- Business and Employment
SelfTrade Stock Broker Review
SelfTrade Stock Broker Web-site Review
SelfTrade is a good, inexpensive, on-line UK stock-broker with good fast intuitive trading and account management via their web-site. Here is a review of Selftrade, their web-site and the services they offer: Low-cost real-time stocks and share trading for a wide variety of shares to very low-cost regular monthly savings for a smaller range of assets.
Disclaimer: Information in this and other linked articles is unregulated and for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon in making specific investment decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision.
SelfTrade Stock Broker Review
SelfTrade is a very good choice for company share trading accounts, although I would also recommend several other trading accounts for my personal share dealing or spread-betting etc. depending on what type of transactions I want to make (e.g. some are better for foreign shares or for warrants etc.) However you will be a little restricted with the company accounts, because many of the inexpensive on-line providers do not allow business accounts. SelfTrade does.
SelfTrade has a low fee for regular investments. i.e. you set up a series of trades that you would like to occur once a month. This normally costs Â£1.50 per trade plus stamp duty, which is a good way to build up a balanced portfolio of a lot of shares for a small fee. There are restrictions however. You can only invest in FTSE 100 company shares, or a very small selection of investment trusts and ETFs, although these are chosen to give a good balanced mix from across the world. There is also just one day a month on which you can invest and the trades must be set up at least a day before. You can also invest in unit trusts for free, but then that is standard practice for most brokers, as they make their money from the bid-offer spread. The minimum amount per trade is Â£50.
Interactive Investor (www.iii.co.uk) has a similar deal, except the range of shares, investment trusts and ETFs available is enormous, including some very obscure smaller companies, with a fee of Â£1.50 and four days per month on which the regular investment may be made and a minimum purchase of Â£30. Another good, inexpensive broker is Hargreaves Lansdown although they are better with funds (i.e. unit trusts, OEICs, Mutual Funds etc.) rather than individual shares.
This website is good and logically laid out with the following sections:
Getting Started - some advice, although obviously before starting investing it is essential to read a lot about the subject. This section explains the different types of account and how to use it, and how to apply for the account.
My Account - login to the secure trading account. This is the most important link to the actual trading platform, which I shall describe later.
Services - The range of services provided by SelfTrade
Market Data - Data concerning all of the different markets that you can trade using this web-site. This links though to various other sources of information although I use various other dedicated web-sites, that I have been using for years.
News and Information - Some news concerning Selftrade and market news, but obviously there are many other sources of information on the internet.
Research and Education - more links to alternative sources of information.
Watchlists - Allows you, as a member, to set up watch lists without buying any shares
Applying for an Account
This was quite easy and most of it was done from the web-site over the internet, but they did of course need the usual proof of identity, bank account details for the linked account. In addition to that, because I was applying for a business account, I needed to provide a Board Resolution indicating that the directors of the company (i.e. me) agree to this account being opened, a copy of the Certificate of Incoporation and the Current Appointment Report. Once all of that had been received the account was up and running in about a week.
More Investment Books
Transfer funds in or out
Transfer of money to the account is also easy, in theory. Login from the "My Account" tab, by typing in the account number then use a virtual key pad (with randomly placed keys for security) to type in the pin number. This takes you through to the Account Overview screen, showing cash and securities and total. Clicking on the "Dealing" tab then takes you to the main dealing screen, from which all of the transactions are controlled. The payments sub-tab then allows an immediate cash transfer from a debit card, which simply requires the usual account details and security and allows you to start trading straight away. Alternatively a bank transfer (BACS) can be used to transfer money in or out from the linked current account provided during the application. This takes up to three days
I actually had a problem with the web-site the second time I tried to transfer money. I tried to pay from my card and was told that an error had occurred and I should try again, which I did, again getting an error. Both transactions went through, causing my current account to go overdrawn and my getting a fine of Â£30. SelfTrade immediately paid me back when I told them and sent some statements showing what had happened. I talked to them a few times on the phone and used the secure email system from the trading platform and they were very quick at responding to both.
The trading platform is fairly standard. Click on "Trade" and choose "Buy" or "Sell" and type in the name or Symbol for the security. This can be almost anything and is not restricted unlike the regular investment. You can chose different markets (London, Milan, Zurich, New York... etc.) and if you don't know the exact name use the search facility.
The "Reg. Invest" tab is similar, but also lists the investments already pending.
Apart from the Â£1.50 (or Â£0.00 until September) regular investment fee and 0.5% stamp duty there is a Â£12.50 fee for real-time trading (which includes sales of shares bought through the regular investment scheme, so you should bear that in mind when buying lots of different shares with that scheme) Â£12.50 seems a bit expensive compared to the best deals. Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor charge Â£9.99, but Hargreaves doesn't allow limits and stop-losses which are essential in active trading and Interactive investor charge Â£1.99 extra for these, each time you use them, whereas with SelfTrade it is free.
Is it any good?
Apart from the little hiccough with the money transfer which they resolved immediately and a constant "Not found 404:" error at the top of the trading platform web-page which while not causing a problem looks a bit unprofessional) the trading platform is very good and easy to use, with all of the features I need as an active investor. The costs are very reasonable and the customer services very good.
Advantages: Easy to use website, business account allowed, good customer services
Disadvantages: Not quite the cheapest
Summary: Best for business accounts