By: Harvey Jones | Updated: 29th March, 2019.
Good for: Long-term investors, fund-focused investors
On Interactive Investor’s secure website.
Our Bottom Line
Interactive Investor is a very well-known name in share dealing, and a good choice for long-term investors. Though the account fee isn’t ideal, what you pay becomes share-dealing credits (up to £90) and can offset your trading commissions. Interactive Investor is an especially attractive option for fund investors, as there’s no custody fee on funds. New customers also benefit from trading at ii’s lowest frequent-trader rate until 31st May 2019.
Share dealing fee:
Monthly account fee:
The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks.
On Interactive Investor’s website, you can buy and sell thousands of different investments including stocks and shares, actively managed funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and investment trusts, and manage your money inside a tax-free ISA or SIPP. It also offers more complex financial instruments such as spread betting, contracts for difference, and foreign exchange trading. Perhaps the biggest attraction is its flat charging structure with most investors paying just £10 a trade (£6 for regular traders). If you ask me, it’s simply a top site for investors.
Top features of the Interactive Investor share dealing account
The site is jam-packed with features. It lays out your investment portfolio neatly and clearly, so you can see exactly where you stand with a single glance.
It then offers a vast amount of investment data and research plus a host of extras and add-ons, including a watchlist, price alerts, transaction history, company research, stock news and coverage of international markets.
Interactive Investor commission prices
I have a dealing account with Interactive Investor and I chose it for a simple reason – I liked its charging structure. Previously, I was paying 1% commission on a rival site, which cost £5 when I was investing just £500 but jumped to a pricey £20 when I graduated to £2,000 or more.
Interactive Investor charges a flat rate of just £10 to buy and sell investments, and this hasn’t increased since I set up my account around 18 years ago. That £10 fee is clear, simple, memorable and competitive. It also applies to US trades, although you pay £20 to trade other international stocks.
Frequent traders – that is, those who make 10 or more trades a month for the previous three months — pay just £6.
That flat £10 charge only rises for very large deals, where customers are trading more than £100,000 (then it’s £40) or more than £500,000 (£70). Of course when you consider that on a percentage of trade basis — 0.04% when considering a £40 charge on £100,000 — it’s quite attractive.
Interactive Investor does not charge any fees to set up an account or transfer funds in. It has also just scrapped its charges for transferring funds out, which I admire, as some accounts come with hefty closure charges.
Why you can trust me
I’ve been a personal financial journalist for 30 years, writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites. I reported on the technology boom in the 1990s, and the subsequent bust. I covered the financial crisis, and the tentative recovery. Decades of writing about the big banks has taught me to be sceptical, to examine every pledge and promise, and look closely at the small print of their product offerings. I’m on the side of the consumer, alert to rip-offs but also to good deals. There are plenty out there, if you know where to look.
Fees you should know about
The site also charges a quarterly fee of £22.50, which adds up to £90 a year. However, this is returned to you as trading credits, so if you do nine £10 trades a year, it won’t cost you a penny.
Effectively, this is an inactivity fee, so the site can still make money from customers who never buy or sell anything. This makes Interactive Investor less attractive for those with small portfolios who rarely if ever trade (which is probably the intention, frankly), but won’t cost busier investors anything.
Another bonus is that there is no annual fee for holding funds, which some platforms charge. All you pay is the fund manager’s underlying fund charges.
You also pay £1 to automatically reinvest the dividends you receive from stocks or funds. Minimum dividend value for reinvestment is £10.
There are a range of fees for SIPPs, including an annual fee of £120, but overall this platform is highly competitive price wise.
Buying shares, ETFs and funds with an Interactive Investor account
You can invest in almost 40,000 shares in the UK, US and internationally, across 16 global stock exchanges – and nine different currencies. That’s enough to be getting along with.
The minimum monthly sum for regular investments is £25, with a £1 monthly fee, while the minimum lump sum investment is £100.
Interactive Investor’s platform
The more I use this platform, the more I like it. It sets out my portfolio holdings clearly in a single page that’s easy to view even on my small laptop screen. It always allows users to break their portfolio into shares, funds and cash for further analysis, and click on fund reports, performance charts and trading history for each holding. This is customisable, too. There’s also a button to perform a “X-ray analysis”, which breaks down your entire portfolio into asset allocation, world regions, stock sectors and investment styles. You can also set this as your start page when you log in (which I’ve just done).
Interactive Investor research offerings
The platform’s advanced stock selection tools lets you scan and screen the Morningstar stock database by, say, yield, cover, earnings growth, net gearing, cash flow, and so on. Its market highlight page shows all of today’s top risers and fallers, including individual stocks and industry sectors across a range of industries, plus latest company news. You can also drill deep into individual stocks to examine key statistics, performance, charts, ratios, financials, and so on.
The site also offers share price calculators, an ETF selector tool, Interactive Investor’s “quick start funds” (a range funds for new investors), and the “ii Super 60” investments, a range of high-conviction active and passive funds, investment trusts, and ETFs.
In fact, it seems like every time I dig in to the site’s offerings, the more great tools and features I find.
Service and support
You can open your trading account online via a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile and get started in less than 10 minutes. Gather your address details for the last three years, your National Insurance number and debit card details to fund your account. Interactive Investor does offer a call centre during normal office hours but this site really is aimed at those who can go it alone online.
Is an Interactive Investor share dealing account right for you?
I can’t find much to fault here. Interactive Investor offers everything I’m looking for from a share dealing account, including easy trading and in-depth research, with a great charging structure that works for both those trading smaller and larger amounts. And I believe the offering could be a good fit for a wide variety of investors.
There are two exceptions, though, where the platform may not be ideal: 1) for those trading smaller sums, because that £10 fee would cost 5% of a £200 trade; and 2) for highly inactive investors who can’t claw back the quarterly charges as trading credit. However, the charging structure should work for the vast majority of investors, and I think the overall offering is a peach.
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