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 brokers, 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 2017 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.
In second position is Barclays. The Barclays education area provides a wealth of educational information, delivered in concise but detailed articles catering to beginners through to advanced investors. The information is presented by topic in a user-friendly manner, with a comprehensive archive and search facility. Written content is complemented by numerous videos and infographics, which enhance the learning experience and are viewed as an extremely useful add on. Overall, a strong educational offering.
Third and fourth places on our list were Interactive Investor and TD Direct Investing, respectively (currently in the process of a merger). The educational resources offered by both these brokers are better than those offered by their UK competitors and include investment glossaries, investment/retirement calculators, basic beginners’ guides, in-depth guides to fundamental analysis and trading strategies and more advanced education on Forex, CFDs and spread betting. With the merger set to be completed sometime in 2017, the future looks bright for clients of both firms.
Generally, the UK online broking industry continues to provide a greater variety and depth of educational content. Furthermore, delivering this content through multimedia enhances the client experience. Although quality and quantity of education is unlikely to be a primary reason for choosing an individual broker, we do see this as an invaluable complement to the overall offering.