For 2021, IG is again our top U.K. broker, thanks largely to its excellent online trading platform. Rates are relatively low, trading tools and research are outstanding, and the platform and mobile apps are easy to use.
IG pros & cons
- Well-established broker with a wide offering of investment choices.
- Competitive commision rates, also available with SIPP and ISA options.
- User-friendly trading platform and mobile apps, with an extremely comprehensive charting package.
- Commissions are not as low as offered by some of the new(er) kids on the block, such as Trading 212 and Capital.com.
- Research, though strong, still has room for improvement, mainly in the government/ corporate bonds space, retirement and fund investing.
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platform & Tools|
Commissions & fees
IG's share dealing rates are amongst the cheapest of all brokers that offer ISA and SIPP accounts. For traders who don't need those options, Capital.com, DEGIRO and FinecoBank offer less expensive rates.
Share dealing fees: IG markets offer a simple commissions structure. The commission per trade (shares) would be £8 if 0-2 trades were placed in the previous month. If three or more trades were made, the rate is only £3. IG offers free trades on U.S. shares for traders that placed three or more trades in the previous month. The commission for U.S. shares would be £10 if 0-2 trades were placed in the last month.
Custody fee: IG charges a quarterly custody fee of £24 per quarter on its share dealing and ISA accounts. Any commissions paid during the quarter apply against this charge. Clients are exempt from this fee if they deal three times or more across their IG accounts. Clients are also exempt if they hold at least £15,000 across their IG Smart Portfolio accounts at the end of any quarter.
Market data: By default, customers receive free delayed market data for available exchanges. To access real-time streaming market data, customers must subscribe to each exchange individually, by paying between a monthly fee per exchange. For example, LSE UK Top of Book market data costs £4.92 per month.
Scenario pricing: When calculating annual share dealing costs, trading frequency and account balance are the two most important factors to consider. Assuming a £30,000 portfolio in a traditional, taxable share dealing account, here are four scenarios of how much IG would cost based on trade frequency:
- 5 deals per year = £96 (£24 quarterly commission - each trade made at £8)
- 12 deals per year = £96 (£8 per trade + £0 in annual custody fees as long as you make 1 trade per month)
- 36 deals per year = £108 (£3 per trade + £0 in annual custody fees as long as you make 8 trades per quarter)
- 120 deals per year = £360 (£3 per trade + £0 in annual custody fees as long as you make 8 trades per quarter)
- 3 fund deals per year = £96 (£24 quarterly commission - each trade made at £8)
IG pricing summary:
|Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month||£3 to £8|
|Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month||£3.00|
|Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month||£3.00|
|Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000||£96 (can reduce by trading)|
|Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K||96|
|Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m||96|
|Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over||96|
|ETFs - Fee||£8.00|
|Investment Trusts - Fee||£8.00|
|Telephone Dealing Fee||£40.00|
Mobile trading apps
IG's trading app is user-friendly and offers many of the tools available on the main trading platform.
Watch lists and alerts can all be managed from the main app and synchronise with the main platform. The charting is surprisingly user-friendly with respect to the ease with which drawing tools can be employed, which gives true value-added given it is on mobile. This is something many competitors have not been able to achieve. (See our 2021 picks for Best Mobile Trading Apps.)
It is also possible to switch easily between share dealing, ISA and SIPP accounts within the app, and also to link to a spread betting or CFD account.
Alongside the trading app, IG offers its IG Academy educational centre as a stand-alone mobile app as well.
Other platforms & tools
IG’s share dealing platform offers html5 charts, numerous technical indicators and drawing tools, and excellent usability.
Charting: IG excels at charting. IG offers 19 drawing tools and 31 technical indicators for its platform and mobile app. Charting highlights include the ability to trade directly from the chart, view open orders, add price alerts, display corporate events (e.g., earnings, dividends, splits), and even save custom layouts for future quick access. Users can view up to four different variations of the same chart, using different periods on each chart.
Usability: IG's trading platform shines for its overall ease of use. Clients can quickly filter shares or ETFs by industry, country of focus, or sector. Setting price alerts is simple, and reading news is also only a click away.
IG trading tools:
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||31|
|Charting - Drawing Tools||19|
|Charting - Notes||Yes|
|Charting - Display Corporate Events||Yes|
|Charting - Stock Overlays||Yes|
|Charting - Index Overlays||Yes|
IG's screening, technical analysis, and social/community research are all strong. Standard quote pages have the following research segments: company news, client sentiment, trading activity, news and analysis, share price data, broker ratings, fundamentals, financials, and events, amongst others.
Social analysis: Some of IG's research data is unique to IG and quite useful. When researching a share, IG displays what percentage of customers bought or sold that share in the last week. IG also shows what other positions clients own and what percentage of IG client accounts are bullish or bearish on the underlying stock.
IG Community: IG Community lets clients with live accounts discuss trading and markets together, via blog posts and forums.
Market Screener: The Market Screener can screen individual stocks by 34 optional fundamental data points (e.g., market cap or dividend yield), 26 different countries, 28 indexes, and 10 sectors.
IGTV: IG Live is a video presented three times a day – at 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 4 p.m. – that offers a pre-open bulletin, live charting analysis, and a look ahead. Subject matter includes interviews with CEOs, market insights, technical analysis, and broader education, all available in an extensive video library. There are also sections for Trade of the Week, the Week Ahead, and Morning Call, all accessible via regular email alerts.
|Research - Shares||Yes|
|Research - CFDs||Yes|
|Research - Funds||Yes|
|Fund Research - Research Reports||No|
|Research - ETFs||Yes|
|Research - Bonds||No|
|Portfolio Allocation Breakdown||No|
Offering of investments
IG enables investors to trade over 12,000 shares across 19 international exchanges, ETFs, investment trusts, and funds. In addition to traditional share dealing accounts, SIPP and ISA accounts are offered, which is an essential distinction over less expensive competitors such as DEGIRO, FinecoBank, and Capital.com. IG also offers weekend trading of indices and cryptocurrencies.
An upgrade too since our last review, IG now offers 10 smart portfolios, fully managed portfolios with different risk appetites (conservative, moderate, and so on). These portfolios only charge 0.50% a year (capped at £250 a year) and provide exposure to a wide range of markets.
IG offering of investments:
|Bonds - Corporate||No|
|Bonds - Government (Gilts)||No|
IG maintains a fantastic educational offering through IG Academy, which traders can access through the IG website or via a standalone IG Academy mobile app. Nine course categories are on offer, with six to 11 sub-courses; each category ends in a quiz. You can track your progress as you go.
The online trading courses cover all levels of trading and typically take 20 to 85 minutes to complete. Additionally, live sessions are offered every weekday, including weekly webinars on a range of topics.
In addition to IG Academy, there are numerous library articles dedicated to a wide range of subjects spanning tax-efficient investing, trading strategies and macroeconomic data, which can be useful for traders at any skill level.
Overall, education is still a trump card for IG.
|Has Education - Share Trading||Yes|
|Has Education - Funds||Yes|
|Has Education - Retirement||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||Yes|
IG provides a fantastic share dealing experience with competitive U.K. commission rates and no commissions on U.S. stocks for semi-frequent traders. IG has a host of desirable features, including an exceptional charting package, flexible trading tools, solid research and brilliant education and a very user-friendly mobile app. All of these features combine to make IG our top broker, and an excellent choice for anyone seeking cheap trades in a SIPP and/or ISA account.
IG is a member of the FTSE 250 with a market capitalization of £4 billion. Founded in 1974, IG is a truly global business with a physical presence in 20 countries and more than 313,000 active clients. The company has long been at the forefront of innovation, including the establishment of the first online trading service back in 1998 and offering the first iPhone app in 2008.
For the 2021 StockBrokers.com U.K. Review, we assessed, rated, and ranked 11 U.K. share dealing platforms over a 10-week time period. Each broker was exhaustively tested on all available platforms and graded on 53 different variables. In total, over 17,000 words of research were produced.
Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Our team.
About the Author
Steve Miley With 30 years of experience in institutional financial markets, Steve has won multiple awards from Technical Analyst Magazine, including "Best Independent Fixed Income" and "Best FX Research." In addition to his work with StockBrokers.com, Steve is the founder of The Market Chartist, where he provides market research for institutional clients; and is editor-in-chief for FXExplained.co.uk.