Best Of The Rest?... Or Best Of The Best?
IG has been a UK-registered business since 1974, when it was known as IG Index. Back in the day, it was designed as a means for investors to speculate on the price of gold...
The service/company is part of a much larger group (IG Group Holdings plc) which is traded on the FTSE 250. This means that it's not only a company with heritage (suggesting a strong pedigree & expertise), but is also backed by a substantive set of assets.
In other words, it's not just 2 guys working out of a garage; IG Group Holdings has a market cap of over £2.9bn. This is on top of it being at the forefront of innovation, having released the first online trading service in 1998 and providing the first iPhone trading portal in 2008.
The company currently has around 150,000 clients with a physical presence in 15 countries. It's the preferred choice of more experienced traders, who may have used it back in their days with an investment bank. The broad reach of IG's technology infrastructure means that its clients are able to trade 9000+ shares with its system.
In terms of whether the system is useful for newbie traders - obviously it depends on what the trader requires. Most brokers / platforms are designed to provide users with the ability to engage in as quick trades as possible, often skipping non-essential functionality, such as insights and other info.
We've found that whilst IG's offering is substantive, its name is the biggest asset it possesses. Very few brokers can boast such a long heritage, and even fewer have the technical prowess sported by the company. To this end, if you are confident with trading the fiscal markets, and are looking for a partner rather than a broker, you may be best placed to look into IG more closely.
This review will examine the pro's and con's.
What is IG?
Originally Founded In 1974
The original "IG Index" company was founded in 1974 to provide speculative functionality for the gold markets. This doesn't really matter in itself; the important thing is that the IG Markets company has over 40 years of experience in its field.
Part of IG Group Holdings, plc (FTSE 250 Company)
Rather than being a small little broker that was set up 2 years ago, IG is part of a £2.9bn group that are listed in the public stock exchange of the UK. This was done to add credibility to the company, in a market where transparency is rare.
Probably not that big of a deal anymore (most brokers have a mobile app), it must be stated that IG were the first to release a mobile-only broker app. This should go some way to demonstrate the level at which the company is able to operate (especially from a technical/innovative perspective).
Contrary to popular belief, the system itself actually supports a number of educational resources in the form of courses & other things. These are provided through their web based interface.
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The IG business model is simple - provide traders with the most effective, efficient and substantive platform and let them do the rest. Unlike other "new" brokers, they don't pretend to offer instructional information or other gimmicks; they're a hardcore broker designed to bring their quality to the digital age...
The way the system works is very similar to all the other "brokers" out there - they provide a real-time platform (either natively or through the web) through-which users are able to track their current trades, as well as any further growth the may have had.
The system provides access to over 9,000 different markets (shares/ISA's/funds/commodities) which they are able to trade instantaneously.
The market-maker aspect to the system has been designed to give the user the ability to see historic information about the various assets they're viewing. The most important thing about this is that the system is able to provide you with near-instant entries & exists, with millions of trades being made around the clock.
Low commission rates are also provided, with "commission per trade" at £8 if the number of trades has been 0-9 in the previous month; if more than 10 trades were made the previous month this rate is only £5. These low fees, coupled with the expedited service, have made the platform one of the truly powerful brokers in the game.
Who Created It?
IG Markets was originally founded in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler, who created a "spread betting" business named IG Index (Investors Gold Index). In 2000, the company was listed on the FTSE 250 as IG Group plc, renaming to IG Group Holdings plc several years later.
Stuart Wheeler is a renowned investor, who originally trained as a barrister, with a law degree from Oxford before moving into investment banking. He set up IG when gold, and foreign exchange, was a notoriously difficult market to get into as a retail buyer - his company provided retail traders the ability to profit from gold prices without having to go through the process of buying any of the asset itself.
Seen as a pioneer in the "spread betting" industry, wheeler left the business in 2008 with a supposed personal wealth of around £90m. He bought a castle and now has very little to do with IG...
Today, IG is managed by a professional management team with over 1,400 staff around the world. The company has a strong pedigree with technology and is able to provide real-time services to over 150,000 clients.
As with most other brokers, the functionality is somewhat similar (live tracking etc) - the key is that if you're looking to provide users with the ability to further their trading experience, other aspects to the system may be required; from having
IG Live is operated each day and is basically a
This is kind of like a "Bloomberg" type service, which provides daily insights and tips about how improve/maximize trading opportunities.
The service itself is only as valuable as the people delivering it, which is why they have a number of different "shows" you can watch. Whilst the content is generally quite generic, the system itself provides a lot of depth to trades you may be looking at pursuing.
This is the core product - a platform/broker solution that allows retail & institutional traders the ability to buy/sell shares, stocks and commodities across a range of global markets.
Whilst the system is one of the best, due to pressure from new competitors, the company has looked around at trying to find new avenues for growth, hence its forays into education.
IG also offers an "education" section within its mobile app and web based platform.
IG is, has been, and will continue to be used by a large number of highly successful traders & investors around the world.
As one of the few brokerage companies to have been founded before the "Internet" / "IT" revolution, its history (dating back from 1974) puts it in a prime position to provide users with not only an effective means of exchange, but the accompanying functionality required to get the most out of the system.
We've found the best brokers/platforms are constantly innovating, and are almost always focused on quality rather than quantity. You'll hear a lot about the likes of eToro having 4.5m+ users - but most of them won't make a penny in profit. IG's clientele are as experienced as they are diverse, and that makes a major difference...
All of this points to a simple conclusion - the IG platform, its staff and clients are all geared towards success.
Unlike many other platforms (which are focused on either providing some particular piece of functionality or trying to educate beginner traders), IG has the decades of experience behind its technology & ideas.
Commissions are competitive and the overall system was designed to provide for intermediate traders-onwards.
The only drawbacks are that the support staff can be somewhat impersonal (they have to handle many requests very quickly), and the lack of quality information in its platform is telling of its inexperience with the "personal trading" space.
In all, we're extremely pleased with IG's offering and give it a 4.5 / 5 star rating. It's especially recommended for the intermediate trader, who may have had previous experience with an institutional company (such as Goldman Sachs etc).
As mentioned, the only drawbacks in the system were its lack of commitment to its online share trading/fundamental analysis functionality. If this, and a lack of company profile information & deeper information regarding different sources of data, somewhat diminishes the product's overall value.
It's probably best to describe the solution as short & sharp. Rather than providing a bounty of gimmicky/gamified features, it's able to provide people with the ability to make quick decisions and implement them effectively.
To this end, our recommendation for the system is for those who do not need further support - and are already familiar with the way in which market trading works...