Investing in stocks can be a lucrative and rewarding venture for those who are willing to put the time and effort into research.
Stock brokers play an important role in this process, offering advice, tools, and knowledge; but with so many different ones to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is the best stock broker for Europeans – a region that can be a surprising treasure trove to track down lucrative international stocks.
Europe is the home to stocks that may are just as well known as some of the US giants, but these come at a lower premium – as an example, 2021 saw Europe’s biggest publicly-listed company, Louis Vuitton, achieve a bigger value than US-founded Nike, and European Based Nestlé soon followed suit.
2021 also saw major players Russia facing sanctions, opening up a huge commodity pool, and creating powerful opportunities to invest in European stocks exist – many of which are typically underpriced, and so perfect for grabbing a lucrative bargain. So, how do you take full advantage of this? Well, you are in the right place: in this guide, we’ll cover the top online stock brokers in Europe, and out together all you need to know to gain access to these big EU markets.
Table of Contents:
Our Top Pick of European Stock Brokers (UK) 🏯
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To start, let’s take a quick overview look at the key things to consider when investigating how to make money when purchasing and trading stocks through a European stock broker:
- Diversification is key – it is no secret that stocks are versatile in terms of meeting various levels of risk appetites, but you can achieve the highest level of dependability through the diversification of assets. In short, stock traders are able to make gains through two key pathways.
- Once you own a piece of stock (shares in that stock), you can make gains if the value of that stock rises during the time that you own it, as long as you sell it when it’s high enough.
- Dividends are another form of returns shareholders gain, and these are rewards paid to shareholders from the net profit of the company. Not every stock offers dividends, but the firms who do normally pay every quarter.
Top Stock Brokerages for Europeans – Reviews 2023
|Service Provider||Rating||Sign up|
|*1. eToro||★★★★★||Open Account|
|**2. Plus500||★★★★★||Open Account|
|3. AvaTrade||★★★★★||Open Account|
|4. Interactive Investor||★★★★★||Open Account|
|5. Hargreaves Lansdown||★★★★★||Open Account|
*eToro disclaimer: eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. Crypto assets are highly volatile and unregulated. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
* Plus500 disclaimer: 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
1. eToro – Best European Stock Broker
If you haven’t heard of The Dark Knight of social trading, (review) you must have been living under a rock.
eToro is a brand that has received huge publicity thanks to a terrific number of sponsorship and ad deals across the globe that they have featured in, including partnerships with personalities, celebs, and pro sports teams, all of which have served to ramp up international awareness for this brand.
Ideal for Newbies to Trading
A global reputation does not have to mean that the brand is off-limits to newbies, however, and eToro have long held a sterling reputation for those new to the world of international stocks and trades.
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. Crypto assets are highly volatile and unregulated. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
A central reason behind eToro’s growth is its social community, with membership numbers in the millions, all of whom come together to share knowledge and ideas. This works hand in hand with the CopyTrade ability; a unique innovation that allows you to mirror the moves of top investors on the platform with proven track records.
A second reason to use this service is its attention to the safety and security of customers' funds. The dangers of malicious actors trading on the platform are minimised thanks to the requirement for account verification, or Know Your Customer (KYC), making it harder for unsavoury individuals to use the platform, including participating in communities or actively trading.
eToro also makes the most of two-factor authentication, strengthening the security of the site, and ensuring that only legitimate, reputable traders have access to one of the best stock brokers in Europe.
Wide Range of Opportunities
Thanks to eToro's wide accreditation and wealth of connections, customers have access to a powerful global infrastructure, which grants you access to more than 2,700 stocks, covering all industries, and located in major cities from Hong Kong to London – and all with no commission to pay, another element that elevates eToro above other stock trading platforms.
Customers also have the option to purchase fractional shares, allowing you to diversify your portfolio using a wide range of brands, and you have the added bonus of being able to create an account quickly, making it perfect to jump on the best trades as soon as they become available. Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees.
2. Plus500 – Stock Broker for CFDs
If you are looking to focus on CFDs, turn to Plus500 for a reliable, experienced trading platform - this is an online broker with a wealth of experience and a solid reputation in this area, and has more than earned its place on our list of the best stock brokers in Europe.
Specialists in CFDs
Plus500 is a specialist stock broker for Europeans seeking to trade with contracts for differences, giving you the ability to speculate on moving prices for stock assets rather than directly buying underlying shares in these stocks.
81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
The benefits of CFDs are multifold: you can get returns on stock assets no matter what direction it moves in, and leverage can often be applied, letting you exaggerate profits. Note that you should always consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Negative Balance Protection
Despite the numerous advantages that can come with CFDs, it is important to note that there can be downsides; the key risk to consider is that most CFD traders lose; leverage goes both ways and can increase losses. For this reason, it is advisable that any casual CFD traders make sure Plus500’s ‘Negative Balance Protection’ (NBP) feature is turned on – and this is a major feature of the site.
Following ESMA regulations, NBP came about as a crucial hedging feature in 2018. Its purpose was to safeguard retail investors, reducing the chances that investors and customers would lose more cash than their accounts contained. This means that if there is large volatility in the market, swinging your positions into the negative, your losses should stay inside of your initial deposit via NBP – and this offers a serious advantage over the stop losses offered by the majority of online brokers.
Licensed and Secure
Plus500 is fully licensed by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), allowing customers to trade with full peace of mind and security, and helping to assert the status of the online brokers as one of the leading stock brokers in Europe.
Great Range of Investments
Plus500 is perfect for those looking for variety; you can discover 70+ forex contracts for differences. As an added bonus, the online broker is directly linked to the London Stock Exchange (LSE), allowing you to start your starting position from a European asset stance and be exposed to lots of EU assets.
3. AvaTrade – Stock Broker for Custom Orders
AvaTrade are a great firm for traders looking for more personalised, customised trades, and are very useful at a time when currencies are being devalued, and people are looking for ways to get good deals.
If you are looking for information on whether the Russian Ruble win out over the American Dollar, or just what commodities traders should be buying, then this is the perfect option.
AvaTrade were originally founded in Ireland, and are still regulated by its central bank. As an added bonus, however, they also have branches globally, and this makes them a great option for traders seeking the best stock brokers with easy European market access for EU and other currencies – connections include Russia (AvaTrade allows you to purchase Russian Rubles [RUB]), AU, South Africa, British Virgin Isles, and Japan.
Ability to Enjoy a More Customised Experience
In a sense, we can think of this online broker as the serious trading version of eToro; although automation options exist, these need a fair amount of technical know-how to use skillfully.
AvaTrade focuses on helping traders to custom-make positions, allowing them to negotiate special deals and personalise communications to individual buyers and sellers. This capability isn’t always given by trading apps, so offers the discerning trader more versatility – with time, you’ll open up unique trading channels.
Variety of Stocks
AvaTrade offers a wide array of stocks, including bonds, indexes, ETFs, commodities, and more, opening up the playing field and ensuring that experienced traders have all of the opportunities that they need to make smart, fast and informed decisions.
Easy to Access
Users can access a host of interesting integrations via third-party extensions, such as MetaTrader 4 or the native AvaTrade platform – these all function on mobile (iOS & Android). It is important to keep in mind, however, that many of these are better suited to discerning traders, and that includes negotiation abilities.
4. Interactive Investor – Stock Broker for Discount Stocks
Interactive Investor was founded in 1995 and started life as a communication network for traders. They have rapidly grown into a leading stock broker for Europeans, and have provided services for more than 300,000 investors in this time.
Many traders opt for the trading platform when they need a fixed-fee stock broker, to ensure better transparency of trading expenses.
A trading account with Interactive Investor costs £9.99 a month, and, as an added bonus, your first trade each month is free – a great incentive for traders to remain active. The charge for UK and US trades on the standard Investor plan and Pension Builder (SIPP) plan is £5.99, and this commission also applies to members of ii’s Friends and Family service, who benefit from a free ii subscription.
Customers on the Investor and Super Investor service plans will continue to get their first trades free each month. Super Investor service plan users will also benefit from trades in non-US international shares for £5.99 per trade.
The platform is execution-only: and you get lots of value for this, with an emphasis on simple, open fees, profit-to-expense ratios, smart capabilities, and competitive rates. There are also no costs for exchanging between accounts, registering, or account exits.
Secure and Trustworthy
As for security, Interactive Investor has been around for over 20 years in the industry. They’re licensed by the FCA. Customer data is handled and stored electronically, also offering insurance under Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provisions. Cash amounts are insured up to FSCS caps, and funds are segregated from company funds, meaning that your funds are protected from Interactive Investor.
Furthermore, all digital transactions are encrypted and stored to robust standards to maintain accuracy. As an added bonus, their level of support is high, and these factors have combined to establish the trading platform as a leading stock broker for Europeans.
5. Hargreaves Lansdown – Stock Broker for Savings and Investments
A renowned stock broker for Europeans, Hargreaves Lansdown has been around since 1981, and are a great match for those looking for professional investment support, especially if they themselves aren’t pros.
The platform offers teams of investment experts, boasting a client base of over 1.2 million.
This broker has handled nearly £100B in savings & investments for these members who trust the broker to work their wealth long-term – no matter how the wider market moves, or whether there is war on the horizon between major nations.
This broker is so massive that they boast a listing on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 (FTSE 100) itself, as one of the 100 biggest European firms.
Focus on Customer Service
So it’s pretty clear that they are highly established and have strong trust in the industry, with every key regulation applied to protect and insure your data and account funds, and ensure strong professional due diligence. Furthermore, their mission statement focuses on simplifying the financial dealings of their members so that it's less complicated to invest streams for pension, saving, and investment aims – with access to accounts online.
Array of Investment Opportunities
This hub gives you access to a prodigious scoop of investment opportunities, which includes thousands of top index funds, investment trusts, ETFs, and US & Canada, UK and European stocks. And regardless of its size, Hargreaves Lansdown remains one of the most practical leading stock brokers for Europeans.
Overall, this is a trading platform that offers great value, and good access to a range of funds, bonds, and EU and foreign stocks.
Best European Stock Broker – Guide 📊
We’ve covered some of the best stock brokers for Europeans – but what exactly are stocks? We took a closer look at just how stocks work, and the ways in which they are traded on various platforms.
What Are Stocks?
When you directly buy stocks in a company, you become a stockholder or shareholder – the two terms can be used interchangeably. This means that you can therefore enjoy a portion of that company’s gains, including profit.
It is also worth noting that “stock” is the term used to describe the actual asset, but that this can sometimes be used interchangeably with “shares”.
Most pro investors deal with the handling of stocks in one of two ways: either buying and selling stocks themselves or advising and issuing stocks. Let’s delve deeper into that point:
Stock Issuing - The Reason for Firms Offering Stocks
The stock market is composed of many different exchanges where traders and investors can swap specific shares for companies. But what is the purpose for issuing these shares and stocks?
In short, a company will issue stocks when they need to increase the amount of capital in the business. This, in turn, will be used for growing their firm operations, or to expand into new ventures.
“Equity” is a term frequently used to describe ownership, whereas “equities” refer to assets like stocks. (It is important to note that bonds are also issued in order to raise capital, but buying these makes traders creditors, who don’t have ownership claims.)
When stocks are sold, investors are allowed to have some ownership of the company. Early investors in the firm can take advantage of this later on as the firm increases in returns, and their ownership grows in its market worth.
Stockholders and Rights
If stocks are bought in a firm, the person is eligible for certain rights depending on type of shares that are owned, including the following:
- 📛 Voting claims: Stockholders can participate in votes during annual meetings.
- 📛 Dividends: Offer a piece of the revenue every so often in the year.
- 📛 Capital gains: Which is the most common way people invest in stocks; if a firm grows in worth, your shares also grow (or vice versa: if the stock loses value so do your shares).
Being a stockholder doesn’t mean you can direct business operations, or have a real impact on changing annual board meeting outcomes. Owning shares does, however, signal that you have trust in the company.
What Are Initial Public Offerings (IPO's)?
In the simplest terms, an Initial Public Offering is when a private company becomes public, and this is achieved through offering shares for purchase on the stock exchange.
Let’s review how an initial public offering (IPO) works. To begin with, a privately owned (limited) company goes public by offering shares for stock in its company to the general public.
The saying, “going public”, refers to the firm going through an IPO that allows shares to become available to buy on the main investor stock market.
The initial public offering will involve the firm announcing how many shares in stocks will be issued, as well as the IPO markup. Profits generated from this public sale go directly to the company’s vault.
After the IPO has been completed, shares are released in real-time to the secondary market – which we refer to as “the stock-market” – and share prices no longer have a fixed markup; instead they vary according to market demands and other forces.
Market capitalisation is often shortened to “market cap,” and this measures the sum market value of a firm – this figure is measured in cash-proven market support.
This is extractable from the stock exchange. A firm’s market cap refers to the sum value of each share of that firm’s stock that is owned by its shareholders. For example, a corporation with 20 million shares, valued at £50 per share, has a total market cap of a billion pounds.
Market capitalisation is a central financial concept that allows investors to compare firms, based on sum revenue. It’s a key measure of a firm’s size in the marketplace, as well as current supply-and-demand forces and performance. Essentially, this is a hard-cash figure that notes what people will actually put up to back that company.
There are three main categories here:
🏯 Large-Cap Corps
These are typically seen as firms with a market worth of over £7 billion. Firms of this type are typically blue-chip, featuring solid standings, lots of goods and popular services, stable growth, and a long record of good dividends.
You will typically see a lot of industry leaders in this grouping, with household brand names that people love nationally and even worldwide. As a result, large cap stock investments are usually reliable stocks, with lower volatility and decent gains potential, and more robustness compared to small or large-cap stocks.
🏰 Mid-Cap Firms
These firms are commonly somewhere between 1 and 8 billion pounds in size, and investors will find more gains potential than in large-cap corps. Firms found at this level are well-established, but can face more industry competition and are expanding more depending on the market and industry conditions.
Small-cap companies are usually over 200 million, but under 1 billion pounds in size, and firms found at this size are younger and less established – typical examples include niche sectors or emerging markets.
This size of business typically has the potential of the most exaggerated gain, as well as the biggest risk of the three markets. But because there is lesser supply and demand, smaller firms are less robust to business busts. There is more volatility, as competition is harsher, and emerging industries can also see more unknown factors.
On the other hand, the most substantial gains upside potential is here, for long position holders who have a big enough risk appetite for sharp market downturns in the short term.
Stocks vs. Bonds
As we mentioned, companies release stocks and shares so they can raise funds for expanding their company or seeking new ventures. But the result that investors enjoy significantly differs depending on whether shares in firm stocks are bought immediately – once it is released in an IPO – or if shares were purchased via a shareholder (on the secondary public market). Either way, they issue stocks to get more investor cash.
By comparison, bonds work differently. To begin with, bondholders are creditors, rather than partial owners of the firm, and so earn rewards such as interest and principal-repayments.
Creditors also get better legal rights than shareholders in the event of bankruptcy, and will be refunded before shareholders if a company liquidates its owning to repay debts.
Shareholders, on the other hand, find themselves the last to be reimbursed, if they are at all, in the event that a firm goes bust. This means that some investors consider shares a higher risk compared to bonds.
How Do Stocks & Shares Work?
Professional investors issue stocks for a firm, with the aim of growing funds for expanding their business. Stockholders can possess a piece of the firm and, depending on the kind of shares purchased, have claims to some of this revenue and assets.
The degree of ownership that a stockholder receives depends on how many shares are held in the firm’s stock. For example, if a firm releases 20,000 shares of stock outstanding and one person possesses 2,000 shares, this gives them a claim of 10% to the firm’s revenue and assets.
What are the Types of Stocks?
There are two main groupings for stocks: common and preferred. Common stockholders are allowed to get cash dividends and have the ability to vote in annual shareholder meetings, whereas preferred holders have limited voting rights if any at all.
On the other hand, preferred shareholders enjoy cash dividends, and often get bigger payouts, with a bigger claim to assets than common shareholders do, in the event that it goes through bankruptcy.
How Can You Buy Stocks?
Normally, stocks are bought and sold via stock exchanges, such as the FTSE 100, or the London Stock Exchange (LSE). These are opened to the public once a firm “goes public”, so that its assets can be traded outright. Most frequently, traders and investors buy via broker accounts through exchanges, which show the buying/bidding price and selling/asking/offer prices. Share costs are determined by market factors.