Interactive Investor Review
With Interactive Investor's Super Investor Plan, traders pay a low rate of £3.99 per trade on UK stocks and ETFs. Alongside great pricing, Interactive Investor offers brilliant fundamental research for stocks, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. That said, limited education is provided, and trading tools are lackluster.
Top Takeaways for 2020
After spending over 100 hours testing nine online stock brokers for UK share dealing, here are our top findings on Interactive Investor:
- Founded in 2004, Interactive Investor (ii) has £36 billion in assets under administration and over 300,000 customers.
- Investors who trade three or more times a month will find superb value in the Super Investor plan, which charges £19.99 a month but offers £3.99 share, ETF, and fund trades in return.
- Interactive Investor finished Best in Class (top 3) for multiple categories in our review, including Commissions & Fees, Research, Offering of Investments, and Ease of Use.
- Interactive Investor offers limited education for new investors, which kept it off our recommended list for beginners.
- Compared to trading tools leaders Saxo Markets and IG, the Interactive Investor platform and mobile app left us unimpressed.
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platform & Tools|
Commissions & Fees
Unique in the UK market, Interactive Investor uses a Netflix-like monthly flat-fee pricing model.
Depending on which Service Plan you choose, your cost for UK shares and ETF trades varies. The three Service Plans are Investor (£9.99 per month; £7.99 per trade), Funds Fan (£13.99 per month; £7.99 per trade) and Super Investor (£19.99 per month; £3.99 per trade). There is no charge for account inactivity. Each plan comes with one to two free trades a month, which partially negates the plan price. The bottom line is that the more frequently you trade, the more value you receive out of each plan. Interactive Investor also offers $0 commissions for regular investing, which allows you to invest as little as £25 per month into a designated share, ETF, or investment trust. You can have up to 25 "regular monthly investments", all of which charge $0 in commissions. Regular investing can be an effective way to gradually increase your size in a position without paying commissions.
If you trade three or more times a month, the lower per trade price for the Super Investor plan more than offsets the increased monthly cost. If you trade quite a bit more than three times a month, there is superb value for the Super Investor plan given the level of products and services provided. If you only trade once or twice a month and do use reoccurring investments, you can find a much cheaper share dealing with DEGIRO.
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 traditional, taxable share dealing account, here are four scenarios of how much AJ Bell would cost depending on trade frequency:
- 1 deal per month, 12 trades = £119.8 (Investor Plan = 1 free trade per month + £119.8 in annual custody fees)
- 3 deals per month, 36 trades = £287.76 (Super Investor Plan = 2 free trades per month + £3.99 per trade + £239.88 in annual custody fees)
- 10 deals per month, 120 trades = £622.92 (Super Investor Plan = 2 free trades per month + £3.99 per trade + £239.88 in annual custody fees)
- 20 deals per month, 240 trades = £1101.72 (Super Investor Plan = 2 free trades per month + £3.99 per trade + £239.88 in annual custody fees)
|Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month||£7.99|
|Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month||£3.99|
|Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month||£3.99|
|Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000*||£119.88 (£9.99 monthly)|
|Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K*||£119.88|
|Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m*||£119.88|
|Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over*||£119.88|
|ETFs - Fee||£7.99|
|Investment Trusts - Fee||£7.99|
|Telephone Dealing Fee*||£49.00|
Platforms & Tools
While the fundamental research Interactive Investor offers is fantastic, technical research is a hit or miss. Unlike industry leaders IG and Saxo Markets, Interactive Investor does not provide a standalone trading platform. Instead, the website is the platform.
Given the lack of a decent charting tool and customizable trading tools advanced traders desire, Interactive Investor will satisfy most casual investors but leave seasoned traders disappointed.
Charting: With charting, Interactive Investor offers the bare-bones basics. Charts come straight from Morningstar, which is known for its vast array of fundamental research, not its technical analysis. No drawing tools are available, and only ten technical indicators can be accessed.
Charts aside, Interactive Investor does provide automated technical analysis with Trading Central (Recognia), which is exceptional. Also, basic stock price alerts can be set. See the Research section below for more details on Trading Central.
Mobile Trading: Interactive Investor's mobile app is efficient and straightforward but has room for improvement. The app allows you to place trades, access watchlists, view charts on various time frames, and read current news. While this is nice, the app could be better if more research and fundamental data were integrated from the website.
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||No|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||11|
|Charting - Drawing Tools||0|
|Charting - Notes||No|
|Charting - Display Corporate Events||No|
|Charting - Stock Overlays||Yes|
|Charting - Index Overlays||Yes|
Interactive Investor utilizes Morningstar for most of its fundamental research, and Trading Central for technical insights. Comprehensive research is available for shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs, with most assets having institutional-level PDF reports. Overall, the research tools Interactive Investor offers are top-notch. In addition to fundamental research, Interactive Investor features a ton of articles, as well as a podcast. Articles discuss individual shares and funds, as well as how the market will be affected by different events. Podcast content varies but is a cool way to stay updated on financial subjects while commuting to the office.
Standard stock quote screens contain the following research tabs: chart, prices, performance, rations, financials, news, owners, and insiders. Here are some highlights:
Automated Technical Analysis (Technical Insights): Traders who often utilize technical analysis will love Interactive Investor's Technical Insights. Technical Insights, powered by Trading Central, analyze chart patterns to display potential bullish and bearish trading signals.
Quickrank Tool: The Quickrank Tool brings full screening capabilities for shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. Traders can easily sort results by sectors and industries. Additionally, Interactive Investor offers a screener specifically for stocks that focuses on filtering stocks by data such as market cap and dividend yield.
Misc. Tools: Indice heat maps, risers and fallers, and market news are all available under the broader research tab. Morningstar powers the data for these tools, while a mix of third-party and in-house writers contribute news articles. Navigating to some of the news is a chore, but the content quality is exceptional. Discussion is also available on each stock, allowing traders to post their thoughts. Only IG offers similar functionality.
|Research - Shares||Yes|
|Research - CFDs||Yes|
|Research - Funds||Yes|
|Fund Research - Research Reports||Yes|
|Research - ETFs||Yes|
|Research - Bonds||Yes|
|Portfolio Allocation Breakdown||Yes|
Offering of Investments
Interactive Investor enables clients to trade shares, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), trusts, funds, and more. Spread betting and CFD trading are available through GAIN Capital. SIPP and ISA accounts are also available in addition to share dealing accounts. Interactive Investor also offers four ready-made portfolios, each containing a growth or income strategy. Each portfolio is made of seven to eight funds and trusts, and can help investors diversify their holdings.
International trading: 17 different international exchanges are available for Interactive Investor customers to trade on, including exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Super 60 Investments: Interactive Investor also offers ii Super 60 Investments, as well as quick start funds. Super 60 Investments are a wide range of 60 active and passive funds, investment trusts, and ETFs recommended by experts from the Interactive Investor team. Each investment comes with a rationale as to why it was selected, as well as an investment strategy. Quick start funds are three pre-made Vanguard portfolios that cost between 0.26% - 0.28% to invest in. These investments are a low-cost way for traders to get exposure to a broader range of assets recommended by professionals.
Ethical investments: Interactive Investor offers 140 total ethical investments to help investors invest in socially responsible stocks, funds, trusts, and ETFs. Each ethical investment is given a label to denote the ethical focus of the asset.
|Bonds - Corporate||Yes|
|Bonds - Government (Gilts)||Yes|
Interactive Investor has a limited education section compared to most brokers. There is some content dedicated to educating new users on buying and selling shares. This content scratches the surface but left us wanting more overall. There are also some articles in the News Hub focused on retirement education, although we would like to see more education focused on shares, funds, and learning to trade.
|Has Education - Share Trading||No|
|Has Education - Funds||No|
|Has Education - Retirement||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||No|
Interactive Investor highlights include transparent pricing, brilliant fundamental research for stocks, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs, alongside exceptional automated technical analysis. Drawbacks center mostly around the lack of a rich charting platform and limited investor education.
About Interactive Investor
Founded in 1994, Interactive Investor (ii) acquired TD Waterhouse in October 2016. Then, in October 2018, Interactive Investor announced it was acquiring Alliance Trust Savings; the deal closed in July 2019. Today, with £21 billion of assets under administration, 300,000 customers, and more than one million users, Interactive Investor is one of the largest retail investment platforms in the UK.
For the 2020 UK.StockBrokers.com Review we assessed, rated, and ranked nine UK share dealers. Each broker was graded on 46 different variables and, in total, over 12,000 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. Learn more about how we test and Our Team.
About the author: Steve Miley Steve Miley is Director of Research, Europe, for StockBrokers.com and heads the annual UK Share Dealing Broker Review. With 25 years of experience in institutional financial markets, Steve has won multiple Technical Analyst Magazine awards, including "Best Independent Fixed Income" and "Best FX Research." Alongside StockBrokers.com, Steve is the founder of The Market Chartist where he provides market research for institutional clients.
About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.