our investment data, and then see for themselves the added value we create via our premium features such as tax and performance reporting.

Using the example above, a customer on our Free Plan can load up to 10 holdings and backdate their transactions nearly 20 years. This will automatically make your dividend history available (including franking components), and of course performance, capital gains, investment balances, etc. All things you can export into Excel and send to your accountant.*

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Taxable Income Report - screenshot

Thanks to technology you have choices as an investor. You can pay $2.25 for 20 data points on a PDF download, or $0 for investment data across all your holdings AND a web-based portfolio application.

Cloud-based apps and services are changing the way we work. For investors this means checking dividends and corporate actions in real-time online as they occur. There’s no reason to keep pulling out the shoebox of paper statements once a year. Using Sharesight (even better when connected to Xero), you can get yourself organised online and become a better investor.

*We always recommend that our clients work with a financial professional for tax preparation and lodgement. Sharesight does not provide audit services, nor do we provide financial advice.