Looking for a new broker

So I am in the market for a new broker, but I am looking for a more sophisticated one.

I want to trade stocks, but also FX, commodities and treasuries. I am not interested in CFD, but I basically want to build a multi-asset portfolio where I can re-allocate as the macro environment changes. Ideally, I would like to not pay commission.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

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Sounds like you are the sophisticated investor that IG targets if you want to invest in FX and commodities. Not sure you can invest in fixed income markets directly as an individual investor.

I thought about them, not too keen on their fees. deGiro seems more attractive in that sense.

However, I think I’ll change my tack a bit. I found a whole basket of ETFs that focus on the relevant asset classes, so I’ll tackle my multi-asset portfolio with those, and then for a few categories where I am more knowledgeable I’ll handpick stocks - ie technology. That’s where GI comes in.

Considering 212 but still apprehensive as their main business models is CFD and have heard some horror stories about them. May hold out for Robinhood who will launch “early 2020”, although that may be delayed with their recent outages. Who knows.

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For me personally I’m using AJ Bell as my main broker right now. However they don’t cover your FX needs. Like yourself I use different funds for more bespoke exposures I want without having to use multiple platforms.

Saxo might be an interesting option for you, if you want a one stop shop that is. Otherwise you can Frankenstein a solution across a few different brokers.

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Thanks, will look into all of those.

@Codf also mentioned to me that RobinHood will launch without an ISA initially, so that won’t be an option for me anyways until they have one.

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Hey @Marsares, this is sparklesandsweat from the FT community - also looking for a new broker; Codf pointed me in the direction of this forum (i’m also an investor in genuineimpact).

Trading212 has, reluctantly, been my choice. Whilst their reputation is terrible (CFD focus, erroneously charging stamp duty, shilling, bitcoin scandal, etc) it gets the job done; Definitely the most advanced platform on the market rn (zero comission, ~3k securities, fractional shares, etc), I don’t think anyone would question that. I would jump to HL, say, in a heartbeat if they went mobile-first and zero commision though - trust is everything.

Decision’s yours ofcourse, but just wanted to give my take.

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HL’s app is quite decent, not as slick as neo-brokers but it gives enough customer thought such as limit order. Would they go zero commission? I doubt it unless neo-brokers status is as strong as RH is in the US to incumbents.

Thanks for investing in us :slight_smile:

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This is starting to sum up my thoughts. Made an account with them, haven’t transferred money in yet. Something is holding me back.

@Codf mentioned they do in-specie ISA transfer as a trial now, that could be useful. Just nervous about missing ISA deadline as they can’t give guarantees around timeline.

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As a rough guide, Cash ISA to Stocks ISA takes around 14-days. Stocks ISA to Stocks ISA is normally about 30-days. However it also depends on whether the companies need a physical signature or whether they can do a electronic transfer. Also it depends on how busy the providers are.

If I wanted to max out this years allowance and wanted to transfer out of a provider then I’d max out that ISA and then initiate the transfer.

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Hoping Freetrade can get a shuffle on with the transfer. You’d imagine T212 and Freetrade are as digital as can be.

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I wouldn’t count on it as Freetrade’s transfer in is via a physical form

Presumably transfer out also requires one from the new ISA manager.

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Yeah it’s a paper form. You provide all the info and it generates a form. It’s an in-specie transfer too, so I imagine Freetrade won’t be able to handle it.

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Thanks for all that info guys.

I will max out 2019 ISA in FreeTrade, buy the stocks I wanted on their platform, then after 14th April top up my 2020 ISA in 212, buy the stocks I couldn’t get on FreeTrade there (eg TradeDesk), and then ultimately transfer my FreeTrade one into my 212 one.

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Smart move.

Transfers can always be a pain. However, once you have the wrapper locked in it’s less of a worry and the pressure is off. Worst case, just get the cash into the wrapper (some providers offer solutions where you can kick off the process on the day and they will back date the money as arriving within the period, shouldn’t be an issue with instant transfers.)

Some providers still hand write cheques and mail them to the new provider, it’s a real nightmare. That said in-specie ISA transfer is normally pretty good (compared to SIPPs that is.)

You can open your new ISA now, as long as you don’t fund it in this tax year. Whatever works best for you.

In terms of pricing for ISAs with the traditional players, Lang Cat is an incredible resource. They haven’t done too much with the CFD platforms that have moved into XO or the new commission free brokers.

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So my thinking has evolved and I am now gravitating towards Saxo. @alister.sneddon, thanks for that tip.

Their fees are dearer than I would like (£8 for US, £10 for UK) - cheaper than HL, more expensive than IG, definitely not a zero-commission. But as I am typically a Long investor and invest in £1-2k blocks, it should be manageable.

The main reason is that they got all the stocks and ETFs I want on their platform, can wrap them in an ISA, but then also have options (call/put) for hedging and long-term options, as well as CFD for intra-day exposure.

Their app is alright, functional enough, but not brilliant, but their desktop web app is brilliant and the downloadable Pro version looks crazy good.

Most importantly, it allows me to follow my revised investment strategy, which will be

  • 70% a basket of ETFs that I rotate in and out on the basis of the economic cycle. Exposure will be across 7 asset classes (ie commodities, domestic equities, emerging markets, currencies, domestic fixed income, international equities, international fixed income), and across geographies.
  • 30% will be high conviction stock picking
  • both long ETFs and stocks will be complemented with medium to long term put options for hedging and extra income.
  • opportunistically I will do intraday CFD

The idea is to move away from long stocks only, towards multi-asset with hedging in order to outperform but also risk manage as the economic cycle changes.

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Saxo is strong when it comes to range of investments and options.

Most people I know with Saxo are there for the options. Depending how frequently you want to hedge and use options they do tend to look after anyone who self classifies as a professional trader.

I like the 70/30 split, I roughly follow the same style. I have 70 in my funds with the long term exposures I want, 20 in high conviction stock picking, and finally 10 in what I consider wild bets. Really I can move the final 10 out the ISA and keep the whole thing long term, but it’s easier for me to manage this way right now.

For me personally I only use options as the writer with a lot of stop losses for my own protections. Makes for very reliable small amount of income, but requires a lot of parked capital, generally makes it more effort that it’s worth in my case.

Be sure to let us know how you get on with the brokers and share your feedback! Always good to hear more views on all the different options out there.

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I think that once I am comfortable, I’ll be doing a fair amount of long puts. In any part of economic cycle, there are always industries, geographies and currencies that are underperforming.

I became member of a risk management firm to help with my process of investing, and they truly opened my eyes. From being a long stock picker, I have massively evolved my thinking, and will follow their philosophy more. Part of that is long puts on a variety of stocks and ETFs.

Part of my membership is around stocks and the other around ETFs, currently they’re not long in any stock (they advocate cash for the moment) and actively short 9 of stocks. They’re only long on three ETFs (TLT, SHY and UUP) at the moment, and short 9 as well. They don’t even advocate gold at the moment, as there is a difference between physical gold and paper gold like ETFs that focus on it (need to get my head around that one!). Obviously, that’s partially the environment we’re currently in, but even during bullish trends they short quite a bit.

I’ll make a post soon about their process and offering. They don’t tell you what to do, they give you the tools, info and articulate their process, but how you apply it to investing is up to you.

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Interesting point on brokers and the current virus pandemic.

Without getting too technical, most brokers will take your order and check who offers the best “price” (less expensive for buying, most expensive for selling) by using multiple 3rd party companies who check the various open trades (order books) and other professional traders (market makers, institutional investors.) Whoever offers the best price for you, they will display this offer on screen and give you a few seconds to review and accept.

This is the case with live trading, limit orders follow a similar process but you don’t get a chance to review the order once it meets your criteria.

On AJ Bell YouInvest they have this notice up.

As market volatility is very high at the moment, quotes when buying or selling shares may expire early. This volatility may also prevent limit and stop-loss orders from completing as usual – please visit ‘Active orders’ to check their status.

I wonder how many other brokers are experiences the same thing? Given most of the major brokers actually use the same 3rd parties behind the scenes (some minor implementation differences) it would make sense all of them are seeing a lot of failed orders.

Just because you see the price confirmation showing up on screen, doesn’t always mean it’s guaranteed (thus why some brokers tell you they got an even better price upon confirmation/execution.)

It’s interesting to see which brokers are trying to calm their users and the ones which want to encourage you to trade during this time.

Just got my account with Saxo approved, although it’s the trading account and am still waiting fort ISA one, so will are how they handle it.

With FreeTrade, they don’t show anything. You lodge your order and then when it’s completed it is what it is, quite some people got badly stung by the volatility there with prices well below expected prices.

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A large raise by an EU broker, not open for UK nationals just yet.

They want to expand in the EU and I fear that means missing out on the UK :frowning:

Hopefully we keep seeing some new brokers opening up in the UK. It’s a mature market and one of the regulatory leaders, but the competition might be too hot to enter right now.

Might be stuck with the brokers we have for some time!

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