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Realistic minimum investment scenario - frustrating reality of a small investor


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With ever changing limits, fees and other artificial obstacles, the share dealing for a small investor on IG platform is becoming increasingly frustrating experience. Can I just ask the IG support and also regular experienced (small) investors, what is the realistic and practical monthly investment that’s even close to viable?

- There’s a quarterly £24 custody fee. In order to a avoid it, you have to do 3+ share dealings in the last 3 months, costing you £24-30, depending on the market. OK, so you basically pay £24+ initially no matter what.
- There’s $0/£3/€10 per deal afterwards, so unless you’re dealing exclusively in US stocks, you’re realistically looking at another £6-€20 per month to avoid higher commission rates - to avoid (understand decrease) the quarterly custody fee.
- Then there’s the lovely “minimum 90 consideration” rule, not very clearly advertised until you try to execute order. Designed to avoid losing money due to all of the above (fair enough), each share dealing has to be above this level.

So to summarise:
- In order to avoid the custody fee, I need to invest roughly £270 every three months (£90 minimum a month), costing me £24 minimum (£8 a month) in the process.
- If I decide to invest in UK, to avoid higher commission rates, I need further 2 share deals a month (at £90 each), costing me another £6. £186 per month, £558 total over a quarter.
- So that’s £294 + £558 = £852 a quarter expenses for £810 investment - minimum to keep the fees at lowest.
- After this initial period, I’ll need £270+£9 each month, £837 a quarter expenses for £810 investment.

Even at maximum optimisation, my investment needs to grow roughly 5% in first 3 months (3% thereafter) just to break even. And that’s after that initial consideration, I have to find those £852 to invest in the first place. Because at the minimum £270 invested just to “avoid” custody fee, the growth would have to be closer to 10%.

Unless I invest exclusively in US stocks, or invest 2x-3x that amount regularly, this is borderline unwise.

Is that a gist of it? The famous IG of today?

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Some comments:
 
* £24 per quarter is competitive (ii charge £9.99 per month and also give rebates if you trade)
 
* buying £90 of equity at a time is much too small
 
* if you can find an ETF or IT with similar ideas to your own you can make one annual investment rather than twelve small ones
 
* consider some sort of equity based regular savings plan (not sure if IG offer this)
 
* you may be able to get better value for yourself by using spread betting or CFD (though they come with problems of their own). Try out a Demo account and if you then use a Live account, start with markets offering a Guaranteed Stop.

 
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To be honest, if you look around some of the other paid brokers, you'll find IG is probably one of the cheapest out there in terms of both commissions and custody charges. It might be worth having a look at some of the free providers to see if they might be a better fit - I had a brief look around recently and Freetrade looked interesting (though I haven't actually tried it, so I can't comment on whether it is any good or not).

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Competitive it might be, yet it can still be way too high.

I understand there are ways around it

- either invest more (I’d love to, but not a realistic proposal these days I’m afraid)
- or invest less often in larger chunks (yet still pay custody fees in the meantime, plus still the money problem)
- or consider ETFs and Smart Portfolio (yes, doing that, but I just want to own some stock outright)
- or use CFDs (great if you have time to be on it, which is not realistic long term)

Yet unfortunately none of that covers the scenario, where I’d like to make a gradual and long term investment into particular stock(s), own it outright and not haemorrhage money in fees in the process.

Sorry for the rant, it’s just frustrating. This business needs heavy disruptors, it left non institutional investors long behind. I’m just trying to justify paying for the platform slowly but surely realising that it brings me no benefits whatsoever, apart from reasonably useful (and finally 21st century) GUI.

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If you are looking for lower cost to trading / investing and unhappy with IG, then you should probably look elsewhere. There are some providers out there who offer commission free trading (albeit with monthly account keeping fees) and can offer fractional shares - these may be more suitable for your requirements. 

IG (and all brokers for that matter) are a volume based business and need their account holders to be active to maintain their accounts / platform - they still need to keep the lights on, even when nobody is there.... 

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