By: Sam Robson | Updated: 13th October 2020.
I look for value in most aspects of my life, and that’s why I use Halifax’s Share Dealing account for investing. With no annual platform fee, and by conducting most of my trading during its Countdown Commission offer periods, I’m able to keep my costs very low. If you’re keen to trade more frequently than once a month on average, perhaps there are more suitable platforms for your needs. But if it suits you to invest your savings on a set day each month, then I’d highly recommend this platform.
Halifax’s monthly Countdown Commission days offer private investors the chance to trade for just £3.95, rather than their regular £12.50 fee, which makes this platform one of the most competitive around for those that are content to limit their investing to certain days in the year.
If you want to pledge to buying shares on a regular basis, Halifax also offers the opportunity to schedule your stock-picking via a regular investment service for just £2 per trade, which could reduce your annual fees even further, assuming you’re well placed to commit to those monthly outgoings.
I’ve headed up editorial for The Motley Fool UK’s investing free-site for close to a decade, and have become a convert to the long-term buy-and-hold stock-picking strategy along the way. I look for investments that I’ll hold for a minimum of three to five years, and strive to keep emotion out of my buy/sell decisions. As a result, I aim to keep my trading fees as low as possible, without buying or selling shares just for the sake of it. As someone who only began looking into the stock market following the 07-08 financial crisis, my investing education has been formed relatively recently, so the lessons I’ve learned along the way are still fresh in my mind.
Individual trades cost £12.50 on Halifax’s Share Dealing platform. However, as previously discussed, there are monthly offer periods where this reduces to just £3.95 per transaction, making it highly competitive for investors who limit their share-dealing to a maximum of once a month. These dates tend to be announced in batches several months in advance, so you can plan ahead to ensure you have funds to invest during those offer periods.
There is also the option to schedule your stock-picking via a regular monthly investment service for just £2 per trade.
It’s worth clarifying that the £12.50 dealing fee relates to online transactions only; Halifax charges a £25 commission for share-dealing over the phone. Stamp duty comes in at 0.5% on top of the dealing fee, which is common across similar platforms.
When buying international stocks, there’s an additional foreign currency charge of 1.25% of the investment. So, for instance, if you buy £2k worth of stock listed on a non-UK market, there would be an additional £25 fee.
Halifax has a comprehensive Share Centre, which allows you to search for investment trusts, exchange-traded funds and, yes, shares that meet your investing requirements.
There are thousands of investments available to you through this share-dealing account; as a user of the brokerage myself, I’ve rarely found myself looking for an investment that I wasn’t able to buy shares in. Access is provided to global markets spanning America, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and of course the UK.
Unlike some of its competitors, Halifax’s Share Dealing Account does not charge a monthly fee for using its brokerage account. This means you can sit on the sidelines without incurring any cost at all if there’s a period where it’s best for you not to drip-feed your savings into the market.
The site itself is easy to navigate, which is vital for those just getting started with investing. All costs are laid out and explained in full, so you don’t need to worry about being hit with any hidden fees unexpectedly.
Similar to the aforementioned Share Centre, Halifax has an online Funds Centre well supplied with filters to help guide you towards the right fund for you, while ShareCast powers its Markets News section and Morningstar provides information on investment ideas.
Halifax has also recently launched ‘Investor Meet Company’, a free and independent third-party service that allows you to interact with the management teams of the businesses you invest in.
Help and guidance is available via a live web chat function, from 8am to 9pm Mondays to Fridays, while if you’re more comfortable hearing someone’s voice guide you through any support you need then you can call their helpdesk between 8am and 7pm Mon-Fri.
In my experience, Halifax’s customer service team has made my investments feel very secure: having moved home several times in my time with Halifax as a broker, if a letter they posted me was redirected back to HQ as I no longer lived at that address, they’d immediately restrict my account in case anyone had incorrectly received information relating to my account. A quick phone call to their support team later, and my access has been reinstated instantaneously! This swift action helps make me feel secure that my investments aren’t likely to be syphoned away by any unscrupulous person…
<Elsewhere, Halifax offers a Dividend Diary so you can take a look at the companies due to pay dividends each month, which is a nice little feature for income investors.
If you tend to invest your savings into stocks and shares once every month or two, then you can keep your trading fees right down with the Halifax Share Dealing Account – especially if you limit your trading to the monthly Countdown Commission offer periods!
Arguably, it’s one of the most accessible platforms for beginner investors as well, with a wealth of research and stock tips from Morningstar, and a lack of monthly platform fees which might otherwise ‘force’ you into trading to ensure you’re getting value from it.
There is no introductory offer to entice you initially, while the 1.25% additional charge of the amount you invest in stock bought from a foreign exchange is middle of the road compared to its competitors, but I see the Halifax Share Dealing Account as a great broker for those starting to dip their toes into the world of investing!
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