After faxing in a copy of my driver's licence and a rates notice confirming my residential address setup of my new CFD trading account was completed on Friday. They require a minimum initial balance of $1000 to start trading, which I sent electronically from my bank account using BPay on Friday. Once the funds hit their system on Monday morning I should automatically be emailed my account number and initial password and could start trading that evening (trading US stocks will be available from 1:30 am - 8am AEST). I thought it was a bit strange that the account details aren't sent as soon as the account is opened, rather than waiting until receipt of a funds transfer, but it doesn't really make much difference in the end. I found a pdf file listing the 500 or so US stocks that can be traded using CMC Markets CFDs, and most of the ones I've bought so far for my little book portfolio were listed. The few ones that were missing are the smaller, more speculative stocks such as OVTI and CRYP. This will mean an additional filter when picking new stocks to purchase for my US Stock portfolio over the next 18 months.
I plan on buying a CFD for the same value of stocks that I actually purchase each month using my Comsec-Pershing broker account. After 18 months when the stock holding and corresponding CFD are sold I'll be able to compare the costs and realised gain or loss made using each system and decide whether I'll continue purchasing US stocks or just trade CFDs for US stocks in the long term. With CFD trading there's the extra risk of losing the money I've paid for the CFDs if CMC Markets went out of business, but as there is only a 5% margin required to trade US stocks this risk should not outweigh the benefit of significant savings in brokerage in the long term.