IG is one of the most popular and largest online brokers. It allows traders from all over the world to access the forex market, the stock market, and various others through CFDs and spread betting. Let’s delve into an in-depth IG review, covering aspects such as products and services, advantages and disadvantages, safety, user opinions, and quality of customer service.
IG Markets UK: what is it and how does it work?
IG is one of the main financial derivatives brokers that provide access to the forex market and other assets via CFDs and spread betting. It generates the most confidence thanks to its size and because IG Group, the parent company, is listed on the London Stock Exchange. As of this writing, it offers more than 18,000 underlying assets to trade.
IG is also one of the most experienced brokers. The company was founded in 1974 in England and it’s headquartered in London. Since its foundation, it has expanded its operations to many other countries around the world. Nowadays, it has offices in the United States, Australia, and China, among others.
In 1974, the company was born under the name of IG Investors Gold once the currencies stopped being pegged to the price of gold. This allowed investors to speculate on the price of gold, and IG Investors Gold became the first spread betting company in the United Kingdom.
Nowadays, IG is one of the largest providers of CFDs in the world. IG is a market maker, a type of broker that buys and sells assets as a counterparty to the trader. For example, a market maker buys 10 shares in a company for £10 (ask price) from one trader and sells them to another trader for £10,05 (known as bid price). The difference between the ask and bid price represents the broker’s profit.
However, to trade in the currency and stock markets, the broker offers direct market access (DMA) suitable for professional traders.
IG’s business model is based on providing excellent customer support so that each trader achieves their full potential. In addition to this, IG is under strict regulatory supervision and provides negative balance protection to retail traders. In other words, you cannot lose more capital than you deposited, and the CFD or spread-betting balance is brought to zero at no cost for you if it falls below zero. However, this does not apply to professional trading accounts.
Overall, IG has an intuitive platform that stands out from the crowd thanks to its simple interface, accuracy and timeliness regarding order execution. If you want to explore its features and become familiar with the platform, you don’t need to risk your hard-earned cash because you can open a demo account to test its intuitive tools using virtual money.
Main features of the IG broker
The following table summarises the key features and costs of IG broker:
|Regulations||IG Markets is regulated in each country where it operates. In the UK, it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).|
|Financial Compensation Claims (FSCS)||Up to £85,000|
|Products||Spread-betting, CFDs, and real shares|
|Markets||Forex, stocks, bonds, indices, commodities, ETFs, IPO, sector trading, options, futures|
|Account types||Spread betting account, CFD trading account, demo account, share dealing account, and smart portfolios account|
|Minimum deposit||No minimum for bank transfers, £250 minimum for PayPal, credit/debit cards|
|Withdrawal fee||No withdrawal fee|
|Inactivity fee||£12 per month after two years of inactivity|
|Platforms||MetaTrader 4, ProRealTime, IG Online Platform, L2 Platform (DMA) and mobile applications|
Is IG safe? | Regulation and guarantees
The regulatory status of a CFD broker is perhaps the most important aspect to consider. Choosing a regulated broker reduces your risks as the company must adhere to strict regulations aimed at protecting investors, such as negative balance protection and keeping clients’ funds in segregated accounts.
IG is the commercial name of this broker. The company that acts as a contractor in the United Kingdom is registered under the name of IG Markets Limited and belongs to the IG Group.
This financial intermediation firm is based in the United Kingdom. Hence, this company is regulated by a top regulatory watchdog in the world, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is an institution of prestige that stands out for being strict and incisive with the financial companies it supervises.
Consequently, IG Markets Limited is duly regulated by the FCA (register number 195355) in the United Kingdom. Therefore, IG is considered a trustworthy broker due to its regulated status.
For the rest of Europe (excluding Switzerland and the United Kingdom), CFD, options and derivatives accounts are provided by IG Europe GmbH. This firm is licensed by Deutsche Bundesbank and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), both located in Germany. Next, IG Group holds relevant licenses in all the jurisdictions it operates, including Australia (ASIC), South Africa (FSCA), Singapore (MAS), Japan (JFSA, METI, MAFF), and others.
In addition, the fact that the company is listed on the stock exchange is an added layer of security that provides traders with peace of mind. As a listed company, its accounts are public and must comply with certain standards of transparency and fairness in order to comply with the stock exchange’s regulations and criteria for ongoing public listing.
Is IG Markets reliable? | IG guarantee fund
As a regulated broker, IG must comply with all the stringent regulatory requirements and guidelines when handling its customers’ funds.
In the UK, the regulated status comes with several benefits for traders. Perhaps the most important one is that, in case of bankruptcy, investors enjoy asset protection of up to £85,000.
In addition, other security measures offered by IG include:
- The clients’ funds are held by regulated Tier 1 banks in segregated accounts, unrelated to the broker. These entities hold the money and do not allow IG to use it to meet either its operational or financial needs.
- The broker’s creditors have no right to the customers’ funds in the unlikely case of IG’s bankruptcy.
- Customers cannot have a negative balance in the trading account. This means you cannot lose more than you deposit into your account, limiting your potential losses in case the market goes against you while using leverage. For an extra charge, the broker also provides guaranteed stop-loss orders for further protection.
- If, for any reason, IG Markets were to incur a creditors’ meeting or insolvency that caused it to open a liquidation process and could not meet its payment obligations, the customer has the coverage of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme of the United Kingdom (FSCS). This is a fund that indemnifies customers in such cases, covering deficits up to a maximum of £85,000 per customer. The same applies if the bank in which the money is deposited goes bankrupt.
Overall, the amount of money that IG guarantees in case of bankruptcy will vary depending on the country in which it is located and the licensing regulator, as shown in the following table:
|United Kingdom||£85,000||Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)|
|Europe, except the United Kingdom and Switzerland||€20,000||Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin)|
|Switzerland||₣100.000||Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)|
|USA||No protection||Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) National Futures Association (NFA)|
|Australia||No protection||Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)|
|International||No protection||Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA)|
Main financial assets of IG UK
IG’s offering for British residents is very broad, which is one of the main advantages of choosing IG as your broker. Perhaps one of the main features is that the comprehensive offering is not only focused on CFDs, but rather a plethora of other derivatives, including options, spread-betting, and futures.
Apart from CFD trading, the product line includes:
- Turbo24 (Ireland): these are traded financial derivatives (turbo certificates/warrants) issued every hour on the main markets at a certain price (called the knockout level). If the price moves and reaches this quotation, the operation is closed instantly, limiting the risk. The execution of orders is done through direct market access (DMA).
- Options: Options can be traded via CFDs or spread betting. They grant the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to exercise the contract at a predetermined price, called strike.
- Futures trading: Index, commodity, or bond futures can be traded with IG via spread-betting or CFDs. This type of derivative is a contract that allows the trader to lock the current market price without actually conducting the transaction until a future date. With IG, traders can speculate on the underlying futures price using CFDs or spread bets.
As for the financial products and markets available with IG, they are abundant (more than 18,000) and are divided into the following markets:
|Stocks||More than 17,000 international stocks|
|Forex||Wide variety of pairs, including majors, minors, and exotic|
|Indices||More than 80 indices from all around the world|
|ETFs||Over 5,400 ETF markets, including sectors, indices, currencies, and commodities|
|Commodities||Broad range of commodities, including precious metals, energy, and agricultural products|
|Bonds||Bond futures and bond ETFs are available|
|Interest Rates||Multiple interest rates are available, including Euribor, Eurodollar, or UK bank rates|
|Volatility||Multiple volatility ETFs, the VIX, and the EU Volatility index, among others.|
One of the most extensive and versatile markets, you will find 17,000 company stocks from all over the world. You can trade or own shares directly, or use leveraged products like CFDs or spread betting.
One of the star markets at IG, the foreign exchange market (forex), is the oldest, largest, and most liquid in the world.
Novice forex traders should know that it is a very technical market, with a variety of currency pairs, usually divided into major, minor, and exotic pairs. Each currency pair is unique in terms of volatility, correlation with other markets, and sensitivity to specific news (such as economic data). In turn, this complexity of the forex market implies that forex trading strategies are virtually limitless.
With IG you can trade in Forex in different ways: through spread-betting (tax-free profits), CFDs (tax-deductible losses), and DMA (forex direct for professional clients only).
IG Markets offers more than 80 indices from all over the world. IG takes pride in its leading position as it is the only broker in the United Kingdom that offers weekend indices trading. You can trade indices via spread betting or CFDs.
You can choose from more than 5,400 ETF markets, including indices, sectors, commodities and currencies.
IG includes in its offer trading commodities in many markets, including precious metals, energy, and agricultural goods. You can get exposure to commodities via spread betting, CFD trading, or commodity share dealing.
IG users can buy bond ETF shares via the share-dealing account or use spread-betting/CFDs to trade or invest in bonds.
You can speculate on multiple global interest rates, including the UK bank rate and EU interest rates, either going long or short via spread bets or CFDs.
Trading volatility refers to making a prediction regarding the price stability of a given asset. With IG, you can speculate on the volatility of many markets, including indices, forex, or commodities.
Types of IG accounts: spread betting, CFDs, share dealing, smart portfolio, and demo
IG offers four types of accounts, each catering to different strategies and needs. Spread betting and CFD account types are suitable for traders, while share dealing and smart portfolio accounts are designed for long-term investments. Also, the demo account allows potential users to familiarize themselves with the offering before depositing real cash in one of the four types of accounts.
Spread betting is a type of derivative where the trader predicts whether the price of an asset will increase or decrease. You don’t own the underlying asset, but rather place a bet depending on whether you think the price will go up or down.
Spread betting is a leveraged product, so you need to place a deposit worth a fraction of the entire transaction. However, this means that you stand to either multiply your gains or your losses, so using leverage requires traders to have robust risk management strategies in place.
Spread betting is free of commission and requires you to cover a spread (a charge) on all markets and overnight fee for spot trading only. More than 18,000 markets are available for spread betting, including forex, stocks, indices, and many more.
CFD trading allows you to speculate on an underlying asset’s price movement (whether it goes up or down). Spread betting allows you to place a bet of, for instance, £1 per point bet on Facebook shares, and if the share price moves 10 points in your favour, you will make £10 profit on the trade.
With CFDs, however, you open a long or short position by buying or selling the CFD on Facebook shares. Your profit or loss is determined when you close the trade (similar to real share buying and selling).
Trading accounts (spread betting and CFDs) allow variable financial leverage, depending on your experience and chosen asset and strategy.
If your strategy is based on CFD trading, have a look at the best brokers to trade CFDs.
Share dealing account
The share dealing account is suitable for investors who want to buy and hold stocks and receive dividends (if the chosen company pays dividends). IG provides access to more than 17,000 stocks, funds, and even IPOs. This type of account does not allow leverage, and it comes with £0 commission for US shares and £3 commission per UK shares.
Finally, the second type of investment account is professionally managed by IG’s own experts. The in-house team of experts create a portfolio considering your risk appetite and may include ETFs in many markets, including gold, real estate, or bonds.
The IG Markets demo account is a simulator in which the trader can follow real-time quotes, launch buy and sell orders on the trading platform and check the services and conditions of the broker. It is a full-fledged operation, but you trade with virtual money instead of your real funds.
A demo account is a useful tool to practise your trading skills and become familiar with your chosen account or trading platform. Similarly, it can also serve as a risk-free way of crafting and testing trading strategies.
Many traders use the demo account to familiarize themselves with the trading platform and the way the broker works, what tools it provides, and what resources or market analysis it provides to traders and investors.
How to open an IG Markets account in the United Kingdom?
Opening a demo or trading account with IG is a simple process; it is done online with a few clicks. The requirements to open an account are minimal:
- Be at least 18 years old and a resident of the United Kingdom
- Meet the appropriateness assessment as per current regulations
- Verify your identity by uploading your passport or driving license, and a utility bill or bank statement to verify your address
- Deposit the minimum amount, only if done by credit card or Paypal (£250)
Depositing and withdrawing money
To start trading, you need to deposit money into your account. These types of transactions can be carried out from the My IG client area. In addition, deposits can be made from the mobile application. If you choose a third-party platform like MetaTrader 4, keep in mind that deposits and withdrawals of cash can only be done via the broker’s website.
The payment methods accepted for cash transactions in the IG trading account are as follows:
- Credit or debit card
- Bank transfer
The times to complete the transfer process will depend on the chosen payment method. Usually, PayPal and debit/credit card deposits are immediately reflected in your account’s balance. Bank deposits can take several days, but you can send proof of payment to IG and you’ll be able to start trading immediately.
When withdrawing money, PayPal is usually instant or up to one working day, while card withdrawals take 2-5 working days. Bank transfers may be processed during the same working day or take up to 3 days.
The minimum amount allowed for withdrawing funds is £100. If the trading balance is lower, you can withdraw the full balance in your account.
Likewise, daily maximum amounts are limited for withdrawing money from the trading account (except for withdrawals by transfer, which are unlimited):
- Card: up to £20,000 per day
- Paypal: up to £5,500 per transaction (unlimited transactions per day).
IG does not charge any commission for cash transactions. However, costs may be incurred for the use of the payment method (card usage fees, bank commissions, etc.).
IG Markets: commissions and spreads
IG generates profit via different commissions, spreads, and other fees, depending on your chosen type of account and asset. The most representative and burdensome for traders are usually trading fees, such as spread or commissions. These are essentially the costs for opening, closing and maintaining trading positions.
These are the costs according to the product and market:
IG charges different fees for trading stocks, depending on your type of account. The lowest commission applies to the share dealing account and starts at £0 for US stocks (but you may need to cover a foreign exchange fee) and £3 for UK stocks.
Spread betting contains the spread fee, which is variable, and other fees depending on your strategy (i.e., overnight fee if the position is left open overnight). CFDs on stocks charge a commission per transaction.
If you opt to use leveraged products, commissions and costs may change. Here you can see an example of these costs:
IG Markets forex spreads
In the case of the forex market, the spreads applied vary depending on the conditions that may exist in the market at a given time, such as market volatility or liquidity of the pair. As can be seen in the following table, for the currency pair EUR/USD (the most liquid that exists), a minimum spread of 0.6 pips is applied.
This is an example of the cost structure:
|Market||Minimum Spread||Average Spread||Average Spread (1:00-22:00)|
IG Markets index spreads
The minimum spread for trading indices is 0.4 for US 500 and varies depending on the index you choose. This is an example of the costs, which are the same for both CFDs and spread betting, but may differ on the MT4 platform:
Commodity trading contains a spread, as long as you opt for CFD or spread betting and a commission for shares.
|Market||Minimum Spread for Futures|
|Crude Oil – US Crude||6|
|Crude Oil – Brent Crude||6|
Interest rates spreads
The minimum spread for interest rates is 1 pip, although it varies depending on which product you choose.
|Interest Rate Product||Spread|
The swap or “overnight premium” is the commission applied by the broker for keeping a position open for more than one day.
The trader deposits capital known as margin when opening a trading position with CFDs (or other derivative products). The entire sum for the transaction itself is provided by the broker and applies an interest every day that it remains open. In other words, it is the cost of refinancing the operation.
The amount of this commission can vary from one market to another since it depends on the interest rates plus an administrative cost applied by the broker.
In the forex market, since the trading operation is composed of two currencies (one bought and one sold), the swap fee could even be deposited in the trader’s account. If the difference between the two currencies is negative, the fee is deducted; if it is positive, the money is added to the trader’s balance.
In other markets, such as CFDs, the swap is always a cost for the trader.
Other charges when trading with IG
In addition to the swaps, there may be other types of costs the traders incur, such as:
- Guaranteed stops: the guaranteed stop is subject to a premium that depends on the market; for instance, it is 0.3% of the transaction value for CFDs on shares and is charged only if the guaranteed stop loss order is triggered.
- Shorting fees which represent the sum of the market borrow rate and the 0.5% administration charge.
- Inactivity charge: £12 will be charged to the trading account for each month of inactivity, after 2 years of inactivity.
- Fee for price data feeds, which means you need to pay monthly to access live prices.
- £30 per month for advanced charting tools provided by ProRealTime Charts (optional).
- Costs for currency conversion, usually 0.5%.
IG trading platforms
The choice of trading platforms is very broad. Compared to other brokers, IG does not only offer a proprietary platform but also popular third-party services, such as MetaTrader 4 and ProRealTime.
MetaTrader 4 is the most popular platform on the market for trading forex. Many traders use this tool due to its simplicity, customization capacity, depth of analysis and an impressive array of features and tools.
One of the advantages of MetaTrader 4 is the ease of making automated trading strategies, thanks to its Expert Advisors (EAs). The trader does not have to have programming knowledge to create, install or use this type of software.
ProRealTime is a professional trading platform. It is a powerful tool with a high degree of customization and advanced analysis tools.
This platform is designed to deliver a complete trading experience. It allows for quick order execution, in-depth analysis, creation of custom indicators, automated trading, backtests and much more.
Access to ProRealTime charts has an additional cost of £30 per month if you don’t place at least four trades during the calendar month.
IG Online Platform
IG’s proprietary platform is a powerful browser-based trading solution. The IG online platform contains a plethora of research tools, including trading signals, economic calendar, news, and boasts high execution speeds of 0.014 seconds on average.
L2 Dealer (DMA)
The L2 platform is special: it provides direct access to the Forex and stock market, providing greater market depth, liquidity, and prices. However, L2 Dealer is not recommended for beginner investors or traders.
This tool provides professional control of trading orders. Share trading via L2 Dealer is available to retail investors (but highly recommended for professionals only), and forex is only available to professional clients.
In addition to the MetaTrader 4 version for mobile devices (which is free and easy to download), IG has its own trading app to provide access to the market from anywhere and at any time.
From this application, it is possible to manage the trading account on the go, place orders or close your positions, among others. It has an intuitive interface and is easy to use, providing full flexibility.
The app is compatible with any device that uses iOS or Android operating systems. It can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
IG customer service
IG has a thorough help section on its website where you can find the most commonly asked questions and their answers. However, it does not have live chat.
There are several alternative channels via which you can contact the broker and obtain the necessary customer service support:
- Office in the United Kingdom: ✅
- Contact phone: ✅
- Email: ✅
- Chatbot: ✅
One aspect to highlight is that IG’s customer service has a 24-hour schedule, from 8 am Saturday to 10 pm Friday. The team can be contacted via phone or mail:
- Phone: 0800 195 3100
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IG’s customer service team is appreciated for its promptness and availability, helping traders and investors to find solutions to their issues in a timely manner.
Resources & tools offered by IG Group
IG offers a wide range of educational resources and tools for both beginner and veteran traders and investors. These cover multiple areas, including:
- Trading strategies, news, and trade ideas
- Financial events
- Tools to analyse trades and their performance
- Market updates, industry insights, economic reports, and more
- Multiple courses, including IG Academy, which is a downloadable app where you can start with the basics of trading and get familiar with advanced trading techniques
- Webinars and seminars
This is the IG app’s rating in Google Play:
Over its many years leading this competitive market, IG has made a name for itself by offering excellent brokerage services. Apart from its main product line, IG further offers multiple complementary services, including:
- Seminars and webinars
- Trading tools and analysis
- IG Academy
- Economic calendar
- Financial news
- Trading strategies
- Trading news and ideas
- Trading glossary
- Risk management
On the other hand, for premium customers, IG has a series of additional services to complete the trading experience:
- A personalised account manager
- Invitations to events and networking opportunities
- Advanced educational seminars
- Personalized analysis
- Direct access to markets through IG’s trading desk
- Opportunity to test new products and services before they are released to the general public
- Order execution outside of market hours
Note: to become a premium customer, it is necessary to receive an invitation. Alternatively, interested customers can contact IG’s office directly and discuss their specific needs.
Is IG for beginners or expert traders?
Is IG an ideal broker for beginners?
Due to its status as a derivatives specialist broker, IG may not be the easiest platform to start trading with.
However, thanks to the IG Academy and the demo account, it is possible to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience to successfully trade with derivatives, although it is usually recommended to start trading products without leverage to limit your risk. However, if you are a novice, you may want to get started with one of the best brokers for beginners.
Is IG an ideal broker for experts?
IG has a diverse offering that caters to the most experienced traders. Ranging from multiple types of derivatives to high leverage and more than 18,000 markets to trade, IG is an excellent broker for expert traders or those who want to become more knowledgeable or trade for a living.
Thanks to its many tools, trading platforms, and assets, it is suitable for any type of strategy and risk appetite. Additionally, you can also check the best brokers for intraday trading if you want to trade for a living.
User reviews of IG
Are the users of IG satisfied? When a platform has been operating for so long, it is typically because it has found a niche market and maintains a series of loyal customers.
IG is one of the few brokers with thousands of reviews from the investment community on TrustPilot where it has a rating of 4.0 out of 5.
Next, this is IG’s rating on the App Store, which is consistent with the previous Google Play rating of 4.6:
Comparison of IG with other online brokers
Nowadays, there are many online brokers to choose from, and understanding their key differences and similarities is important for choosing the right one for your needs. Check out the following articles to see how IG compares with its main competitors:
Also, have a look at other alternatives:
Our opinion of IG Markets UK: review
As discussed above, IG is a complex broker with a large number of services, functions, platforms, products, and assets. This could make it an excellent broker for sophisticated traders and investors, but also offers a wide range of resources for beginners.
The fundamental characteristic of IG is that it is fully regulated in the UK and around the world and has multiple security features in place for its clients, such as negative balance protection and segregation of funds.
Unlike other brokers, IG has a very good client service policy that stands out for its attention to customers, promptness, and availability.
In addition to this, in each of the countries in which it is located, it has contracted teams of analysts that perform webinars and craft reports daily about financial markets and the economy.
They have also acquired the currency information portal DailyFX, designed for active forex traders who want to stay up to date with the latest market developments.
Pros and cons of IG Markets
Finally, here is a summary of what IG Markets is in a few points:
|✅ A wide range of training and support services for traders||❌ No copy-trading|
|✅ Quality customer service||❌Limited payment options|
|✅ Multiple trading platforms|
|✅ Fast cash withdrawals and no withdrawal fees|
|✅ Allows many types of strategies, such as scalping, hedging and automated trading|
|✅ Multiple stop orders available, including guaranteed (for a fee)|
|✅ Multiple educational resources and tools available|
In our opinion, IG is one of the best brokers worldwide. In such a competitive industry in terms of regulation and customer service, IG offers some of the highest quality standards.
Does IG trading have withdrawal fees?
No, IG does not charge any withdrawal fees. However, when using PayPal or credit/debit card, there is a minimum withdrawal amount of £100, or any amount via bank transfer.
Does IG allow cryptocurrency trading?
IG does not offer cryptocurrency trading to retail investors in the UK.
Is IG a good broker?
IG has one of the most complex offerings on the market when it comes to CFDs and spread betting. It may be the right choice for many investors and traders regardless of their objectives because of its broad offering in terms of products, markets, tools and analysis, and platforms.