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If you have even the slightest interest in venturing into online trading, you will almost certainly come across the IG broker platform, and for a good reason.
Founded in 1974, IG is one of the UK’s biggest online trading success stories and boasts over 200,000 clients worldwide with share dealings in 19 international exchanges.
Unlike competing online brokers spanning similar markers, the IG broker platform offers direct SIPP and ISA accounts with exceptionally low commissions, typically between £3.00 to £8.00 per trade across all assets.
Crucially, IG provides free trades on US shares for traders who have placed three or more trades in the last month.
Competing directly with industry giants, the IG broker platform has established itself on the global stage.
Offering low-cost UK and US shares, you may be wondering, is my money safe with IG and is IG broker a good broker? Both completely legitimate questions, which this IG trading review will help to answer.
Who Is IG For?
Crucially, it is also listed on the London Stock Exchange, meaning it is legally obliged to disclose its financials and is under the watchful eye of several regulatory bodies.
As with any investment, though, there is always an element of risk, and you must do your due diligence before trading.
This is especially true of CFD trading, where the trade value is in the difference between what a contract is bought and sold for through an online provider. You don’t ever own the underlying asset.
As IG explains on its website, this type of trading creates far more opportunities across a broader number of markets.
Essentially, you speculate on the rise and fall of prices without owning any assets across the full spectrum of markets (commodities, indices, forex and shares).
When trading CFDs through the IG broker online platform, you enter a contract that commits you to exchange the difference between the price of an asset at the start of your agreement and when it is closed.
The amount you make or lose is entirely dependent on your ability to make an informed judgment on the trade.
With this in mind, who’s the ideal IG trader?
The answer depends on how you choose to interact with the IG broker platform. You can choose to trade CFDs, spread bet, or own assets by buying and selling shares and ETFs using an IG share dealing account.
If you’re thinking of exploring spread betting and CFDs, you need to know what you are doing because they are complex instruments and notoriously risky, although the rewards can be high.
It’s widely reported that over two-thirds of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs. As a trader, you need to weigh up whether you can afford the risk.
If you’re an experienced trader who wants direct market access (DMA) to shares and forex, CFD trading could be for you.
As explored in this IG trading review, one of the many benefits of the IG broker platform is that it accommodates traders of varying experience levels. That’s why it offers lower minimums for the first month to enable users to trade in smaller sizes as they master CFDs.
In the UK, spread betting profits are tax-free, meaning there’s no stamp duty to pay or capital gains tax on profits.
IG Platform Features and Tools
Widely accepted as a best-of-breed online trading platform, the IG broker platform is used by over 239,000 brokers worldwide and enables instant access to over 17,000 markets.
Depending on how you want to trade, there are several different platforms and tools within the IG broker suite, and these include:
IG Web Trading
The IG broker online web trading platform is the primary platform for those interested in CFD trading or spread betting.
While the trading itself is complex, the platform is easy to use.
Designed with user experience in mind, you can manage your own account, and withdraw and inject funds with ease (funds permitting, of course).
Everything has been designed around super-fast trading and real-time pricing. Traders are encouraged to take complete control over each trade and can, at a glance, get a clear, real-time overview of their spread, margin and market prices.
To reduce risk and protect profits, it’s easy to introduce watertight stops and limits. Traders can even set alerts that trigger when a market moves by a set amount.
In essence, IG web trading is every bit as smart as it sounds.
As a leading advanced charting package, ProRealTime, known as PRT, is a game changer for monitoring markets.
Geared at those familiar with technical charts, PRT is also free to those trading CFDs and spread betting regularly.
Using the platform, traders can:
- Analyze price, volatility, and more, based on 100 indicators
- Filter opportunities by date and strike price
- Integrate with the main IG trading platform
- Build their own algorithms
- View an infinite amount of timeframes
- Place their orders by reviewing trend lines rather than simply price movements
With sophisticated analysis, users can go long or short on thousands of markets at the click of a button. The compatible MT4 app also means you can trade wherever you are in the world.
Traders using MT4 benefit from:
- Instant access to 18 complimentary add-ons and indicators
- Automated trading
- Customizable charts
- Smaller minimum trades starting at 0.01 lots to help manage risks of high-volume trading
As a free downloadable share trading platform, L2 Dealer offers users direct market access (DMA).
Supported by intelligent order routing technology from Tier 1 banks, L2 Dealer is an advanced IG broker trading solution.
As such, it:
- Provides DMA to over 17,000 tradeable markets across a broad range of assets
- Enables users to trade on indices, forex , equities and commodities
- Offers unrivaled access to direct order book and OTC liquidity
- Connects forex to investment bank and non-bank liquidity
- Supports the full range of synthetic, native and algorithmic orders
- Offers integrated market alerts and news feeds
- Has HTML5 powered responsive charts with unlimited indicators
Hedge fund managers, traders and wealth managers can look after multiple synthetic accounts through L2 to create bespoke CFD profiles at the click of a button.
Progressive Web App
Offering users a frictionless trading platform from anywhere in the world, the IG broker Progressive Web App (PWA) is directly accessible.
Crucially, PWA has been specifically optimized to receive trading updates quickly, side-stepping the typical delays in accessing the app through an app store.
PWA can be used for spread betting and trading CFDs and is free to access.
However, monthly fees apply for certain exchanges and level 2 share data for CFD accounts.
iOS and Android Apps
The IG broker platform has been cleverly optimized for Android and iPhone devices and is used for spread betting, CFD trading and share dealing.
As with the web-based system, users have access to the same features, research, data and tools, and can view mobile charts on the go.
Essentially, you can access many thousands of markets, including forex , stocks and indices, from your mobile device.
It’s quite simple to access, evaluate, edit and close your trading positions while on the move.
You can access the app through App Store or Google Play; search for IG trading and click download.
IG Commissions and Fees
Opening an IG trading account is free. However, when you trade on leverage through the IG broker platform, you will need to consider one direct charge, and that’s the spread. Or, if you are trading CFDs, the commission.
The spread or commission is the disparity between the bid and ask price. It changes depending on the conditions of the markets. IG, however, is very transparent with its charges and makes no secret that it charges its own spread on top of market spread as its fee for the trade.
There are overnight funding charges to consider too, the fee you will pay to keep daily funded spread bets or CFD trades running past 10 p.m. UK time.
Traders can also protect their position from slipping with a guaranteed stop by paying a small premium.
Additionally, there are several other more marginal fees related to various add-ons and subscribed functionality. However, these are marketed as such.
IG Research and Education
As the birthplace of many online platforms and apps for bet spreads and CFDs, IG broker focuses heavily on educating its community. After all, the more success traders find from using the IG broker platform, the more lucrative it is for IG.
There’s a real emphasis on ‘analyze and learn’, where traders are provided with expert evaluation and market news. Embedded within each platform and app are educational resources to help you along the way.
Experienced traders can access the following resources:
- Top tips from IG experts
- Advice on advanced trading strategies
- Analytics tools to benchmark performance
- Special reports detailing market influences
- Podcasts on the psychology and technicalities of trading
- An economic calendar, complete with macroeconomic event figures
Likewise, there are plenty of resources for those new to trading, including:
- The IG Academy, where you learn at your own pace
- Advice on how to manage risk
- Tips on maximizing trading success
- Tools to enhance trading strategies
- Webinars and seminars to build trading knowledge and confidence
- A glossary of trading terminology
What Are the Pros of IG?
While trading CFDs and spread betting is not for every trader, there are many benefits to trading through the IG broker platform.
Below is a list of the top reasons:
One of the most regulated. Countries of regulation include the UK, EU, USA, Switzerland, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Offers MetaTrader 4 (MT4), the most advanced analytical trading platform for CFDs and spread betting, with 18 add-on features and access to MT4 expert advisors.
You can trade over 10,000 different instruments, including 80-plus currency pairs.
IG Markets lists most UK shares up to a market capitalization of £10 – this is not commonplace with other CFD providers .
Stops can be placed at the same time as sending a market order.
It is available in the UK and US and a host of other territories.
Offers client money protection for UK and EU clients through a deposit compensation scheme.
Plenty of free educational resources, making it invaluable for both experienced and entry-level traders.
Real-time advanced charting. With the introduction of Autochartist, users access an automatic trading patterns recognition tool that notifies them of market changes.
Constant investment into the platform. The IG broker platform is designed by traders for traders. Therefore, there’s a continuous evolution of functions and features to enhance the experience of the platform.
24/7 customer supportis standard with many of IG’s services and platforms.
What Are the Cons of IG?
For all its capabilities, there are some drawbacks to trading through the IG broker platform, although a trader would consider these all part of the risk.
Here are a few things to be aware of:
The forex and stock CFD fees are high, but these are justified if, as a trader, you find the IG broker platform improves your trading.
No deposit compensation scheme for US accounts, although client money is segregated for protection.
There is no copy trading. IG broker’s stance on this is quite strong. Given the trouble that many brokers ran into a few years ago using various schemes, IG is reluctant to offer copy trading as an option.
There is no backtesting. You cannot see how well a trading strategy or model would perform using historical data.
There are no tax accounting tools within the platform.
Small, inactivity fees apply if you sign up but fail to use the platform.
How Do You Set Up an Account With IG?
Here’s the threshold for all IG broker platform account holders:
- You must be over the age of 18
- You must provide proof of identity and residence
- You have to pass IG broker’s assessment to see if you have an appropriate understanding of spread betting, CFD trading or share dealing to ensure you realize the risks. This is a regulatory requirement
- You must reside in the UK or Ireland to open a spread betting account
- You have to be living in the UK to open an IG stocks and shares ISA
There are options to open a Corporate Account, which you will need to apply for by emailing IG directly.
Although you can spend time familiarizing yourself with the IG broker platform straight away, you will not be able to trade until you have been cleared.
As covered in this IG trading review, if you are unsure whether CFD or spread betting is suitable for you, your best bet is to do your research first.
Absorb as much as you can from other traders, check out the comments in the IG community hub and double down on understanding the special reports and market insights.
There’s also a live chat feature on the website where you can ask any manner of questions about how to get started.
In addition, there are hundreds of free online courses, webinars and seminars you can tap into by joining the IG Academy. The best part is that you can learn at your own pace and test your knowledge through interactive quizzes and exercises.
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.