Our bottom line
The IG Stocks & Shares ISA not only offers a huge choice of investments, but also two solid account type choice options. You can opt for IG’s successful Share Dealing account, which offers active investors cheap commissions and a large variety of investments. Alternatively, if you like a more managed approach, then you can go with IG’s Smart Portfolio ISA, where your investments are fully managed based on your chosen risk profile. Plus, if you just can’t choose between the two, there is also the option to split your ISA allowance between the two account types.
Top feature of IG’s Stocks & Shares ISA
The top feature of IG’s Stocks & Shares ISA is having two solid account options to choose from. As an established online trader, IG is simply offering customers what it does best – but with the benefit of a tax wrapper around it.
Its Share Dealing ISA benefits those who are fairly active on a consistent basis. Commission fees are weighted towards those who trade regularly. It also has a huge range of resources and investment options to choose from.
Meanwhile, its Smart Portfolio ISA gives you a fully managed portfolio based on your chosen risk profile. The management fee is low at 0.5%, and there are no withdrawal or inactivity fees to contend with.
IG also offers the option to split your ISA allowance between the two account types. While you are still only paying into one ISA, you could benefit from the two different approaches. The ease of a fully managed portfolio for some of your money, and the ability to be in control and make your own investment decisions with the rest. However, it’s worth noting, if you’re ever unsure about the suitability of an investment for your own circumstances, please seek independent financial advice.
IG’s commission prices
The commission prices for IG’s Stocks & Shares ISA are relatively good value if you are an active trader. If you plan to make three or more trades per month, then commission is only £3 for UK shares and £0 for US shares during the following month. However, if you make two or fewer trades during the month, you can expect to pay £8 for UK shares and £10 for US shares. Other international shares are available and have a €10/A$10 minimum online charge and 0.1% commission per trade.
The pricing structure is slightly different for IG’s Smart Portfolio ISA account. There is a management fee of 0.5%, average fund costs of 0.14% and transaction costs of 0.07%. Wealth management fees are capped at £250 for the year.
Fees you should know about
IG’s fees can be tricky to get your head round in the first place, and with two account types this can get even more confusing.
The Smart Portfolio ISA is relatively simple. Other than the management fee, average fund costs and transaction costs, the only thing you have to contend with is a 0.50% foreign exchange fee when IG convert dividends paid in foreign currency back into Pounds Sterling. You are also exempt from the custody fee if you have £15,000 invested in your Smart Portfolio account.
When it comes to IG’s Share Dealing ISA, there are a few fees you need to be aware of. Firstly, if you make less than three trades in a quarter, there is a £24 quarterly custody fee. Secondly, it pays to use the mobile or tablet app, as there are significant charges for dealing over the phone: £40 for UK shares, £50 for US shares, €50 for European shares, A$50 for Australian shares. Finally, there is a £15 fee for same-day bank transfers less than £100.
Buying shares, ETFs and funds with an IG Stocks & Shares ISA
When it comes to buying shares, ETFs and funds with IG, you can do this using your bank card or PayPal. These transactions are typically processed immediately. If you opt to do a bank transfer, this may take a few days to process.
The IG Stocks & Shares ISA has over 16,000 global stocks and ETFs to choose from. Neither the Share Dealing or Smart Portfolio ISA carry any exit or withdrawal fees, making it straightforward to remove funds when you want.
As an established online trader with over 45 years of market experience, IG’s platform is detailed and functional. Experienced investors will appreciate the quantity and quality of resources available.
The website’s share dealing interface separates all shares available by country and the exchange they are listed on. There is also a simple alphabetical menu for searching through available investments.
The platform also allows you to create your own watchlists easily, customising your interface so you can track companies or markets you are interested in. However, if you want a more general view, then it also has some predefined watchlist categories, which make it easy to find the most popular options.
The app is also fully functional and practical, and a little more streamlined than the website interface.
IG’s research offerings
The biggest resource that IG has on offer is its IG Academy. Here you can learn more about investing and trading, and also access IG’s demo account. As part of this you are ‘given’ £10,000 of virtual funds so that you can start practising your investment strategies before committing to a live account.
The IG Academy also offers free online courses, webinars and seminars designed to help you hone your investment skills. These include beginner courses such as ‘How does trading work?’, as well as more advanced subjects such as ‘Understanding risk and reward’.
Service and support
Account opening is quick and easy. If you opt to go for the Share Dealing ISA, you will need to set up an IG Share Dealing account and then choose to ‘add ISA’. For the Smart Portfolio account, you will need to select ‘ISA’ as a wrapper on your investment when filling out your application form.
IG has an extensive FAQ section on its website, as well as a live chat function that is available 24 hours a day Monday to Friday. There is also a non-urgent email address and a telephone number for urgent enquiries. For those who want to receive some peer support, IG also has an online forum where you can have your questions answered by like-minded traders or by IG staff.
Is IG’s Stocks & Shares ISA a good choice for you?
If you are an active trader who is looking for complete access to a range of markets and trading instruments, then you might like IG’s Stocks & Shares ISA. The detailed platform and educational resources are all there to help you hone your trading skills and take control of your investments. If a fully managed portfolio is more your style, then you may like the Smart Portfolio ISA which has a low management fee based on your chosen risk profile. Plus, you always have the option to split your ISA allowance between the two account types.
The IG platform is geared towards experienced traders who know financial markets and have a good amount of knowledge. So while the ISA aspect provides a tax-efficient wrapper, it is worth keeping in mind that investments still carry risk. This is the type of account where it helps to have experience on your side.
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