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Best Share Dealing Accounts

Steve Miley

Published by Steve Miley


Monday, January 8th, 2018

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The StockBrokers.com annual review sets the official US industry benchmarks. We spend more than one thousand hours testing online brokerage accounts every year. Industry leaders trust us because our rigorous testing is totally independent and 100% unbiased.

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 invest online with.

Our UK.StockBrokers.com team spent seven months and over 100 hours assessing different share dealing accounts for buying shares online in the UK. In total, 124 individual variables were assessed to find the best broker.

Best Share Dealing Accounts

Here are the top share dealing accounts for buying shares online in the UK.

  • IG Group - Best Overall
  • Saxo Capital Markets - Best Trading Platform
  • Interactive Investor - Balanced Offering
  • Hargreaves Lansdown - Best Offering of Investments
  • DEGIRO - Lowest Fees

Online Stock Brokers Summary

IG Group logo

IG Group - 4.5 Stars

Founded in 1974 and respected as one of the most trusted brokers in the world, IG has been offering share dealing since 2014, providing traders low costs, quality trading tools, and access to over 9,000 shares across the globe.

Saxo Capital Markets logo

Saxo Capital Markets - 4.5 Stars

Saxo Capital Markets provides a brilliant all-around share trading experience for UK residents. The fees for buying shares are not the cheapest; however, the SaxoTraderGO trading platform is excellent, and there’s an abundant selection of international products to trade.

Interactive Investor logo

Interactive Investor - 4.5 Stars

Interactive Investor lacks advanced charting and watchlists but provides transparent pricing, brilliant fundamental research (provided by Morningstar) for stocks, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs, and exceptional automated technical analysis (provided by Recognia).

Hargreaves Lansdown logo

Hargreaves Lansdown - 4.0 Stars

With a rich offering of investments and services alongside strong customer service, Hargreaves Lansdown is the largest investment platform in the UK with more than £86 billion under management and over 1,000,000 clients.

DEGIRO logo

DEGIRO - 3.5 Stars

DEGIRO, known for its low cost trades, provides investors a diverse offering of products and a clean trading platform. With no minimum deposit, the fee for trading individual shares in the UK is £1.75 + 0.022% per trade, with a maximum charge of just £5.00.

Lowest Shares Trading Fees

  1. DEGIRO - 4.5 Stars
  2. IG Group - 4.5 Stars
  3. Halifax - 4.0 Stars

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.

At DEGIRO, the fee for trading individual shares in the UK is £1.75 + 0.022% per trade, with a maximum charge of £5.00.

Our top pick in the category of Commissions & Fees is DEGIRO. Unlike most share dealing accounts, there are no management/administration/custodial charges for their share-dealing account.

At DEGIRO, the fee for trading individual shares in the UK is £1.75 + 0.022% per trade, with a maximum charge of £5.00. For US markets, the charge is €0.50 + USD 0.004 per share (but with no maximum), whilst for European markets the charges range from €2.00 + 0.118% up to €10.00 + .0168%. Most markets are charged at €4.00 + 0.156%. There is also an annual charge of €2.50 per calendar year per exchange traded on (outside of LSE).

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. That’s for you to decide.

Best Trading Tools

  1. Saxo Capital Markets - 4.5 Stars
  2. IG Group - 4.5 Stars
  3. Barclays - 4.0 Stars

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.

Saxo Capital Markets tops our review of platforms and tools, with IG close behind.

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.

Saxo Capital Markets tops our review of platforms and tools, with IG close behind. Saxo offers two platforms, SaxoTraderGO (web-based) and SaxoTraderPRO (desktop based). In SaxoTraderGO, watch lists can be customized with three different layout styles and 20 optional columns, and saved as custom templates for seamless swapping. The design is the cleanest I’ve observed in the UK.

saxotradergo watch list

Because Saxo clients can trade different products across multiple global exchanges, Saxo uses colored icons for quick identification. Overall, SaxoTraderGo is well-built, feature-rich and appeals to both casual and active international traders.

Best Offering of Investments

  1. Hargreaves Lansdown - 4.5 Stars
  2. Barclays - 4.0 Stars
  3. TD Direct Investing - 4.0 Stars

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.

Our top pick, Hargreaves Lansdown, shines for its extremely diverse offering of investments.

Our top pick, Hargreaves Lansdown, 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. Furthermore, both Junior ISA and SIPP accounts are available (alongside the standard ISA and SIPP offerings). Finally, Hargreaves Lansdown also offers an advisory service for clients who want to pay for access to professional guidance. 

Hargreaves Lansdown Quotescreen

Best Research Offering

  1. Interactive Investor - 4.5 Stars
  2. Barclays - 4.0 Stars
  3. Saxo Capital Markets - 4.0 Stars

Research is a key area for any online broker trying to differentiate itself from its competitors. With third parties providing much of the data for the research content, companies that offer comprehensive in-house research as well as a user-friendly interface are clearly way ahead of their peers who don’t.

Our No. 1 pick for fundamental research is Interactive Investor. For technical analysis research, we found Saxo Capital Markets to be supreme.

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.

Our No. 1 pick for fundamental research is Interactive Investor because it provides customers the full Morningstar research suite. Through Morningstar, traders can conduct comprehensive research of shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. Being a worldwide leader of market research, Morningstar delivers with complete analysis including even institutional level PDF reports.

ii research etf quote morningstar pdf report

For technical analysis research, we found Saxo Capital Markets to be supreme. Saxo goes above and beyond, delivering research through the SaxoTraderGO platform as well as its standalone social-trading website, TradingFloor.com. For example, traders who appreciate automated technical analysis can view trade signals from provider autochartist. Clients can not only filter by asset class, probability, patterns, and more, but each result can be clicked on for detailed analysis as well.

saxotradego trade signals autochartist

Best Mobile Trading Apps

  1. IG Group - 4.5 Stars
  2. AJ Bell - 4.5 Stars
  3. Saxo Capital Markets - 4.0 Stars

For some share dealing accounts, mobile services are currently just about content delivery, educational information and research. For others, the experience delves deeper, involving portfolio management, creating and maintaining watchlists and trading.

IG Trading provides a great client experience as its apps are user-friendly and offer many of the tools available on the desktop trading platform..

IG Trading provides a great client experience as its apps are user-friendly and offer many of the tools available on the desktop trading platform. Also, watch lists, and alerts can all be managed from your device and synchronized with the desktop version. We were particularly impressed with another great extra, which is direct access to the IG Community. This allows for discussion with other traders and is a great way to keep up with data and share ideas on a mobile application.

IG Mobile Watchlist

Best for Beginners

  1. IG Group - 4.5 Stars
  2. Barclays - 4.5 Stars
  3. Interactive Investor - 4.5 Stars

Client education is becoming an increasingly important area brokers are targeting. Strong educational content is not only a value-added service for traders and investors, but it also leads to more confident clients, and thus clients who are likely to become more engaged in investing.

For some share dealing accounts, education entails providing simple introductory articles. But our assessment and rankings of UK-based online brokers show that many of them are delivering videos, webinars, and interactive quizzes as well as more penetrating and informative forms of higher level education.

Our No. 1 pick for education in is IG, which focuses on broader macroeconomic trading. IG presents a strong archive of written and video educational content via the IG website. There is a separate IG Academy app, which provides step-by-step courses on basic to intermediate-term trading. These courses are broken down into modules, which include progress tracking. In addition, new clients are offered an individual, one-on-one walk through the trading platform, and are shown how to place a trade. Various in-person seminars and webinars are also available, with a regular 30-minute webinar every Monday.

IG Mobile Academy

Best Share Dealing Accounts Summary


Broker Best For Online Fee (0-9 Deals) Annual Fee (<£250,000) Overall Rating
IG Group Overall £8.00 £0.00 4.5 Stars
Saxo Capital Markets Trading Platform £4.99 0.12% 4.5 Stars
Interactive Investor Balanced Offering £10.00 £80 4.5 Stars
Hargreaves Lansdown Offering of Investments £11.95 0.45% 4 Stars
DEGIRO Lowest Fees £1.75 0% 3.5 Stars

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References

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/08/18 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The UK.StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.