EQi --> ii: Your view on brokers?

Wondering what everyone’s current views are on their brokers, in particular those of you who use interactive investor (ii). I have accounts at EQi, which has emailed to say they will be transferred to ii during the summer.

The chap at ii said in the email: “We feel privileged to serve EQi customers and, as a matter of course, if, six months from migration, we find that you would have paid less under EQi’s charging model, we will refund the difference.

… which prompts a double-check on costs. To keep things simple I will compare only ISA charges for a shares-only portfolio (i.e. no funds) and the standard online dealing commission.

EQi charges £17.49/qtr = £69.96/yr with £10.99 per trade.

ii charges £9.95/mo = £119.88/yr with the first monthly trade free then £7.99/trade.

I must admit I was surprised at the difference to the annual charge. I had the impression EQi was pricey and ii was the low-cost industry ‘challenger’. As someone who does not trade that often, I reckon I will be in line for a six-month ii refund (early estimate c£25).

Worth looking at other brokers as well.

Youinvest charges 0.25%/mo (max. £3.50) = £42/yr with £9.95/trade.
HL charges 0.45%/yr (max £45) = £45/yr with £11.95/trade
IG charges £24/qtr = £96/yr with £8/trade
X-O charges zero/yr with £5.95/trade

Two things here: i) ii has the highest annual ISA fee of these six brokers (even more than pricey HL), and; ii) X-O has no annual ISA fee (X-O is part of Jarvis Investment Management (JIM)).

But costs are one thing and service is another. HL has always justified its higher charges (especially for funds) with better customer service, but I understand its website crashed after the vaccine news and call-waiting times have increased. I should add Trustpilot is full of 1-star reviews for all six brokers.

Worst-case scenario is I migrate to ii and be £120/yr (plus c£1/trade) poorer than actively shifting to X-O. To be honest I just can’t imagine X-O’s cut-price platform being superior to that of HL, Youinvest etc. (Does anybody use X-O?) ii is close to the size of Youinvest in terms of customer numbers (350k+), so its platform ought to be reasonably competent.

For now I am minded to stay on to ride with ii and see what occurs. From memory I started these accounts with comdirect c20 years ago and have been transferred to Squaregain then to Selftrade and to other brokers in between that I have long since forgotten about… and I can’t recall the accounts being too damaged by outrageous fees and duff websites on the journey. My stock-picking saw to that!

Comments (good or bad) on brokers more than welcome!

Maynard

I have used Selftrade (now Equiniti) HL, BestInvest (Tilney) and IG. Briefly CMC too.

I ended up rolling all my ISAs into IG as I felt this was overall the best platform. IG seem to have a great breadth of markets covered (Tilney lacked here) IG has a great integrated system, whihc means admin and things like W8-BEN forms are all done quickly, online without hassle. HL I had to print, complete and post return a paper form (err, hello it’s not 1990!)

Overll then I think IG is decent. It does appear their costs are creeping the last few years, with the quarterly charges etc, and also of late the service performance has left a lot to be desired. Interestingly I think IG provide a cheaper service - about £3 a trade E/W if you trade a bit more frequently. In addition last August they gave me free trading for rest of the year - all trades were 100% commission free. It felt kind of special.

Additionally IG recently removed a whole raft of small cap stocks from their SB market. This was not at all handled well, with some cusotmers allegedly getting the info days ahead of others, (so able to exit ahead and not incur any volatility from forced widespread selling) Luckily didnt affect me, but this is widely covered elsewhere so I wont go into detail here.

So I may end up needing to use SpreadEx or CMC for exposure to smaller cap DFBs but to be fair that isnt enough -yet- to sway me to leave IG. - I dont have any affiliation btw, just giving my views.

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Hi Maynard. I’m thinking of transferring some or all of my investments to ii. Since I’ve worked for ii in one guise or another for over two decades you might be surprised I don’t already use it - that’s inertia for you, but now I’m rapidly approaching 55 I feel the need to rationalise my SIPPs.

Since I am a freelancer I don’t have any special insight into ii’s service, though obvs. I’m on good terms with the editorial ppl there. One of the attractions of ii is that if you have more than one account (e.g. an ISA and a SIPP) you only pay one account fee although I suppose there may be an argument for spreading investments over more than one broker.

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hi Maynard

My first post on Quidisq.

I use ii and HL. I was originally with NatWest (became TD then ii). I subsequently opened an account with HL simply to spread my risk.

Customer service is a priority for me and therefore I am happy to pay a little extra in order to secure that. I trade on average once or twice a month. I have both a trading and an ISA account with both providers.

The overall service experience with both providers has been good. In the event that I need to resolve any issues I value being able to talk to a real person on the phone and that has always been possible with both companies even during Covid (although understandably with some delays).

HL trading costs at £11.95 are on the expensive side so I tend to do most of my trading with ii where I am able to make use of the monthly free trading credit which means I only effectively pay them £2 net per month (£9.99 monthly charge less £7.99 free trade).

HL charge 0.45% per annum on an ISA (capped at £45 pa) which does grate a little as there is no additional charge with ii for my ISA (£9.99 per month covers multiple accounts). Against that there are no extra fees for my trading account.

Both websites work well and have decent support / research coverage although as I am a Sharepad member I tend to use the much superior Sharepad for research. Logging in with ii has become a little more cumbersome as they have recently introduced secondary authorisation which involves having to receive and input a text authorisation code every time you log in. HL also has secondary authorisation but you input this without the need for an incoming text message.

One service differential is with regards to the crediting of dividends. ii credit dividends first thing in the morning of the due date whereas HL are rather dilatory with dividends which do not get credited until much later in the day.

On balance I would recommend ii above HL but am happy with both services.

Hope that helps.

Peter Broughton
(aka Snazzytime)

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Hi Maynard,

I use II and HL and have found both to be very good in terms of clear, easy to use reliable platforms. Both have helpful customer services either over the phone or direct messaging.

Contrary to riccie’s experience with HL and the W8-BEN form, I think they must have recently caught up and moved to a full online sign up, as I completed one just last week without issue.

Best, MikeY

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@riccie, @Richard, @Snazzytime and @MikeY

Gents, many thanks for the replies – and welcome to the forum Richard, Peter and Mike.

Very helpful insights, and nothing really untoward about ii has emerged – although two-factor authorisation is a pain. Must admit I have now recalled having an ii ISA for a few years until 2012, then transferred it to Youinvest. Can’t remember why I chose ii (low costs presumably), and I must have transferred to Youinvest as I already had a SIPP and ISA there. I have used Youinvest for 20 years after they became among the first brokers to offer a self-select online SIPP as Sippdeal. Had to contact Youinvest this week by phone and could not fault the response.

The Beaufort Securities mess the other year raised the question of client assets being ring-fenced (or not) in case of broker trouble. I doubt the likes of HL etc will ever require us to double-check the FSCS small-print, but I have found having more than one broker is advisable because it gives you greater perspective about their respective services. Anecdotally, dealing with smaller shares ‘at best’ has felt easier with EQi than Youinvest, but Youinvest seemed better with the ‘route to dealer’ option and a speedier trade. (Peter – my latest dividend was credited by EQi at 3:20am on the payment date!)

Thanks once again.

Maynard

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@MaynardPaton

I’m not sure how early ii credit dividends to my account (they are always there when I check early morning) but they will be going some to beat EQi at 3.20am! I do hope you weren’t up all night to check that time! (MP edit: No! 3:20am was the timestamp on the cash statement). HL never bother until late morning at the earliest.

It was the Beaufort Securities saga that prompted me to open a 2nd account to spread my potential risk. It was also a reason for staying with more recognised brokers as I do think there is a real risk of one of the ‘free’ commision traders (eg Etoro, Trading 212 etc) being an accident waiting to happen so I wont be going there in a hurry.

It remains far from clear whether client assets are ring fenced from being used to cover liquidator’s costs. If anyone does have an up to date definitive view I’d like to hear please.

Snazzytime
(Peter)

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Thanks - a very useful thread.

For the same reasons as Maynard I have two providers: ii (ex ATS) and Youinvest. On balance I prefer YI - the admin is better and it is easier to manage family members’ accounts.

Does anyone know how to download trades from a platform to Sharescope? I currently type them in manually. I don’t trade much, so not a great hardship.

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Hi Maynard - For the two factor authorisation seems ok, as you can check the option of ‘remember me’ or something to that effect, and they don’t propmpt you for a while (I think it is a month).

I switched from HL to ii, and as Snazzytime says, the first trade in a month is free, so that offsets the cost a bit. Also ii seemed to have access to a lot more shares and funds than Youinvest (but certainly less than HL). Now, this is based on a few years ago, when I was looking for some funds (can’t remember which one though).

And a single charge for all accounts seems handy. I have my ISA, Trading and SIPP with ii.

Cheers!
Twafik

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