The case for joining the web's wheeler-dealers

Sam Dunn on how you can save by buying and selling shares online

It seems a long time since the golden days of online share dealing. In 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom, the number of trades was doubling every three months. Then came the bear market and the deals dried up.

However, there are now signs that investors are making a tentative return. Between January and March this year, 500,000 trades were executed by private investors online, says Brian Mairs, spokesman for the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (Apcims). And its figures for the second quarter of 2003 are set to show another rise.

If you think shares have fallen as far as they are going to, and that now's the time to get back into the market, using the internet will save you a lot of money.

Buying and selling shares online is cheaper than using a broker's phone or mail service. Most brokers charge com- mission every time they execute a trade, plus an annual fee if you have an account with them. You will also have to pay stamp duty - 0.5 per cent of the value of the equities you buy. But if you go online, the fee is often waived and the commission reduced.

You will have to set up an account to register with the broker, and many will let you put your shares into an individual savings account (ISA), reducing your tax liability.

Independent financial adviser (IFA) Hargreaves Lansdown offers online share dealing under its Vantage service. Its minimum charge for a trade is £10, or 1 per cent of the transaction fee, up to a maximum of £50 per trade. The annual cost of dealing is 0.5 per cent of the value of shares kept in Vantage.

American Express has a service called Sharepeople, offering trading in 10 international stock markets including the US Nasdaq and the FTSE 100. There is no charge for setting up an account and no annual fee. For dealing, Share- people charges a flat rate of £12.50 unless you trade more than 25 times in a 90-day period; then it will charge you £9.50 per trade. You also get access to research on foreign stocks and an information centre. If you wish to keep your shares inside an ISA to protect them from capital gains tax, it will cost you 0.5 per cent of the investment per annum (capped at £100 a year).

But while there are some cheap dealing packages, beware of the risks of equities. Mr Mairs at Apcims says: "The first thing to decide if you want to invest in shares is whether you want advice or not. Advice is not expensive and will be cheaper than any mistake you might make if you aren't familiar with trading. But if you are confident about research and trading yourself, then don't let price be the only thing you look for. What is important is access to research."

Amanda Davidson, a partner at IFA Holden Meehan, says: "Look at how easy the site is to navigate and see if you want something that is more sophisticated. Information is important too: do you want historic performance?

"You should consider this as part of a wider portfolio, as buying individual shares is much more risky compared to unit trusts, where you have a pooled investment."

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Guru Careers: Management Accountant

    £27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

    Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

    £40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'