Our bottom line
This share dealing platform from Italian operation FinecoBank has three big selling points.
- Access to low flat-rate dealing charges.
- It provides no-fee online currency exchange – charging only the spread on the conversion. This makes it relatively cheap to convert your UK pounds into US dollars or Euros, and helps you avoid the chunky foreign exchange charges other brokers often levy on international share trades.
- There are no monthly or annual fees to pay if you only hold shares, ETFs or bonds in your account.
With a vast choice of US and European stocks on offer, this account could be ideal for those investors with a global outlook looking to keep their costs low. If however your primary focus is UK shares and funds, you might feel more at home with one of the big domestic platforms.
Top features of the FinecoBank Multi-Currency Trading Account
Fineco lets you trade thousands of UK and international shares, as well as bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), funds, and more complex instruments such as contracts for difference (CFDs), currencies, futures, and options. (Some of these more complex and higher risk investments may, of course, not be appropriate for all investors).
You pay a flat trading fee regardless of order size and can trade multiple products in local currencies from a single multi-currency account, with only one password and PIN to remember.
Features include at-a-glance stock screening, which allows you to set filters to explore different markets.
I’m not completely taken with the design of Fineco’s trading platform though. I personally feel it lacks a bit of style and streamlining, which is honestly something I’d expect from a company based in Italy, the mecca of high style and design. That was a drawback for me, as I appreciate a well-styled, simple user interface. Though for many users – especially those focused on Fineco’s low-cost dealing fees – this may not be an issue.
Fineco’s interface is less consumer-friendly than, say, Hargreaves Lansdown. Maybe that’s because it is aimed at more serious traders. Or it could be the greater abundance of foreign stocks. For example, its “most popular securities” list includes Telecom Italia and Intesa SanPaolo, which will be less familiar to the average UK investor.
If you want to go beyond a standard share-dealing account and benefit from tax-advantaged programmes, you may also want to consider a FinecoBank Stocks & Shares ISA.
It always takes time to grow accustomed to a new platform, but, even so, this one didn’t really grab me out of the gate, and I struggled with some of its stock screening features, which I found overly complex. For me at least, the screeners didn’t produce anything I found especially clear or useful. I’m not the brightest with tech though, so savvier users may have better results there.
FinecoBank’s research offerings
You can research stocks according to a number of pre-set headings, such as “Foreign utility companies with a high return on capital”, “European stocks that may benefit from European Central Bank monetary policy”, and “Italian, Spanish and Portuguese stocks with strong growth prospects”. There’s even one for UK banks, oils and mining companies, called “God save the Queen”. Hmm…
It offers all sorts of tools to break down the lists of stocks, for example, by US, UK or European index, sector, performance and technicals, although I did find the Stock Screener a bit fiddly overall.
And let’s bear in mind here, if you’re an experienced investor that doesn’t need a lot of extra support, or you find investing ideas elsewhere (for instance, an ally like The Motley Fool!) the low dealing fees and non-existent platform fees may vastly outweigh these concerns.
Customer service and support
You can open your account online and Fineco says it should normally take up to 15 minutes. Gather your passport, tax residency, and other personal details first. Once you have set it up, its contact details include a UK 0800 number, otherwise, you can send an email to the service team. They promise an answer within one working day.
Is a FinecoBank Multi-Currency Trading Account a good choice for you?
Well that really depends on what you are looking for in a share dealing account. I really like Fineco’s low-cost charging structure. Those that really do want a multi-currency bank account, who regularly trade European and US stocks, or trade so regularly that they need the lowest possible fees may find the Fineco platform especially attractive.
Cost-conscious investors who are comfortable researching and finding investment ideas on their own may also appreciate the low-cost dealing charges on offer.
On the other hand, if you primarily want UK investments and put high value on an easy-to-use interface and tools, I think you may have more fun with one of the domestic UK trading platforms, even though you may have to pay for the pleasure through higher fees.
Alternatives to consider
If you’re in the market for a good-value investing platform that gives you plenty of trading tools and investment choice, here are some other accounts to consider:
- Interactive Investor Share Dealing Account
- Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
- IG Share Dealing Account
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