Published by Steve Miley. Tuesday, March 14th, Choosing the right share dealing account is a critical decision for any UK investor. Since each UK trader has their own unique strategies, preferences, and needs, we have assessed the top 10 brokers currently available to open an account with.
In total, individual variables were assessed to find the best broker. Here's a breakdown of some of the share dealing accounts available for buying shares online in the UK.
Barclays is our 1 share dealing account for IG Group - 4. It is certainly a company to watch in this space, reaching 2nd place in our review. Interactive Investor - 4. A strong contender in the UK market.
Hargreaves Lansdown - 4. TD Direct Investing - 4. AJ Bell Youinvest - 4. And fees are low when using a regular investment plan.
Alliance Trust Savings - 3. Fidelity International - 3. Charles Stanley Direct - 3. This is disappointing, given the high commissions and fees. The cost of trading is an important factor for many traders and investors when they decide to choose a broker.
Furthermore, you may also need to pay a monthly, quarterly or annual management fee, depending on the type and size of your holding. Just like the coffee junkies who will not settle for anything less than a cup of Starbucks, traders and investors looking for a quality share dealing account will have to pay for that quality.
So ultimately, the price you pay depends on your requirements and your tastes. This scenario is also true for online trading. The best share dealing account for you will depend on whether you are a frequent trader or casual investor, and whether you have a small or large portfolio. Some brokers offer discounted rates for more frequent trading, whilst others charge flat fees.
Similarly, some charge holding fees that depend on the size of the account, whilst others have a flat overall fee structure. In our assessment, we considered all possible scenarios. Finally, in third place was Interactive Investor. When considering any share dealing account on fees and commissions alone, first identify what type of trader or investor you are. Is your portfolio large enough for management charges to be an important consideration? On average, how many trades do you place each month?
Do you invest primarily in stocks, funds or other asset classes? Next, calculate the overall trading cost to you; crunch the numbers. To help, read our detailed commission notes for each broker. You can also compare brokers side by side using the comparison tool. Overall, there may be a tradeoff between price and quality of service that you are willing to make, or maybe not. For many traders and investors in the modern trading environment, the trading and charting platform is a key element in decision making.
Whether traders are deciding which stocks or funds to invest in or trade, whether to go long or short in these markets, or the price at which to enter trades, they tend to rely significantly on their trading platform. Practically all the trading platforms in our review are web based, but many are increasingly becoming mobile based as well. The UK market is generally behind the offerings provided by our US cousins; most UK online share dealing accounts offer rudimentary charting platforms.
However, the top providers that head our list for platforms and tools are attempting to provide a more advanced service, akin to what is on offer in the USA. Without question, the standard set offered by Barclays Stockbrokers and IG is what their competitors should be striving for. Barclays Stockbrokers tops our review of platforms and tools.
Only IG comes anywhere close to challenging Barclays Stockbrokers for the top spot in The charting experience at Barclays Stockbrokers provides an impressive different indicators, from simple moving averages to the rarer Elder Ray Bull Power. Furthermore, 15 drawing tools are accessible, from basic trend lines to Fibonacci Arcs. The IG trading platform and tools are a close second to Barclays Stockbrokers, with an impressive offering as IG has shifted its award-winning spread-betting platform across to its online stock-trading accounts.
The IG trading platform provides nine optional indicators for charting, including Fibonacci retracements and extensions and trend lines which are customizable. Furthermore, you can access 21 technical indicators with adjustable parameters. Price alerts can be set on indicators and can be further customized, whilst economic calendar alerts are also available.
The alerts can be displayed on the trading platform or can be received via mobile push or email. New orders can be executed from the chart, whilst open positions and working orders can also be viewed on the chart. TD Direct Investing finished a distant third on our list in Clients can select between three different chart types as well as add display events earnings, dividends, splits and conduct multi-security comparisons.
Charting also includes 11 different charting tools, but an absence of chart drawing tools is somewhat disappointing.
Beyond its standard platform, TD Direct Investing does offer a more comprehensive Advanced Trading Platform as an extra paid-for service free for clients that trade 10 or more times per month. This platform has built-in dashboards with heat maps, charts, stock information, portfolio panels and news, including the ability to customise your own layouts.
The world of share dealing and investing encompasses a wide variety of asset classes across the global markets. This broad-spectrum ranges from long-term investments in mutual funds and government bonds to share dealing and CFDs, among others. In our UK review, we have focused on the full range of offerings. Hargreaves Landsdown offers a diverse investment offering, providing its clients with the ability to invest across the global markets, as well as receive optional paid professional advice.
Our top pick, Hargreaves Landsdown, shines for its extremely diverse offering of investments. Hargreaves Lansdown's clients have access to a variety of asset classes including individual stocks and shares, funds, investment trusts, government and corporate bonds, ETFs, CFDs, and spread betting services.
Finally, Hargreaves Landsdown also offers an advisory service for clients who want to pay for access to professional guidance. In second place, we placed Barclays Stockbrokers.
A similar broad range of asset classes to Hargreaves Lansdown can be accessed at Barclays, although a Junior ISA is not currently offered. All data considered, Hargreaves Landsdown offers the most well-rounded offering. Considering the wide variety of assets that can be traded, the broad choice of investment vehicles, the scope of the investment possibilities outside of the UK, and the optional convenience of tailored financial advice, it is the best package available for UK residents.
Research is a key area for any online broker trying to differentiate itself from its competitors. The leading providers in this category offer both in-house and differentiated external content, which covers individual stocks, funds, ETFs, bond and even currency markets. Disappointingly, however, some providers simply deflect the user off to a third-party provider or offer little to no research at all.
We found the research area within the Barclays MarketMaster platform very impressive, with a depth of fundamental data on individual stocks, funds and bonds. Stockbrokers TV is an in-house video archive of exclusive interviews with prestigious fund managers, investment professionals and Barclays experts.
The videos can be explored by topic or chronologically, with interview transcripts also available. The Barclays Blog has up-to-date articles on current market activity. Interactive Investor took second place in the research category, providing both a high quality and quantity of news and research content.
Content is delivered by the Interactive Investor in-house team and by the sister companies, Moneywise and Money Observer, as well as from third-party providers. Separate research sections provide fund ideas, investment trust insights, the latest news and analysis and a newspaper roundup and portfolio ideas.
This content is delivered in written format, but also via video, with interviews with equity, bond and commodity fund managers. There is also a MoneyTalk section, with videos offering broader, more generic investment research and advice.
However, the absence of any significant research on individual stocks is disappointing and keeps Fidelity from attaining a higher position in our rankings. In summary, the top share dealing accounts provide an excellent experience for traders and investors researching stocks, funds fixed income etc. However, it is the in-house research, together with unique features and functionality that represents real value added and differentiates the brokers.
In any evaluation of customer service, a single interaction is not enough to make a true assessment. To accurately assess the value of support, we carried out multiple tests across phone, email and live chat.
We have weighted phone support the heaviest in our evaluation criteria, allowing it to account for over half of the total score, with email and live chat weighted relatively lower. If a broker did not have a live chat facility, then phone and email were both weighted proportionately higher. Halifax hit the overall top spot in our first review of customer support and service, just edging out Hargreaves Lansdown second and Alliance Trust Savings third.
For the top three, the difference in evaluation results was extremely tight. Furthermore, the information the IG support reps provided was thorough and clear, often exceeding our expectations.
We found both the TD Direct Investing and Halifax services very positive, thanks to quick response times, free-flowing conversations and ensuring all our questions were answered. TD Direct Investing was a standout, offering extra information to assist us with our inquiries. Winner aside, we were disappointed with the IG chat service as we were never able to get connected successfully, and thus no tests were filed.
Halifax was a worthy winner as it placed highest overall for phone support, fourth for email, and it provided a very good live chat service. We found the connection time to be quick and the support team to be highly knowledgeable and efficient.
They were also very friendly, which was most welcome in an industry characterized by risky decisions and potential losses. The increase in the use of mobile devices globally to access social media and online services via apps continues exponentially. In fact, today more users access Facebook via mobile devices than they do via a personal computer.More...