Truth be told, the best stock broker for you will depend on what your investment goals are. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to enter the stock market, which is why we have carefully selected a range of brokers that can facilitate the needs of all investors.
Founded in 1974, IG is a publicly traded (LON: IGG) company that is regulated in an impressive six tier-1 jIG Group is a regulated online stock broker that is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. With IG you can trade and invest in 16,000+ international shares, and get ahead of the competition with longer trading hours. There are two ways to buy and sell stocks online with IG. You can either speculate on share prices using leveraged trading products, or invest in stocks directly via the brokers share dealing service. Whatever you want to trade and however you want to do it, IG are an industry leading stockbroker with a suite of products and services for investors of all experience levels.
- Trade shares on margin
- Access 16000+ markets
- Trade 70+ US stocks after hours
- Low fees and competitive spreads
- Fast execution speeds
- Award-winning trading app
- Feel secure with a trusted provider
- Around the clock customer support
With IC Markets, you can trade over 1600 large-cap Stocks CFDs across the ASX, NYSE and NASDAQ stock exchanges with superior execution and tight pricing exclusively on the IC Markets MetaTrader 5 platform. The MT5 platform offers advanced functionalities for both new and experienced traders who require world class execution and superior charting tools. IC Markets single stock CFD give traders the ability to trade the world’s most popular companies such as Apple, Facebook or BHP Billiton.
- 1600+ stocks
- ASX, NASDAQ, NYSE
- Ultra-fast execution
- Earn dividends
- Powerful MetaTrader 5 platform
- Excellent charting tools
- Instant account opening
- No funding fees
- Great for expert advisors
AvaTrade has more than 1000 different stocks on offer, including top companies like Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike and Tesla. You can trade Stocks CFDs in major corporations without any commission fees or restrictions associated with traditional equities trading. If you want to trade stocks with a regulated and award-winning broker, AvaTrade is a top choice. When you begin stock trading with AvaTrade you’ll receive everything you need to have a smooth and enjoyable trading experience. The broker offers a range of powerful trading platforms that allow you to trade in real-time from live charts, while setting a variety of orders, stops and limits to manage you risk and control your portfolio. You can also monitor and trade your stocks on the same screen as your forex, commodities and crypto trades.
- Globally renowned broker, with strong track record since 2006
- Access all major exchanges including NYSE, NASDAQ & FTSE
- Trade Stocks, Indices & Commodities from a single screen
- Live multilingual client support
- World-class educational tools and resources
- Multiple platforms: Desktop, Web and Mobile
- Multi award-winning broker, including winner of the Best Broker Award
Pepperstone clients can gain exposure to a wide range of AU, US, UK and German shares with razor sharp pricing, low commissions and deep liquidity. Benefit from pre-market open and after-hours pricing on major US shares to seize all trading opportunities. Trading share CFDs means you trade on direct underlying exchange prices with no additional mark-ups added to the bid/offer spread. Instead, you’ll pay a small commission per trade placed. It’s quick and easy to get started – even with a small deposit. You can apply in minutes with the brokers simple application process.
- After-market hours
- Hedge your portfolio
- Go long or short
- Trade the news headlines
- Exceptional conditions
- 600+ US Share CFDs from the NYSE and the NASDAQ
- 100 UK equities from the LSE
- Range of German Share CFDs
- Trade 200 Australian equities from the ASX
- Range of 100+ ETF CFDs from 35 countries
At XM, clients can trade a wide range of individual stocks with one single login to all of the excellent trading platforms provided. You get cost-effective and direct access to the global equity markets, where you can speculate on market uptrends and downtrends. Choose to go short or long according to market moves and trade with short term strategies or invest for the long-term. XM offer accounts with zero commission fees and spreads starting from just 0.0 pips.
- Over 1000 tradeable instruments
- 16 versatile trading platforms
- superior trade execution speeds
- Spreads from 0.0 pips
- Zero commission fees
- Free account funding
- Winner of numerous awards
Traditionally, Stocks are an investment in a company with a view to making a return on your investment should the company do well. Stocks (also known as equity) provide a way for ordinary people to invest in some of the most successful companies around the world. On the other hand, stocks can help companies to raise funds for expansion, products and other initiatives.
The individual units of stock are called shares. Stocks are primarily bought and sold on stock exchanges, through a stock broker. You can also buy a large section of the stock market — for example, a stake in all of the companies in the S&P 500 — through a mutual fund or index fund.
Stock prices change every day by market forces. This means that share prices change because of supply and demand. If more people want to buy a stock (demand) than sell it (supply), then the price moves up. Conversely, if more people wanted to sell a stock than buy it, there would be greater supply than demand, and the price would fall.
Trading stocks is about making frequent, short-term transactions with the goal of producing greater returns than you may expect to receive if you were instead buying and investing in stocks over a longer period of time. Whereas long-term investors may aim for a modest annual return each year, an active trader may be targeting similar gains every month. Traders can speculate on falling and rising prices of stocks, in order to try and make a profit by correctly anticipating the price direction. Short term trading can range from minutes, days, weeks to months.
Investing in Stocks
The majority of investors would look to buy stocks and hold them for the long term, without frequent buying or selling. They would do so with a view to making a profit from the capital appreciation, which occurs when a stock rises in price. They may also benefit from dividend payments, which come when the company distributes some of its earnings to stockholders. Some investors can even have voting shares that give the stockholder the right to vote on matters of corporate policymaking. Investors are used to seeing stocks fluctuate over time, and are usually more concerned about their overall portfolio increasing in value over the long term.
There are two main types of stockbrokers. You have online stockbrokers where you can buy and sell stocks yourself. Then you have traditional stockbrokers who will buy and sell stocks on behalf of their clients. If you want to handle your own investments and buy and sell stocks on your own accord, then you will be looking to trade or invest with an online stockbroker. All you need to do is open an account with a broker and make a deposit to start investing in the stock market. The broker will charge a small fee for providing its products and services, such as trading platforms and access to trade on the stock exchanges.
Choosing A Stock Broker
Due to the significant number of online stockbrokerage firms located all over the world, it can be a daunting task to filter the good from the bad. You will find brokers that are well regulated and have very low fees which can help save in costs. On the other hand, there are unregulated brokers that do not have favourable trading conditions which can have a significant impact on performance. We have earmarked what we personally deem to be some of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best stock brokers.
Financial regulatory bodies supervise brokers and demand specific requirements from them to operate in the market. These requirements are to control the financial system’s functioning and protect the retail investor’s resources. In the case of a regulated stock broker, it is against the law for a broker to use a client’s investment for any other purpose other than investing in the client-approved trade. Regulation is one of the first things we look at and expect from a reputable broker.
It would be pretty pointless opening an account with a stock broker to trade Nike stock if they didn’t offer it. Therefore, you might want to take a note of the companies that you have an interest in, to ensure that the broker in question has the option to invest in stocks of said companies. In saying that, you will find that the best stock brokers have thousands of stock instruments from companies all over the globe to choose from. Keep an eye out to see if they offer indices, which is basically a group of stocks from a particular sector that allows you to spread your investment in one trade.
If you are interested in other instruments, we have the following guides:
If you plan on actively trading stocks, you are going to need a user-friendly platform that can be fully customised to your preferences. It would be quite frustrating if placing and managing trades was a struggle each and every time. If you want to conduct complex stock market analysis, then you may need specialised technical indicators. For that reason, it can be a good idea to open a demo trading account with a broker to begin with so that you can try out their stock platforms to see if they are suitable.
Whilst some brokers have proprietary platforms, there are popular platforms such as MetaTrader, that are supplied by many brokers. If you learn how to use one of the more common platforms, this leaves the door open to join other brokers in the future that offer the same platforms. You will probably want to ensure the platform is available on your chosen device, whether it be a desktop platform or mobile trading app.
If you are looking for an investment platform, please feel free to check out these free guides:
Stock Broker Fees
There is no getting around it, stock brokers need to make money to stay in business. Since a broker is an intermediary, they may take a commission for conducting transactions and charge a spread fee. The bid–ask spread is the difference between the prices quoted for an immediate sale and an immediate purchase for stocks. Some brokers will charge no commission but instead mark-up the spread. Other brokers will give you raw spreads starting from 0 but will charge a commission instead.
The type of fee structure you opt for may depend on your trading style. For instance, those who are scalping stocks on a daily basis for small price movements may need the lowest spreads possible. Investors who are looking to hold trades for a long time may not be so concerned about tight spreads.
In addition to the typical brokerage fees, check to see if there are any funding fees, overnight fees, inactivity fees or fees for using specialised platforms and trading tools. Some times a broker can promote zero commission fees but make-up for this with all sorts of hidden fees you wouldn’t expect until it’s too late.
There are traders who can make do with basic charting packages and the majority of investing platforms should have more than enough tools to meet the needs of even the most demanding traders. That being said, if there is a particular trading tool that you would like to use, make sure it is available through the broker you are considering. Popular tools include Autochartist and Trading Central. Both can provide powerful and automated market analysis on your behalf.
Not everyone has the knowledge and experience to jump right in at the deep end and trade stocks without some guidance. That’s why we believe it is imperative for a broker to provide clients with ample educational materials so that they can improve their trading knowledge and skills. This can include stock market guides, platform tutorials and webinars. In addition, market analysis and research from professionals can also be beneficial and helps to encourage informed decision making.
If you are a beginner and would like to practice trading stocks online, you can open a demo account that comes preloaded with virtual funds. This will enable you to start using the brokers platforms to buy and sell stocks without the risk. If and when you have built up some confidence and consistency, you may then consider switching over to a real account.
Deposit and Withdrawal Methods
Nobody really wants to wait around for ages whilst funds clear and chase up a broker to see where their funds are. That’s why it is important to check before hand what payment options are provided by the broker and the time taken for them to process. You should always read the small print to make sure there aren’t any restrictions in place that could cause an unnecessary delay. Make sure you are also aware of all the costs involved with making deposits or withdrawals.
We find that nearly all brokers support bank wire transfer and card payments, but we actually prefer those brokers who also accept e-wallets which can give added convenience. Furthermore, Cryptocurrency payments are a bonus and may be a necessity for some.
Some brokers have a minimum deposit requirement in order to start trading stocks with them. If you have a limited budget, you should check to make sure that it would meet any minimum threshold. Of course, it goes without saying, we should never risk more than we can afford to lose.
No matter how much experience you have in the stock market, chances are that you will need to speak with broker support sooner rather than later. For that reason, it is important that they are readily available to answer your questions in a prompt and polite manner. Check to see how customer service can be reached and if that is suitable for you. Whilst email and phone contact are the minimum we would expect, live chat can be great for speaking to someone right away.
You might also want to consider where the broker has its offices located as this could impact response times. If you require support in a specific language, check to see if there is a multi-lingual support team that can help. Generally, we would try and contact broker support before opening an account just to get an idea of how well they respond.
We believe it is important to shop around for a stock broker as they can have a significant impact on performance. There is not a one size fits all solution as the best stock brokers can vary depending on the needs of each individual trader or investor. That being said, there are some key features to look out for including regulations, financial instruments, platforms, tools, resources, funding and support. Whichever direction you decide to go in, the choice is ultimately what works for you.