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The more traditional and, to many, quite stuffy image of the stockbroker has been superseded by many firms offering a far snappier, dealing operation which competes on price as well as the quality of service.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
Put the phone down on the coldcallers who see pension liberation as an opportunity to liberate your pension from you

The 'no-hang up' scam targets vulnerable people - and your bank may not protect you

Unscrupulous crooks prey on older people to trick them out of their savings

Money Insider: How to make credit cards pay

Andrew Hagger reveals how to get the most from your plastic

Questions of Cash: My 'perfect travel companion' from the Post Office was a waste of money

One reader purchased the Post Office Travel Money Plus Card for a motoring holiday but discovered it can't be used at self-service petrol stations or autoroute toll booths

Continuing low interest rates are encouraging more people to switch to interest-only mortgages

Interest-only mortgages return to give more flexibility to borrowers

The credit crunch put a temporary end to these once-popular mortgages. But lenders are waking up to rising demand and relaxing their rules

EU to scrap roaming charges in 2017: European Commission under fire for taking so long to act

UK consumer groups complained that British holidaymakers face another two years of mobile phone misery before the law comes into effect

On the money: Yorkshire building society has demonstrated that it is taking the P2P industry seriously

Is peer-to-peer lending a risk worth taking?

The P2P industry must do more to shake off an unjustified image of being too complex and risky for the everyday saver, says Andrew Hagger

Generating grievances: Scottish Power's Longannet station in Fife

Questions of Cash: Scottish Power says it's sorry - again and again

Six of the energy company's customer have cause to blow a fuse this week

Will Patisserie Valerie be the portfolio's sweet spot?

Derek Pain: 'Patience is a virtue but maybe I should cut and run'

Derek's portfolio is currently suffering because of his failure to be more ruthless

There are now more than three million people in “severe problem debt”

Debt managers are misleading vulnerable people, warns watchdog

One debtor was given a repayment plan that would have taken 125 years to repay

Challengers are smashing the traditional high street banks when it comes to offering decent savings rates

Ignore the new breed of savings institutions and you'll lose interest

NatWest has ripped up its pledge to never be the last bank in town

NatWest pledged five years ago it wouldn't close the last bank in town. Now villagers have been told the branch shuts in September

When the last bank closes, local shops quickly go out of business

Under new state pension rules we will all be much worse off

Why did no one notice? The Government hides behind complexity, says Neasa MacErlean

Bogus Islington landlord scams public for £20,000 in fake deposits

It’s not just Islington... Simon Read warns renters and landlords about a nationwide fraud operation

Questions of Cash: The paperwork wasn't right so I was left high and dry with a broken washing machine

A reader encountered a problem with a Currys washer/dryer care plan

Borrowers should steer clear of established providers to get the best rates

Interest rates have never been cheaper if you want a five-figure personal loan but for lower-value loans it's a very different picture

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate