Note: Since early 2013, Selftrade has stopped accepting most new clients while it “undertakes a review to enhance some of [its] processes”. It’s unclear when the firm will begin accepting applications again.
This UK stock broker offers a selection of North American and European stocks for online and telephone dealing. While the range of markets looks reasonable, the amount of stocks available in some is limited.
Trades are placed via UK-based market makers (mostly Winterflood Securities), meaning that you will usually pay a higher price than would be available when investing through a broker who buys shares directly in the relevant country. In particular, you will pay a hidden currency conversion commission because the market maker sets the exchange rate at which the foreign currency share price is converted to sterling.
The premium for this through Selftrade is up to 1.25% (Selftrade receives up to 65% of this back from Winterflood in commission), which looks better than the rates charged by TD Waterhouse. But at least with TD Waterhouse, you can hold foreign currency in the account and minimise conversions, while Selftrade obliges you to settle and hold everything in sterling. Meanwhile, firms such as iDealing and Sippdeal offer access through market makers at much lower currency mark-ups (typically 0.25%-0.5%) because they do not receive a share of commission
There’s little reason to consider this provider for buying international shares alone. It was one of the stronger services for UK-only share dealing, but even for this fees are now looking less competitive alongside the newer UK discount stock brokers.
|Online trading||Belgium, Canada, France, Germany - Frankfurt, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA|
|Broker-assisted trading||As above|
|Online details||1-100 deals per quarter £12.50, 101+ deals per quarter £6|
|Broker-assisted details||Trades under £2,500 £17.5, trades £2,500-100,000 £40|
|Account fees and inactivity fees||Quarterly inactivity fee of £10.5 (£8.75+VAT)|
|Corporate action charges||None|
|Currency conversion charges||Up to 1.25% FX commission embedded in the sterling price quoted: Trades up to £10,000 1.25%; £10,000-50,000 1%; £50,000+ 0.75%|
|Hold cash in foreign currencies||No|
|Tax-advantaged accounts||ISA (covered by regular account inactivity fee), SIPP (administration fee of £95+VAT per year)|
|Other products and services||Bonds, CFDs, spreadbetting|
|Minimum account size||None|
|Further information||Visit Selftrade website|