2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING UK STOCK BROKERS
Who Are the Top Stock Brokers in the UK?
Answering the question, “Who is the best stock broker in the UK?” is difficult because in many ways it’s a subjective experience to choose UK brokers to work with. Every investor is going to have a different set of priorities they keep in mind when selecting UK stock brokers.
For example, some investors may prefer to work only with online stock brokers in the UK, while others might value the availability of offices where they can meet with financial professionals in person. Other investors may prefer to work only with discount brokers in the UK.
Award Emblem: Top 11 UK Stock Brokers
Some of the key considerations most investors keep in mind when selecting the best stock broker in the UK include the following:
- The cost of trading: UK stock brokers can vary pretty significantly in the trading costs they charge investors. Every time you trade, you’re paying the broker a fee, so you may prefer something like a fixed fee or a percentage fee.
- Account management fees: In addition to the cost of making actual trades, some stock brokers in the UK may also charge platform and account management fees just for using their services.
- Advisory services: Some investors, particularly if they’re new to the process, may be looking for online UK stockbrokers or top stock brokers in the UK that offer some level of advisory service, so they can discuss their investment choices and their portfolio, rather than having everything done automatically through a robo-investing platform.
- International options: Some of the best UK share broker companies and online UK stockbrokers will offer the opportunity to do international trading or trading on stock exchanges outside of the UK.
This is a very brief list of some of the criteria that could be important to investors searching for the best stock broker in the UK.
The following review and ranking of the top stock brokers in the UK covers these areas as well as quite a few others that are likely to matter to UK investors. This review and ranking focuses on online UK stockbrokers primarily, as well as discount brokers in the UK. These online UK stockbrokers have innovative technology platforms and automated features that make trading simple and easy for investors.
AdvisoryHQ's List of the Top Stock Brokers in the UK
This list is sorted alphabetically (click any of the below names to go directly to the detailed review for the best UK stockbrokers)
- AJ Bell Youinvest Dealing Account
- Barclays Market Master Online Share Dealing Account
- Clubfinance Discount Broker
- Halifax Share Dealing Account
- Hargreaves Lansdown Vantage Fund & Share Account
- IG Sharetrading
- Interactive Investor Share and Fund Account
- IWEB Share Dealing Account
- J.P. Morgan Investment Account
- TD Direct Investing Share Trading Account
- The Share Centre Share Account
Methodology for Selecting the Top Stock Brokers in the UK
AdvisoryHQ utilises a top-down methodology for selecting all of the firms and names that comprise our top ranking lists.
This applies to this list of the top stock brokers in the UK as well. We conduct exhaustive research to look at all of the UK stock brokers, and then compare these names against a set of carefully defined criteria, to decide which will be ranked as the best UK brokers.
All of the criteria is created with the investor in mind, ensuring that this ranking and review of the best online stock brokers in the UK and the best overall UK brokers are relevant and useful to the reader.
Top UK Stock Brokers
IG Share Trading
Barclays MarketMaster Online Share Dealing Account
Hargreaves Lansdown Vantage Fund & Share Account
TD Direct Investing Share Trading Account
Halifax Share Dealing Account
Clubfinance Discount Broker
Interactive Investor Share and Fund Account
iWEB Share Dealing Account
The J.P. Morgan Investment Account
AJ Bell Youinvest Dealing Account
The Share Centre Share Account
Table: Top 11 Best UK Stock Brokers | above list is sorted alphabetically
Detailed Review—Top UK Stockbrokers
Share Dealing Account Review
One of the top online stock brokers in the UK, Barclays is one of the execution-only UK stock brokers. Barclays strives to feature investment opportunities that are convenient and inexpensive, and their platform is driven by innovation and technology.
Barclays Stockbrokers was established in 1986 as part of Barclays Bank Group, which is one of the world’s top and most well-known providers of financial services. Barclays has won many awards over the years, including being named as the Self-Select ISA Provider of the Year and Best Execution-Only Stockbroker at the ADVFN International Financial Awards in 2016.
Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as a Best Stock Broker in the UK
Some of the pertinent reasons Barclays MarketMaster Online Share Dealing Account was included on this list of the best online stock brokers in the UK are listed below.
Barclays Stockbrokers Price Improver
The Barclays Stockbrokers Price Improver is a trademarked offering available from this leader among share brokers in the UK. This offering means investors are given the best available price from selected Retail Service Providers every time they trade.
The difference between the offered price and the price quoted on the London Stock Exchange account for the price improvement.
This resulted in 91% of deals placed between January and October 2015 being a better price than the London Stock Exchange, and it saved an average of £14.38 on every improved deal during that same period of time.
Factors that contribute to an improved price include the particular stock that’s being bought or sold, the number of RSPs offering a price, volatility at the time of trading, the time of day the trade is placed, and the size of the trade.
Barclays prides itself on not only being one of the most reputable and well-known online UK stockbrokers, but also one of the discount brokers in the UK offering the utmost in affordability.
When an investor trades with Barclays, they can do so online for as little as £5.95. There is no administration fee when an investor makes a trade at least once every three months, or when they solely invest in funds.
Also, the more someone trades, the less they pay. For example, the £5.95 price applies to investors who place 20 or more deals per month, but the price goes up to £11.95 when there are only 1-9 deals placed per month.
Broad Asset Classes
As one of the best UK online share brokers, the Barclay’s MarketMaster account offers a number of benefits to the investor, and one of those is the ability to create your own strategy across a range of asset classes. Investors can mix assets to suit their personal objectives and risk tolerance.
The investments that can be held in a MarketMaster account include:
- UK stocks and share
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Exchange Traded Commodities (ETCs)
- Gift and boards
- Investment Trusts
- IPOs and new issues
The Market Master account can also be linked with ISAs, which contributes to the overall number of deals, meaning lower rates for traders who buy and sell more frequently.
Tools and Data
What’s important to many investors when selecting the best stock broker in the UK and the top online UK stockbrokers is having access to a platform that’s built on innovation and robust technology. These are available with the MarketMaster account.
When an investor opts to work with Barclays, one of the leading online UK stockbrokers, they get access to regular statements, portfolio valuations and contract notes when they make a buy or sell.
Additionally, this account features dealing tools, access to research data and insight from leading analysts, and news updates.
Clubfinance, one of the top discount brokers in the UK and one of the best online stock brokers in the UK, works to provide not only low-cost trading options but also robust features and opportunities for diverse investors. Clubfinance was incorporated in 2002 and since 2004 has been authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Clubfinance offices are located in Hemel Hempstead, but they offer services to clients throughout the UK, including discount brokerage for investments and corporate finance and financial consultancy.
Key Factors Leading Us to Rank This as One of the Top Stock Brokers in the UK
When reviewing UK stock brokers and online stock brokers in the UK, the following are key reasons Clubfinance was included on this list.
As one of the top discount brokers in the UK and a leader among share brokers in the UK, Clubfinance offers the ability to trade shares online for £2.50 a trade, and this includes Main Market, AIM, and PLUS.
There isn’t a minimum or maximum amount of trades that can be made for this rate, which is an important reason Clubfinance is frequently named as one of the top discount brokers in the UK. This rate also includes stop losses, ETFs, limit orders and debt securities.
There is no minimum account balance requirement, and the Annual Fee is only 0.24%. Additionally, there are loyalty rebates for customers with over £50,000, and with these discounts, the cost comes to 50p per trade, for the first 2,000 trades per year.
For traders who are looking for discount brokers in the UK that still offer some specialised services, Clubfinance is an excellent option. They feature premium service offerings, and as part of this, investors can have telephone-based share dealing conversations with the team of James Brearley.
Premium services can also include international stocks, including options from throughout Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.
Also part of the premium services available from Clubfinance, one of the top discount brokers in the UK and also an overall best UK share broker, is the ability to access complex financial instruments. These include warrants, synthetic ETFs and listed structured products.
Along with being one of the best discount brokers in the UK, Clubfinance also strives to provide the utmost in transparency for all of their fees and services. They provide a detailed chart of core services and the fees each carries.
Many of the things that most other UK brokers would charge for are free with Clubfinance. These free items include:
- No additional charge for online fund buy/sell
- No additional annual fund charges beyond the annual charge of the fund itself
- Cash payments in
- Transfers in
- Cash withdrawals
- Dividend or interest collection
- Income payments
- ISA administration
- Inactivity charge
Most funds are available on the Frequent Trader platform. Also, if there is a fund that an investor of Clubfinance, one of the top online UK stockbrokers, doesn’t have, the investor can talk with them about it, and it’s usually added.
Clubfinance features access to both institutional and clean share classes, which are those that don’t have platform fees or trail commission in their AMCs.
There is no platform charge to buy or sell funds, although there is a small Annual Fee that applies to funds. A small number of funds may have Supplementary Application Charges, although these are clearly outlined in the Fund Charges area of the Clubfinance website.
Halifax is a UK financial institution that also offers stock broker services and share dealing. Halifax provides opportunities to open a simple trading account, as well as creating tax-efficient investing strategies, and retirement accounts as well.
Halifax was once known as the Halifax Building Society, and it operates as the trading division of the Bank of Scotland, which is part of the larger Lloyds Banking Group. One of the signature offerings from this leader among UK stockbrokers is the share account.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of the Top Stock Brokers in the UK
Among online UK stockbrokers, the following details highlight some reasons Halifax was ranked as one of the best online stock brokers in the UK.
When asking many investors what they’re looking for in UK stock brokers, or what would allow them to name a company as the best stock broker in the UK, convenience is often at the top of that list, particularly in a marketplace that’s driven by innovation and technology.
Halifax Share Dealing Accounts allow for online trading, but trading can also be done by phone or on mobile devices.
Image Source: BigStock
Once an investor makes a trade with Halifax, one of the best share brokers in the UK, 20 market counterparties are automatically contacted to make sure they’re getting the best price. Investments are held electronically through the Halifax nominee service at that point, ensuring the investor doesn’t have to deal with the paperwork or share certificates.
Another reason Halifax is named as one of the best online stock brokers in the UK is because of their automated tools and capabilities. TradePlans are automated trading tools that let investors retain complete control over the level of risk they’re taking, and also to maximise the ups and downs of the stock market, in a way that’s easy and efficient.
There are five different TradePlans that can be customised to automatically trigger with investor-defined criteria.
These include limit orders, stop loss, target setting, range trading and price locking.
Target Setting is a combination of Limit Orders and a Stop Loss, while Range Trading lets the investor determine the specific price at which they want to buy and sell a certain stock. With Price Locking, automatic adjustments are made to stop prices, which save rises when shares go up.
Halifax is ranked as one of the leading online stock brokers in the UK; along with their online platform, they also offer a free mobile trading service. It’s secure and easy to use and offers investors freedom to keep up with their trades on-the-go.
The mobile trading platform from this best UK share broker includes Quick Quotes with access to recent market numbers, and options to buy and sell shares in real time on UK stocks. The mobile platform also features valuations for portfolios and funding options, so accounts are ready to make trades.
Halifax, one of the top stock brokers in the UK, offers options to create regular investment plans. This is ideal for the investor who wants to start investing with UK stock brokers, but they might not have a large lump sum to invest.
With this plan, investors can purchase shares for a reduced dealing commission and invest from as little as £20 a month. All the participant needs to do is create a regular investment plan, on one of four possible dates each month, and Halifax does the rest.
Fund & Share Account Review
Hargreaves Lansdown is a financial services and investment management company that’s been ranked as the number one investment platform in the UK for private investors. This best UK share broker has nearly £62 billion under management for 836,000 clients.
Services include ready-made portfolios, financial advice, the ability to buy shares online, and options to start a pension or open an ISA. Hargreaves Lansdown has been working with investors for more than 35 years.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Online Stock Brokers in the UK
The Vantage Fund & Share Account was included on this list of the best online UK stockbrokers and platforms for the reasons listed below.
Despite the reputability and established history of Hargreaves Lansdown, their Vantage Fund & Share Account is actually considered one of the top products for investors looking for discount brokers in the UK.
It’s free to hold shares, bonds or gilts, and ETFs.
Additionally, fund charges are tiered, and those tiers start at a low 0.45% per year on the first £250,000 of funds. On funds valued between £250,000 and £1 million, that is only 0.25% per annum, and it’s 0.1% per annum on funds valued between £1 and £2 million. For funds over £2 million, there is no charge.
Additionally, it’s free to hold shares, and there is no inactivity fee. The account and investments can be started with as little as £25 per month.
These low and transparent fees are a pivotal reason Hargreaves Lansdown was included on this list of online stock brokers in the UK and ranked as one of the best online stock brokers in the UK.
A key consideration for so many investors when they’re reviewing the online stock brokers in the UK and trying to determine the best stock broker in the UK is a sense of convenience. This is an area where the Vantage Fund & Share Account excels.
The account can be opened in as little as five minutes, entirely online, and there are then a wide range of funds available to investors as well as shares, ETFs and other investment options.
The account can be managed online or using the free mobile and tablet apps available from this pick for one of the best online stock brokers in the UK.
There are low-cost, flexible, and automatic dividend reinvestment options, and trades are placed with an award-winning, user-friendly share dealing service.
Image Source: Hargreaves Lansdown Vantage Fund & Share
Features and Benefits
Not all of the top stock brokers in the UK and UK online share brokers offer the same features and benefits with their accounts. This is one of the primary areas it becomes easy to differentiate between the best UK stock brokers because they tend to offer the widest variety of features and benefits with their accounts.
Some of the benefits included with a Vantage share dealing account from Hargreaves Lansdown, one of the best online stock brokers in the UK, include:
- Shares can be traded not only online but also by phone
- Investors can access continually updated live share prices free of charge, which includes their portfolio valuation
- Investors can decide between a wide variety of options which include not only UK shares but also options from America, Canada, and throughout Europe. Trading options also include gilts, corporate bonds, investment trusts, and exchange traded funds
- Investors can create stop loss and limit orders up to 90 days in advance
- Price Improvement Service lets investors make sure they’re getting the best price to save on buys and sells
- Interactive charts show trends and opportunities
Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the leading online stock brokers in the UK, and with this comes a dedication to convenience and technology. They offer free, simple mobile apps that allow investors to have complete control and visibility over their investments, no matter where they are.
The iPad app lets users securely view and manage all investments, create custom investment watch lists that can be synced with their iPhone, and see the big picture with a customisable dashboard.
The free app for iPhone and Android features fund, share, and ETF dealing information, as well as access to pricing, news, and research. There are options to create personalised fund and share watch lists, and users can log into their Vantage Accounts quickly and securely.
IG is a financial services company providing low-cost share dealing, and it’s the largest retail forex provider in the UK. Retail investors gain access to more than 10,000 financial markets with the award-winning IG platform, as well as the availability of mobile apps. This leader among online stock brokers in the UK also has offices in 15 countries and averages more than 7 million global transactions per quarter.
IG works with nearly 153,000 clients around the world and is an FTSE 250 company, with capitalisation of £2.9 billion as of May 2016. IG began in 1974 as IG Index, giving them around 40 years’ experience.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Stock Brokers in the UK
Reasons IG Sharetrading was included as one of the best UK online share brokers are detailed below.
Free Demo Account
IG is one of the UK online share brokers included on this list that offers a free demo account. Investors can get a feel for the platform that has won awards for IG with this free option.
The online demo account available from IG, one of the best UK share broker companies, includes the following:
- Trading can be practised with £10,000 in virtual funds
- The demo account can be used on the IG free mobile and tablet accounts
- Users can customise the interface for their personal dealing style
- The free demo account shows charts and live prices
- It’s easy to navigate between charts, news and deal tickets
- Trading is available 24 hours a day
Free Platform Review
In addition to the demo account, IG is one of the best online stock brokers in the UK because they also offer another free, introductory option. Investors can review the entire platform and see videos about how it works, while also exploring all of the features without signing up for an account using the free account review.
This feature displays the actual interface of an IG account, so potential investors can see if the interface is one that would work well for them.
When using this free platform review, there is no obligation to sign up for an account or make any kind of purchase.
There are quite a few benefits to trading with IG that make it one of the best UK share broker platforms and the best online stock brokers in the UK. When you trade with IG, you have access to the following advantages:
- There are trade options including spread betting and trading CFDs that are designed to maximise the investor’s tax efficiency
- Investors who use this best UK share broker have direct market access for more control functionality and liquidity
- There is a low currency conversion fee
- IG delivers access to more than 8000 markets with low margins and competitive spreads
- Investors gain full exposure with a small starting deposit when they spread bet or trade CFDs
Extended Hours on US Stocks
As one of the best online stock brokers in the UK, IG offers extended hours for trading on US stocks. The US stock market is open 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. London time, and that means that many of the share brokers in the UK only allow trading up until 9 p.m.
IG recognises that many traders want to go outside of these hours to maximise their trading activities, so clients can trade CFDs and spread bet on many of the pivotal US stocks at important times. This includes up to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday.
This extended hour option is also available to share dealing clients from 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Share Trading Account Review
As a contender for the best stock broker in the UK, TD Direct Investing started in the UK in 1997. Since that time, it has grown to become one of the leading online UK stockbrokers with offices in Leeds and Manchester. More than 300,000 people are clients of TD Direct Investing, and they manage more than £13 billion in stock and cash assets for these clients.
TD Direct Investing is largely known as being one of the best UK brokers because of their online technology, which includes an online platform and mobile apps. TD Direct Investing has also been consistently recognized by the YourMoney Awards for their offerings.
Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as One of the Best Online Stock Brokers in the UK
When reviewing and ranking general UK stock brokers, the following are some reasons TD Direct Investing ranked as one of the leading online UK stockbrokers.
When an investor is looking for the best share brokers in the UK and the best online stock brokers in the UK, the availability of a range of order types can be an important factor.
TD Direct Investing and their Share Trading Account offers many different order types, allowing investors to have more control over their investments, even when they’re not able to monitor prices.
For example, limit orders enable the investor to have an order dealt automatically if the price meets a certain limit, specified by the investor. Stop losses trigger an automatic leave if the price of a stock falls below a certain level.
Other order types include a fill or kill and market orders, which may lead to an improved price over what’s being quoted by the market.
Easy Account Opening
TD Direct Investing is not only considered one of the discount brokers in the UK and one of the most reputable online UK stockbrokers, but they also feature ease of use, including in how accounts are opened.
This best stock broker in the UK requires £0 to open a TD Trading Account initially; after that, it’s easy to add money in the way that you choose, whether that’s by debit card, deposit share certificates, transferring investments from another provider, or making monthly investments to the account.
The application to open an account from this leader among the best online stock brokers in the UK is also easy, fast, and secure and is done online.
A big reason the Share Trading Account from TD Direct Investing often leads to this company being named as a best stock broker in the UK and one of the leading UK online share brokers is because of the tools they offer, designed to help traders make the best decisions.
One of these tools is called Stockwatch. With this tool, investors can monitor, practice and try out their trading strategies with no risk. The TD Recommended Funds helps investors choose from the funds that are right for them. This list of single asset funds features standout options.
Also available are mobile apps, so investors can trade on-the-go and maintain complete control over their portfolio.
TD Direct Investing is a platform that goes above and beyond to simplify and enrich the experience for the trader, and it’s this dedication to excellence and outside-the-box thinking that significantly contributed to their being named as one of the top stock brokers in the UK.
One of these extra, value-creating features available from this leader among share brokers in the UK is the Price Alert feature. With price alerts, investors can set up to 10 customised alerts that will let them know by email or text message if they reach a target price.
Also available is automatic dividend reinvestment, available on eligible FTSE 350 stocks.
Some investors may also be eligible for shareholder rights, meaning they can vote online for decisions that will affect them as an investor with TD Direct Investing.
Conclusion—The Top Stock Brokers in the UK and the Best Online Stock Brokers in the UK
Online UK stockbrokers have changed the way investors do business. They’ve added not only convenience but also more visibility and control, as well as new opportunities to explore the world of investments.
The above list of the top stock brokers in the UK covers primarily online stock brokers in the UK, but some of the names on the ranking and review of UK online share brokers also feature office locations or over-the-phone service.
Some of the main criteria used to create this ranking of UK stockbrokers included the functionality of the trading platforms, innovation and technology, whether or not mobile apps were available, and also the fees and overall level of transparency each of the UK brokers was able to provide to investors.
The above list represents the very best UK stock brokers with a focus on online UK stockbrokers, although each has a set of features, tools, and capabilities that make it unique from all the others, and advantageous for different investors.
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