Microsoft is worth more than the whole stock market of Brazil.
Take a moment to consider that statement, and you will have pondered the very existence of the nature of the stock market, as well as gained an insight into the significance of having the right advice to manage and handle your investments.
Shares are all about perceived value. They’re units of ownership in a corporation; pieces of that firm’s value, which could rise or fall in the future.
When you buy a share, you’re normally hoping it’ll grow, so you can reap profits, as a stakeholder, which you can then cash in on at a later date.
Are you ready to invest in the financial markets? If so, then finding the right stockbroker should be your top priority. Choosing the best broker for your needs is essential as it can have a lasting effect on how quickly and successfully you accomplish your investment goals.
To help, here is a guide to help you find the best stock brokers to help your portfolio grow and thrive.
Table of Contents:
Our Top Pick of Stock Brokers (UK) 🇬🇧
Considering trading stocks? When crunching your Trading Data, take time to learn your strategy. Adapt to your chosen provider. And use good financial common sense.
No matter your strategy or choice of trading platform, there are a few key things to know when understanding how you make money in stock trading:
- Stocks can be chosen according to a sliding scale of your risk appetite, with the highest having the potential to reap greater rewards. Stock traders and investors make money by two main methods.
- When the value of stock climbs during the period that they own it, they can sell it off for more than they paid (including day trading).
- And dividends reap regular earnings to shareholders. While not all stocks provide dividends, the companies who do usually pay out each quarter.
Best Stock Brokerages – Reviews 2023 📘
|Service Provider||Rating||Sign up|
|*1. eToro||★★★★★||Open Account|
|**2. Plus500||★★★★★||Open Account|
|3. XTB Online Trading||★★★★★||Open Account|
|4. AvaTrade||★★★★★||Open Account|
|5. Interactive Investor||★★★★★||Open Account|
|6. Hargreaves Lansdown||★★★★★||Open Account|
|7. CMC Markets||★★★★★||Open Account|
* eToro disclaimer: Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit eToro.
** Plus500 disclaimer: 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Note: Some of the platforms on our list, Plus500 for example, are CFD-only.
1. eToro – Best Stock UK Broker Overall
You’ll probably already know that eToro has a number of sponsorship and advertising deals worldwide featuring tons of personalities, celebrities, and professional sports teams, which it’s used to build up brand awareness, earning a reputation as one of the top trading platforms in the industry, and it is largely considered one of the best stock brokers on the market.
Despite the grandeur of its reputation, its base offerings are down-to-earth, and this is a major motivation for its place at the top of the list.
A key reason to use eToro is the collaborative community, numbering in the millions, who work to share and leverage each other’s knowledge, as well as the CopyTrade feature that lets you mirror the positions of popular investors who have good track records.
A crucial element of any good trading platform is security, and this is another area in which eToro excels. The threat of malicious threats are reduced thanks to safety checks; eToro (review) makes it more difficult for these untrustworthy players to use its platform by requiring account verification, otherwise known as know your customer (KYC) – before any access to markets, engagement in communities or trading can begin.
Together with things like two-factor authentication and minimum account funding, this makes eToro the ultimate passive stock trading platform , and customers can rest assured that they are in good hands with one of the best stock brokers.
Wide Range of Stocks
Because eToro has such a strong worldwide infrastructure, you’ll be able to jump into over 2,700 stocks with 0% commission, ranging from healthcare to technology, Hong Kong to New York – including fractional shares, so that you can fill your portfolio with brands that vary in size and region, without any caps on trading volume.
2. Plus500 – Trading App for CFDs
Plus500 is a trading platform that specializes in contracts for differences, which means you’ll be speculating on changing prices of stock equities as opposed to directly buying shares in stocks.
There are several advantages of contracts for differences: for instance, you’re able to make profitable positions on stocks regardless of its direction, and leverage is often applicable so that you can amplify profits, earning more bang for your buck. There are possibilities of capital losses too.
Plus500 is an innovative online trading platform that can give traders complete control over their investments.
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.
Platform features include advanced charting tools, real-time market data feed, risk management tools and live pricing updates. This makes it easy for traders to stay on top of their investments no matter where they’re located or which device they’re using - a handy addition for any online stock brokers looking to succeed in the modern world.
One of the leading advantages of Plus500 is that it takes a hands-off approach to trading. You can set up your account with tailored preferences such as stop loss triggers and margin requirements — ensuring your trades are automatically managed according to your rules. This helps eliminate the possibility of making mistakes due to human error when placing orders or managing multiple positions quickly during volatile market conditions.
Contract for Difference
Plus500 also offers all traders CFD (contract for difference) access which allows you to take long or short positions on many different markets without actually owning the underlying asset — giving you greater flexibility in how you manage your investments. Furthermore, by using leverage when opening CFD positions you can potentially increase your returns while only investing a fraction of the total cost upfront.
Risk of Loss
It’s important to note however that some people may not be comfortable with taking large amounts of risk when taking advantage of leverage via CFDs. Leveraged products like CFDs can offer high returns but carry substantial losses in quick succession should markets turn against them - meaning inexperienced traders should ensure proper research has been carried out before investing in these instruments.
Overall Plus500 provides an excellent opportunity for experienced traders who want full control over their portfolio — offering advanced trading tools combined with low fees and competitive spreads for market access across a wide range of asset classes including stocks, indices futures options, forex, ETF, and more.
3. XTB Online Trading - Wide Variety of Resources and Tools
Stock trading is the gateway to other types of trading, and is the best place to start if you are new to the practice and financial markets and create your first investing account.
Whether you want to play around with creating your own portfolios, or you want to work up to day trading, and more advanced options, you can do all of that with XTB, widely considered one of the best trading platforms on the market.
XTB is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to trading online stock. For a long time, they were notorious for their forex and CFD markets, but expansion has moved them forward a lot, and it’s great. Now, you can access a whole lot of assets in the stock asset class, as well as digging into ETFs, crypto, forex, and so much more - this is important for diversifying your online stock, and will help you build a strong portfolio.
Trading fees can be a real frustration when trading stocks, as they can eat into your profit. XTB allows users to trade with absolutely no commissions, up to a total of £100,000 every single month, which gives you a lot of room for a lot of trading. If you do trade in higher frequencies, their costs and trading fees are still low, and definitely competitive in the market.
Many people have a preference for the MetaTrader platforms, which offer a number of benefits to online stock traders. It is important to note, however, that these can also be limiting, especially when compared to the features and benefits of other online brokers.
To address this, XTB uses xStation5, which is unique in many ways, but offers a much broader range of tools and resources to make stock trading and managing online stock smoother and simpler. This includes charts, market order depth, trading calculators, statistics, and some of the best execution speeds around.
Customizable Trading Platform
You can completely customize your trading desk, which is another great bonus. It lets you turn your focus to what is important to you, rather than seeing things that you feel are irrelevant.
Overall, XTB have earned a place on our list of best online stock brokers; while they may still have a little way to go in some areas, they nonetheless offer a great option to those looking to get into the world of online stock and maintain a well-earned reputation as one of the best online brokers.
4. AvaTrade – Best Custom Stock Orders
AvaTrade is an online broker that offers its traders an easy-to-use online platform that allows them to trade in a variety of markets. The brokerage firm offers users a wide selection of tools and features such as charting tools, automated trading signals, real-time news feeds and market analysis reports to make stock trading easier.
Great for Newbies
With an array of user-friendly features and extensive support for different types of traders, AvaTrade makes it simple for anyone looking to venture into financial markets, and is often a popular choice with those new to the world of online stock brokers, or online trading platforms in general.
AvaTrade stands out from other online brokers for letting traders customize their orders in a way that is focused on negotiating deals and personalising communications to specific buyers and sellers. This feature isn’t always offered by training apps, so gives advanced users more flexibility – over time, you’ll establish unique trade routes.
As the company was founded in Ireland, they’re regulated by its central bank. Despite this, they also have a number of global branches and therefore good market access and investment options for these connections – links include Australia, South Africa, the British Virgin Islands, and Japan. This allows investors to trade stocks across a wide geographical area and is great for diversification.
Range of Integrations
There are a bunch of different integrations via third-party platforms you can choose to use, including MetaTrader 4 or the proprietary AvaTrade platform – these all work on mobile (iOS and Android). It is important to note that many of these are more appropriate for seasoned traders with a solid background in stock trading, and that includes the negotiation capabilities to manage larger trades.
One major advantage over other competitors is AvaTrade’s customer service team who offer traders 24/7 support via phone or email whatever their needs may be. They also provide tutorials which are designed to educate novice traders on the basics of the platform whilst giving expert advice along the way.
Plus they have customer representatives in fourteen languages ensuring that no matter where customers come from they can get help whenever they need it in their language of preference too – making this a truly global stock trading experience!
AvaTrade also covers its user's deposits with generous protection policies; their client funds are deposited in segregated accounts across multiple reputable banks ensuring maximum security at all times when trading – peace of mind that other providers simply cannot match!
It is worth noting too that this includes negative balance insurance so you don’t have to pay back any debts if your account slips below zero during active trades helping safeguard you from those sudden shocks in unpredictable markets.
Overall there’s plenty to like about AvaTrade if you choose them as your online broker; as one of the world’s leading online CFD brokers, offering traders access to a wide range of markets including stocks, commodities, indices and currencies, they have all you need to experience user-friendly platform backed by great customer service, low promotions and trading fees, plus excellent security features all combine to make this one of the best online brokers for both beginner and advanced traders alike!
5. Interactive Investor – Best Discount Stock Broker
Interactive Investor sprang organically to life in 1995 – beginning as a communication platform for investors, but it’s since evolved into one of the best online stock brokers and best trading platforms in the UK, particularly for those investors looking for an online broker who can save costs.
Interactive Investor have served over 300,000 investors over the course of their history, and many traders choose them over other trading platforms and investment options when they want a fixed-fee investment broker, in order to minimize uncertainties of trading expenses.
The charge for this fixed-fee service is around£10 a month covering multiple counts, with each plan allowing at least one zero-charge trade per month. The charge for UK and US trades on the standard Investor plan and Pension Builder (SIPP) plan is £5.99. 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.
Trading fees are often one of the biggest concerns of investors, particularly new investors, and Interactive Investor is a great choice in this area, offering some of the most transparent fees in the online stock brokers market. Functions are execution-only: within this is lots of bang for your buck, with a focus on straightforward, transparent fees, profit-to-expense ratios, platform intelligence, and competitive pricing designed to reduce trading fees. For instance, there’s no charge for transferring between accounts, signing up, or exiting.
Plenty of Security
Security is another major priority for trading platforms and stock trading in general, and once again, Interactive Investor comes up trumps with more than two decades of industry performance. The online broker is also fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for added peace of mind.
Customer trades are stored electronically, with users being insured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Cash holdings are insured up to FSCS limits, with natural segregation of user balances from company finances, making this one of the more secure, reliable trading platforms.
In short, Interactive Investor doesn’t have access to your funds. What’s more, all electronic transactions are encrypted and organised to strict standards of P&P for ensuring accuracy. With pretty extreme-level customer support, which is why you’ll notice that it’s difficult to find an online trading broker for the UK with as high a volume and average trust score as this company.
6. Hargreaves Lansdown – Major Savings and Investment Platform for Stocks
Used by professionals as well as retail investors managing their own retirement and investment portfolios.
Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the UK's top-performing savings and investments brokers, and boasts a reputation as one of the best-known trading platforms in the industry.
History and Reputation
The history of Hargreaves Landsown traces all the way back to 1981 – they’ve since grown their client-base to more than 1.2 million, and brokered almost £100B in savings and investments for those clients, earning them a reputation as one of the largest trading platforms and best online stock brokers on the market. This broker is so large they’re even listed on the London Stock Exchange, among the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 (FTSE 100) companies.
So it’s safe to say they’re very well-established and trusted. What’s more, their mission statement is to simplify the financial lives of their clients so that it’s easier for them to manage their pensions, savings, and investments – all from a single portal.
Easy to Use Portal
This portal exposes you to a voluminous range of investment opportunities, which include but are not limited to over 3,000 of the best index funds, investment trusts, ETFs, and UK, US, Canadian, and European shares. And despite its prestige, Hargreaves Lansdown is still considered among the best investment portals for traders looking for discount stock broking in the UK.
The stock brokers also offer low cost trades with no minimum spend required – With no commission and low charges for dealing, it makes it much easier for novice investors to get into the game.
Flexible Account Types and Good Variety
They offer ISAs, LISAs, and SIPPs which can help you meet your financial goals sooner than other platforms.
In addition, Hargreaves Lansdown also offer good diversity when it comes to their investments, and these include stoks, shares, bonds and ETFs, ensuring that there is something for every type of investor.
Real-Time News Updates for Accurate Information
Traders can keep up-to-date with market movement with their real-time updates which provide commentary on company performance as well as industry trends.
Easy to Get Started
Hargreaves Landsown is also one of the best trading platforms when it comes to ease of use - the first step is signing up so you can open an Investment Account or ISA. You will need some basic information such as your name, address, and contact details in order to do this.
Once you have opened your account you can fund it with payments from your bank account or credit/debit card - but make sure that these are within any limits set out in your individual agreement with them.
With those steps complete, you will then be able ready to make your first trade from whichever asset class suits your preferences best!
In short: Hargreaves Lansdown are experienced, reputable online stock brokers who offer a low-cost, expansive, option, offering tons of funds, government and corporate bonds, and UK and overseas stock equities.
7. CMC Markets – Best Low Fee CFDs
CMC Markets was founded in 1989, and like Plus500 doesn’t let you directly trade on stocks. Instead, you’ll be speculating indirectly on stock price-changes through contracts for differences.
While this option makes for greater potential profit, it also means that there is a higher risk of loss should things go wrong.
Once again, it’s therefore crucial for most users to keep ‘Negative Balance Protection’ features enabled, which limits how much your losses can climb, for instance during heavily volatile market periods, and this is more reliable then using standard stop-losses, which can sometimes lag behind in execution then the speed of the actual market.
CMC Markets are of course fully regulated by the FCA, with a strong track record for serving clients with competitive fee structures and mostly commission-free stock trading. Keep in mind that there are two options for the platform – to either use the modern proprietary CMC Markets version (cool and powerful search bar filter functions), or MT4, which is industry-standard. Either way, get pretty good access to the latest research, however the proprietary site is still missing out on two-factor authentication.
Best Stock Broker – Buying Guide 📊
Shares offer lots of investment flexibility, which means they can be approached as a short-term investment strategy, long-term for retirement, or even for full-time professional day trading.
Whenever you buy underlying stocks in a company, you become a shareholder and therefore eligible to claim a portion of that firm’s earnings and assets (in the event that they go bankrupt).
Shareholders are sometimes called stockholders. And the term “stock” itself is sometimes interchangeable with “equity” and “shares” in modern financial speak.
Most professional finance careers directly handle or relate to stocks in one form or the other, either as a direct bidder, adviser, or stock issuer. More on that last point:
Stock Issuers - Why Companies Offer Stocks
The stock market itself is made up of multiple exchanges where traders and investors can exchange individual shares of firms. But why do these shares and stocks exist?
Companies go about issuing stocks in order to boost the amount of capital needed to grow their business operations or to undertake new ventures.
When company stocks are sold, investors are invited to gain partial ownership in the firm. Early investors in the company can gain an advantage later down the line as the company grows and its stake increases in its market valuation.
“Equity” is one term often used to indicate ownership, meanwhile “equities” are commonly used to describe stocks. (Bonds are sometimes issued in order to raise capital, however purchasing these makes holders creditors, without ownership claims.)
If stocks are indeed purchased in a company, claims that can be made according to the form of shares that are owned, including the following:
- ☑️ Voting claims: Shareholders can vote during the firm’s annual shareholder meetings.
- ☑️ Dividends: A fraction of the company’s revenue and assets may be shared with you.
- ☑️ Capital gains: The most typical motive for investing in stocks; if a company’s value rises, your shares also grow in value (the reverse is also true, if the stock declines so does the value of your shares).
Being a shareholder doesn’t give claims to influencing everyday operations, but owning shares is a great investment portal that can yield long-term benefits.
What is the Initial Public Offerings (IPO)?
When you hear about an initial public offering (IPO), this means a private limited company has chosen to go public by selling shares of stock to the general public.
Where it is said that a firm is “going public”, this means they are going through an IPO wherein shares are becoming available to buy on the primary investor’s stock market.
The initial public offering process includes the company announcing the volume of stocks that will be issued and the IPO price point. Revenue gained from this public sale goes straight to the company. After the IPO is being conducted, shares go live on the secondary market – which we call “the stock-market” – and share prices are no longer fixed or fluctuate according to market conditions and other factors.
Market Cap Explained
Market capitalisation is often shortened to “market cap”, and is a measure of a corporation’s gross market value – which itself is rooted in cash-backed market opinion.
This is calculable from the stock exchange. A company’s market cap is the total value of every share of the corporation stock currently held by shareholders.
For instance, a corporation with 10 million shares, valued at £100 per share, would have a market cap of £1 billion.
Market capitalisation is a key financial model that allows investors to make comparisons between corporations, based on gross revenue. It’s a fundamental measure of a company’s size on the market: current supply and demand patterns and leverage – and it’s a concrete metric: what traders and investors have actually put up in cash in that company.
- ☑️ Large-cap corporations – normally have a market revenue of £7.5 billion or more. These are usually blue-chip corporations, featuring robust reputations for operations, goods and services, steady growth, and a history of predictable cash-dividends. You find a lot of industry leaders in this collection, touting household names consumer audiences recognise on a national level. As a result, large cap stock investments are typically steady trains, with less extreme upside potential, and more resilience to risk then small or large-cap stocks.
- ☑️ Mid-cap companies – commonly weigh-in at between £1.5 and £7.5 billion. There is often more upside potential than is inherently found in large-cap corporations. Companies found at this stage of growth have established themselves, but there may be lots of industry-level competition and expansion. Some medium-level companies may be competing for larger market shares, which means upside and downside potentials are higher.
- ☑️ Small-cap firms – typically somewhere between £200 million and £1.5 billion. Companies found at this level are typically younger and provision for niche segments or emerging markets. This level of business typically has the most aggressive upside potential and largest risk of the three market levels. But because there is less supply and demand, smaller companies are less resilient to economic or business hits. There is less market predictability, as competition is fiercer. Emerging industries may have more untested components. But the most significant upside potential is found here, for long position holders with a large enough risk tolerance to sudden market slumps in the short term.
Difference Between Stocks & Bonds
Companies issue stocks in order to raise funds for expanding their business or undertaking new ventures. However, the benefits of owning these substantially differ according to whether shares in company stocks are purchased immediately from the company - once it is issued during an IPO - or if shares were bought from a shareholder (via the other secondary public market). In either case, corporations issue stocks in exchange for an investor’s money.
By comparison, bonds differ in a few ways. Firstly, bondholders become creditors, not part owners, of the corporation; receiving entitlements to interest and principal repayment. Creditors have legal precedents over shareholders in cases of bankruptcy and will be reimbursed ahead of them if a corporation has to liquidate its assets to repay debts.
Stockholders, however, are last in the line and typically get no reimbursement, or a few pennies, if a company goes bankrupt. Which in this sense makes stocks naturally more risky investment than bonds. Although shareholders do get dividend privileges and other theoretical part-ownership claims, such as influencing annual board meetings.
Find answers to your questions about stock trading here:
How Do Stocks Work?
Financial investors issue stocks on behalf of a corporation, in order to raise funds for growing their business or expanding in some way. Holders of stocks (shareholders or stockholders) legally own a fraction of the company and, according to the type of shares bought, have eligibility to claim some of their revenue and assets.
The amount of ownership a shareholder has depends on the amount of shares held in the company’s stock. For instance, if a company releases 10,000 shares of stock outstanding and an individual owns a thousand shares, this gives them a claim of 10% to the corporation’s revenue and assets. There are some key differences between shares purchased on the primary (IPO) and secondary (public) market.
What Types of Stock Exist?
There are two main categories of stocks, common and preferred. Common shareholders are eligible for dividends payouts can also fall in annual shareholder meetings, whereas before shareholders have little to no voting rights. However, preferred shareholders also have dividends and often receive greater payouts, with a larger claim to assets than common stockholders do, in the event of bankruptcy.
How are Stocks Bought?
Typically, stocks are purchased and sold through stock exchanges, such as the FTSE 100 or the London Stock Exchange (LSE). These become available once a company “goes public”, so that its stock can be exchanged directly. Most commonly, traders and investors use brokerage accounts in order to buy stocks on exchanges, which detail the buying price (bid price) and the selling price (ask or offer price). Share pricing is determined by market liquidity, and other factors.
Which Investment Offers the Highest Return?
Investing in stocks and shares offers the highest potential return of any asset class. In other words, when done correctly, investing in stocks and stocks has the potential to provide higher returns than any other type of investment over the long term. However, it is also important to remember that it comes with associated risks as stock prices can go up or down at any time. The key is to research companies thoroughly before investing so that you have a good idea of their future prospects—and always invest with caution.