Our comprehensive ranking of the best UK stockbrokers


Why our ranking is unrivalled


80 brokers featured - an unbeaten range

All fees considered

FCA regulated brokers only

Updated monthly


Exclusive bonuses. Sign-up through Financial Expert to be sure you're getting the best deal (UK investors only).

Best UK Stockbrokers

The verdict: our shortlist of the best UK stockbrokers

The pros and cons of the brokers that scored highest in our reviews

Overall best broker


Etoro stockbroker

Overview


Trade shares with zero commission with the eToro investing app. Open an account with just £7. Unique social trading features allow clients to find new trading ideas and mirror the top performing traders on the platform. 

Best for


  • Cheapest share dealing
  • Lowest annual charge
  • Copytrade feature
  • Cryptocurrencies available

Drawbacks


  • No OEICs or unit trusts
  • $5 withdrawal fee
  • No Stocks & Shares ISA         
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Read review

Capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees. 


Best for funds

Hargreaves Stockbroker

Overview


The UK’s no. 1 investment platform for private investors. Boasting over £125bn in assets under administration and over 1.5m active clients. ‘Best Share Dealing Platform 2021’ (UK Investor Magazine) and ‘Best Digital ISA’ (Boring Money 2021 Best Buys).

Best for


  • Widest range of funds
  • ISAs & SIPPs available
  • Most popular UK broker
  • Competitive management charge for < £50k portfolio

Drawbacks


  • Management charge for > £50k portfolio is less competitive
  • Share dealing charges are £11.95 for infrequent deals
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Read review

Capital is at risk. 


Best for £100k+

Interactive Investor Broker

Overview


Large UK stockbroker with a flat account fee and a free trade every month. Cheapest for investors with big pots.

Best for


  • Lowest management charge for large portfolios (£100k+)
  • ISAs & SIPPs available
  • One free trade per month

Drawbacks


  • Flat £9.99 account charge is costly for small accounts
  • Web platform interface isn't as slick as peers
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Read review

Capital is at risk. 


AJ Bell Youinvest Stockbroker

Overview


AJ Bell Youinvest stocks & shares ISA offers lower prices the more you trade! Which? 'Recommended Provider' for the last 3 years.

Best for


  • Invest regularly from £1.50
  • Great share research tools
  • Participate in IPOs
  • Free withdrawals & no inactivity fees

Drawbacks


  • No clear drawbacks
  • An all-rounder that stays competitive as your account grows
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Read review

Capital is at risk. 


Nutmeg Stockbroker

Overview


Choose a pre-made portfolio in minutes with Nutmeg, the simple way to invest. Choose your level of risk and let Nutmeg create and manage a diversified portfolio for you.

Best for


  • Auto portfolio management for peace of mind
  • Great value management fees
  • Ethical options available
  • Largest UK service of its kind

Drawbacks


  • Cannot invest in individual shares or funds
  • More expensive than a DIY investing portfolio
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Read review

Capital is at risk. 


Fidelity stockbroker

Overview


Buy and sell funds at nil cost with Fidelity International, plus simple £10 trading fees for stocks & shares and ETFs.

Best for


  • Large range of funds
  • Fidelity Wealth Management service is free for >£250k
  • Simple, flat £10 trading fees

Drawbacks


  • No key drawbacks
  • An all-rounder that stays competitive & unlocks benefits as your account grows
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Read review

Capital is at risk. 


Nutmeg Stockbroker

Overview


InvestEngine offers an ultra low cost approach to investing in the world's most popular ETFs. Benefit from the choice of a DIY or managed portfolio and the ability to package investments into a stocks & shares ISA.

Best for


  • No dealing, ISA, withdrawal fees
  • £25 sign-up bonus via our link

Drawbacks


  • Cannot invest in individual shares
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Read review

Capital is at risk. 


Freedom24

Overview


Freedom24 offers access to over 1,000,000 trading instruments at an ultra-low cost. Also gain access to upcoming IPOs including TikTok, Reddit & Starlink.

Best for


  • Wide range of assets
  • Options trading available
  • Ultra-low cost

Drawbacks


  • Trade in USD or EUR
Visit broker
Read review

Capital is at risk. 

Why eToro was named as our best broker for 2022

What makes eToro stand apart from other online share dealing services?
eToro best stockbroker

Lowest share dealing fees 1

Lowest account fees 2

Unique social trading features

23 million users

Directly regulated in the UK

Capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees. 

Compare the cheapest stockbrokers by trading fees

Slash the amount you pay in fees to place trades by choosing the cheapest online stockbrokers for dealing fees. 

As a guide, expect to pay between £5.99 and £11.99 for each trade you make with a traditional broker. 

However, if you pick from the top of this ranking, you could trade for zero commissions. That's right - zero.

The stockbroker with the lowest trading fees is currently eToro, which is a big reason why we concluded in our eToro broker review that eToro was the cheapest UK stockbroker overall. 

Lowest trading fees


(Single share trade)

ii Review

£3.99*

*£19.99 monthly Super Investor plan required


Read review

Lowest trading fees


(10+ monthly share trades)

ii Review

£3.99*

*£19.99 monthly Super Investor plan required


Read review

Lowest fund purchase fees

ii Review

£3.99*

*£19.99 monthly Super Investor plan required


Read review

Compare cheapest investment platforms by account charges

If you plan to buy and hold your investments over the long term, account charges may limit your success. As the value of your account begins to grow, it’s likely that account charges will increase too - eating into your returns. 

Most online stockbrokers charge between 0.25% and 1% of your portfolio value. These charges are also known as platform fees, management charges and administration fees. They are usually charged monthly or quarterly. 

The cheapest online stockbrokers charge between £0 and £10 per month.

By finding a broker with low fees, all else being equal, your investment value will grow quicker. Who wouldn’t want that? 

The UK stockbroker with the cheapest account fee is eToro, which does not charge a periodic account fee. Other charges may apply therefore be sure to familiarise yourself with all fees and charges.

Monthly account fees


(Based on £5,000 share portfolio)

Hargreaves Lansdown review

£0

*No charge for shares, ETFs


Read review
AJ Bell review

£1.04

*0.25% custody charge


Read review
Fidelity

£1.46

*0.35% service fee


Read review
Nutmeg review

£1.87*

*0.45% Nutmeg fee


Read review
Wealthify review

£2.50

*0.6% Management fee


Read review
ii Review

£9.99

*Flat monthly fee


Read review

Check the small print


The fee T&Cs of stockbrokers do vary therefore always read the full fees & charges page before you invest.


Monthly account fees


(Based on £100k portfolio of £30k shares and £70k funds where available)

AJ Bell review

£18.08

*0.25% custody charge


Read review
ii Review

£19.99

Super Investor monthly charge


Read review
Hargreaves Lansdown review

£26.25

0.45% funds charge


Read review
Fidelity

£29.16

*0.35% service fee


Read review
Nutmeg review

£37.50*

*0.45% Nutmeg fee


Read review
Wealthify review

£50.00

*0.6% Management fee


Read review

Double check


The fee T&Cs of stockbrokers do vary therefore always read the full fees & charges page before you invest.


Largest UK Stockbrokers Chart

Our stockbroker award winners 2022

The recipients of Financial Expert's accolades for this year

Category winners

Our pick for 2022


Etoro review

Zero-commission stocks from the pioneer of social trading.


Read review

Runner-up


Hargreaves Lansdown review

A premium service by the UK's largest investment platform


Read review

Best for funds


ii Review

Fixed-fee accounts with oodles of investment choices


Read review

All London Stock Exchange brokers

Here's our massively comprehensive list of every member broker of the London Stock Exchange.

A member broker is an institution that can directly place trades on the exchange. All other brokers must route trades through these brokers to trade on the LSE.

All stock brokers

Our pick for 2022


Etoro review

Zero-commission stocks from the pioneer of social trading.


Read review

Runner-up


Hargreaves Lansdown review

A premium service by the UK's largest investment platform


Read review

Best for funds


ii Review

Fixed-fee accounts with oodles of investment choices


Read review
Arbuthnot Latham

Since 1833, Arbuthnot has provided financial services. Winner of CityAM Bank of the Year Award (2019)


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Arnold Stansby

Full service stockbroker with a discretionary investment portfolio service


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Barratt & Cooke

Norfolk-based broker bringing a local touch to clients in the South-East of England.


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Blankstone Sington

Bespoke portfolios and an Inheritance tax portfolio service are among the offerings of Blankstone Sington.


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Brewin Dolphin

Operating from over 30 network offices, Brewin Dolphin is a public company in its own right. 


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Capital International Group

A platform for financial advisers and wealth managers to manage client assets. Founded in 1996.


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Cardale

Independent stockbroker based in Harrogate. Cardale has kept its back-office function completely in house.


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Cave&Sons

As much a financial adviser as they are a stockbroker. This multi-disciplinary team is based in Northampton.


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Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley was one of the first 'discount brokers' to bring investing into the low-cost era.


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Credo

Credo engages directly with wealth management clients, as well as offering intermediary services to other financial advisers.


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Dowgate

Dowgate serves private clients as well as corporate broking services. It fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in staff.


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EFG

Swiss banking group providing investment services to retail investors, alongside fully-fledged private banking.


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EQ

Equiniti provide transaction and custodial support to other financial services businesses. Retail trading is offered via Shareview.


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F&T

Farley & Thompson provide dealing & advisory, nominee, and discretionary services.


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Fineco

Italian online broker with huge growth ambitions in the UK and a popular trading platform.


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First Equity

First Equity offers services to both institutional and private clients.


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Fiske plc

Founded in 1973 by Clive Fiske Harrison. Clients use an online portal to view investment insights.


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GHC Capital Markets

GHC group offers financial planning services, including IHT planning and trusts.


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Halifax

Halifax Bank's execution-only offering includes trading in shares, funds and bonds.


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Hedley

Founded in 1992, Hedley & Co are a leading Independent Stockbroker and Wealth Manager in the North West.


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Hubwise

A tech firm operating the Hubwise investment platform; a multi-wrapper transaction processing engine.


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iDealing

iDealing offers direct access to many exchanges and provides an in-house CFD service.


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iDealing

IG Markets, run by FTSE 250 constituent IG Group offers a vast array of trading products for serious traders.


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Interactive Brokers

An international group with $9n in capital. IB provide simple and complex securities to retail investors.


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Investec

Investec is a FTSE 250 listed business that provides wealth management services.


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JMFinn & Co

JM Finn & Co oversees 18,500 client accounts. Some clients have trusted the firm for several generations.


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James Brearley

James Brearley has been providing investment management and share dealing for 100+ years.


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James Sharp

The history of James Sharp & Co began in Bury in 1885, and has been run as a tight-knit team ever since.


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Jarvis

Jarvis offers stockbroking services to their own clients, plus the clients of other financial institutions.


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Killik

Killik & Co is an award-winning investment and wealth management company.


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Oberon

Hanson Investment Management (part of Oberon) grew out of a family office for the Janson family.


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Pilling & Co

The Pilling Ideal Portfolios (PIPs) offer clients a bespoke portfolio made up of unit trust, OEICs and investment trusts.


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Quilter Cheviot

Portfolio service, ethical & sustainable investments, offshore investments.


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Ramsey Crookall

Ramsey Crookall offers, among other services, a portfolio model service called Shearwater.


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Ravenscroft

The tagline of Ravenscroft is 'Investments for everyone'. They manage £7.75bn of assets.


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Raymond James

Part of US firm, with £13.6bn of assets under management, Raymond James came to the UK in 2001.


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Rowan Dartington

Providing advice services to private clients and those of other wealth management firms, such as St. James's Place.


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7iM

From their offices in London, Edinburgh and Jersey, more than 400 7IM employees manage over £17 billion.


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Smith & Williamson

Smith & Williamson is a top-10 accountancy firm. As such, they provide a suite of services.


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Thomas Grant

Thomas Grant & Company offer share dealing & ISAs Thomas Grant also offer derivatives to professional investors only.


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Bestinvest Tilney

Retail investor brokerage platform including ISAs. Tilney merged with Smith & Williamson in 2020.


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Walker Crips

Offering several structured products, which it makes available through intermediaries.


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Best stockbrokers (bank & building societies)

Banks have traditionally captured much of the brokerage market, by offering their services to existing users of their current account and mortgage products.

However, these providers don't tend to offer the most competitive service because they don't need to compete.

Banks have an existing base of captive clients to who they can sell their services, therefore a bank's brokerage service won't live or die on its ability to attract brand new customers with a compelling offering. That's why you won't usually see banking stockbrokers at the very top of league tables as a general rule. 

Due to their higher trading fees, and moderate account fees. The stockbrokers below have not successfully placed in our stockbroker awards this year. 

Banks & building societies

Bank of Scotland

Part of RBS Group, Bank of Scotland offers iervices to investors from all over the UK.


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Barclays

International banking group offers a popular service called Barclays Smart Investor


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Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal allows UK retail investors to open stocks & shares ISAs


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Coutts

The UK's largest private bank offers existing members a suite of investing tools


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Halifax

Part of Natwest Group, Halifax is an ex-Building Society offering share dealing.


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HSBC

The largest global bank with Headquarters in the UK. Offers stocks & shares ISA.


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Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Banking Group is one of the largest 20 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.


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Nationwide

Nationwide Building Society regularly tops reviews for customer service to its banking clients.


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Natwest

Natwest is 56% owned by the UK government. It has the 3rd largest number of UK branches.


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RBS

Part of the Natwest Group, the largest banking brand in Scotland.


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Santander

Scottish Friendly offers 4 types of ISAs including an ethical ISA.


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Scottish Friendly

Since 1833, Arbuthnot has provided financial services. Winner of CityAM Bank of the Year Award (2019)


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Shepherds Friendly

The Shepherds Friendly Stocks & Shares ISA invests your savings in a with-profits fund


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Skipton

Skipton Building Society offers a free consultation with their financial planning team


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Best UK stockbrokers (life assurers)

Life insurance & pension companies have a strong position in the investment market because they hold a massive share of assets and already have the trust of millions of Brits looking for a long-term financial partner.

Most of the largest insurers also offer brokerage accounts and their own funds in many cases. They're experts in offering tax-sheltered ways to invest in the stock market or tap into stock market-linked returns to savers.

They appeal to older investors who value their financial stability. It's their brand name (rather than rock-bottom fees) that brings in new business. 

None of the online trading accounts below have picked up any wins in our stockbroker awards this year.

Life assurers

Aviva Investors

Multinational insurance company with 18m customers, formerly known as the Norwich Union


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Legal & General

One of European's largest asset managers (£1.2 trillion assets under management). Offers SIPP accounts only


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Aegon

Dutch insurance & pension provider serving UK clients for 190 years. Offers a stocks & shares ISA with Retiready 


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Prudential

Known affectionately as 'The Pru' by British investors. The insurer was formed in 1848 and acquired by M&G plc.


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Stockbrokers (asset managers)

The largest fund managers and asset managers will occasionally take the step of moving into the stockbroker business. Often this begins with the firm allowing clients to invest directly in their own funds and products, but over time, their offering can evolve into full-market access.

We named Fidelity International above in our shortlist of the top brokers in 2022.

Asset managers

abrdn

Formerly Standard Life Aberdeen; a merger of two household-name financial institutions


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Fidelity

The international division of fund manager Fidelity provides access to funds from Fidelity and other asset managers


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Vanguard

The US mutual which brought index funds to the world. Vanguard Investor is limited to Vanguard products only.


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Best Online Trading Platforms

Not all stockbrokers are registered to deal directly on the London Stock Exchange or happen to be a bank, asset manager or life insurance company. 

Many firms are specialists - they have been built from the ground up to serve UK retail investors with simple, affordable and jargon-free investment services.

Here we list the specialist share dealing services that exist to provide execution-only trading to UK investors. 

These firms are often smaller than many of their institutional rivals, but they could be the best online broker for trading with their simpler user interface, responsive customer service and cheaper trading options than their larger counterparts.

Share dealing services

Capital.com

This UK-centric website focuses primarily on CFDs but also offers real stock trading.


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Close Brothers

Wealth management & financial planning group offering a stand-alone investment account


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Degiro

One of European's leading trading platforms, boasting 2 million clients (mainly outside UK)


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Evestor

Investment ISA on an app with portfolio management services included for a simple fee.


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IWEB

Simple share dealing service with £5 trading fees, owned by Lloyds banking group.


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M&G

M&G Plc owns Prudential and offers stockbroking solutions through its own M&G Investments brand


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Redmayne Bentley

Leeds-based full-service stockbroker founded in 1875 that stills allows you to talk to a real stockbroker


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Saxobank

Danish investment bank and stock brokerage, now offering low-commission stock trading


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Strawberry Invest

Low-cost online share dealing service designed to be straightforward for clients to use


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Strawberry Invest

Fully-managed investment portfolios run by an extensive team of professionals.


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Virgin Money

Stocks & Shares ISAs with pre-designed 'funds of funds' to make stock selection a thing of the past


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Wesleyan

Sprawling financial services mutual which first opened its doors in 1841


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Willis Owen

Online share dealing from a 5/5 Defacto rated provider. Invest from £25


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X-O.co.uk

No-nonsense share dealing for £5.95 per trade, but doesn't support overseas shares


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Best brokers for investment apps

Trading shares online is no longer a five-step process involving multiple passwords and pieces of paper. Online trading is now possible with one or two steps, and nowhere is this more evident than the latest UK investment apps.

Good investment apps are clutter-free and provide a quick way to browse the markets and quickly snap up or dump shares in an instant. The best investment apps can do all this plus they provide all the market data, price history and analyst insight you’d expect from a full online trading platform. 

We named eToro as the best investment app for 2022. It’s our favourite trading app due to its unique social features, low fees, and a large range of investment options.

Investing apps

Our pick for 2022


Etoro review

Zero-commission stocks from the pioneer of social trading.


Read review
Freetrade

Limited investing app with free trading in UK & US shares


Read review
Trading212

One of the UK's most popular trading apps - currently closed to new users. We recommend eToro as an alternative.


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Orca

Highly-rated investing app with commission-free trading of US and other stocks


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Stake

Trade over 6,000 different stocks & shares with a single app with no commission fees


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Moneybox

Moneybox is more than just an investment app, it's a digital personal finance space


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Chip

Chip uses innovative technology to place the power of compound returns in your hand


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Plum

While you eat, drink, work and sleep, Plum's clever system will automatically help you invest


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Revolut

One of the UK's brightest fintech start-ups, Revolut is taking on the banks and stockbrokers


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Best stockbrokers for day trading

Online trading platforms that cater to traders

Day trading is a demanding hobby or profession. Day traders, therefore, demand the most from their online trading platform. 

The best day trading platforms charge low trading commissions and provide free access to detailed pricing data. Day traders need brokers they can count on for excellent execution policies and reliability.

That’s why we’ve focused on zero-commission investment platforms in our list of the top stockbrokers for day traders.

Day trading brokers

Our pick for 2022


Etoro review

Zero-commission stocks from the pioneer of social trading.


Read review

Freetrade

Limited investing app with free trading in UK & US shares


Read review
Trading212

One of the UK's most popular trading apps - currently closed to new users. We recommend eToro as an alternative.


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Best robo-advisers (managed portfolio services)

Investing doesn’t have to be difficult. Robo-advisers are a stockbroker that takes care of most of the investment decision-making process for you. Also known as portfolio management services, robo-advisers will steer you into a range of ready-made portfolios that match your risk appetite. 

These services charge a higher management fee, but their clients are happy to pay a small premium in return for an excellent service. They enjoy the instant diversification on offer and the sheer convenience of using model portfolios that have been carefully designed by portfolio managers.

Portfolio Services

Nutmeg review

The UK's largest hands-off portfolio management service


Read review
Wealthify review

Portfolio management solution with ethical options


Read review
Moneyfarm

Grow your wealth with top-performing portfolios, a dedicated consultant and a smart app


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Plum

While you eat, drink, work and sleep, Plum's clever system will automatically help you invest


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The ultimate guide to picking a stockbroker

In this guide:

1. Types of broker

2. Fees & charges

3. Investing styles

4. Platforms v apps

5. Security & regulation

6. Broker reputations

The best stockbrokers
We earn commission for referring new customers. We give equal prominence to stockbrokers who don't pay to be featured. Commission doesn't impact scoring or the order of providers. Risk warning: all trading carries a risk of loss. Fees were correct at the time of publishing, however these can change. See our disclaimer.

1. Types of broker

Full-service stockbroker

A full-service stockbroker is the traditional shape and form of the stockbroker. ‘Full’ service entails a hands-on approach with personal attention from staff. This could involve hearing your stockbroker’s views on the best companies to invest in, or receiving independent financial advice from an in-house financial planner. 

Quality analyst research & financial advice is unavoidably expensive. Full-service stockbrokers employ far more operational staff than a faceless online competitor.

These costs are recovered via higher transaction fees, or a higher level of portfolio churn (which results in more transaction fees). Alternatively, some stockbrokers wrap these costs into the standalone account/management fee charged on assets.

Full-service stockbrokers cater to high net-worth individuals who are time poor or have no inclination to actively manage their own investments. With excellent passive and lazy portfolio options now available to the average retail investor, it’s up for debate as to whether this expensive approach produces a better outcome for clients after fees are taken into account. 

Discount or ‘execution-only’ broker

Discount brokers, also known as execution-only brokers offer a simple trading service for a low price. A discount broker will execute trades on your instruction and hold your investments within an account but offer you no advice on what to buy. 

The numbers show that this is all most retail investors want or need. 

The vast majority of UK retail investors use execution-only brokers. All of the large UK stockbrokers featured in our shortlist above fall within this category. 

Full-service stockbrokers have become niche boutiques that cater to the slice of the population who have large, seven-figure portfolios which can absorb the higher costs of their service. 

Discount stockbrokers appeared on the scene in the 1990s. Two factors enabled their creation: the ‘Big Bang’ deregulation of stock markets in the late 80’s, and the rise of the web in the 90’s. These two developments allowed trades to be placed automatically without the need for a human ‘stockbroker’. This removed a huge proportion of the cost of trading.

Share dealing service

A share dealing service is an execution-only broker that specialises in trading shares.

A pure share dealing service may not support other investment types, such as Open-Ended Investment Companies or Unit Trusts, collectively known as ‘funds’.

This isn’t as restrictive as you might think. That’s because of the explosion in listed collective investments such as investment trusts, real estate investment trusts, and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). As these are publicly-traded companies on a stock exchange, their shares can be traded like the shares of any other company.

These funds can invest in virtually any asset class, therefore an investor can use investment trusts and ETFs to build a diversified portfolio. 

Fund supermarket

A fund supermarket is an execution-only broker that specialises in a wide range of fund types, such as: 

  • Open-ended investment companies
  • Unit trusts
  • Close-ended investment companies such as investment trusts

A fund supermarket is an execution-only broker that specializes in funds. 

Fund supermarkets often expand their range of investments to include share dealing services, which blurs the line between a fund supermarket and an execution-only broker.

Investment platform

Investment platform refers to any online account that allows investors to hold an investment. This broad term includes stockbrokers, crowd-funding websites or accounts with specialist providers. 

Automated portfolio service

Automated portfolio services provide a ‘hands-off’ investment experience. 

Also known as ‘Robo-advisers’, a portfolio service will match your risk profile to one of their pre-designed investment portfolios. These could include cautious bond-heavy portfolios or aggressive portfolios with 100% equities. 

As an investor, all you need to do is create a standing order each month to put your investing on autopilot. 

Examples of automated portfolio services include Nutmeg, Wealthify, and Moneyfarm.

Online trading platform

An online trading platform is a broker which caters to regular, active investors, known as day traders or swing traders. Such traders open positions for minutes, hours or days at most. 

Online trading platforms offer detailed market data and customisable charting. These are demanded by traders who rely upon technical analysis of historical price movements. 

Online trading platforms may operate a tiered pricing structure, which sees the dealing commission per trade reduce the more trades are placed in a period.

CFD broker

CFD stands for ‘Contract for Difference’, which is a bet placed between trader and broker about the price direction of a share. 

If you enter into a long CFD, you will profit if the price rises above the starting price. If you go short, you will profit if the share price falls. 

The best UK CFD broker websites may appear very similar at first glance to a stockbroker, however, there are some important differences:

  • CFDs include high leverage, which means that the size of the trade is typically much larger than the cash used to initiate it. This can lead to high profits or losses relative to your stake. It’s entirely possible for your entire equity to be wiped out by a relatively small downward movement in a share price if excessive leverage is used. 
  • With a CFD, you are placing a side-bet with a third party rather than owning an underlying asset.
  • CFDs are generally not suitable for long-term investing, due to the fees included within the pricing which will erode returns.

CFD brokers are regulated under different rules and are not considered a ‘stockbrokers.’

2. Fees & charges

The charges encountered by investors can be grouped into five categories:

  • Dealing fees / trading commission
  • Account fees / custodian fees / management charges
  • Foreign exchange fees / exchange fees
  • Closure fees / transfer-out fees
  • Withdrawal fees / deposit fees

Not all stockbrokers charge for each of these services, so it's vital that you get well acquainted with the fees and charges disclosures of any stockbroker before you join. It's impossible for a comparison page such as this one to communicate all nuances within a straightforward table.

Forecast your trading frequency

The main source of income for traditional stockbrokers is trading.

Stockbrokers charge clients between £0 and £12.95 to execute a buy or sell order on your behalf. Fees are charged per trade so investing a pot of money into five companies will incur five fees.

Understanding how many trades you will place per month is crucial in understanding which stockbroker will save you the most money when doing a stockbroker comparison.

For the sake of diversification, you will want to invest in a minimum of 20 companies to avoid being too exposed to any individual business. You will quickly appreciate that trading fees can get quite expensive for active traders who invest in individual company shares.

When comparing stockbrokers, you will notice that some offer discounted rates to people who trade very frequently, for example 10+ trades per month.

Share dealing charges are often tiered. But don’t feel tempted to make trades solely to access better rates - you'll still end up paying more overall. These discounts are little more than a rebate on your large spend with the broker.

To qualify for the £8.95 discounted rate offered by Hargreaves Lansdown, you need to spend £89.50 per month – over £1,000 in trading fees per year. If this was saved and invested instead, £1,000 per year could grow to be worth £15,000 after ten years (growing at 5% per year.)

The only effective way to guarantee you reduce the cost of investing is by trading as little as possible across the year. This is one of the reasons why we encourage investors to build their basic investment portfolio using funds. Funds allow investors to own a variety of companies via a single trade, and better still – many stockbrokers process regular transactions for a tiny fee.

Get to grips with account fees

Beyond trading fees, stockbrokers also charge fees to your account each billing period. These can be labelled as account fees, platform fees or custodial fees. 

It's important to factor these fees into any comparisons, as they can be significant - particularly for small portfolios. 

These charges were introduced in the last few years. A change in UK regulations meant that stockbrokers could no longer collect commission payments from fund managers in exchange for referring investors to their funds.

Platform charges usually take two forms:

  1. Fixed platform fee or a capped charge – These are suited for large portfolios, as a fixed £ cost becomes quite tiny relative to the value of assets in a large portfolio. A an annual fee capped at £100 is very affordable for a £100,000 portfolio, for example.
  2. % based platform fee – These are really helpful for small investors. By charging only a percentage of your assets, such as 0.35%, the fees stay small, even for investment pots worth less than £2,000. 

Make the final cost comparison

To make a fair stockbroker comparison, calculate the ‘total annual cost’ of each provider by adding up the annual platform fee, plus the expected costs of your trades.

By using the ‘total annual cost’ benchmark, you may discover that the cheapest broker for you is neither the one with the lowest trading fees nor the provider with the lowest platform fee.

It's important to think ahead. Try calculating the platform fee using the best guess of your expected portfolio value in three years time. It can be quite costly to switch between providers at a later date, therefore you will want to choose an investment platform that fits your long term investment goals. It can take as little as £30,000 in an account for the fixed fee options to look more attractive. 

3. Investing styles

Your investing style will play a role in determining which broker is the perfect fit for you. That’s because the pricing structure and features of a broker will naturally complement some investing styles over others. 

What is an investing style? Your investing style could be dictated by the type of investments you prefer, your volume of trading or your outlook on the market. 

There are many different styles, with considerable overlap between them. After reflection, you may consider that you are a hybrid of multiple styles. Here are some examples: 

  • Individual company investing
  • Fund investing
  • Dividend investing
  • Growth investing
  • Active investing
  • Value investing
  • Day trading

Love funds and don’t intend to ever buy shares? Go for a broker which doesn’t charge you to buy funds. 

Want to build an individual portfolio of dividend-paying shares? Pick a stockbroker with low share dealing fees and a cheap dividend reinvestment service. 

Small pot? Avoid fixed-fee brokers and choose one with an account fee based on a % of your assets, so that the charge is relatively low. 

4. Brokerage websites v investing apps

You may hear some brokers referred to as ‘brokerage websites’ and some as ‘investing apps’. 

In truth, most stockbrokers sit somewhere between the two. Virtually all stockbrokers offer app functionality, or have a mobile-friendly website which works well on a mobile device. 

That being said, some stockbrokers are more focused on their browser-based website, and other brokers are decidedly built around their app. Some brokers are even app-only. 

Freetrade, Orca and Stake are ‘app-only’. If you visit their website, you’ll be directed to download their app, and everything happens on the apps, from registration to trade-execution. 

Modern commission-free brokers such as eToro have beautiful interfaces both on their app and online. 

The traditional, large stockbrokers such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell have a passable mobile experience, but trading is smoother on a laptop or PC. 

5. Security & regulation

As a private investor, you want to be sure that your money is safe with the broker you choose. 

No broker will ever be immune from failure, but for maximum peace of mind you should only open an account with a stockbroker regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It’s easy to check if a broker is authorised by the FCA; you can search for any firm on their register and look at what services they are ‘permitted’ to provide to retail investors.

Due to the tight regulation of UK stockbrokers, compliant brokers will ring-fence client assets from their own business funds. This means that in the event of things going wrong, your assets should be untouched and can be passed to another stockbroker to manage. However, ring fencing rules aren’t a cast-iron guarantee that you’ll always get your money back. 

In some scenarios, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) may be able to compensate you up to £85,000 for monies lost as the result of your stockbroker or investment provider failing. This is distinct from choosing the wrong company to invest in, and incurring a loss in the value of your equity portfolio. It’s best to double check with your broker or investment provider to ask whether the service/investment you are buying is covered by FSCS protection.

Read our comprehensive guide to spotting investment scams to help avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

6. Reputation

The reputation of a stockbroker is an important consideration when picking between a shortlist of your favourite names. All of the stockbrokers featured in our shortlist of 6 above have a solid reputation within the industry for treating their clients fairly. 

We do not recommend signing up with a stockbroker that is regulated outside of the UK. If you cannot find much information about a potential stockbroker online, this is also a red flag.

The best UK stockbrokers, such as eToro, Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell or Interactive Investor should cater for most retail investor styles and needs. You should seriously challenge yourself if you feel that you would be better off with a relatively untested foreign broker. Why take the risk?

Our investor legacy

We estimate that investors who used our stockbroker reviews and signed up to our top picks have collectively saved an estimated £54,000 in unnecessary fees & charges to date.

Remember, you need to sign-up through our on-page referral links to be sure you're getting the best rates available.

Why we believe this is the best comparison on the web

In this guide:

1. Whole-of-market

2. Fee comparisons

3. Impartiality

4. Transparency

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Whole-of-market approach

The rest: Most stockbroker comparison pages on the web only feature a small shortlist of 5 - 10 brokers. A notable mention goes to Monevator.com which includes 23 firms in their table at the time of writing. 

Financial Expert: This stockbroker comparison leads the market with over 49 stockbroking firms featured.

We began with the full list of member broker stockbrokers registered with the London Stock Exchange. Why settle for anything less than the full list of brokers that have access to trade directly on the UK's primary stock exchange?

For the sake of brevity and to provide an editorial view, we’ve limited our fee comparison tables to the largest and most popular brokers. However, we also happily include a reference and link to the website of every other member broker on this page to allow you to perform further research. 

Our objective is to provide the most comprehensive listing of UK stockbrokers, and that’s what we’ve achieved.

Helpful fee comparisons

The rest: A typical stockbroker review site will use a headline comparison of broker costs by comparing the share dealing fee.

Financial Expert: We compare on the basis of dealing fees and platform fees for realistic multi-asset portfolios.

This allows you to choose to use the comparison table which aligns closest to your circumstances and draw the most useful conclusion. 

A quick read of headline fees and charges will often lead to incorrect conclusions being drawn, because of the different fee structures and caps levied by each firm. 

By displaying the platform costs of a £5,000 and £100,000 portfolio, we reveal how the optimal broker could be different depending on your portfolio size. This is often overlooked by investors because these charges can be very difficult to calculate. 

Impartiality

The rest: Many broker review sites appear to rank their favourite brokers on the basis of which stockbroker pays them the highest commission fee. 

This is why you may often feel disorientated when landing on other websites. The brokers featured may be unfamiliar, unpopular with UK investors and may be regulated outside of the UK.

Financial Expert: We follow a strict editorial policy when ranking stockbrokers, and in particular our award of the 2022 top pick to eToro, our top funds pick to Hargreaves Lansdown and our best £100k+ portfolio pick to interactive investor. 

From our objective and factual fee comparisons, it’s easy to see why these brokers achieved our overall best pick rankings. 

They lead with low trading fees, account fees and have an excellent range of investments. They’re also already popular with UK retail investors. Each firm is also regulated in the UK by the FCA and each manages over £5bn of client assets.

Transparency

Financial Expert fully complies with the Advertising Standards Authority guidance on the disclosure of ads, which in this case take the form of affiliate relationships between Financial Expert Media Ltd and certain stockbrokers on this page. 

We include an explanation of our relationship on this comparison page, and this is repeated prominently in the sidebar across the website. 

The number of affiliate relationships (14 at the time of writing) actually strengthens our independence. That’s because we have an affiliate relationship with virtually every popular UK stockbroker. Therefore we have a little incentive in fact or appearance, to promote one broker over another. 

As a result, our broker reviews are balanced and honest. This is readily determinable from the fact that our comparison table features both the pros and cons of our shortlisted stockbroker. 

Ask yourself, how many stockbroker comparison websites transparently flag any drawbacks of their featured stockbrokers?

In addition, we give prominent coverage to many UK stockbrokers who have no affiliate relationship with us. Indeed the vast majority of brokers featured on this listing of the best stockbrokers pay us nothing.