ig review

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73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider.

What is IG Index?

IG are one of the world’s largest margin trading brokers and they offer CFDs, FX and Spread Betting alongside share trading and prime brokerage. Founded in the attic of a Chelsea townhouse in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler, who effectively invented Spread Betting, the business has grown to become a company with a market cap of more than £3.0 billion and offices across the globe.

IG has over 313,000 active clients and offers 17,000 tradable markets. 

Following completion of IG’s acquisition of US options broker and educator TastyTrade, IG will offer trading in CFDs and rolling Spot FX, Spread Betting, share trading and investment management, alongside on-exchange futures and options trading. As well as operating a prime brokerage and a European listed derivatives MTF.

Before we kick off this review I must disclose a bit of an interest. I’m a big fan of IG, in my mind, they are the default broker. When we review brokers, we tend to ask the question “why would you trade here rather than at IG?”

I’ve had an account with IG for about 20 years and I remember their first online trading platform when it was just basically a messaging system through to the dealing desk. Amazingly enough, it turns out that I was also in the same class (at two different schools over about five years) as founder’s daughter, but of course, didn’t know that back then.

When I was interning on the NYMEX and IPE trading floors in London and New York as a ticket checking clerk, I’d tap away on IG on my Ericsson R380 trying to emulate the bigger boys in the pit.

IG were my first trading account and along with Trading Places (my dog is even called Winthorpe #notobsessed) I hold them fully accountable for the path my so-called career has taken.

IG Pros

  • A free, portable and easy to use mobile dealing platform that puts access to 16,000 markets into your pocket
  • Stop losses and advanced order types are available on the mobile app
  • The app can be used for Spread Betting or CFD and FX trading, and share dealing
  • Streaming news and charting tools are part of the package

IG Cons

  • Exchange fees can apply for certain markets and level 2 data
  • Direct market access or DMA is only available in the iOS version of the app
  • There are no automated trading strategies available on the app

IG Pricing, Spreads, Charges & Fees

IG charges and fees vary by product but for the most part, the firm charges a bid-offer spread in the products that clients trade with it in. IG makes money by capturing that spread as clients buy and sell things like equity indices, gold and FX pairs and crosses.

The more clients trade the more spread IG captures. IG charges commissions on equity CFDs and overnight swaps or funding charges on CFD and Margin FX positions, that are held open overnight.

As a market leader in margin trading, IGs spread and commission charges are highly competitive others may have narrower spreads on certain products but overall IGs charging structure is hard to beat.

IG tends not to offer promotional rates or indulge in special offers.

IG SIPP Account

IG stopped offering SIPPs or Self Invested Pension Plans in October 2020. I have spoken to IG and they tell us that they intend to offer SIPPs in future but that they need to find a suitable partner for this service first, having parted company with their previous provider.

We will of course keep you updated as and when there is any further news on the resumption of the service and who the new partners will be.

You can compare alternative SIPP providers here

IG International Investing

You can trade in a wide variety of overseas markets through IG and do that in a number of ways choosing from Spread betting CFD trading or dealing in physical stocks and shares. If you are trading in physical stock then you have access to 12,000 instruments charges vary by market if you qualify you can trade US shares commission-free in and in Europe and Australia from 0.10% of the consideration of the trade.

IG charges FX conversion fees and these start 0.50% of the value of the conversion amount.

IG competes directly with the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell so their charging structure is one of the keenest around. IG doesn’t necessarily have the largest list of international securities that you can trade in, however, though it does have most major markets covered.

IG Free Share Dealing

You can trade US shares for free via IG if you trade more than 3 times per month and if you do so, then you qualify for commission-free share trading in US stocks in the following month.

Yes it’s free in that IG does not charge a commission on physical stock trading for qualifying clients and because you are trading US stocks there is no stamp duty to pay either. There may be FX conversion fees if your account balance is in GBP and you are trading in dollars for example. Expect to pay a charge of 0.50% of the consideration for this service on a trade in £5,000 worth of stock.

How is IG able to offer this for free? The service is free thanks to what is known as PFOF or Payment For Order Flow. Through which brokers such as IG sell their client order flow to a US market maker IG gets paid directly by them and so can discount trading commissions to zero.

PFOF is not allowed in UK and European markets however, other brokers that offer commission-free US share dealing don’t have a three trade per month limit to qualify. However, they may charge monthly account fees or have a limited list of stocks that you can trade in.

How does the offering compare to other brokers?


You can trade in more than 8000 ETFs with IG charges starting at £3.00 per trade. Share dealing customers can trade in their own account or through a stocks and shares ISA, though ISAs can only contain eligible ETFs. IG offers a dedicated ETF screener and ISA eligibility is a built-in filter with the screener.

There are plain vanilla ETFs alongside leveraged and inverse funds and even single name Exchange Traded Products to choose from. With that variety you should be able to construct almost any trading strategy you can think of, bear in mind however that leveraged and inverse ETFs are short term trading instruments that are not suited to buy and hold strategies.

Of course, it’s also possible to trade CFDs on ETFs or to Spread Bet on them if you prefer using IGs services.

IG Smart Portfolios

Alongside its margin trading and Spread Betting services IG also has an investment account through which you can invest in a range of Smart Portfolios that are spread across the risk spectrum, from conservative all the way to aggressive.

The Portfolios have been running since February 2017 and in that time they have mostly outperformed their respective benchmarks. You can allocate funds to these portfolios via a general investment account or through an ISA.

The portfolios themselves are managed by BlackRock, one of the worlds largest fund managers, with IG providing the reporting and performance monitoring.

Money allocated to the Smart Portfolios is deployed almost immediately and you can cash in or re-allocate your investment at any time and there are no transaction fees.

IG offers just 5 Smart Portfolios so there is a limited choice compared to the offering of say Interactive Investors, or even the advisory business of say, Hargreaves Lansdown.

However, if you looking for a straightforward and cost-effective way to allocate to and create a portfolio within a clearly defined risk hierarchy then IG Smart Portfolios could be for you

IG Education & Analysis

IG has its own dedicated trading academy which combines online educational courses with live webinars. The courses range from topics suitable for beginner traders all the way through to those for advanced or experienced traders and cover areas such as risk management, order execution and the basics of technical analysis.

The is also a library of webinar recordings on subjects such as the use of price action and finding trading opportunities, how to make the most of your ISA and mastering trading psychology.

In terms of research and Ideas, IG has a dedicated news and analysis section on its website with links to email subscriptions, articles, in-depth reports, podcasts and their economic calendar. Traders can also access news and tools such as sentiment and positioning data via their trading platforms.

Education and research are free to IG clients much of the information is also available to the general public as well.

IG Institutional Prime Services

Alongside its trading services, IG operates a prime broker aimed at smaller institutions, hedge funds, prop traders, family offices and alike. The prime brokerage offers customers execution, liquidity and custody. With access to data feeds and APIs and the firm’s L2 professional dealing and DMA platform. The prime brokerage business also supports large IBs who introduce and execute business through IG.

Most private clients won’t really have interaction with IGs prime brokerage business through extremely active or Ultra High Net Worth customers may be offered their services. The Ideal customer for IG Prime is a small or start-up hedge fund that wants a one-stop-shop for trading, custody, valuation, data and reporting services which is exactly what IG can provide through this business division

IG Alternatives

IG competes with all other FX, CFD and Spread Betting brokers many of whom would like to eat their lunch but after 46 years in business, many of which were spent as the number one provider the competition has a lot to live upto. Several firms are trying to do just that the most obvious competitors are CMC Markets and Saxo Capital Markets, though you could make a case for eToro and Plus 500 as direct competitors on the retail side.

What makes IG different from alternative providers is its longevity experience in and depth of markets. The fact that the company could make a billion-dollar acquisition this year says a lot about the scale and stability of IGs business.

IG Versus CMC Markets

IG offers 16,000 markets to retail clients and 17,000 to professionals whilst CMC offers a little over 10,000. Though truth be told most traders will only ever deal in a couple of dozen different instruments still it’s nice to have the choice.

Looking at individual prices CMC has a spread of just 1.60 points on the US 30 index compared to IGs minimum spread of 2.40 points CMC is also cheaper on the Germany 30 index with a 1.0 point spread compared to IGs best spread of 1.20 points. IG has a better minimum spread on the US 500 index at 0.40 vs CMCs 0.50.

Turning to commodities both firms have the same spread of 0.30 points in gold, IG is cheaper in silver with a spread of 2.0 vs CMCs 2.50 points but in both Brent and WTI crudes it’s CMC that has the tighter pricing at 2.50 against IGs spread of 2.80 points.

In forex, IG has the tighter minimum spread in EURUSD at 0.60 compared to CMC markets at 0.70 both firms make the same spread in cable (GBPUSD) though CMC has a narrower price in EURGBP at 0.70 versus IGs 0.90.

IG caters to all comers from beginners through to expert traders CMC markets is probably more focused on experienced traders rather than newbies and it also has a growing institutional and partnerships business in the B2B space

IG Versus Saxo Markets

Saxo has been in operation for more than 20 years and has had a UK operation since 2006 the business offers trading in 35,000 instruments Saxo operates a tiered system of charges based on Client classification and activity. There are three levels within this charging structure known as classic Platinum and VIP.

Classic clients pay the highest charges whilst VIP customers pay the lowest. For example, Classic customers pay a spread of 0.80 on EURUSD, VIP clients pay 0.50. IGs best spread in EURUSD is 0.60. Whilst on the US 30 index the spreads are 3.00 points for Classic customers and 2.00 points for VIP clients respectively.

Saxo Markets is probably IGs biggest direct competitor and they address beginners through to expert and advanced traders. Saxo offers bond trading and investing, something that IG does not do. Saxo also has a series of managed accounts, though these are categories as high risk and therefore are not suitable for all investors.

IG Customer Reviews

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 17 reviews
 by chris barker

I’ve treated with IG UK for some years now and have found the level of service excellent and the site easy to navigate. Some of the criticism on here seems to come novice traders and is unwarranted. a) You’ve always had to pay a commission on buying a stock and then again selling it, they are two separate transactions and that it whichever firm you use, especially traditional stockbrokers. b) Spread widen in volatile trading, because they always do all over, regardless of firm and it’s the underlying market that does that; not the CFD provider. c) during the pandemic (depending on where you live), all service standards for pretty much all organisations has suffered. Anyone moaning about this may themselves have been forced to work from home and people say the same things their own organisation! Just be realistic that’s all, market conditions change rapidly and at times can be untradeable, even for the institutions.

 by Florin

I had a share dealing account with them since April 2020 together with demmo accounts. I have attempted for 1 week now to open a live spread betting account but is absolutley impossible. First of all the option was not given on the platform to add a spread betting account, I contacted the webchat service, I have been advised to close the share dealing account and try to re-apply. After they closed my share dealing account, I tried to re-apply but they would not let me do so (as the system recognises my name, address etc) and it sends me to log in into an account which is suspended now !!!! I e-mailed them, but just going in circle not being given an explanation why I cannot open a Spread Account or any support to fix the issue. I also tried to call them but after 2 hours being on hold I just gave up. Absolutely shocking customer service. I will be definetly looking to go somewhere else as the level of customer service is very poor !!!

 by Emis

They charge their commission two times on the same trade! You buy lets say 1 stock worth 1000$ they charge 15$, you sell it- again 15$. Are you crazy? I have not checked so lost some money until noticed.

 by Gildas

it is a great company offering an amazing product, always in front in terms of offering and technology

 by Dehua

I have been trading on IG Singapore for almost 10 years. Unfortunately they started to become more disappointing since about 2 years ago. This gives me the feeling that they have shifted their focus onto how to scoop more money from things from their clients, e.g. readjusting the spreads, the interests, etc. instead of growing with clients through better customer support.

Since the system upgrade, they have been displaying the figures incorrectly on their app – fristly, they are unable to self-examine/test; secondly, half a year after i sent in feedback with screenshots of such display on their app, they are still unable to rectify it.

Things like this would you make you doubt your confidence in their other capabilities in serving their clients. And such worries are proven. For example, i called their helpline for 3 days and was unable to speak to anyone. I subsequently sent them a number of emails, but received ZERO reply! I then called and texted one of their managers and was told that he felt sorry to hear that but could not do much about it either.

Some of the configurations on the app are confusing too. Such confusions are like traps that make you make COSTLY mistakes easily.

In short, IG is deteriorating over the recent years. I was a satisfied client for many years. I am turned away by their poor system upgrade and deteriorated customer support.

IG fees are certainly on the high side compared to other platforms in the market. If they provide better customer support, I would feel it’s worthy. However, in the past two years, IG has been taking more money from their clients while customer support has been reducing.

 by Darren Fox

This company charges way too much for overnight fees , Its not really worth trading with them and when markets are volatile they raise their commission too . You cannot get hold of them by phone at all unless you are trying to signup then miraculously they are available , I am dubious about the reviews on here I think the 5 star one could be fake . RIPOFF

Response From IG: Hi Darren, thanks for your review and sorry to hear you’re unhappy with our service.Whilst IG have kept their overnight admin charges the same, market conditions have recently caused an increase in overnight adjustments made on some commodities such as oil. It’s important to note that this increase is not due to higher charges, but the adjustment we make due to our pricing model for spot commodities. More information on overnight funding can be found on the link below.https://www.ig.com/uk/help-and-support/spread-betting-and-cfds/fees-and-charges/why-is-overnight-funding-charged-and-how-is-it-calculated- Similarly, our commission fees have not changed. With most of our leveraged products we make money from the spread. Fluctuation in the spread depends on the underlying market movement. During periods of high volatility, there is a higher chance of the underlying spread widening and when this happens it is also reflected in our prices.For some markets we do offer future/ forward contracts which have a slightly wider spread and an expiry date but they’re not subject to overnight funding, this is often a more cost effective option for longer term trades.Given the significant increase in market volatility we are also experiencing a higher number of inbound calls which is why you may have experienced longer queue times. We’re working hard to get through these as quickly as possible but do apologise for the inconvenience.Our primary aim is to provide the highest level of deal execution we possibly can and support you in your trading. We want our clients to trade profitably, and we’ve invested heavily in allowing all clients to do that – especially over periods of increased market volatility. As our client, it is in our interest to support you on this.We hope this offers some clarity, however should you wish to discuss any of these topics further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our client facing team.

 by Nuri

it is a great company offering an amazing product, always in front in terms of offering and technology

 by Alex Jones

Best platform to use, fast entry and exit. I usually use Spread betting just for the tax benefits and not the leverage.

 by Mr Smith

IG is NOT an options trading platform. It is a spreadbetting / CFD platform. You can only take out CFDs or place spread bets with IG. You never actually own the options that the CFD or spread bet is based on. You are basically just betting on variations in the price of the option.

There are very few advantages to doing this. As option prices vary with the underlying, you may as well just bet on the underlying instead. Betting on the option instead just introduces another layer of complexity.

 by Saleem Akbar

I have been with IG for many years, the main reason being I really like their charting software. However, since they have reduced leverage, after the European directive, their spreads have become even wider, probably to make up for the fact that one is forced to use smaller trade sizes. The worse thing currently about IG is the spreads that they apply to Indices and Equities. If they can reduce their spreads then I think it would be the best online broker for sure.

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IG Frequently Asked Questions

Is IG safe?

The company has been in business for almost 47 years and has a market cap of £3.0 billion with revenues in the hundreds of millions of pounds. The firm Is FCA regulated in the UK and client monies are protected by the UK FSCS or Financial Services Compensation Scheme against fraud or failure to a value of £85,000 per client.

How does IG make money?

IG makes money out of client activity through spreads, commissions and funding charges. However, the firm also runs a risk book which it hedges periodically based on certain exposure limits. That hedging activity is a significant contributor to the firm’s profitability. The rule of thumb for IG is that the larger and more active their client base is then the more money the firm will earn.

What does IG mean?

IG stood for Investors Gold after founder Stuart Wheeler persuaded the Bank of England to allow him to take bets on movements on the price of gold. that was in 1974 when exchange controls effectively prevented UK citizens from buying and owning Gold.

Is IG legit

Margin trading has its critics and has had its fair share of dubious participants over the years. However, as a FTSE 250 company with major institutional investors as shareholders, and the FCA as its regulator IG can most certainly be considered a legitimate business with high standards of conduct.

How do you sell short stocks on IG?

Traders can sell short of stocks through IG using CFDs or Spread Betting following the group’s acquisition of TastyTrade in the USA it should soon be possible to go short stocks by using exchange-traded options well.

Does IG pay dividends?

Yes, the company has a progressive dividend policy which aims to pay approximately 70.0% of full tear group earnings out in the form of dividends for the full year 2020 that translates to a dividend of 43.20p per share.

Does IG allow scalping?

Scalping is allowed at IG although for many products trading conditions are not optimal for short term high-frequency trading, margin trading is probably better suited to scalping than Spread Betting for example but you will still want to think about the cumulative costs of scratching or cutting non-performing trades under IG’s fee structures.

Do you pay stamp duty with IG?

CFDs and Spread Bets on UK equities are free of stamp duty, trades in physical UK shares will incur stamp duty, however.

Is IG available in the US?

Until recently the answer to that would have been no. However, IG has recently moved to acquire TastyTrade, a US Futures and Options broker and educator, for US$1.0 billion. And once the deal is completed there will likely be some product crossover between the two businesses. Though US regulators strictly control which investors can participate in OTC derivatives trading.

IG Facts & Figures

ig review
Visit IG
73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider.
IG Reviews
IG Total Markets
Forex Pairs51
UK Stocks3925
US Stocks6352
IG Key Info
Number Active Clients313000
Minimum Deposit250
Inactivity Fee£12 per month
Public Company✔️
IG Account Types
CFD Trading✔️
Forex Trading✔️
Spread Betting✔️
DMA (Direct Market Access)✔️
Futures Trading
Options Trading
Investing Account✔️
IG Average Fees
FTSE 1001
DAX 301.2
S&P 5000.4
Crude Oil0.28
UK Stocks0.001
US Stocks0.001
IG Alternatives
IG Versus CMC Markets
IG Versus Pepperstone
IG Versus Saxo Markets
IG Versus City Index
IG Versus Spreadex
IG Versus ETX Capital
IG Versus Markets.com
IG Versus Capital.com
IG Versus eToro
IG Versus Plus 500
Table last updated: 17th November 2021 3:55 pm
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