Standard Bank Investments Review – Wealth Planning at its Best

Standard Bank Investments Review – Wealth Planning at its Best

Standard Bank
Screenshot of the Investment Home Page Standard Bank

There are a number of things that happen as we get older. One of these things is the acute awareness that a simple savings plan is just not enough. Suddenly, it’s time to gather all the reserves, curb the spending and build up wealth. When the savings accounts simply don’t cut it anymore, it’s time to bring out the cavalry. Investments and other wealth planning instruments make this a little easier. There is an element of risk, however, fund managers and investment specialists to their best to keep those risks manageable. Standard Bank Investments provide customers with access to a range of investment tools. This review takes a closer look to determine whether they measure up on a global scale.

A bank that also has a dedicated investment team, is Deutsche Bank. Read the review here.

About Standard Bank

Standard Bank
Screenshot of the History of Standard Bank

The first Standard Bank in South Africa opened its doors to the public in 1963. It operates under the Standard Chartered umbrella, which enjoys representation across the world. Standard Bank South Africa is regarded as the biggest bank in Africa based on asset value. It is also known as one of the Big Five banks in South Africa. The others are First National Bank, Nedbank, Capitec, and ABSA.

Standard Bank provided South Africans with the means to transact according to global standards, thanks to its close following of technological trends. Currently, the bank enjoys its partnership with ICBC. This allows the bank greater exposure to international markets.

We recently did a full review of Standard Bank. Read it here.

Important Things to Consider Before Investing

Investments with fund managers and savings through a branch are quite different. Apart from the difference in risk profiles, there is also a substantial difference when it comes to the pricing, among other things.

Management Fees, Fund Fees, Statutory Fees

There are a number of fees that could be levied on an investment. For the first couple of years, the investment growth is mainly to outgrow these fees before it even starts producing growth. Savings accounts tend to have minimal fees if any at all.

In It for the Long Haul

Short term investments are best left in the bank, as all the fees and market volatility could see customers getting less out than they put in. This is because it takes time for the investment to recover from the initial pricing.

Invest out of Surplus, Not Need

Customers who rely on the growth of the investment as their only source of income may wish to reconsider. The only exception here is where the investment offers some sort of income guarantee. This is because all investments carry a degree of risk which means customers can lose part or all of their funds.

Expect Risk

Although investments may be in the low-risk category, there is still a measure of risk attached to it. Customers need to be mindful of the fact that they could end up with less than they invested of the market conditions change.

Standard Bank Investments Product Offerings

Standard Bank
Screenshot Melville Douglas Home Page Standard Bank

Melville Douglas

As a subsidiary of Standard Bank, this division is responsible for the personalized investment management services. Furthermore, the service is available to high net worth clients.

  • Customers will have access to investment strategies that include endowments, charitable trusts, retirement funds, and institutional mandates.
  • The service is also available to high net worth institutions.
  • These are bespoke portfolios managed according to the customer’s mandate and risk profile.
  • Customers have access to a wide range of funds, handpicked to provide them with growth.
  • Finally, this is a service led by an established management team. Furthermore, they carry vast experience and expertise on the funds they manage, providing customers with optimal service and advice.


Customers have access to the stock markets, which provide them with a wide variety of options. The solutions are designed to enhance and grow the customer’s investment portfolio.

  • Customers have access to advisory, discretionary, and execution only services.
  • Advisors are equipped to ensure the customer’s objectives are met.
  • Furthermore, they rely on asset allocation for the best results.
  • Also, the risk here is multidimensional and requires skilled management.
  • This service allows customers to take an active interest in both domestic and international financial markets.
  • Customers are involved in the decision-making process.
  • This portfolio provides customers with ideas for portfolio construction, trading ideas, and more.
  • Finally, this service is designed to meet the needs of the individual.



With this service, the Stockbroking Advisor works with the customers to select not only the investments, but also execute their trades, respond to corporate actions, and more. Furthermore, customers can rely on expert advice in order to meet their investment objectives.


With this service, customers are able to establish a mandate for their trade. This then provides the Stockbroking Advisor with the authority to do certain transactions. The advisory team assumes all responsibility for the daily management of the investments. Finally, this is on a discretionary basis.

Execution Only

Customers who decide on this service offering, instruct the advisory team as to the trades they wish executed. This is done in a price-sensitive and confidential manner.

Online Share Trading

The Online Share Trading account is a fast and efficient way of starting the trading journey. Furthermore, the registration process takes place in four easy steps.

  • With this option, customers have access to a wide array of products. These include shares, contracts for differences, share installments, warrants, futures, exchange traded products, and option strategies.
  • This portal is the gateway to trading derivatives and investment products.
  • Furthermore, customers have the option of trading ordinary shares or derivatives on selected stocks, currencies, and commodities.
  • Customers enjoy low trading costs. These costs exclude VAT and statutory taxes.
  • Finally, customers have access to a Knowledge Center that provides a wealth of information.

Corporate Investments

This division is designed to meet the needs of governments, large corporates, and more. Furthermore, it includes a wealth of products and services specifically designed for this segment. Finally, this segment is a large portion of the asset holdings of Standard Bank, which is the reason for its impressive asset wealth.

What We Like About Standard Bank Investments

Customers have access to products and services that would ordinarily not be available to them. This includes stockbroking and share trading, which both form an integral part of a diverse wealth portfolio. Furthermore, Standard Bank is upfront with their information on these products.

Another important aspect of these investment options is the fact that they are clear about the segments these investments operate in, and what customers can expect to pay in terms of fees.

Finally, the online portal is simple and easy to understand. Standard Bank also provides an online knowledge center which educates customers and allows them to make their decisions based on the information at hand.

Read here to learn more about the Standard Bank Savings Accounts.

What We Don’t Like About Standard Bank Investments

Although these are great products, it still feels like there is something missing. Perhaps the availability of funds for customers who don’t fall within the Melville Douglass portfolio. There is no lack of portfolios for these customers, they’re just not clearly communicated. Customers who aren’t high net worth customers still have the opportunity to invest with fund managers, however, they will deal directly with the financial advisors in the branches. This does seem to confuse things, and those who rely on the internet for information may miss this entirely, and take their funds where they can find it.

Another worrisome aspect of Standard Bank Investments is the fact that the information is a little scattered. It makes it difficult to find the right information, as there are several pages that say almost the same thing. Streamlining the website will be helpful. For instance, the investments URL leads to a condensed version of the options, however, there is no link to these individual services through this page. It takes a bit of clicking around to find the pages dedicated to these services, ie Melville Douglas, etc.

Critical Reviews Rating Standard Bank Investments – 8 of 10

Standard Bank
Screenshot of the Investment Options Standard Bank

This is a sad rating to give, considering the fact that all the products are there. The first reason the bank doesn’t enjoy a perfect score is due to the lack of information on the investment options for the man on the street. This is quite worrisome as customers may confuse this for an elitist bank, where the opposite could be true.

The other reason is the fact that customers have to click around the site to get all the information ready to make an informed decision. This could leave customers frustrated and this is where they will click around for information. The first financial institution that has all this information properly displayed will have a high chance of receiving the funds, whether they’re part of the Standard Bank group or not. These two aspects are crucial to ensure that customers remain loyal to the bank. Once these two issues are resolved, the bank may qualify for a higher rating.

We also did a review on the Standard Bank Current Accounts. Read it here.