IG is an investment platform aimed at experienced investors looking to make frequent trades on the stock market. IG offers thousands of shares, trusts and ETFs to trade, as well as the ability to do spread betting and CFDs. It offers a comprehensive and easy-to-use trading platform that is used by both private and professional investors.
Low-cost US and UK shares.
(Your capital is at risk)
IG pros & cons
- Industry leader with a broad range of investment opportunities.
- Can trade through an ISA or SIPP.
- Great mobile app and trading platform.
- Excellent learning resources.
- Platform works out expensive for investors making small trades infrequently.
- Does not offer mutual funds or bonds.
- Chart tools are on the basic side for infrequent traders.
|Charges & Fees
|Ease of Use
Charges and fees
IG charges £10 to buy and sell U.S. stocks, although this is reduced to zero if you place more than three trades a month. To trade U.K. stocks, IG charges £8, reduced to £3 if you trade more than three times a month.
The £3 fee is far cheaper than many other U.K. brokers. However, if you are looking to trade infrequently then £8 is quite steep. Barclays, for example, charges £6 and Interactive Investor charges £3.99. Some platforms such as XTB, Trading 212 and Freetrade don’t charge trading fees at all.
Many platforms offer reduced fees for regular dealing, so if you buy the same stock each month you’ll pay a discounted fee of up to £1.50. Halifax, Lloyds and Hargreaves Lansdown do not charge anything for regular dealing.
There is also a custody charge of £24 per quarter (£96 a year) unless you make at least three trades a quarter (12 per year), in which case there are no custody fees. This means IG could be an expensive place to hold investments if you have a small portfolio and don’t plan to trade much. However, if you invest at least £15,000 into a managed IG Smart Portfolio then you are exempt from custody fees.
Like with all stock trading, the government charges 0.5% stamp duty when you buy shares. You also pay a £1 government PTM (Panel of Takeovers and Mergers) levy if you trade shares with a total value of above £10,000. As an example of IG fees, below is an illustration of charges for buying 650 shares at £37.25 a share, totalling £24,212.50.
|IG fees example
|IG trading fee
|Stamp duty 0.5%
|Market spread (0.5p per share)
Detailed 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 trades per year = £136
- 12 trades per year = £192
- 36 trades per year = £108
- 120 trades per year = £360
- 3 fund trades per year = N/A
|Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month
|Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month
|Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month
|Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000
|£0 / £96
|Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K
|Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m
|Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over
|Bonds - Corporate - Fee
|Bonds - Government (Gilts) - Fee
|ETFs - Fee
|£3 - £8
|Investment Trusts - Fee
|£3 - £8
|Telephone Dealing Fee
Mobile trading apps
I found IG’s mobile app very comprehensive and easy to use. You can easily see your watch list, search investments and set up an alert. You can add money to your account through Apple Pay, if you have an iPhone, or through a debit card or manual bank transfer.
When selecting individual stocks, you can set a price alert, buy, and see recent news through the app. There are also many chart tools on the app, allowing you to toggle between candlestick and line view. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can also add your own drawings and annotations onto your chart, a feature not currently offered by most platforms.
Tap for a demo of IG's U.K. trading app.
The platform is easy to use, even for a beginner investor. When you log in to IG, you’re taken to a home screen that features live prices, news, and links to courses. When clicking on your account, you’re taken to your Workspace. This is where you can see your watch list, search for investments and be notified of upcoming earnings announcements.
You can see analyst consensus for individual stocks, operated by third-party vendor TipRanks, and see sentiment among other IG customers – for example, you can see how many have long or short positions in the stock.
Chart tools are on the basic side, unless you have a Pro account. ProRealTime carries a fee of £30 a month, but is free if you place more than three trades a month. Through ProRealTime, you can overlay stocks and compare historical performance to an index such as the FTSE 100.
|Charting - Indicators / Studies
|Charting - Drawing Tools
|Charting - Notes
|Charting - Display Corporate Events
|Charting - Stock Overlays
|Charting - Index Overlays
IG offers more than 11,000 shares and investment trusts, and 2,000 ETFs. It does not offer mutual funds or bonds. You can own shares outright, or through spread betting and CFDs you can speculate on share price movements without ever owning the stock.
There are also five IG Smart Portfolios to choose from, allowing you to invest in managed, broadly diversified portfolios with exposure to many global markets. Total costs per fund are around 0.7% a year, including management fees and fund costs. Management fees are capped at £250 a year, meaning there are no management fees on amounts above £50,000.
On a £50,000 investment you’d pay total annual fees of £360 with IG’s Smart Portfolio. This means if you are looking to invest in a ready-made portfolio, IG is worth considering, as the costs are competitive against other platforms. Hargreaves Lansdown, for example, charges £720 per year for its all-in-one portfolio funds. Bear in mind that if you invest less than £15,000 into an IG Smart Portfolio, the £96 annual IG custody fee would apply, making it a less good value.
IG offers crypto trading, but only to professional traders either who work in the industry or have financial instrument portfolios above €500,000.
|Research - ETFs
|Bonds - Corporate
|Bonds - Government (Gilts)
The IG Academy offers free courses, webinars and seminars that are designed for traders of all levels. I found a huge range of helpful material, such as the basics of technical analysis and how to identify key chart patterns.
I found IG’s educational material the best of any U.K. broker. Everything is easily explained across written, video and audio formats. You can join live webinars and in-person trading seminars that run weekly, for free, and you can also watch webinars repeatedly. They are organised according to level, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced investor.
IG does not offer a demo account for share trading, but does offer a demo account for spread betting and CFDs. These are complex instruments that should only be considered by investors who are willing to take high risk and don’t mind losing money. Most everyday investors would stick to share dealing and buying funds.
|Education (Share Trading)
|Client Webinars (Archived)
IG provides a fantastic share dealing experience that is very competitive on price if you trade more than three times a month. It has excellent learning materials that are helpful for both beginner and sophisticated investors. IG appeals more to experienced traders than novice investors. But it is making moves to appeal to a wider range of investors who want a hands-off approach through its IG Smart Portfolio range. These ready-made portfolios can offer good value, particularly for those with larger portfolios above £50,000, as there are no management fees.
IG has a longstanding reputation, having been around since the 1970s. It was the first company to offer financial spread betting in 1974. It now has more than 310,000 customers worldwide with a physical presence in 20 countries.
Is IG trustworthy?
IG is a highly respected broker, offering one of the most sophisticated platforms for day traders and experienced investors. IG is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning strict money protection rules apply and your money and assets are ring-fenced.
Is IG a good broker for beginners?
IG has historically appealed to more advanced investors, but its platform is easy to use by anyone. It offers ETFs and investment trusts for those looking for diversification, along with its ready-made Smart Portfolios.
What fees does IG charge?
IG charges a custody charge of £96 a year unless you make at least three trades a quarter (12 per year), in which case there are no custody fees. There are no custody fees if you invest at least £15,000 into a managed IG Smart Portfolio. If below this, the £96 annual fee would apply.
How much does IG charge per trade in the UK?
IG share dealing fees are £8 to buy and sell U.K. stocks and £10 to buy U.S. shares. This is reduced to £3 and £0 respectively if you trade at least three times a month.
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For the UK.StockBrokers.com Annual Review, we assessed, rated, and ranked 17 U.K. share dealing platforms over a 10-week time period. Each broker’s platforms and features were exhaustively tested by hand and graded on 53 different variables. In total, over 25,000 words of research were produced.
We thoroughly tested and compared features of prime interest to everyday investors, including but not limited to:
- Investment choices, such as whether the broker offers trading of shares, ETFs, funds, bonds, and CFDs; and offers SIPP and ISA accounts.
- The broker’s charges and fees for investing.
- Functionality and design of mobile apps and website platform, and a fluid experience moving between app and web.
- Usability of tools such as charting and watch lists.
- Market research, such as screening, news and analysis.
- Educational resources including tutorials, online courses, videos, webinars and articles.
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