Top 11 Stock Brokers in the UK

Top 11 Stock Brokers in the UK

Top 11 Stock Brokers in the UK

Updated 8 November 2020

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As bank interest rates have been at an historic low for over a decade, savers are increasingly turning their attention to the stock market in a bid to make the most of their money.

Thanks to Hollywood films such as Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street, there are many misconceptions about what the stock market is, and who can invest.

The stock market isn’t just for those with large sums of money. It is also accessible for anyone who wants to try and improve their savings. But how do you get started?

The first step is to find a UK stock broker. This is someone who can manage your investment on your behalf.

To find out more about how you can start to invest in stocks and shares, we’re taking a look at what stock brokers are, and how to find the right stock broker for you.

What Is a Stock Broker?

A stock broker is someone who buys stocks and shares on behalf of someone else. This may be on behalf of a commercial organization or a person.

The stock broker looks after the investment portfolio. They will work as an intermediary between the stock exchange and the investor.

Stock brokers can work in different ways:

  • Some will take full management of the investment and make decisions on behalf of their client (known as a discretionary way of working).

  • Others will work in an advisory capacity where they will advise and offer suggestions but only act when given authorization by their client.

  • The final option is those who are execution-only. This is when stock brokers only make the investments that they are directed to. They will not offer any advice or support.

What Are the Different Types of Stock Brokers?

The UK stock market has grown enormously in recent years. If you are keen to start investing your money, then you must first understand the different types of stock brokerages:

Full-Service Brokers

These offer everything you need so that you do not need to worry about managing your wealth portfolio.

Your broker will make recommendations and offer advice and guidance. They’ll manage investments on your behalf and will provide you with comprehensive reports giving details of your portfolio performance.

Discount Brokers

These will be more affordable than full-service brokers. They will only act upon a client’s orders – so whilst they will manage the actual buying/selling of stocks, they will not provide any advice or support.

It’s more affordable but more time-consuming for investors who will need to stay up to date with their investments.

Online Stock Brokers

These can be used by new investors as well as experienced investors. You’ll have the opportunity to manage your wealth portfolio and you can make new investments at the click of a button.

How Do Stock Brokers Make Money?

Typically, a stock broker will take a small commission, or they will charge specific fees for managing your investment.

Are UK Stock Brokers Regulated?

If you are providing money to a stock broker to act on your behalf, you must have confidence that they are fully regulated and trustworthy.

In the UK, there are stringent checks which are used to confirm the viability of stock brokers. This means that the London Stock Exchange is one of the strongest in the world. Investors can have confidence that they are fully protected from fraud and/or financial mismanagement.

Reputable UK stock brokers should be a member of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Not only does this provide peace of mind for investors that the broker is following operational guidelines, but it also provides insurance. If a firm becomes insolvent, investors can receive compensation up to a specified limit.

Before appointing any stock broker, you should check to see that they are listed within the Financial Services Register.

Top 11 Stock Brokers in the UK

Key Considerations Before You Choose a UK Stock Broker

When it comes to finding a UK stock broker, there are many different things that you should consider.

It’s important to remember that each stock broker will work differently. You need to consider whether you are looking for a stock broker who can manage your investment on your behalf or whether you want to remain in control.

Listening to References but Keeping an Open Mind

An easy way to find a UK stock broker is to find references and recommendations from other investors.

Listen to what they have to say but remember to keep an open mind. Different investors will have different needs – so what works well for one person, may not work for another.

This is particularly true if you are new to the stock market but are seeking advice from an experienced investor.

Is Your UK Stock Broker Regulated?

As previously mentioned, make sure you check on the Financial Services Register to see if your chosen broker is regulated.

Your broker should have details of professional memberships available on their website.

What Are the Trading Fees?

Stock brokers will make their money via commissions and trading fees. It may seem simple to choose the UK stock broker with the lowest possible trading fees, but that could cost you far more money in the long run.

Fees may differ depending on whether you are a casual trader, a beginner or an experienced investor.

It’s worthwhile comparing fees to your budget – this will help you to identify the right brokerage for your investment needs.

You may also need to consider whether you are charged a flat-fee or a percentage fee. Some brokers will charge for each transaction (deposit and withdrawals) which can become pricey. You may even be charged fees for inactivity on your account.

Before signing up with any brokerage, make sure that you are aware of the terms and conditions.

What Tradable Assets or Other Markets Are Offered?

As well as trading stocks and shares, many brokers (particularly online brokers) may offer opportunities to trade other assets such as foreign exchange currencies (Forex) or even cryptocurrencies.

If you are considering diversifying your investment portfolio, you may be interested in working with a stock broker with experience in other markets.

What Trading Platforms Are Available?

A trading platform is a specific software that allows individual investors and stock brokers to make trades.

Some UK stock brokers may offer easy access to their trade platforms. This is typically in exchange for having full management of the investment.

Trading platforms can vary hugely. Some may have intuitive and easy-to-understand dashboards that allow investors to see how their investment is performing. Others may be complex, real-time charts and news feeds that are designed specifically for stock brokers to monitor the market.

Investors may wish to think about what features they need before deciding on a particular trading platform. For example, do they need the information to help with immediate decision making or are they looking for a platform that could make predictions and strategies for future investments?

The fees charged for trading platforms will also vary. You can expect to pay lower fees for trading platforms with reduced features.

What Is the Minimum Amount of Money I Need to Invest in Stocks and Shares?

Stock brokers and online trading platforms will have different minimum requirements for investments. Some may be as little as £10, whilst other interactive brokers may require a minimum deposit of £100+.

Pay attention to the terms and details to establish how much you should invest.

Customer Care

It’s important to remember that if you are investing your money into a UK stock broker, you need to feel confident that they are supporting you and looking after you as best they can.

Look at customer reviews/testimonials to find out what people are saying.

If you are using an online stock broker, then try sites such as Feefo or TrustPilot to see if there are any advantages/disadvantages. You should be looking to work with a UK stock broker that offers consistent levels of customer care.

If you are trading online, is the dashboard easy to understand? Is it suitable for beginners or do you need extensive experience? Is there a helpline number to call if you need support?

If you’re working with a UK stock broker, what advice and guidance are they giving you? Do you feel that you are receiving a high level of customer care and satisfaction?

Remember that if you are choosing to invest money with a UK stock broker, you are paying for a service. Don’t be afraid to expect high levels of client care and attention.

The 11 Best Stock Brokers in the UK

Now we’ve explained more about what stock brokers are and how to choose one, here is a quick overview of some of the best stock brokers in the UK.

This list provides you with a brief look at different platforms, giving you further insights to make informed decisions.

It’s important to remember that this list isn’t exhaustive and shouldn’t constitute financial advice. Before deciding to invest with any broker, make sure that you have undertaken further due diligence to check on their reliability, their success rate, their fees and their customer care.

1. eToro

Best for: Learning from others
Commission: £0
Minimum deposit: £200
Withdrawal fees: £5
Tradable assets: Stocks and ETFs, Cryptocurrencies, CFD trading
Number of stocks: 3,000+

eToro is one of the most popular online stock brokers in the UK. Over the past 15 years, it has developed a strong reputation for beginners and experienced investors alike.

The site allows you to invest in stocks and shares from across the world, including the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

Users choose eToro due to its innovative CopyTrader™ feature. This allows you to see what experienced traders are doing in real-time.

It can automatically copy their trades within your portfolio. This is ideal for those who are new to trading or simply do not have the time to manage their portfolio.

Visit eToro

2. Pepperstone

Best for: Customer service
Minimum deposit: £200
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, Index CDFs
Available trading platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader

Pepperstone is a highly regarded stock broker that offers exceptional 24-hour customer service for users. This is hugely beneficial for investors wishing to take advantage of time differences across 14 different stock markets from around the world.

The online broker has an effective user interface that is regarded as advanced yet easy to use and understand.

This is an effective option for new investors and experienced traders alike.

Visit Pepperstone

3. FXCM

Best for: Established reputation, low deposits
Minimum deposit: £50
Withdrawal fees: £5
Tradable assets: CFDs
Available trading platforms: MT4/MT5, Ninjatrader, Zulutrader and Trading Station

This is one of the most established traders available for users, having been developed in 2009. It specializes in Foreign Exchange (FX) and CFD trading.

FXCM is highly regulated – as well as being regulated by the FCA in the UK, it is also regulated by the ASIC in Australia and the FSB in South Africa. This gives traders and investors added confidence in their experience and reliability.

Unlike many others, this broker offers a low £50 minimum deposit. This provides an opportunity for new beginners to start their investment portfolios with minimum risk.

Visit FXCM

4. City Index

Best for: Spread betting
Minimum deposit: £100
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: Shares, FX, Commodities & Options
Available trading platforms: MT4, AT Pro

City Index has built its reputation on spread betting. This is where you can trade on rising and falling price movements rather than purchasing stock.

This is a popular choice for those looking for tax-free investments as you are investing in movements rather than assets.

As spread betting is about movements, this is ideal for those looking to maximize short-term profits rather than investing in long-term opportunities.

City Index has an interactive dashboard that allows you to view different markets at a glance. With multiple charts and 65 technical indicators, this is more suited to experienced investors who know what they are doing.

Visit City Index

5. Plus500

Best for: Short-term exposure to markets
Minimum deposit: £100
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: CFDs
Number of stocks: 1,000+

Plus500 is suited for experienced investors wanting to invest solely in CFDs. It is designed for those who want short exposure to markets. You are not purchasing stock, instead, you are trading CFDs.

With more than 200,000 active customers, there are good reasons why so many people rate Plus500 so highly.

Customers can access technical reports, customizable charts and analysis tools. It provides a wealth of information to allow customers to make informed decisions. However, the complex nature of the trades mean that it’s not designed for beginners or inexperienced traders.

Visit Plus500

6. Capital.com

Best for: Low fees
Commission: £0
Minimum deposit: £100
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: Shares, Commodities, Forex, Cryptocurrencies
Number of stocks: 3,000+

Capital.com is another online stock broker designed specifically for experienced investors.

The site makes the most of real-time data and promises fast execution speeds. This means that you can make the most of changing stock performances.

The dashboard allows users to make the most of technical indicators as well as risk alerts. This means that you can have confidence that you are making informed decisions.

A positive of Capital.com is its fees. This is a popular choice amongst traders because there are no fees for deposits/withdrawals, quotes, opening/closing time trades or educational material. The company makes its money through the buy/sell spread.

Visit Capital.com

7. Markets.com

Best for: Technical indicators
Minimum deposit: £250
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: Forex, Commodities, Stocks and Shares, Energies and Futures
Available trading platforms: MT4, MT5, Marketsx, Marketsi

Markets.com offers access to more than 100 technical indicators, ensuring that users can have real-time data to inform their investment decisions.

This is a hugely successful platform that doesn’t charge any commission or fees. Instead, it makes its income through spreads.

Thanks to the wealth of data available, this is a platform designed for experienced traders.

The Investment Strategy Builder tool is an effective resource to help you choose how to invest and you can use the innovation to inform your long-term and short-term investment portfolios.

Visit Markets.com

8. Moneta Markets

Best for: Interactive features
Minimum deposit: £200
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: Shares, Forex, Commodities, Indices and Cryptocurrencies
Available trading platforms: WebTrader, AppTrader

With 1.5 million trades per month, users are drawn to Moneta Markets because they like the interactive features available.

Moneta Markets offers daily videos, technical analysis and a series of trading tools that are designed to help you understand what is moving the market. You can view AI-generated news and insights and use buzz tools to see what people are saying about your assets.

The interactive interface means that users can quickly make the most of their investments. What’s more, if you deposit more than £500 you can benefit from an additional 50% bonus. There is also a popular ‘refer a friend’ option which allows you a further £250 bonus for subsequent referrals.

Visit Moneta Markets

9. Degiro

Best for: Award-winning
Commission: £1.75 + 0.014% with a maximum of £5
Minimum deposit: £0.01
Withdrawal fees: £0
Tradable assets: Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, futures and indices.

Degiro is award-winning. In 2020 it was named the ‘Best Broker for Stock Trading' and it has also received the 'Best Low-Cost Stock Broker' accolade two years running.

Degiro is particularly strong on stocks and it is often chosen as the provider of choice for those looking to invest in longer-term investments.

As a previous wholesale seller, it expanded to retail investors, securing extremely low prices to those keen to buy/sell.

Visit Degiro

10. CMC Markets

Best for: Serious traders
Tradable assets: Shares, EFTS, Rates and Bonds, Indices, Commodities, FX and Cryptocurrencies
Available trading platforms: MT4

Describing itself as the platform of choice for ‘serious traders’, CMC Markets provides a wealth of insights into investments.

There are lots of downloadable guides for learning how to trade CFDs, forex trading and spread betting, which means that users can learn how to effectively maximize their investments.

With access to 9,300 markets and 115 technical indicators, investors can choose which options suit them. They can also benefit from exceptional customer services; the broker was named “'Best Telephone Customer Service' and 'Best Email Customer Service'.

Visit CMC Markets

11. IG

Best for: Beginners
Commission: Vary depending on the number of trades
Minimum deposit: £250
Tradable assets: Stock, CFD Trading
Available trading platforms: MT4, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer

Described as the world’s #1 provider of CFDs, IG has a long reputation for online trading.

The site is ideal for experienced traders but also has a strong education base to allow beginners to learn the basics. The wealth of information available means that the IG website is hugely beneficial for new investors to learn how to trade successfully even if they decide to go with another broker.

With access to over 17,000 markets, IG can enable investors to take advantage of a wide range of rising and falling share prices.

What’s more, you can use automation to manage trading on your behalf. Thanks to algorithmic trading, you can set key paraments that will monitor price movements or volatility levels on your behalf. This means that your investments can be managed even when you are not actively using the IG dashboard.

Visit IG

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is much to consider when choosing which UK stock broker to use. Different online stock brokers have their own strengths and weaknesses, and what suits one person may not suit another.

We like the ‘eToro’ platform. There are enough features on eToro to attract seasoned investors, whilst not being too alarming for beginners. This means that you can use the information to inform your knowledge and start trading effectively.

The innovative CopyTrader™ feature is particularly beneficial to allow newcomers to ‘practice’ investing by seeing what others are doing.

Before you make a final decision on your chosen UK stock broker, we recommend that you spend time working your way through the list and making the most of the free demos.

Most stock brokers will allow you access to its platforms and databases and will provide you with ‘virtual’ funding. This means that you can practice your investments, and see which interfaces work well for you without using your personal money.

As you become attuned to using different stock brokers you may start to establish which is best for your ability, interest and knowledge.

WikiJob does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.

By Amy Dawson Amy Dawson