Stockbroker excellence is our insightful series of punchy blog posts which will help you become a master at selecting the right UK stockbroker or stocks & shares ISA for you.
The inspiration for this blog post series is the simple fact that no single stockbroker is perfect for everyone. Naturally, we can highlight what we feel is the best UK stockbroker, but the needs of investors vary.
The best investment app for a first-time investor might fail to meet all of the advanced needs of a veteran trader. Likewise, the best forex broker is a very subjective crown to place upon the head of a single institution.
1. Trading commissions
Which stockbrokers charge the lowest trading commissions? Our stockbroker excellence guide to trading commissions explains how the trading fee might be the most important factor to one type of investor in particular.
Trading fees come in different shapes; flat fees, notional fees and percentage fees. They act like a ‘tax’ on the churn of investments in a share portfolio, making it more expensive to move in and out of positions.
Collective investments such as unit trusts and mutual funds can be accessed without trading fees, but only if you look in the right places. Many stockbrokers will charge you to enter a fund in the same way as buying a lot of shares, but if you’re savvy you can ensure that every pound of capital reaches the target investment fund.
2. Platform fees & other charges
Which stockbrokers charge the lowest platform fees? Our stockbroker excellence guide to account fees, admin fees and other charges will explain the myriad of costs that accumulate within a stockbroker account.
We’ll also put these charges into context – do they really matter? And should you use them as an important factor in choosing the best broker for you?
For example, are the conversion fees added to foreign currency conversion going to make a significant dent in your investment returns? Are exit fees even relevant if you plan to hold your investments for a long period? These are very smart questions to ask. We answer them in our stockbroker excellence guide to this topic.
3. Trade execution platforms
Which UK stockbrokers offer the slickest and most user-friendly trading experience? Our stockbroker excellence guide to trading platforms will compare the types of software or browser interfaces available to use when placing trades.
From well-known desktop trading applications to bespoke web apps, the number of different trading platforms is almost as large as the number of independent stockbrokers (see this full list of stockbrokers to get an idea).
But when it comes down to the financials – does trading platform matter? Is the ease and enjoyment you gain from using a trading tool worthwhile if the broker charges higher fees for example?
4. Investment range
Which stockbrokers offer the widest range of investment options to their clients? Our stockbroker excellence guide to investment range will group UK stockbrokers into several groups by what baskets of investments they offer customers.
This will help you carve up the marketplace and whittle down your options into a shortlist of stockbrokers which offer you the investments you want now, and potentially give the opportunity for more adventurous expansion later.
5. IPO accessibility
Which stockbrokers allow clients to directly participate in initial public offerings? Our stockbroker excellence guide to IPO accessibility will explain briefly how IPOs work and what features your stockbroker needs to offer to allow you to invest in a company as it lists onto the public markets for the first time.
IPOs are exciting moments in the history of any corporation. The anticipation surrounding popular listings, alongside the trading frenzy which sometimes follows can generate returns in excess of 30% in a day for those who are successfully allocated shares in an listing.
Conversely, unpopular IPOs can flop, with their shares falling further in value after they begin trading with other investors on the stock market. It’s a gamble, but one that many investors feel is worthwhile once in a while.
6. Minimum deposits
Which stockbrokers allow clients to open an account with the lowest deposit? Our stockbroker excellence guide to deposit limits will highlight the minimum deposit you need to open an account with a quality stockbroker in the UK. You might be surprised at how low the minimum requirement actually is.
Deposit limits are extremely relevant at the moment of opening an account – as you will prohibited from opening an account if you have insufficient cash to fund the accounts initially. However, after you begin to save more and more funds into the account, this factor fades into obscurity.
7. Regular investment schemes
Which stockbrokers offer reduced trading fees for regular investments? Our stockbroker excellence guide to regular investment schemes will explain the preferential rates that some stockbrokers offer their regular clients to encourage them to trade more frequently.
These regular investment schemes also provide an opportunity for infrequent traders to reinvest their dividends and take full advantage of the power of compound interest.
8. Trustpilot score
Which stockbrokers have the highest levels of customer service or the highest Trustpilot score? Our stockbroker excellence guide to Trustpilot scores will highlight which stockbrokers currently have the highest Trustpilot scores.
We’ll also offer some cautionary advice about relying too firmly on Trustpilot scores alone. In particular, we’ll explain why some brokers with lower scores probably deserve more attention from you than their star rating might suggest.
Many factors can influence the volume and positivity of customer reviews left on a review platform such as Trustpilot, and not all of these factors are directly relevant to your own stockbroker choice