Shares without the stuffiness

A new breed of stockbroker is well equipped to handle one-off transactions for small shareholders. Nic Cicutti reports

Suddenly, we appear to be a share-owning democracy once more. After years when the spurt of individual shareholders, boosted by all the privatisations of the Thatcher era, had appeared to be on the wane as Sid finally sold off his BT and British Gas holdings, the movement has seen a huge leap in numbers.

Boosting the total number of UK shareholders has been the wave of building society flotations, which have added up to 10 million new people to company share registers.

For most, one set of shares is probably enough. Others, their interest perhaps awakened by regular checks on the value of their shares and a gradual glimmer of understanding of market gyrations, will want to develop things further.

The good news is that there has never been so much choice for people aiming to increase - or decrease - their stakes in UK equities.

The more traditional and, to many, quite stuffy image of the stockbroker has been superseded by many firms offering a far snappier, dealing operation which competes on price as well as the quality of service.

One of the areas which brokers are active in is execution-only service. This is where dealing is carried out on the basis of a client's instruction, typically given over the phone. No advice is expected or given by the broker to the client.

Finding an execution-only broker is not difficult. The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS) has about 80 members who offer such a service.

While most brokers will provide dealing services for their clients, for the majority of small investors, the requirement is primarily for someone who will perform a one-off transaction quickly and cheaply. This applies just as much to those who, after years of holding on to their Abbey National or utility company share, now want to realise their gain.

A small number of specialist firms have sprung up offering such deals. Broadly speaking, they can be broken down into three categories.

There are those who, like Fidelity Brokerage, ShareLink and the Share Centre, are set up specifically to cater for this type of market.

Then there are the big banks and building societies which offer both postal and telephone share-dealing services. In some cases, the services is subcontracted: Barclays Stockbrokers, for instance, acts on behalf of Alliance & Leicester.

Even smaller building societies, specifically Norwich and Peterborough and the Skipton, have share dealing operations through Waters Lunniss in the case of the East Anglian society and Dealwise for the Skipton. Yorkshire Building Society offers dealing services through its own operation, Yorkshare.

The third category of brokers offering execution-only services are the large private client firms which have decided to expand their existing customer base, a substantial proportion of which has preferred the more traditional advisory approach on offer.

Firms in this category include Brewin Dolphin Bell Lawrie, which operates a service called Stocktrade. Walter Crips offers Investorlink, while Henderson Crosthwaite has Directdeal.

While the execution-only relationship is typically seen as the very opposite of the cosier relationship many investors have with their brokers, it is important to remember that there are not necessarily just two options to choose from when investigating a service.

Ancillary information, such as analysis and a view - albeit not backed by personal advice - on various stocks is available from Barclays Stockbrokers. Some level of advice, ranging from what is on offer from Barclays to the creation of an individual's portfolio will typically be given, for a fee, by any broker.

Aside from efficient service, the other important aspect of good execution- only trading is price. All firms will offer special deals targeted at certain groups and individuals and it is impossible to give a comprehensive list of each.

The best move is to call companies and ask for a list of prices. Based on assumed volumes of trading, a little homework should rapidly determine which is the cheapest for the kind of share dealing you want to do. For those who might balk at carrying out research of this sort: perhaps share ownership is not your cup of tea after all.

Barclays Stockbrokers 0800 551177; Barratt & Cooke 01603 624236; Brewin Dolphin Bell Lawrie 0131 5290101; CityDeal Services 01708 742288; Fidelity Brokerage Services 0800 222190; Gall & Eke 0161 237 9443; Hargreaves Lansdown 0117 9809800; Henderson Crosthwaite 0345 125719; Lloyds Bank Stockbrokers 0345 388100; Midland Stockbrokers 0800 100250; NatWest Stockbrokers 0171 8955341; Options Direct Europe 0171 6380100; Redmayne Bentley 0113 2436941; The Share Centre 0800008; Sharelink 0121 2002242; Skipton Building Society 0113 2345555; Waters Lunniss & Co 01603 622265; Yorkshire Building Society 01274 736736.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Up and away: rates will rise but your mortgage won't escape its moorings with a long-term fix

Is a 10 year mortgage deal a fix too far?

A cut-price deal for a decade-long home loan - where's the problem? Only, says Simon Read, that circumstances can change and it won't be easy to get out
In a surprise move the Tories have decided against putting a career politician into the job. Instead they’ve handed the responsibility to campaigner Ros Altmann

New pensions minister has massive job on her hands

The Tories have appointed campaigner Ros Altmann to the post

Promises, promises: David Cameron talks to staff at Asda's head office in Leeds today

General Election 2015: How you vote next week could affect your finances

Rival party pledges could shrink your savings or grow your nest egg
Logos for the 'Big Six'; energy companies (top row from left) British Gas, EDF, RWE npower, (bottom row from left) SSE, E.ON and ScottishPower

Winter heating underpayment brings summer pain

One reader’s monthly direct debit charge has been increased by 62 per cent

Almost 15,000 people died last winter through living in cold homes that they couldn’t afford to heat

Social tenants locked into energy tariff for 40 years

Many Londoners who live in social housing estates are not allowed to switch because their landlord has ‘locked’ them in to buying from one supplier

Will your credit card rewards be scrapped following new EU rules on charges?

Providers are unhappy with new EU rules - but ultimately it is customers who will have to foot the bill
There remain more than a million unclaimed Premium Bond prizes worth collectively around £48m

Have you won £1m in the May Premium Bonds draw?

More than £60m was paid out to more than 2 million prizewinners this month

The 0 per cent introductory deals that credit cards offer are one of the most odious tricks

Beware credit card firms’ odious tricks

Why can’t we just have open and honest charges, without all the cross-subsiding?

The pound’s recent strength against the euro could be hit by economic uncertainty under a new government

How planning can make your travel cash go further

With the pound at a high against the euro, it pays to buy now before uncertainty post-election

Put the phone down on the coldcallers who see pension liberation as an opportunity to liberate your pension from you

Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers

Sean O'Grady offers advice on keeping your money safe
Switching to a better bank account is much easier than it used to be

More people are switching current accounts – but what do the figures mean?

Experts disagree about the 7% increase over the past year

The chance of getting what appears to be free money can be hugely attractive, especially to first-time buyers who can be fooled into thinking it’s extra cash to buy the essential new items they need for their dream home.

Beware the boom in cashback mortgage deals

Too many mortgages are being sold with misleading gimmicks

The firm’s revenues slumped by a third to £217 million in a disastrous 2014

Wonga results could get even worse this year, chief admits

The firm’s revenues slumped by a third to £217 million in 2014

The cost of a buildings policy has dropped by 10.1 per cent over the year, with the cost of a contents policy falling by 8.2 per cent

Simon Read: Mild winter cuts the cost of home insurance

The average quote for a buildings and contents policy has fallen by 3.6 per cent

Don't count your retirement money yet: employers will stop receiving a pension rebate next year and their staff may lose out

Defined-benefit pension schemes: Rebate change in 2016 may leave you out of pocket

Employees in defined-benefit schemes are held up as the lucky ones, but the state pension scheme will be overhauled in April 2016
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

    Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

    £55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

    Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

    £16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Day In a Page

    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
    Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

    They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

    A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
    David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

    Hanging with the Hoff

    Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
    Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

    Hipsters of Arabia

    Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
    The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

    The cult of Roger Federer

    What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
    Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

    Malaysian munchies

    With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
    10 best festival beauty

    Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

    Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
    Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

    A Different League

    Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
    Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

    Steve Bunce on Boxing

    Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf