How to start investing in stocks

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As an owner-customer, you can invest in Finnish shares without paying monthly or custody fees. Open an equity savings account and a Saver's service package now.

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1

Open an equity savings account or a book-entry account

When opening the account, you will choose an investment service package that suits you. You can select between the Saver’s or the Investor’s service package.

2

Study carefully the listed companies that interest you

You can find information on them from company websites and financial media as well as from company updates provided (in Finnish) by OP Research. You will have access to the online service of OP Research (in Finnish) after you have taken out the Saver’s or Investor’s service package.

3

Choose in which companies you want to invest and start trading

Remember to diversify your investments in a sufficient number of companies, preferably from different sectors. Ideally, your stock portfolio would include shares of at least five different companies. Also, remember temporal diversification, which means buying at different times.

Start investing by selecting the account type

Why investing in stocks is a good idea

History shows that investing in listed companies is an excellent way of making your funds grow. Investing in stocks is ideal for you if you seek a high return and tolerate market fluctuations. Return consists of a rise in the share's value and the dividends paid.

Stocks are ideal for long-term investment due to high expected returns. Short-term fluctuations in value may be large, especially if you plan to re-invest the dividends paid by the companies.

By investing in stocks you can build your wealth, spread your investments and protect yourself against inflation. Publicly listed shares are, in principle, liquid, which means they can be converted into money quickly and easily.

However, many often think that starting stock investment is difficult. It is also a common misconception that you need a large initial capital to start investing in stocks. In reality, you can also start investing in stocks with small sums.

Stock investment – what you should know

Making good investment decisions can be a challenging task, but often investing in stocks becomes an interesting hobby. Once you have found a suitable company to invest in, it is virtually impossible to make mistakes in buying or selling, so there is no need to be anxious about your first buy or sell order.

  • Stock investment always includes the risk of falling share values. Then again, it is also an opportunity for getting very good return on your funds.
  • Risk and expected return always go hand in hand: the greater the risk, the greater the potential return on investment, whereas a lower risk brings smaller returns.
  • The only way of reducing the risk without lowering returns is diversification: spreading the money across several investments.
  • It is also a good idea to diversify investments between companies that operate in different sectors and geographic regions.
  • When diversifying temporally, all funds are not invested at the same time but gradually and regularly. In this way, you can avoid making all purchases at a time when share prices are at their highest.

Study the companies thoroughly – OP Research is always there to help you

You can find out about interesting companies by following news, reading newspapers and browsing company websites. You can examine a company’s key figures, indicators and culture and consider its future outlook.

As a user of OP Markets’ services, you get access to extensive equity research services (in Finnish), including analyses, recommendations and target prices of about 80 Finnish listed companies.

When buying shares, you buy a part of the company, so we recommend that you select companies whose business and values correspond to your own values. It is also important to consider the company’s business performance potential in the future.

Think over your criteria for selecting potential investments. The selection criteria can include good dividend yield, credible growth plan and good growth prospects, an established brand, good products, suitable values or competent management. It is also worthwhile to examine the company’s debt-equity ratio.

Tax treatment of investments

At the end of each year, you will receive an account statement of your shareholdings and the paid dividends for taxation purposes. Capital gains on the sale of shares are taxed as capital income. The tax rate on capital gains is 30% for capital income of up to 30,000 euros per year. For the part exceeding 30,000 euros, the tax rate is 34%. You can deduct acquisition expenses, such as brokerage and service fees, from the selling price of the shares.

Dividends are subject to taxes too. A private person’s dividend income is capital income that is partly subject to tax and partly tax-exempt. From dividends paid to a private person, 85% is taxed as capital income and 15% is exempt from tax.

By investing through an equity savings account, you can postpone taxation, in other words, you will not pay tax on the profit until you withdraw money from the account.

Starting to invest in stocks – select a suitable service package

For investing in stocks, you will need a book-entry account or an equity savings account, securities custody, an eServices Agreement and an account. Your shareholdings will be recorded in the book-entry account as book-entry securities, whereas dividends will be paid into your account. If you have an equity savings account, your shareholdings will be recorded and dividends will be paid into that account.

Our services for stock investors consist of two different packages depending on the investor’s trading activity and needs. Whether you are a saver or an investor, OP offers you stock investment services that match your specific needs. A custody and a book-entry account or an equity savings account are automatically included in the service packages.

If you are already an OP customer, you can open the investment service package of your choice online by yourself. If you do not yet have an OP user ID, please contact your nearest OP cooperative bank or leave us a contact request.

If you have investments via another bank, you can transfer your custody account to us. Before the transfer, ask your current stock broker the purchase prices of your shares and submit them to your OP cooperative bank to be updated in our system. Please note that during such transfer, trading in the securities in custody will be interrupted for five working days.

If you need assistance with trading or if something else occupies your mind, please contact our experts on OP-mobile or the op.fi service.

What costs are involved in stocks?

If you trade less actively and comprehensive basic services are sufficient for you, we recommend the Saver’s service package, which includes services such as a book-entry account, securities custody and extensive equity research provided (in Finnish) by OP Research. The Saver's service package is free of charge for owner-customers.

Are you a more experienced investor and trade on a weekly basis or so? In that case, we recommend the more extensive Investor’s service package, which you can supplement with real-time market information at an additional fee, if you wish. As an owner-customer, you will get the Investor’s service package at an affordable price.

As our owner-customer, you also get excellent benefits in stock trading. You will be automatically upgraded to the second fee level, where the trading fee is 0.17% of the transaction price, or a minimum of 7 euros per completed transaction. In addition, as an owner-customer, your maximum trading fee for trading in Finnish equities via the book-entry account is 1%.

Investment Charges and Fees

Learn more about investment charges and fees.

Book-entry account

Open a book-entry account and start investing.

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Owner-customer benefits on investment

Read more about our comprehensive benefits from saving and investment.

Stock investment services are provided by OP cooperative bank.

OP Research

Read the tips by our analysts (in Finnish) to support your investment decisions.

Equity savings account

Open an equity savings account and start investing.

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International equity investment

Reduce your investment risk by spreading your investments geographically.