IG Review

IG is deservedly the biggest broker globally.

Nick's verdict

IG is the OG of investing. Despite being founded in 1974, it still offers one of the best trading experiences available today. It’s a serious product for serious traders. It doesn’t have the friendly design of some of the newer apps, but it does have powerful tools.

In addition to trading accounts, it offers ISAs for those looking for longer-term investments. The fees for these can be competitive compared to traditional brokers, as long as you plan to trade more than 3 times a month. Ready-made portfolios also give options to those who want others to do the hard work for them (for a reasonable fee). However, other platforms are easier for beginners, as IG mainly caters to those who want to become active traders rather than passive investors. If you’re in the latter camp, we can’t think of anyone better to go with you on the journey.

70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

🖥️ Fantastic trading platform.

🛠️ Powerful tooling.

💹 ISA is reasonable for those who frequently trade.

🧑🎓 Great news, research and education.

☎️ Responsive customer service (including a 24-hour phone line).

🤔 Fees can be complex.

🧩 Doesn’t allow fractional shares.

📱 Not as user-friendly as many of the newer services.


IG Group, founded in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler as IG Index, revolutionised the trading industry as the first spread betting company. Initially facilitating gold price trades without physical ownership, it has evolved over the years into a broader trading platform. Today, it’s the biggest in the industry with 178,000 clients around the world, 19,000 staff in the UK and a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

It does have products for longer-term investors like ISAs and General Investment Accounts, but it’s mainly known for offering spread betting and CFDs.

What Are Spread Betting and CFDs?

[.custom-color]They’re risky ways to invest – 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with IG.[.custom-color]

Spread betting and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are both financial derivatives that allow traders to speculate on the price movement of assets without owning the underlying assets.

A Contract for Difference (CFD) is a financial contract that lets you speculate on the rising or falling prices of assets, like stocks, without owning them. You and the seller agree to exchange the difference in the asset’s price from when the contract starts to when it ends. If the price rises and you predicted correctly, you profit; if it falls, you incur a loss. CFDs are popular for short-term trading and involve leverage, meaning you can trade with more money than you have, which can increase both gains and losses.

Spread betting is similar in that you bet on the direction of price movements of financial instruments, but with spread betting you bet a certain amount per point of movement (with CFDs you just trade on the actual price of the asset). Importantly, spread betting gains are free from capital gains tax.

Both are very risky options, not least because of leverage (which we explain later).

Account Options

[.custom-color]IG has options for active advanced traders as well as retail investors looking for more passive long-term returns.[.custom-color]

Spread Betting Account: Available only in the UK, this account offers trading on a wide range of markets without incurring capital gains tax.

CFD Trading Account: This account focuses on Contracts for Difference, providing access to over 18,000 global markets, including forex, stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.

Share Dealing Account: Suitable for those looking to invest directly in the stock market, it has access to a wide range of shares and ETFs.

Share Dealing ISA Account: A tax-efficient investment option for UK residents, allowing investments in shares and other eligible assets without paying capital gains tax on profits or income tax on dividends. Currently, you can put up to £20,000 a year into an ISA. IG’s ISAs are also flexible, meaning you can take money out and later replace it within the tax year without it counting twice towards your allowance limit.

Smart Portfolio Account: A “robo-advisory”, offering iShares ETF portfolios managed by BlackRock. In essence, you pick a portfolio based on your risk appetite and leave the active management of it to professionals. It’s a rival to services like Nutmeg and MoneyFarm. This is also available as an ISA.

IG Demo Account: A risk-free account with virtual funds, suitable for practising trading strategies​​​​.

Range of Investments

[.custom-color]IG has a huge range of investments.[.custom-color]

Shares: IG provides access to over 13,000 shares from various global markets, including Australia, the US, the UK, Europe, Canada, South Africa, and Asian countries. This is very comprehensive – eToro offers access to 3,000 stocks and XTB around 2,000.

Forex: It offers more than 80 Forex currency pairs, encompassing major, minor, and exotic FX crosses.

Indices: There are more than 38 indices available, which are essentially baskets of different blue-chip stocks. Some well-known examples of indices include the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the FTSE 100.

Commodities: IG offers trading in over 30 commodities, from oil to livestock.

Bonds: The platform provides access to more than 10 bonds, i.e. loans to governments or corporations. They are primarily based on government securities from the US, UK, EU, and Japan.

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): More than 1,500 ETFs are available, containing a variety of tradable assets. ETFs are simply baskets of stocks and assets centred around a certain theme (e.g. robotics, property or Asian companies). They provide a way to invest in certain categories without having to pick individual stocks.

Metals: IG offers trading in over 10 metals, including gold, silver, palladium, platinum, and various industrial metals.

Energies: The platform includes over 7 energy markets, covering crude oil (WTI, Brent), heating oil, gas oil, carbon emissions, gasoline, natural gas, and others.

Futures: There are 8 interest rate futures available, based on instruments like Euribor, Eurodollar, Euroswiss, Euroyen, and others.

Cryptocurrencies: IG offers trading on the price of eight major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum

IG doesn’t offer professionally managed funds, often called OEICs (Open-Ended Investment Companies) and we would like to see this added to the platform.

Sadly, they don’t offer fractional investing either. This is a cool feature that some new platforms (e.g. Freetrade) have introduced. It allows you to buy part of a share rather than a full share – which means you can invest in Microsoft, for example, without having to fork over several hundred dollars as a minimum.


[.custom-color]This refers to the practice of borrowing funds to amplify your trading position.[.custom-color]

For example, if you have £1,000 and use 10x leverage, you can control a position worth £10,000. While leverage can magnify potential profits, it also increases the risk of significant losses, as any price movement is proportionally amplified. It can be a really quick way to lose all your money so we would only recommend this to very advanced traders.

Typically IG offers 5:1 leverage on shares, 20:1 on indices and 30:1 for FX major currency pairs.


[.custom-color]IG is competitively priced.[.custom-color]

IG has two faces. One for those looking to trade CFDs and one for those looking to actually buy assets via an ISA or Smart Portfolio. We’ll break down the costs for each.

Trading Costs

If you’re going for a trading account and dealing in CFDs, you won’t pay account fees but instead will incur costs when you trade. There is one type of fee you are always charged:

Spread Fees: This is the main cost for most traders on IG. The “spread” is the difference between the asking price for an asset and the actual amount you pay. IG takes its profit from this. It’s really hard to do a direct comparison to competitors as the spreads vary a lot depending on what you are trading. Generally, IG’s spreads are competitive – but can be higher than eToro and XTB.

Plus there are other fees in specific circumstances:

Overnight Fees: Incurred when you keep hold of a CFD past 10 pm.

Inactivity Fees: If you don’t trade for 24 months, IG will start to charge £12 a month.

Shorting fees: This is charged at the market borrow rate plus a 0.5% administration charge.

Advanced trading fees: If you want direct market access for example.

Other fees may apply too. Trading CFDs can be complicated so always check the costs you will incur with IG.

Share Dealing Costs

IG’s fee structure is a bit weird. An account costs £8 a month, but this isn’t charged if you make 3 or more trades in a month. Here’s how the monthly cost stacks up against some rivals:

Fee Type IG Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor Freetrade
Account Fee £8/m or Free £3.75 £11.99 £4.99
Trading Fee $10 US, £8 UK £11.95 1 Free, £3.99 US/UK, £9.99 International Free
FX Fee 0.5% 1%+ 1.5%+ 0.59%

So IG’s costs don’t really make sense unless you’re an active investor, and you will need to make the 3 monthly trades to make it competitive against ii and HL. However, Freetrade blows them all out of the water on costs.

Smart Portfolio ISA Costs

The fees for this product are really cheap. Up to £50k, you will pay a management fee of 0.5% and then another 0.22% on average in fund and transaction fees – so 0.72% in total. Over £50k this will drop to 0.22% as IG waive their transaction fee.

By way of comparison, Nutmeg starts off at 1.1% for a similar service.

IG’s Platform & Features

Opening an Account

[.custom-color]In our test opening an account was quick and easy.[.custom-color]

Of course, you will be asked for basic details (including your National Insurance number). However, you will also need some ID (a passport or a driving licence is sufficient) plus “a utility bill, bank statement or credit card bill (excluding mobile phone bills) from the last six months”. These documents can usually be verified instantly.

If opening a CFD account, you will be quizzed on your financial knowledge and, if deemed to be too green, you won’t be allowed onto the platform.

The Main Trading Platform

IG Platform Overview

This pic shows the heart of the IG trading platform. On the left, you can select the category you are interested in – e.g. FX, shares or commodities. You can also search specifically for a particular instrument.

Once done, the middle of the screen will show you buy and sell prices as well as the absolute and percentage change in price across the day.

The right panel displays live pricing, complete with candlestick indicators. If you right-click here you can add indicators and technical charting (e.g. Elliot Waves).

It’s a deceptively simple yet incredibly powerful piece of software.

Other Features

There are also some other aspects of the platform we think are worth pointing out.

Performance Analytics: This tool helps traders understand their trading behaviour and performance. It provides personalised insights into profits and losses, trading habits, and other key metrics. Traders can track their success over time and identify areas for improvement.

MetaTrader 4 and ProReltime Integration: IG integrates with these popular third-party tools. You can use these platforms to run AI trading programs through IG.

Community Forum: While this isn’t as active as eToro’s community it still has a few thousand traders exchanging ideas.

After Hours Trading: You can trade 70 US stocks 24 hours a day, even when the markets are closed. This is handy as often American companies report quarterly earnings outside of hours.

Grey Market: Allows traders to speculate on a company’s market capitalization before it goes public, offering early trading opportunities on shares before their official stock market launch. This is a unique service.

Research, Trading Ideas and Education

[.custom-color]IG is a treasure trove of information.[.custom-color]

IG TV is particularly great. The content typically includes market updates, interviews with financial experts, trading strategies, and educational material, all aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of traders. As it has exclusive access to what traders are doing on its service it can often offer unique insights.

Their news section releases updates several times a day and the inclusion of a curated Twitter feed within the platform is a nice touch.

The IG Academy is also excellent. It’s aimed at teaching people how to become active traders rather than just casual investors.

How Good Is Customer Service?

[.custom-color]It’s fantastic.[.custom-color]

Customer service is available through both email and phone. Amazingly you can call them 24 hours a day from 8 am on Saturday to 10 pm on Friday! We gave them a call to test the service and, after selecting the reason for our call, we were connected instantly to a representative with no waiting time at all.

Is It Good For Beginners?

[.custom-color]No, you will want to build up to IG.[.custom-color]

IG’s built for intermediate to advanced investors. Its fee structure, especially on ISAs, is designed for people who are going to actively invest. The platform isn’t impenetrable, but it’s so powerful that it necessarily has a lot of options to pick from and that can be a little bewildering.

CFDs are IGs main focus and these are incredibly risky. Therefore, only go for IG when you have a good level of investing knowledge and experience.

Is IG Safe?

[.custom-color]IG is generally considered a safe trading platform.[.custom-color]

It’s regulated by top-tier financial authorities like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), ensuring a high standard of financial conduct. Additionally, it’s a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK, which offers protection up to £85,000 per investor if the firm faces financial difficulties

IG has a long track record, having been established in 1974, which adds to its credibility. Furthermore, client funds are kept in segregated accounts, adding an extra layer of security.

However, it’s important to note that all trading involves risk, and regulations and protections may vary by region.

So In Conclusion, Is IG A Good Broker?

Yes. IG is deservedly the biggest broker globally. The company knows the industry inside out and has kept itself relevant for decades by constantly updating its service in line with the needs of customers. The result is a simply awesome service at a reasonable cost.

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