Dec 312011
 

One regular question about the UK online stock brokers list and UK international stock brokers list is whether any UK stock brokers will open accounts for non-residents.

Generally, many of the UK stock brokers are not very helpful on this score, due to a combination of money laundering regulations and a tendency to regard overseas clients as a hassle. (The same problem is true for non-residents wanting to open an UK bank account.)

There are a handful of UK stock brokers that indicate they will deal with non-residents, but investors report different levels of success opening and using accounts. It may depend on whether you are a UK citizen but non-resident, whether you are neither a citizen nor a resident, whether you are resident in the European Economic Area (EEA), whether you have a UK bank account and even who you speak to at the company.

The following firms have been reported to open online trading accounts for at least some non-residents and are so probably worth investigating first:

  • TD Direct Investing (formerly TD Waterhouse) has an Overseas Resident Trading Account. Reports of success opening one vary and it may be available to EEA residents only. UPDATE: Some readers (e.g. see comments below) have reported that TDDI is now closing accounts held by some non-residents. References to the Overseas Resident Trading Account on the main TDDI site are few and links to TD Direct Investing International (formerly Internaxx) in Luxembourg are more prominent, suggesting they may be aiming to steer new non-resident clients there.
  • A large number of non-residents have said that Fastrade/Charles Stanley is willing to open accounts for them. It may also be worth investigating Stocktrade/Brewin Dolphin, which is a similar type of firm and does not explicitly rule out non-residents.
  • SVS Securities says on its website that it will open accounts for non-residents with a UK bank account.
  • One non-resident reader of this site has reported that Saga Share Direct was willing to open an account for him. However, the Saga service is operated by Barclays Stockbrokers who apparently do not deal with non-residents, so it seems possible that there may be some miscommunication involved and there might be a risk of the account being shut down on review by Barclays. UPDATE: It’s not clear whether Barclays will accept non-residents now or not – see comments below.
  • Another non-resident reader has reported opening an account with Sucden and finding staff there very helpful. Sucden isn’t the cheapest choice, but it offers a wider range of assets than most UK brokers (including stock options), so it may appeal to clients keen to trade several types of instrument through a single account.

Elsewhere, the multinational firms Interactive Brokers or Saxo Bank will almost certainly accept you through one arm or another and give you low-cost access to the UK market. However, whether that would be through the UK office or whether they would allow you to link to a UK bank account (if you have one) isn’t clear – it may depend on where you are resident.

Beyond these possibilities, it’s always worth approaching a specific firm to ask if they’ll deal with you. However be aware that some non-residents have reported success opening accounts, only to have it shut down months later, so make sure you get confirmation that non-residents are permitted from somebody who is in a position to know.

In general, you may find the traditional stock brokers are more welcoming than many of the discount stock brokers, because their business is less focused on maximising volume and minimising complications. However, some of these firms offer telephone dealing only, while online trading will often be more convenient for non-residents.

All the above assumes you are not a US resident. If you are, things get tougher due to foreign stock brokers wanting to avoid issues with Regulation S and now FATCA. No UK brokers are confirmed to deal with US clients, although obviously you can trade UK stocks through some of the US international stock brokers.

Any extra feedback from non-residents who have successfully opened accounts (or have confirmed that it’s not possible) with the stock brokers mentioned above or any others is very welcome. Please add a comment below or use the contact email form.

  28 Responses to “UK stock broker accounts for non-residents”

  1. Do you trade UK warrants? Is there any office in Hong Kong and your address/Tel. number in Hong Kong and how can I contact you?

    • Hi,

      This site does not offer any trading services – it only provides information on which stock brokers are available. You will need to contact one of the listed stock brokers directly.

      Most UK stock brokers should offer trading in UK-listed warrants, but warrants are less common in the UK than Hong Kong and there won’t be such a large choice.

  2. TD Waterhouse are in the process of closing traders accounts who are resident in Japan.

    I have contacted some of the suggested companies who appear to offer their services to non-residents and will update when/if I am successful.

    • Thanks Paul.

      I’m not entirely surprised to hear that – there was a hint recently that they may try to move international clients out of TDDI UK and into TDDI International in Luxembourg (formerly Internaxx). Not sure if TDDI International will accept clients resident in Japan.

      • Cant believe TD done this to me after being with them for over 10 years. It was sudden too. My dividends and recent stocks I bought for dividends have all got to be cashed in before the dividend date.
        Pretty shoddy treatment telling me/us 3 weeks before closure. They should have given at least 6 months notice. TD international deal with EU only residents or so it appears. No UK broker will touch me unless I have a registered UK address by the way I am in Japan.
        There is a company in Gibraltar I looked at. Not sure if it is for me but it looks like one of the more promising ones I have checked out. http://www.investorseurope.com/terms_conditions.html
        In the mean time I guess I will have to make do with an index tracker. Happy hunting

        • I think the Investors Europe model is to be an introducing broker/white label for a number of other platforms, rather than operating their own brokerage. I have no view on them one way or another, but it may be worth trying to work out what the underlying firms they use are and whether you can go direct for a better deal.

          Depending on what you need, Interactive Brokers and Saxo are probably worth investigating – both have Japanese offices and seem to be willing to accept clients with most residencies anyway (US ones for Saxo excepted).

          • I am also resident in Japan and also got shafted by TD. I have been searching like others for a broker who will take my business. It looks like HB Markets will take you on as an advisory account, which means you get assigned a dedicated broker, whatever that means, them trying to sell you stuff, and get charged 1.65% commission for each trade, buying and selling. I also tried Saxo, since they have offices in Japan, but they will only accept Yen deposits, foreign bank accounts are not acceptable (so no dealing in UK stocks out of your UK bank account) and they will only sign you up if you can understand their agreement, which of course is all in Japanese.
            And so the possibilities get fewer.
            If anyone finds someone who will accept us offshorers, they are in for some business.

          • Thanks, that’s useful information re Saxo. Have you tried Interactive Brokers? – they might have different policies. The minimum monthly commissions are a downside, but overall rates are cheap, so they could still work out cost-effective (though some people find the support a bit too sparse).

            Regarding advisory firms, they tend to be more flexible. In that area, it might be worth trying firms such as Charles Stanley and Brewin Dolphin first since they also have execution-only arms – Charles Stanley Direct (formerly Fastrade) and Stocktrade respectively – who reportedly take non-residents and are obviously cheaper than the advisory service.

            HB Markets’ online execution-only service (as distinct from its advisory service) is a white label of Simply Stockbroking, so whether they will take execution-only clients would depend on Simply Stockbroking’s policies I imagine.

          • Chris,
            Interactive have replied to my inquiry saying that they will accept applications from Japanese residents and that I can use my UK bank to fund purchases, but I didn’t know they have a minimum monthly commission, so that’s something I’ll have to find out about and consider. As for sparse support, haven’t heard anything about it, but their response to my email was pretty sharp, but that may be until they get you on board, but hey, when there is no alternative (so far) what can you do?

          • They target reasonably active traders, so they charge a minimum commission of US$10 per month, which some infrequent users don’t like. That said, their commissions are so low compared to most firms (including the FX conversion charges) and there are no corporate action/handling charges, so that they can still be pretty cost-effective for even infrequent traders.

            Support-wise, they respond to queries pretty quickly, but they don’t want to do much handholding and it’s not the most intuitive platform around (though the FAQs on the site are reasonably good). But they’re fine if you know what you’re doing – I just tend to point that out so new/inexperienced investors understand what to expect.

    • I am resident in Bahrain and also got a peremptory email from TD Direct on 6 March 2013 telling me that my account is being closed (notionally 30 days’ notice but the email came late) on the basis that I live in a “high risk jurisdiction”. I asked to speak to Andy Ratcliffe, Senior Manager Operations, whose name the email was sent over, and was brusquely told by the ‘customer service’ supervisor, Andy Cruddace, that this was not possible; nor would he give me his email address. Couldn’t/wouldn’t explain what they mean by ‘high risk jurisdiction’ – and would that include Japan (@John)? To top it all, I was told, “It doesn’t matter what you think; we’re closing your account”. Lamentable customer service, so I they are probably doing us a favour in the end. I will be writing to the Ministry of Finance in Bahrain and the British Embassy for their reaction to the new designation.

      On a more positive note, Cris, Barclays Stockbrokers indicated no restriction on opening an account when I called them yesterday, though I will get that confirmed in writing.

  3. Cris
    Apologies – email address wrongly entered in my first message. The one above is correct.

  4. In the same situation with TD Direct, living in Japan and none too happy about the short notice. I got in touch with Sucden Financial, and they got back very quickly. This is what they said:

    “Many thanks for your email. I have attached some information about Sucden Financial that I hope will be of interest to you.

    I am pleased to confirm that Sucden are indeed able to open accounts for overseas clients. I confirm that it would also be possible to transfer shares from TD Waterhouse to ourselves.”

    Has anyone else switched to them?

  5. Greetings to Brit’s living abroad. UK Stock Brokers these days are so out of touch and too scared to step out of line with the majority that very few will entertain or support this vast group of investors, even though all retain their N.I . No.. UK bank account(s) and pay UK tax in some form or other.

    You should try James Brearley & Sons Ltd., based in Blackpool. Internet trading account with cash account with no extra fees other than reasonable dealing charges. The service is first class. Take a look.

    Regards,… Jeff

  6. I am resident in Japan and had no problem opening an account with Barclays Stockbrokers in the UK.

    • I just called Barclays Stockbrokers and they were adamant that they absolutely no longer work with overseas residents. I’m British, have a UK bank account, submit a tax return annually, and have N I number!!! I can’t believe that Woody was able to open one….. will it stay open I wonder?

    • Im also U.K. citizen living in Japan and just called barclays. They told me I can open an account but I’d need to send in the post a completed appication form (which they email to you).

    • What did you do about their requirement to have a notarised (is that the correct word) copy of your passport?

      I’ve had trouble before in Japan getting anyone to witness my passport, as bank managers etc.. don’t seem to do that here.

      —-

      Which broker would people recommend for an infrequent trader in Japan (but with money in sterling in a UK bank account)?
      I was mostly thinking of buying a whole load of Vanguard ETFs (usd?) and maybe something similar in the UK/Japan to guard against future currency fluctuations. But I’m not planning on making regular trades or trying lots of international markets,
      The options for people in Japan seem limited.

      Oh, I tried TD International and they said they aren’t doing accounts for people in Japan.
      Interactive brokers seems good, but I’m rather put off by the monthly charge.
      Barclays sounds like the next best option. Would people agree?
      It sounds like Charles Stanley, etc.. are expensive.
      Or Schwab in the USA seems like an option.

      When choosing, would it be better to get a UK one (as my money is in sterling) or a USA one (if buying Vanguard ETFs)? The fee structures and currency exchange charges are very hard to get your head around and compare.

  7. I am resident in Guernsey

    I have a limited company in Guernsey

    I am looking for a stockbroker who I can set up an account with execution only on the Internet

    Regards

    D Bridle

  8. barclays give wrong info regularly. problem is the junior staff don’t know or understand the reasons for, their own regulations. non uk residents MUST live in the European Economic Area (EEA)- as you will eventually find out after first being told expats in se asia are welcome..dr denis

  9. I live in Eastern Europe and just before Christmas I received an email from TDW telling me to close my account. I’ve used them for 15-years (since before they re-branded) and paid over 15k in commissions.

    Though they hold my money – and I haven’t paid anything into my account since my initial deposit 15-yrs ago – they told me that I am a money-laundering risk to them!

    As many have posted, I too have UK bank accounts and pay UK tax and hold a NI number.
    Very shoddy treatment.

    Now I’m looking for alternatives…

    • They hold your money? What does it mean?! Is it possible that they can do it? What are you going to do? I have the same problem. I am stressing out still have my fund account but am no longer UK resident even though have UK passport and pay UK taxes!

  10. I’m a British citizen based in Vietnam and TD Direct Investing in Luxembourg wouldn’t open an account for me.

  11. I am a European who is moving to Japan some time later this year.

    I wanted to open an account at Saxo Bank A/S, but I noticed that they don’t want people who live in Japan to be their customers. They say it on the “open account” form where you can choose which country you live in. If you choose Japan, it says that due to local legislation, they can’t accept customers who live in Japan. I just chose Japan on the form to test what it would do, not to really open an account with Japan as the choice now.

    This is a big problem to me. I already use a Nordic broker (Nordnet), but this broker doesn’t give me access to many markets that I want to trade in. Saxo Bank looked like the best for other European markets.

    I noticed that Saxo Bank has an office in Japan, but I can’t read Japanese, and my spoken Japanese is limited to about a hundred words that are not related to trading or banking at all, so I am very afraid of using this office. Chances are high that I would need a Japanese person to come with me to help me every time I would want to talk to staff at Saxo Bank Japan, and since I want to keep my trading and banking related matters private, I wouldn’t feel comfortable about bringing another person with me there to read all the papers for me and to explain reports about my trading to me.

    I don’t know what to do. I could use Interactive Brokers, but I would prefer to use a European broker for trading in Europe. I would continue to use Nordnet in any case as it provides access to my country of birth (for example, Interactive Brokers don’t) and files at least some reports to the tax agency automatically on my behalf.

    I have considered founding a Limited Liability Company for my trading needs. This way I could get around the limitations regarding where my official residence would be. But it would also mean that I would lose direct personal control over the money. I would borrow the company my money and make it pay it back later with some interest. I am not sure whether a company would be worth all the hassle that would come with it…

  12. I recently had a nightmare with TD Direct investing. I originally set the account up when I was working in Singapore and they didn’t make it easy. They were fine when it was eventually opened. I later moved to Thailand and experienced no problem. I’ve used the account for about 5 years. However, last September they made me jump through hoops re-verifying my details. After this was done (at cost to me via a lawyer) they were fine for another three months, but then decided they would close the account down anyway. There was no explanation and redress of costs to me.

    I have since set up with HSBC direct, but the platform is a shocker as is the trading limit.

  13. Hi All,

    My name is Rich Ellison and I work for OneTRADEx Ltd, based in the Cayman Islands. OneTRADEx launched operations in January of this year in response to many of the issues being raised above. We are able to deal with expats of all stripes including non-resident Americans. Through OneTRADEX.com we offer a tax neutral offshore discount trading platform that can be used to access markets in 23 countries through multi-currency account. By way of example our minimum equity trade commission is $9.95 for U.S. stocks based on $0.0125/share. We don’t charge account maintenance or custody fees but we do charge USD50 per quarter for accounts that have not had 15 or more trades in the prior three months. That may be an issue for some of the fee sensitive and infrequent traders posting above but for others it might not. We open accounts with a minimum of US $5000 deposit (GBP 3,000 or EUR 3,600 etc depending on exchange rates) Please check us out as we would welcome you as clients.

    Good luck with your accounts,

    Rich Ellison, OneTRADEx

    • The following is a general disclaimer and not a comment on OneTRADEx in particular.

      Stockbrokers that are licenced and regulated by their relevant local authorities may sometimes be allowed to mention their services in comments on this site, if these services may be relevant to readers. However, I do not endorse any brokers featured on the site, whether in comparison tables, editorial or comments by myself, company representatives or other users.

      You should not assume that I have made any attempt to verify the security and reliability of any brokers mentioned or to verify the information they provide. Investors should be familiar with local investor protection regulations before considering opening an account with a broker in any jurisdiction, including any relevant investor compensation schemes and rules intended to keep your money and investments segregated from the broker’s own assets.

      I do not receive any renumeration for mentioning specific stockbrokers or allowing them to be mentioned. Decisions as to which brokers may be permitted to comment and the extent of acceptable comments is at my sole discretion, in the interests of preventing the site being overrun by marketing and self-promotion.

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