Stockbroker Reviews

Tuesday, Feb 09 2016 by

Does anyone here know of a discussion board where people discuss and review their stockbrokers ? With sufficient critical mass, in terms of enough contributors so we get a good overview.
I use 3 brokers and shall review them here, in order of my preference.

1 Halifax (~15 years)
+ Good logical layout, which they rarely change. Logical layout for statements.
+ No major fee increases. Unfortunate increase to forex spread, offset by ISA fee decrease.
+ Can sell one stock and the platform IMMEDIATELY updates the available balance allows me to reinvest the proceeds in another stock.
Easily the best of my brokers.

UPDATE: 24-02-2017     Halifax and their iWEB subsidiary deserve a "Broker Stupidity Award", for after 18 years of good sense, they finally screwed up the portfolio statement format so that it cannot easily be downloaded to an Excel file.   What were they thinking of ?     Statement formats should have one stock per line in all statements.   They separated it onto 2 lines, so it is completely illogical and cannot easily be moved to a spreadsheet.   

2 TD Direct
+ Good range of intenational stocks
+ Reasonably logical layout
- Forex loading has been increased, which discourages me from making overseas trades.
- Some unnecessary fiddling around with the board layout

3 A J Bell (Youinvest)
This one was good, but is deteriorating.
- Unnecessary changes to layout, of both the website & statements. [For example, as we all know, every bank and stockbroker cash statement should have the date first, followed by the item, cash in, cash out and a balance. AJ Bell re-ordered these at random, so we cannot cut & paste onto the bottom of our spreadsheets.]
- Sometimes cannot logon
- Increased annual SIPP fees from £0 to £100 (after luring me in with a good deal).
- There is a delay of a few minutes between selling stock and being able to purchase something else with the money. Halifax manage it instantly, which is very good when I want to get back to my day job.

I haven't noticed much difference in the ability of the brokers to make trades or competitive pricing.

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55 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

rhomboid1 25th Feb '17 36 of 55

In reply to post #173102

Thank you for a very comprehensive answer, fwiw I'm a happy AJB customer and have been impressed with the quality of service especially with the dealing team who very often manage to work orders well within the spread on very illiquid stocks. The general service you experienced is hopefully atypical but I'm glad to hear that HL are as good as you'd hoped.

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jonesj 26th Feb '17 37 of 55

In reply to post #173105

I have no plans to move my SIPP from AJ Bell, but they have also been guilty of needless & irrational fiddling around with their website.
All bank & share dealing history statements have a logical standard layout, with firstly the date, description, then money in, money out & balance at the end. Possibly a couple of additional columns on share dealing sites.
The AJ Bell people changed all that around to something unique & illogical.
I complained to one of their minions & got fobbed off.
I then e-mailed several directors & they partially fixed the issue.

So when there is a significant obvious error of judgement, don't just accept it, but complain to the directors. Admittedly you might get more joy contacting a business run by the founder, than some offshoot of a megabank where no one has skin in the game.

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Aislabie 26th Feb '17 38 of 55

I am a happy customer of AJB

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dmjram 26th Feb '17 39 of 55

Does anyone have any experience of TD since the takeover by Interactive? If they can combine the best from both old services should be a good platform.

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Blissgull 26th Feb '17 40 of 55

I use TD Direct since they took over NatWest Stockbrokers. I like the platform and have no real issues with them.

They offer a good range of research tools. A fundamental stock selector in which you can filter easily with value/growth/momentum sections. They also offer free charting analysis tools with recommendations (which of course are described as not being advice or recommendations) showing various breakouts and chart patterns.

Useful stock reports on individual shares. I think it is effectively a free subscription to Morning Star tools for fundamentals and Recognia for technical analysis.

For active traders there is an advance trading package, £10 per month or free if you make more than 10 trades a month.

Overall they have the best range of free tools of any broker I have tried.

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Bushranger 26th Feb '17 41 of 55

In reply to post #173120

I use TD also. No complaints here. Though I have not used any other broker to compare, I do use the net for a lot and their website& mobile app is easy to navigate. As to your question there has been no change at all yet. TD stated it would be quite some time before anything would change. I would be happy with Interactives pricing so for me I just hope the transition is smooth and their website & dealing is as slick.

Perhaps someone from Interactive Investor could comment on how good they feel there service is?

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picker 8th May '17 42 of 55

How about Interactive Brokers?
Worldwide coverage of exchanges, fair pricing (US stocks min. fee 0,35 USD, max. 0,5% trade volume, EU stocks min. 1,25 EUR), stellar reporting features (standardized/ customizable), nice ordering soft for free (TWS)...

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fairdeal 29th Jul '17 43 of 55

I am newbie.
Interesting learning points in the thread.

I would like to know the opinion of experienced investors about brokers, providing / not providing "trailing stop loss" facility on their online account.
I just started wit AJB and they do not provide the facility.
Do you think this is a useful facility for investors to have. Should I move to another broker? I am otherwise happy with AJB.

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Effortless Cool 29th Jul '17 44 of 55

I have ISA, SIPP and dealing accounts with AJ Bell and have been very impressed with them. Their website is easy to use, I have found them to be administratively efficient and they have a very good mobile app too.

One faature I particularly value is the ability to link accounts, so that I can manage my own, my wife's, my mother's and my mother-in-law's portfolios all from my login.

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jonesj 30th Jul '17 45 of 55

In reply to post #203071

If you really want a stop loss feature, move to another broker.

If you run a stocks & shares ISA, if you haven't used any of this years ISA allowance yet, it's very easy to start a second ISA account. A non-sheltered account is even easier. I have 3 non-sheltered trading accounts, 2 ISA accounts (one of which has not had funds added for about 8 years) & a SIPP. Admittedly this is about 2 accounts more than optimum, but there historical reasons for this & there's nothing to be gained from a rationalization.

Hopefully the first overseas broker account will be open within the next month.

Any discussion about the merits of stop losses as a strategy is a different topic and belongs in it's own thread. You will get a much better response by starting a new thread if you intend to discuss this, just because of the thread title.

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isf7boa 21st Sep '17 46 of 55

I am using AJB for my ISA and HL for my SIPP.

In terms of AJB online service is pretty good, phone dealing and administration is middling (can be take a while to get to the right person or for them to action requests). Price execution is average (always just off mid point).
From my experience HL are a step up in terms of platform, service and price execution. Although they are a little pricier on charges.

For 2 recent trades I rang up both AJB and HL dealing desks to check on which would offer best price / work the order inside the quoted spread. On the first trade (a FTSE 250 stock) HL were quicker off the mark than AJB and on the second trade (an illiquid AIM small cap stock) HL were able to offer me a keener bid. The difference in price covered the higher dealing charge at HL.

So seriously thinking of moving my ISA across to HL. My only reservation is having both accounts with one broker.

Can anyone comment on their experience with alternative brokers ?
I am particularly interested in which platforms offer best execution price, even if that means using a telephone broker. Know Paul Scott has recommended this approach.
My trading profile is somewhat sporadic, in the last twelve months I have trades 32 times on my ISA and 6 times with my SIPP. I hold a concentrated set of stocks (currently 12) across both portfolios. I tend to trade mainly UK small and medium cap shares with a couple of European or US stock mixed in (80/20 split).

So trying to gauge cost benefit in terms of dealing costs and execution prices.

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Andrew L 21st Sep '17 47 of 55

I went through the list of all brokers a while ago and Interactive Investor (III) stood out for me. Telephone dealing if you want it and a good online platform. They are set to be the second largest in the UK following the takeover of TD Direct in June. I like the flat fees and clear charging structure. By contrast AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown have always seemed to have a complex charging structure. So on a ratio of good value to quality of service I found III good. But I haven't really used alternative platforms.

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gus 1065 21st Sep '17 48 of 55

Basic shares/fund platform comparator website attached below. Seems reasonably accurate (based on the information given here on the two platforms that I use) and configurable according to your specific needs for funds, shares, tax wrapper structures etc.. and size of portfolio/expected frequency of dealing.


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IGC WHITE 21st Sep '17 49 of 55

As an active investor I have found the Share Centre first class in every department over a number of years.

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Logic 21st Sep '17 50 of 55

For my ISA, I use iWeb sharedealing. They have a website that is fairly straightforward and they offer low dealing fees. The disadvantage is that their FX fees are beyond the pale. They are to Halifax what Skoda is to Volkswagen, seem to be built on the same base, but but does not look as pretty.

Is anyone an active customer of Interactive Brokers? To me, it appears they offer a good non-sheltered account with low dealing fees and low FX fees, although they will charge a fee for accounts under 100k USD and not accept accounts at all under 8k (or is it 10k?). I have considered using them for my non-ISA investments, but would appreciate others views on them.

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mrosbiston 5th Jan '18 51 of 55

looking for a new ISA provider - have narrowed it down to iWeb and X-O

both look like they will do the job, main interests are costs (both trade and spreads) and execution. Only issue with iWeb is the £25 account opening, its a minor point in the greater scheme of things - more a point of why pay when other providers do not charge.

would welcome any experiences or views on both - thanks in advance

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slopsjon 5th Jan '18 52 of 55

I was with XO and iWeb but moved from XO to IG and then moved all my ISA's to iWeb. I can't quite remember why I left XO, I think they screwed up some trades but also the interface was very basic, it also may have been that I wanted to try IG out. I'm happy with iWeb, I also have a SIPP with them as well as one with Youinvest. I think the custmer service is better with iWeb than XO or Youinvest, iWeb have onlone chat which I've used a number of times and been happy with the response.

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mrosbiston 5th Jan '18 53 of 55

In reply to post #293368

thanks very much for the input - agreed it looks better. for better customer service and assurance on professionalism - sounds like you get what you pay for

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john ritchie 5th Jan '18 54 of 55

In reply to post #293273

mrosbiston, I started an ISA with iWeb around 4 years ago. At that time there was no account opening charge. I remember around two years ago they introduced a £200 account opening charge!! Agree that the present £25 charge is a nuisance, but the low dealing charges should balance that out. I've never had any problems with them.

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jonesj 5th Jan '18 55 of 55

In reply to post #293273

If you consider total running costs over a 5 year time scale, a £25 opening fee is nothing. So if IWeb is still competitive in all other respects, don't let that put you off.

It's nasty recurring fees that cost money, not a modest one off charge.

For UK stocks, I believe IWeb are still competitive. They also deserve praise for not messing around with their website every few months.

If you plan to buy overseas stocks, then the forex charges need to be compared for all brokers. I believe IWeb were charging 1.5%, which stopped me buying any more overseas stocks through them.

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