Whether you are looking to purchase shares, trade forex, or even just access market data, IG offers a wide array of trading and investment services to over 200,000 clients across five continents. According to their mission statement the company “empowers informed, decisive, adventurous people to access opportunities in financial markets” and caters to both new and experienced investors.
In our IG trading review for UK traders, we’ll cover everything the IG trading platform offers to United Kingdom investors. From account types to fees and everything in between, we aim to help you find out if the IG trading platform is right for you.
In This Guide
Founded in 1974 as “the world’s largest spread betting firm,” IG has since expanded its product catalogue to become a global leader in online trading. To this day it holds the title of the world’s largest spread betting and CFD provider, but it also offers a wide range of other investment options like forex, share trading, cryptocurrency, and more. The platform provides access to domestic and international markets online and by phone, making it easy to stay on top of your investments.
The company has a longstanding reputation and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, so it is trusted by thousands of investors in the UK and beyond. Plus, it has low rates, plenty of trading tools, and a comprehensive suite of educational resources that can help you hone your investment strategies.
IG’s trading platforms process over 7.7 million trades per month with access to over 17,000 global financial assets.
Alongside its web-based trading platform and mobile apps, IG also offers its own proprietary execution systems and supports third-party trading through the MT4 trading platform and ProRealTime.
The IG web trading platform is a free browser-based platform that is available to all users interested in trading CFDs. Through this platform, you can manage your account, deposit and withdraw funds, and access browser-based research tools like news, signals, and the economic calendar.
If you want to stay on top of your investments at all times, our IG trading review found it offers two mobile trading platforms that allow you to trade and access many of the same tools as the web platform. There are two separate mobile trading apps: one optimized for Android and one optimized for iOS.
If you don’t have an Android or iOS, IG also offers a progressive web app that provides access to a mobile trading platform from any device. It doesn’t require any downloads or visits to third-party app stores, as it is entirely browser-based.
IG’s proprietary L2 Dealer platform provides direct market access and the option to trade from charts. It also allows users to trade forex and share CFDs and comes packed with useful tools like watchlists, price alerts, news, and more. It is a free, downloadable platform that is suited for advanced share traders, but you’ll need a minimum balance of at least $2,000.
IG also supports MetaTrader 4 (MT4), a popular third-party platform that allows investors to trade forex, CFDs, major metals, and other assets. It also provides access to advanced analysis. automated trading tools, and 18 other add-ons that can enhance your trading experience. It is a free, downloadable desktop application that even offers mobile accessibility.
ProRealTime is a downloadable desktop application that is integrated with the IG trading platform, allowing for more advanced technical analysis, automated trading, and customisation. It’s free for the first month and £30/month afterwards, unless you trade CFDs at least four times per month.
There are a number of ways to trade on IG, but in order to get started, you’ll first need to determine which type of IG trading account you want to open. There are three main categories: share dealing, spread betting, and CFD trading.
If you prefer to purchase investments for the sake of owning them, IG share dealing provides access to over 16,000 markets covering a wide variety of assets.
If you’re looking to invest in UK companies, the IG trading platform offers all 100 shares listed on the FTSE100. It also offers a number of shares from the FTSE250 and FTSE350, along with an assortment of Alternative Investment Market (AIM) stocks, which are UK companies that are too small to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
If you’re looking for a global stock trading platform, IG offers access to major exchanges around the world. This includes the NYSE and NASDAQ in the US, which are home to multinational companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. Users can also purchase shares from other exchanges in countries like Australia, South Africa, Germany, and more.
In addition to stocks from major exchanges, the IG trading platform also allows users to trade penny stocks, which are public companies that don’t have a big enough market valuation to trade on larger exchanges.
Beyond individual shares, the IG trading platform also offers a variety of funds that could help you diversify your portfolio.
The IG trading platform is home to thousands of exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) – investment funds made up of multiple assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities. This allows users to invest in funds that track growth stocks, government securities, and more.
IGs index funds offer another way to access international stock markets. These funds consist of shares of tens, if not hundreds of companies listed on major stock exchanges such as:
Our IG trading review found the broker also offers investment trusts, which are similar to index funds and ETFs but instead of tracking markets and indices automatically, they are managed manually in an effort to outperform them. When you invest in an investment trust, the manager of the trust will determine which assets to buy and when, but often includes similar assets like stocks, bonds, and commodities.
If you prefer to speculate on price changes instead of purchasing and selling assets, IG CFD trading might be right for you. It provides access to over 17,000 markets around the world and requires a much smaller initial investment due to margin.
IG allows you to trade thousands of stock CFDs from major exchanges around the world, including a number of emerging markets that aren’t available through the main IG share dealing platform.
IG offers dozens of pairs that cover both minor and major markets along with less frequently traded exotic currencies. Its spreads are very competitive compared to other online brokers, which makes it one of the most popular forex trading platforms in 2022.
While IG is an old-school trading platform that is mainly focused on CFDs, it has recently entered the cryptocurrency space in the form of CFDs. While you won’t own the underlying assets, you’ll be able to speculate on price changes of a number of different cryptocurrencies such as:
Beyond individual currencies, the IG cryptocurrency department also allows you to trade a digital currency index made up of 10 of the largest cryptocurrencies (based on market capitalization.)
For those interested in hedging against inflation, our IG trading platform review found it offers commodity CFDs such as precious and hard metals, energies, and agricultural products. This includes, but is not limited to:
If the above options aren’t what you’re looking for, IG also supports a variety of other CFD trading markets, including:
IG’s specialty is spread betting, so if you’re looking for online spread betting facilities in the UK, you’ve come to the right place. The platform gives you access to over 17,000 financial markets that can all be traded on margin. These investments are exempt from capital gains taxes and stamp duty, allowing you to retain more of your earnings.
Finally, if you’re looking for a fully-managed way to invest your money, you’ll be pleased to hear about IG Smart Portfolios. These portfolios are built by BlackRock and managed automatically. After signing up, the platform will create a pre-made portfolio based on your investment style, risk, and goals. The assets contained within the portfolio include a mix of commodities, stocks, bonds, and more.
Available exclusively to UK residents, the IG share dealing account provides access to over 16,000 global shares and ETFs. Share dealing is a type of investing that involves the purchase and/or sale of shares that can be held or sold depending on the investor’s preference and strategy. By using the share dealing account to purchase the actual shares, investors can receive dividend payments and gain shareholder rights. There are three sub-accounts to choose from:
IG’s spread betting platform allows you to invest in shares, indices, commodities, and other markets without actually purchasing and owning the underlying assets. Rather than buying assets and selling them for a profit, IG’s spread betting account allows you to invest in over 17,000 markets by speculating on changes in price.
In order to open a position, you’ll pay a deposit for a percentage of the market price of the underlying asset, also known as a margin. If you think the price of the asset will go up, you can purchase a spread bet, but if you think the price will go down, you can sell a spread bet. You’ll then choose your bet size, which is the amount of money you’ll gain or lose for each unit of price movement. If the market moves in the direction you predicted, you’ll make a profit. If the market moves in the opposite direction, you’ll lose money.
Our IG trading review found that spread betting requires a much smaller initial investment than traditional buy-and-hold investing, and offers a number of benefits like exemption from capital gains tax since you don’t actually take ownership of any assets.
CFD or contracts for difference are IG’s bread and butter. Similar to spread betting, the IG CFD trading account allows you to invest in over 17,000 markets without actually purchasing or owning any of the underlying assets. Instead, you’ll speculate on changes in price by agreeing to exchange the difference in the price of the asset from the point when the contract is opened and when it is closed.
In order to open a position, you’ll be required to make a deposit for a fraction of the market price of the asset, also called a margin. If you expect the price of the asset to rise, you would buy a CFD, but if you expect the price of the asset to fall, you would sell a CFD. If the price of the asset moves in the direction that you predicted, you would make a profit equivalent to the difference in price between the point you opened the contract and the point you closed the contract. However, if the price of the asset moves in the opposite direction, you would take a loss equivalent to the difference in price between opening and closing.
Our IG review for that IG trading fees vary depending on account type, asset class, trading volume, market, and other variables, so it can be difficult to figure out how much you can expect to pay. In order clarify the fee structure, we’ve broken this down into sections according to when the fees may occur.
Fortunately, IG’s non-trading fees are low compared to some other UK online brokers.
Our IG trading review found it also charges a quarterly custody fee that is reduced by any trading fees paid during the quarter.
IG has relatively high trading fees compared to other platforms, but only if you are making fewer than 3 trades each month. However, if you are making frequent trades, the share dealing fees are much lower.
If you plan to buy and/or sell shares in a currency other than your account currency, IG will apply a 0.5% premium on top of the available bid/offer exchange rates.
IG offers extremely competitive spreads across most markets, making it an appealing option for experienced investors. While spreads can and will fluctuate, here are some examples of minimum spreads for various markets:
IG also allows traders to use leverage when trading CFDs and spread betting. The leverage limits follow ESMA regulations, which are as follows:
If you are classed as a professional trader (which you will need to verify through documentation), IG offers leverage facilities of up to 1:200.
Our IG trading review found the broker doesn’t attach a spread to its share CFDs, but instead takes a small commission when you open and close the position. IGs fees for major share CFD markets can be found below:
IG Smart Portfolio Fees
For those looking to conduct more in-depth research and analysis before they trade, the IG trading platform offers a handful of resources that can provide deeper insights. This includes things like:
IG is designed for both new and experienced investors, and it offers a suite of educational resources catering to various skill levels. These resources can help new investors learn the ropes and practice trading before they invest their own money while providing support to experienced investors as they hone their investment strategies. Some of these educational resources include:
Our IG review found users get access to the trade analytics tool that is designed to help investors analyse trading data, track trades, and measure performance in order to minimise mistakes and maximize successes. It allows you to:
IG has been around for almost 50 years and has become a trusted name in global online trading. On top of its reputation, the company is licensed and regulated by various authorities around the world.
IG is headquartered in London but is licensed to operate in a number of other countries. IG Markets Limited (UK Company, no. 04008957) is licensed by:
While IG Index Limited (UK Company, no. 01190902) is licensed by:
In order to operate in so many markets around the world, IG is overseen by a long list of regulatory bodies:
Beyond licensing and regulation, IG takes the security of its clients very seriously. There are limits on deposits and withdrawals and it is not uncommon for the company to ask customers to verify their identity and source of income. Customers can also enable two-factor authentication on their accounts and brush up on their cybersecurity knowledge in IG’s help and support center.Your money is held in independent trust accounts at regulated banks, while assets are held by a custodian in segregated client asset accounts.
This means that your money and assets are never merged with IG’s money or assets and is never used for its business activities such as hedging or margin. Finally, IG is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which provides up to £85,000 in protection in the event that the company goes under.
IG trading hours are 24 hours a day between 11pm Sunday (9pm for forex) and 10pm Friday. Weekend markets are open between 8am Saturday and 10:40pm Sunday (8:40pm for Weekend FX). IG also allows traders to access over 70 US stocks when markets are closed through pre-market and after-hours trading. For markets like shares that do not trade 24 hours a day, our IG trading review found specific dealing hours can be found in the deal ticket “market info” tab after you log in.
IG is closed on Christmas, News Year’s Day, Good Friday, and other holidays celebrated in both the UK and the US. Additionally, there may be shorter opening hours on UK bank holidays or US public holidays.
The IG demo account is a way for both new and experienced investors to hone their abilities, test out new trading strategies, and get familiar with the financial markets available through the IG live trading platform. You’ll even be able to use tools such as alerts, price charts, and more. If you’re looking for an even more advanced way to practice trading, IG also offers an MT4 demo account that can help you develop a stronger understanding of the platform in a risk-free environment.
IG’s customer service is available 24 hours a day between 8am Saturday and 10pm Friday (GMT). Here’s how to get in touch:
Beyond phone and email support, there is also an IG community forum where IG clients can discuss strategy, tips, questions, and more.
The IG trading platform is trusted by thousands of UK investors for its variety of investment options and fairly low fees, but it is just one of the many platforms available. Before you get started, you might want to consider another major UK online trading platform like eToro.
Founded in 2009, eToro has quickly gained popularity over the past decade, amassing over 12 million users since its inception. Like IG, eToro offers share dealing, CFDs, spread betting and more, but eToro’s fees are generally low. The tables below show how fees, features, tools, and other factors compare between two of the popular UK online trading platforms.
While both IG and eToro offer copytrading, eToro specialises in it. The platform allows users to connect and mimic each others trades and even highlights popular investors, encouraging them to share their wisdom. eToro is the world’s leading social trading network and aims to make financial markets more friendly and accessible, a commitment that is also mirrored in their fee schedule; it offers 0% commission on stocks without any markup, ticketing fees, or stamp duty, and doesn’t even charge management fees, even when you copy other traders. This makes it a highly regard platform for new investors and those who are interested in trading stocks without worrying about expensive fees and surcharges.
Like IG, eToro also offers an education portal that can help investors improve their trading abilities and learn more about the markets before getting involved. With low fees, countless copytrading features, and investor resources, so far as of 2022 27 million users registered with eToro.
Our IG review revealed that this platform offers numerous account types and a massive product offering, meaning there are a number of ways you can invest with IG. From CFDs and spread bets to crypto and everything in between, the IG trading platform has options for all types of investors.
Its longstanding reputation and low- commission CFDs solidify its place as one of the most popular trading platforms in the UK, but it’s always important to compare your options.
eToro, like IG, is another popular UK online trading platform that allows investors to invest in and trade a wide selection of assets. Depending on which assets you are trading, eToros fees tend to be lower than IG’s, and its simple interface makes it suited to newer investors. This is especially true for users who are interested in stocks and cryptocurrencies.
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