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Live Q&A today from 10:00 until 13:00 GMT - [now closed]


JamesIG

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Hi all

Over the last 24 hours or so you may have seen some official communication similar to the below. To run parallel to that we thought we would run a Q&A today to answer a few of your questions. Whilst you can of course ask anything you like below, the standard community guidelines apply; for example I can't discuss personal trade information or account details on a public forum. 

[UPDATE: whilst the live Q&A is over, we will periodically review any new questions and reply accordingly. You can ask any other questions you want as normal on the regular forum here]

Last week shortly after the US open some clients may have experienced issues accessing the IG trading platform. These incidents were brought about by a sudden and significant increase in activity, largely from new clients.

For those who were impacted I’d like to apologise that you haven't received the seamless digital trading experience you have come to expect from us. This, along with a professional, consistent, and market leading level of client service will always be our top priority.

Whilst we reacted quickly to address this spike of interest by increasing trading services staff, limiting and ultimately stopping new applications, increasing technical capacity, and prioritising efforts to manage and support our existing client base, we understand that more needs to be done.

Over the weekend we have worked especially hard to further increase capacity to better address the spike in trade volumes and frequency. We will be closely monitoring the impact of the changes we have made over the last few days and making any additional changes where necessary.

As part of our goal to increase the stability of the trading platform and improve our service levels we have set a couple of equities, GME and AMC, to ‘closing only’. This means that clients with existing positions can buy or sell to close, however new positions cannot be opened. This decision addresses the significant interest these equities have received which have resulted in lower service levels for all other clients on our platform.

As a trading services provider our priority is to offer an efficient, stable, and seamless digital trading experience on over 17,000 markets to our established client base. Whilst the recent events in the underlying market may have added new challenges and considerations, we shall continue to prioritise these things above all else.

Thanks very much.
James

 

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Why don't you guys just have a Reddit channel and forget about this 'Community' blog? It's really difficult to get someone to answer questions and looks outdated in my view.

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16 minutes ago, lj2301 said:

Why don't you guys just have a Reddit channel and forget about this 'Community' blog? It's really difficult to get someone to answer questions and looks outdated in my view.

Hi @lj2301 - thanks for the question. The whole purpose of Community is to connect likeminded  clients who want to discuss the underlying financial markets, support each other via the help section, and discuss IG news (from new product developments to events which impact your trading experience like margin changes).  

Whilst some of these goals can be achieved with third party sites such as reddit, having our own forum allows for better integration into the IG ecosystem, for example integrating into the dealing platforms 'New and Analysis' section in the left hand flyout, or accessing via mobile. There are smaller advantages as well such as being able to align our brand and also integrate into internal systems and processes.  

We continually look at new ways to service clients so I'll make sure to pass your suggestion onto the client facing support team. In the mean time if you have any other questions please feel free to post in the section of Community you think is most relevant.

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Thanks for the update James.

I appreciate the further explanation and the increased capacity comments, but it does feel somewhat counter-intuitive that in order to increase your service and stability, you have had to reduce it by restricting functionality on just two stocks (and relevant CFD/SB).

What happens when these two are no longer flavour of the month and some new stocks come into the spotlight? Do we have to suffer three consecutive days of degraded performance until these stocks are then restricted?

If the markets have taught us anything, it is that this will happen again and putting out spot fires in this scenario is rather self-perpetuating. I had no interest in either of these stocks, but was annoyed when I couldn't access the platform to transact on local markets.

For my interest (and perhaps others), it would be good if you could share metrics of usage – usual vs last week, to understand how ‘extreme’ last weeks activity was.

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I am a new Client. 

I have been chasing customer service and help for 3 weeks to withdraw my funds. 

None of them reply to me or fix the issue. My card and account is verified.

 

Why IG have such a poor customer service. 

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1 hour ago, TFFX_ said:

Thanks for the update James.

I appreciate the further explanation and the increased capacity comments, but it does feel somewhat counter-intuitive that in order to increase your service and stability, you have had to reduce it by restricting functionality on just two stocks (and relevant CFD/SB).

What happens when these two are no longer flavour of the month and some new stocks come into the spotlight? Do we have to suffer three consecutive days of degraded performance until these stocks are then restricted?

If the markets have taught us anything, it is that this will happen again and putting out spot fires in this scenario is rather self-perpetuating. I had no interest in either of these stocks, but was annoyed when I couldn't access the platform to transact on local markets.

For my interest (and perhaps others), it would be good if you could share metrics of usage – usual vs last week, to understand how ‘extreme’ last weeks activity was.

Hi @TFFX_ - great question - thanks for taking the time out of your day to reach out. 

Over the last few days the sudden and significant increase of interest in a few specific equities has been quite phenomenal to watch. As an established trading platform with over 45 years experience we obviously are familiar with periods of volatility, but what makes this event unique is the broader interest it has been given. The coverage in the mainstream media, the narrative of 'main street vs wall street', and the concentration on a few specific stocks has resulted in an unprecedented reaction from many people throughout the world - some of which are taking the opportunity to trade for the very first time.

Whilst its great to see an increased interest in the financial markets, our focus is to provide a stable platform for the hundreds of thousands of clients we already service who are trading on over 17,000 global markets. This, along with striving to offer a transparent, supportive, and helpful customer experience are a couple of our top priorities. To achieve this we sometimes have to make difficult decisions such as the ones we've acted on over the last few days.

We started this last week by increasing technical capacity, increasing the number of client service support staff, reducing and ultimately stopping new applications so we could focus on our existing client base, and prioritizing specific work initiatives to address the volumes.

On Friday the tough decision was make to set GME and AMC to closing only. This means that new positions cannot be opened on those markets, however clients can of course buy or sell to close their open positions. By restricting new positions on those 2 single equities we can reduce the significant and concentrated volumes we are seeing, especially over 14:30 GMT when the US equity main market session opens. 

Alongside this we've continued to work hard over the weekend to increase capacity and allocate internal resource to supporting our existing clients.

Whilst I completely understand the frustration that the 'closing only' decision had we believe it was appropriate to prioritise the service we provide to existing clients who have little interest in trading these specific equities (just like yourself).

We shall continue to monitor the situation closely and act accordingly, however as I'm sre you can appreciate, its difficult to speculate on possible actions for future events. The thing that will remain consistent however is prioritising the service we provide to our existing clients, and striving to offer a seamless digital trading experience.

I'm afraid that as a listed FTSE 250 company we are unable to share any information on volumes. 

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39 minutes ago, Obaid said:

I am a new Client. 

I have been chasing customer service and help for 3 weeks to withdraw my funds. 

None of them reply to me or fix the issue. My card and account is verified.

Why IG have such a poor customer service. 

Hi @Obaid - thanks for the question. Unfortunately I am unable to discuss the specific reasons which may have resulted in a delay on your withdrawal request. I can however talk more broadly about the most common reason which may have impacted a withdrawal. 

As part of IGs AML policy we have an obligation to make sure we are returning funds to the original source of the deposit. That means if you deposited with a card and you're trying to withdraw to a bank account we may require additional verification documents. Your card issuer, probably VISA or Mastercard, is a different entity to your bank (HSBC etc). 

There could of course be other specific reasons which are specific to your account. I've forwarded your account details onto our trading services team who will look into this for you. Please keep and eye out for an email or phone call from us.

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Hi, it seems you have been open by saying that you are only dealing with closing only on GME and AMC.  However, to me it seems that if most stocks are showing some increase or spike it suddenly rejects any buy order and says Closing Market Only.  This can happen at any time after market opening on UK or US markets and restricts the spread betting options.  Just this morning for example on PNPL, my order was rejected several times saying Closing Market Only when it was after market open at 8.30am GMT.  

Is there any reason for this, it has happened daily on different stocks for at least the last 6 months and is surely incorrect information.  Only now do I see it is not allowed as Robinhood have been criticised for restricting the purchase of certain stocks.

Please can you advise the reason behind this.     

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2 hours ago, Lavendertrader said:

Hi, it seems you have been open by saying that you are only dealing with closing only on GME and AMC.  However, to me it seems that if most stocks are showing some increase or spike it suddenly rejects any buy order and says Closing Market Only.  This can happen at any time after market opening on UK or US markets and restricts the spread betting options.  Just this morning for example on PNPL, my order was rejected several times saying Closing Market Only when it was after market open at 8.30am GMT.  

Is there any reason for this, it has happened daily on different stocks for at least the last 6 months and is surely incorrect information.  Only now do I see it is not allowed as Robinhood have been criticised for restricting the purchase of certain stocks.

Please can you advise the reason behind this.     

Hi @Lavendertrader thanks for the question. For clarity 'closing only' is a status which can be applied to any market, not just GME and AMC. The purpose of this blog post was to highlight the specific action taken to improve our service to clients, which by extension resulting in highlighting the 'closing only' status applied in this instance. 

Whilst I can't discuss your specific trades or account on an open public forum we can talk about PNPL more broadly. Looking at this ticker it seems to be a UK listed SPAC with a market cap of around £7 million (and only 2 weeks ago would have been less than half that).

Given the tiny market cap we are unable to offer this on a leverage account, however you can trade it directly on a regular share dealing account (in the regions where we offer this product offering - for example the UK or Australia). The reason for this is based in all the regular reasons for trading small illiquid markets via leverage - easy to build a sizable % ownership very quickly in an illiquid market (i.e. you'd only need 70 people using £1000 margin on 5:1 leverage for a significant 5% stake in the company / SPAC assuming all trades are hedged).

I hope that has helped clarify things for you.

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Guest Max

Posted

Hello,

I would like to challenge the point RE GME and AMC. By allowing positions to be "closed only", what IG is effectively doing is enabling holders to sell i.e. push the price down. Yes, in theory, IG customers with an open short position can buy to close. But as we know, the vast majority of the shorts are institutional, and the vast majority of the longs are retail. Therefore I can assert fairly confidently that the majority of IG customers, which are retail, were long on GME and AMC, a fact that IG is fully aware of. Thus, by restricting these two stocks to "closure only", IG is encouraging its customers to sell, and sell only. This has only benefited institutional investors, not IG customers, despite IG's repeated claims of the contrary.

 

Additionally, why avoid mentioning liquidity issues. Technical difficulties incurred by system overload would occur regardless of whether orders are made on GME, AMC or any other stock. Unless you're implying IG uses a different IT infrastructure depending on which stocks are being traded? Seems ludicrous. Therefore the only logical explanation is that liquidity, not IT, is the reason behind the decision. Or worse, as some have alluded to, an attempt at market manipulation, but I would not go as far.

 

Kind regards

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Guest SunilK

Posted

Hi @JamesIG

Like other participants I agree with the frustrations expressed on here, and appreciate the opportunity provided to share our views.

I’ve specifically been impacted, as I’m sure  will have others, by not having access either to the platforms or phone lines to exit positions/ amend stop losses in a timely fashion. As a result some of us would’ve suffered financial losses.

What remains unclear to me is what IG markets does in this area to recompense people that have been impacted.

I've tried phoning, the wait times is still extremely long (even on Saturday!) eventually line disconnects in 2 hours. I’ve also tried emailing with exact details on my account and the issue, to no avail.

what is the clear policy in this area, and is there an expectation on turnaround times to respond to such queries.

what can I do to expect a response back from the team, and can they phone me back so I can clearly explain how I was impacted?

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