Compare Stock Brokers in the UK
Use our stockbroker fees comparison to choose a stockbroker to help you buy stocks in the UK. Compare key features like fees and fund charges, research, added value and placing access or commission to find a low fee broker to profit from your shares. Capital At Risk. Read how to invest in stocks.
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How to Compare Stock Broker Platforms Online
Your choice of stockbroker financial service provider or any intermediary will often depend on your circumstances, requirements and expectations. Whatever your requirements, there are some straightforward rules and tips about choosing your stockbroker.
Which stockbroker is best?
Finding the best stockbroker or share dealing service will depend upon many factors.
If you have a large investment portfolio that you want a broker to manage for you, then you will be looking for a certain type of provider and that’s likely to be a different stockbroker from the investor who has a smaller portfolio, is cost-conscious and trades for themselves.
Comparison of stockbroker fees and charges is normally quite easy, but the cheapest stock broker won’t necessarily offer the best service for your needs.
Compare Fees and Charges
Account holding fees - some stockbrokers may charge you a fee for opening an account or a monthly subscription if it becomes inactive. Check each broker before you open a live account, especially if you are only likely to be actively making trades or purchasing shares infrequently.
Transact fees - most brokers will charge you for each trade you make, as this is where they begin to incur costs. Check whether the brokers you are considering charge these, who offer the cheapest rates and whether the charges decrease if you trade more often (sometimes called frequent trader discounts).
Commission - some brokers will charge a commission on your trades. This may be charged as a percentage of the profit from the trade or even as a percentage of the total value of your order. Brokers generally charge this on managed or advisory accounts and have an active role in helping you to profit from trades and investments you make in the stock market.
It may be a good way for inexperienced traders to get started but look out for brokers who charge these fees if you’d rather pay a flat fee upfront.
Depending on your budget, strategy and the duration of your investments, the cheapest broker for you may be very different from another trader.
The kind of service you want will also affect the fees and charges you will face. Execution only tends to be the cheapest, whereas you might pay more for advisory or discretionary services.
Every investor’s needs and requirements are subtly different so take your time and do your homework before making your decision.
It may be that you decide to have more than one stockbroking account, perhaps opening a discretionary or advisory account with one broker and a low commission execution-only account with another provider.
Compare the Service
Each broker is quite different in the features, research tools and aids to help you along in making trades. As well as very different layouts, styles and types of access to the markets.
Stockbrokers typically offer their services in three separate tiers that are based on a client’s classification, which are as follows:
Execution only: Under execution only a client makes their own investment decisions their stockbroker does not advise them but instead acts merely as their agent executing and settling trades. The broker will also provide their clients with contract notes, statements of account and access to an order routing service either online or via the phone.
Advisory: Not all stockbrokers offer an advisory service as it requires specialist, highly qualified staff and entails a higher degree of compliance. Those that do will tend to charge more for this service than they do for an execution-only service.
Prospective clients will need to complete detailed questionnaires before account opening to help quantify and assess their investment goals and attitudes towards risk etc. The broker will aim to tailor their advice to match those investment goals and risk attitudes.
Advisory services tend to be more personal than the execution-only service and clients will have a dedicated point of contact or advisors at the broker. Note though there is likely to be a minimum of level of investment or activity required to access these services.
Discretionary: Under discretionary management, a client hands over the running of their investment portfolio to their broker. These days this business is usually handled by the wealth management division of a stockbroker.
Robo investing: Many brokers now offer Robo-advisors or Robo-investing software bundled into their broker accounts to help you manage your investments. Robo-investing services tend to offer a bundled, pre-packaged set of funds to invest in based on the results of a questionnaire when you sign up.
Prospective clients fill out detailed questionnaires about their goals, financial status attitudes towards risk and sources of income. If your budget is large enough, the broker may also invite you to a face to face meeting.
This way the individuals and the firm who will be managing the portfolio know exactly what their clients are looking for and they, in turn, can explain the firm’s investment strategy and approach to the markets to the potential clients.
With this in mind, choosing the best stock broker for your needs might depend on which one you like using the most and which offers the best data to help you make informed decisions.
The best way to familiarise yourself with each different service and the features they offer is to open a demo account with each service and test out the account with demo funds or free credits before you commit real funds.
This way you can get used to the service and practice trading strategies to help ensure they will be profitable before you commit your own money.
The best brokers for experienced traders
The best broker for someone with lots of experience and is comfortable managing their portfolio and executing trades themselves is much more likely to be one which offers lower prices, rapid execution and access to a broad and diverse set of markets.
You may be more comfortable with an execution-only account which only connects you to the markets and offers little in the way of support or advice.
However, remember that you may still need to test several different accounts to find the right one for your needs based on fees and charges, speed of execution and the data they offer.
The best brokers for beginners or those new to the stock market
How to choose a stockbroker
Firstly, you must choose a broker you can trust, as sadly, there are plenty of share trading scams and fraudsters out there, so it’s best to always know exactly who you are going to be dealing with or through.
Here at Good Money Guide, we only list share dealing platforms from companies that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that they are duty-bound to protect clients’ money and follow trading and investing regulations.
You should also check out the company’s website and contact details and test them to make sure they are genuine.
Many stockbrokers will let you access a demo or trial account for free, before asking you to commit real money, so that you can practice trading and investing with credits to familiarise yourself with the service.
How to buy stocks with a stockbroker?
If you are a thing of getting started in investing and buying stocks and shares, we've put together a five-minute guide on how to buy stocks through a stock broker.
Before you buy stocks there are a few things you need:
A stockbroker provides traditional access to the market. If you want to buy stocks in UK shares, brokers offer an online paltform where you can do your research, look at prices and charts as well as buy and sell recommendations from analysts.
You can compare stockbrokers here, many also have guides on how to buy stocks through a stockbrokers.
Investing through a stockbroker is generally appropriate for longer-term investing. As well as buying individual stocks you can also buy baskets of stocks in the form of ETFs, index funds, open-ended funds and investment trusts.
In order to buy stocks you will have to open an account, deposit funds and then you can buy stocks.
If the stock markets seem a little risky you can invest in bonds through a bond broker. But as will all investing products, you can get back less than you originally invested.
How to buy stocks through a spread betting of CFD broker?
This is riskier than investing through a stockbroker as you are trading on margin. Meaning if you want to buy stocks through a CFD broker you can essentially buy £1,000 worth of shares with only £100 on account. Buying stocks this way is to leverage your capital so the risks and rewards are amplified. Yes, you can make more money faster, but you can also lose money very quickly if you get it wrong.
If you are trading through a spread betting broker, your profits are tax-free. This is because trades are structured technically as bets and instead of buying 1,000 shares you are betting £10 per point. So every penny the stock moves you make or lose £10.
Another advantage of trading stocks through a spread betting of CFD broker is that you can speculate on the market going down through shorting. This means you profit if a share price falls rather than rises. But, if a stock price rises you lose money.
How to buy stocks FAQ:
Is there a guaranteed way to make money buying stocks?
No, there is no guaranteed way to make money trading or buying stocks. The market go up and down all the time. Markets generally go up in the long run, but only you can determine when the best time to invest it. You can seek professional financial advice, but the ultimate decision is down to you.
How long does it take to open a stock brokerage account and buy stocks?
Most stockbrokers allow you to open an account online in a few minutes. Have a look at established stockbrokers in our comparison tables here.
Can I protect my losses when buying stocks?
You can use a stop loss to minimise losses but you can never completely prevent them. If you buy a stock you can set a price below the market where a broker will automatically sell it. This protects you from incurring further losses.
What if my broker goes bust after I have bought stocks?
All brokers in our investment account comparison tables are regulated by the FCA so some funds are protected by the government's FSCS scheme. So if your broker goes bust a certain amount of your funds are safe. Also, stocks bought through a stockbroker are held in custody in your name. So if your broker goes bust they can be transferred to another broker for you to either remain invested or sell.
How to check an investment account isn't a scam?
If you are concerned that an investment provider is trying to scam you please read our guide to investment scams.
What are the golden rules of learning to buy stocks?
- The more money you want to make the more risk you'll have to take.
- Always diversify your investments and providers
- Never invest or speculate with money you cannot afford to lose
- Investing is a long term process, accept that you may lose money in the short term
- Always do your research and invest in things you fully understand. if you don't understand it you shouldn't be doing it