How did we choose our best stock brokers in the UK?
The first thing we did was to make sure that any broker under consideration for the best stock brokers in the UK was regulated by the FCA. This is the regulatory authority for stock brokerages who provide online stock trading to traders located in the UK. Upon confirmation that the broker was regulated to operate in the UK, we conducted detailed research and analysis on the trading services that they provide. Based on our findings of what we consider to be some of the key factors to consider when choosing an online stock broker, we were then able to give them a stock broker rating. Amongst the most important things we considered include:
- Regulation: A UK stock broker should be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Stock Trading Platforms: The stock broker should have a range of the best stock trading platforms with user friendly interfaces and trading tools for analysing the stock markets. The platforms should be compatible on desktop, web and mobile devices for trading stocks whilst on the move.
- Stock Trading Instruments: The stock broker should offer a large selection of global stocks in different markets for trading online.
- Spreads: The stock brokers spreads should be competitive, the tighter the better.
- Commission: The commission charged for trading stocks should be priced low.
- Fees: Other fees such as those charged for deposits, withdrawals, account inactivity, holding positions overnight, etc, should all be made clear.
- Execution Speeds: Traders buy or sell stock positions should be entered with minimal slippage.
- Liquidity Providers: The stock broker should incorporate top tier liquidity providers (LPs) in order to offer a deep liquidity pool to traders.
- Stock Trading Tools: There should be a good selection of trading tools for analysing the stock markets, planning/managing stock positions, stock trading signals, social trading, etc.
- Educational Materials: The stock broker should offer traders a range of educational resources on various stock trading topics to help them improve their trading skills and knowledge. Training tools can include video tutorials, stock trading guides, webinars, etc.
- Stock Trading Accounts: The stock broker should offer a choice of flexible trading accounts to cater for different levels of investment and experience levels.
- Account Deposit & Withdrawal Options: There should be a choice of convenient account funding methods, including online payment processors for fast and easy account funding.
- Client Support: The online stock brokerage should offer efficient and well-educated client support in order to respond in a prompt and efficient manner to all general and technical questions that traders may have.
UK stock brokers regulation
In a nutshell, stock trading is a popular form of online trading that enables the trader to speculate on the rising or falling prices of a particular company or basket of selected stocks known as Indices. An online stock broker acts as the intermediary between you the trader and the exchange where the stocks are traded. Anyone can open a trading account with an online brokerage and use their online stock trading platform to buy and sell stocks. In recent years, online stock trading has continued to increase in popularity and with so many UK stock brokerages to choose from, it can make it difficult for traders to choose the best stock broker in the UK for them.
For us here at Trading Brokers, we believe that one of the most important things to consider when choosing from the best UK stock brokers, is that the brokerage firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Using a regulated UK stock broker can give online traders the peace of mind that they are using a stock brokerage that must abide by strict rules and regulations put in place to protect investors.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is an independent public body that regulates the financial services industry in the United Kingdom. Its role is to help protect consumers, keeping the industry stable, and promoting healthy competition between financial service providers.
The FCA was established from the Financial Services Act 2012 replacing the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Its purpose was to create a new regulatory framework for financial services, including forex brokers. The FCA is funded through charging fees to members of the financial services industry. It is, however, still accountable to the Treasury and to Parliament.
The FCA has the power to regulate how financial products are marketed and to set minimum standards and requirements on products that firms offer. They also have the power to investigate financial organisations and individuals. With the possibility of imposing bans on those who breach the regulations put in place to protect investors. The FCA is able to ban financial products for up to a year while considering an indefinite ban. Further, the FCA is able to freeze assets of individuals or organisations under investigation.
By trading online with a broker that is regulated by the FCA, there is also the benefit of protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). FCA regulated firms are required to become a member of the FSCS. The aim of this scheme is to offer the possibility of compensation to eligible clients if the broker runs into financial issues. The FSCS gives protection up to a maximum amount of £50,000. In the event of liquidation, those who qualify can receive up to 100% of their money for claims up to £30,000 and a maximum of 90% for claims above £50,000.
It should be considered that there will likely be some non-UK stock brokers that still offer their services to traders in the UK. There will also be some UK stock brokers who offer online stock trading to traders that are located in countries outside of the UK. It would usually be considered a wise idea to make sure that the stock broker in question is regulated in the jurisdiction in which they are operating from.
Verifying a UK stock brokers regulation
If a stock broker claims to be licensed by the FCA to operate in the United Kingdom (UK), they should have a registration number to evidence this. This registration number will usually be located near the footer of the brokers official website. It would be a sensible idea to check that the brokers registration is valid and up to date on the official FCA website. There are unfortunately scam brokers to be wary of. These scam brokers have been known to fake regulation with some even going as far to clone another brokers website. When you are checking a broker’s registration number, you should verify that the details of the brokerage firm including their website and contact details are provided and if they have any cases brought against them.