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Behind the scenes: Sharesies’ process for NZ investments


Let’s dive into what happens when you place a buy or sell order for companies and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) with Sharesies. 🇳🇿

Behind the scenes: Sharesies’ process for NZ investments

Step 1: You place an order 💖

This is the bit that you see. You might be buying a new investment, or selling an existing one. Once you’ve placed your order, it gets received by us here at Sharesies.

Step 2: Your order goes through Sharesies Market Service ✅

Sharesies Market Service is the system that connects us to the NZX. It’s also the system that decides if your order will ‘go to market’ or not.

When we receive your order, Sharesies Market Service asks a couple questions:

  • Is the NZX accepting orders? The NZX is ‘the market’ where buyers and sellers come together. We can only send orders to the market between 8:30 AM and 4:45 PM Monday to Friday. Sharesies participates in the pre-open phase between 8:30 AM and 10 AM NZT on trading days—during this time, orders for NZX-listed shares will be placed on the market, but your order won’t fill until it matches with a buyer or seller when the market opens at 10 AM.

  • Does a human need to have a look? We might need to take a closer look at your order for a number of reasons, and decide if it’s good to go to market.

If an order is waiting to be placed on market, it’ll show as ‘pending’—you can usually cancel a pending order. 

Step 3: Your order goes on market—woohoo! 🎉

Sharesies Market Service uses an algorithm to try and get you the best available price for your order in line with our best price policy. This is also known as ‘price discovery’.

Price discovery involves looking at things like the last traded price, market conditions, and availability of buyers or sellers—and then making adjustments until we find a price to trade at within a limit that we set. Orders placed through Sharesies are automated, so your order fills as quickly as possible. A Sharesies dealer will only intervene if your order needs a helping hand.

Sometimes, we can complete your order in a single trade, straight away. Orders might also be sent to market with similar orders placed by other investors—this is called ‘aggregation’. When orders are aggregated, they retain their priority. If an aggregated order only partially fills, and your order was placed first, this means it’ll be filled first.

Orders, or partial orders that are waiting to be filled are called ‘processing orders’. If an order remains unfulfilled for 30 days, we’ll typically cancel the unfulfilled parts of the order and return the money back into your Sharesies Wallet, where you can place another order if you wish.

Step 4: Your trade appears in Sharesies (and gets settled in the background)🍍

If your order is filled (either partially or fully), you’ll see your investments (if you’re buying) or money (if you’re selling) appear in Sharesies. You’ll also be able to see a contract note that gives you all the info you need to know about your order and the trade that took place. In some cases, this will happen as soon as you place your order.

Once the order becomes a trade, Sharesies settles your trade with the NZX Clearing House. This usually takes two business days after the trade date. This is known as T+2 settlement. The NZX Clearing House sits between Sharesies and the buyer or seller on the other side of your trade. It’s responsible for making sure that all trades happen and manages the risk of having different people trading with each other.

To settle your buy trade, we give the Clearing House your cash to pay for the trade, and the seller on the other side gives the Clearing House the shares. When the Clearing House has the cash and the shares, they pass them on to the buyer and seller. This typically happens two business days after the trade has been filled (it may only be part of an order that is filled). Settlement happens when the legal ownership of the shares and money changes hands.

You don’t need to do anything as part of this process—we take care of it all in the background!

What else happens behind the scenes?

As you can see, getting investments into your Portfolio involves lots of moving parts. And those moving parts are different for each type of investment. If you’re curious about how the process differs, check out our other behind the scenes articles:

Get in touch at if there’s anything else you’d like to know more about!

Ok, now for the legal bit

Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.

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