IG Group Review 2018

By John Jagerson  | January 2, 2018

IG provides direct access to an industry-leading breadth of financial markets - from Forex and CFDs to commodities and cryptocurrencies - and account types with relatively low spreads and commissions.

Overall Rating

4.3/
5.0
Products & Fees
4.6
Trust
3.9
Special Features
3.0
Desktop Experience
4.5
Mobile Experience
4.6
Customer Support
3.8
Research & Insights
5.0
Education
5.0

IG Group Fast Facts

IG has been in the Forex and CFD business for 40 years. The company offers access to a comprehensive product line including forex, stock indices, individual equities, stock sectors, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and interest rates on a variety of professional-grade web-based and mobile trading platforms. IG is the largest CFD dealer (based on trading revenue) with the largest number of active financial spread betting accounts in the UK. Its size allows it to offer some of the lowest spreads and commissions in the industry. IG Group is an FTSE 250 Company with a 2.1 GBP billion market capitalization and more than 185,000 clients worldwide.

pros

  • Breadth of Trading Products
    IG offers access to more than 15,000 global markets
  • Low Cost
    IG's size and trading volume allow it to offer some of the lowest spreads and commissions in the industry
  • Extended Hours and Sunday Trading
    Trade extended hours on US equities and on Sundays in stock indices and cryptocurrencies

cons

  • Virtual Private Server (VPS) Carries a Fee
    Clients with an account balance less than GBP 5,000 must pay a monthly fee of GBP 50 for VPS
  • Commissions for Single Stocks
    There is a minimum commission for single stock trades but no maximum commission and no volume discounts
  • No Emergency Stop Loss
    There is no way to automatically liquidate your positions once your account balance reaches a predetermined threshold
8000+
International Shares
90+
Currency Pairs
2
Cryptocurrency
(Trade both Bitcoin and Ethereum)

Products & Fees

4.6

IG provides access to a wide variety of financial markets - including forex, stock indices, individual equities, stock sectors, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds and interest rates - via spread betting, CFDs, shares and more. IG provides some of the lowest spreads in the industry, especially for Forex traders who are trading larger monthly volumes through IG's Forex Direct [Direct Market Access (DMA)] platform - which offers narrower spreads plus a commission. There is a spread and minimum commission for single stocks but no maximum commission. This can get expensive if you trade a lot of single stocks. There are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. Inactivity fees only kick in after an account has been idle for two years.

  • EUR/USD**
    0.75 pips
  • GBP/USD***
    1.34 pips
  • USD/JPY****
    0.86 pips
  • S&P 500 CFD
    $0.40
  • Japan 225
    $7.00
  • Oil CFD
    $0.028
  • US 10Y T-Note
    $0.04
  • Gold
    $0.30
  • US Stocks
    Spread + $0.02/share

Trust

3.9

If there's one area where IG suffered slightly in our ratings it was with trust. It's worth noting, however, that most of the reason for this was the company's lack of compensation above and beyond what's required by regulators in the event of a default by IG. However, while IG does not provide additional deposit insurance, it does take steps to ensure client funds are not comingled with corporate funds - ensuring that client money and assets are protected in the unlikely event that IG becomes insolvent - by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks. The Gambling Commission classifies the way IG holds client money as "high protection".

GBP 50,000
Default Insurance (IG)
(If IG defaults, up to GBP 50,000 under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS))
GBP 85,000
Default Insurance (Failed Bank)
(If the custodian bank holding client funds goes into liquidation)

What you need to know

IG is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and follows the strict regulatory requirements, known as the client money and client assets rules (found in the Client Assets Sourcebook - CASS) outlined by the FCA. Its Digital 100s (binary options) business is also regulated by the Gambling Commission in Great Britain.

Special Features

3.0
Special Features

IG gives you the flexibility to automate your trading and bypass IG and go directly to the market makers and even use your own, or a third party, trading platform. We are impressed with the number of trading platforms and tools that are available to individual and institutional traders (asset managers and introducing brokers) alike. In fact, their only negative mark was because they require a minimum account balance of GBP 5,000 to access its Virtual Private Servers (VPS) for free (Traders often use a VPS to run automated trading algorithms). Otherwise, access to the VPS costs account holders GBP 50 per month.

Direct Market Access
Bypass IG and trade directly with market makers
ProRealTime Trading Platform
Create, back test and automate your trading strategies
Algorithmic Trading
Automate your entries and exits with VWAP and TWAP algorithms
Trade via an API
Use your own front-end platform and IG's trading technology

What you need to know

Depending on the functionality you are looking for you may need to choose among different trading platforms. If you're looking for direct market access (DMA) the L2 Dealer platform is for you. If you're looking for backtesting and trade automation the ProRealTime platform may be more ideal.

Desktop Experience

4.5
Desktop Experience

IG scored very well in the Desktop Experience category. Their browser-based trading platform is stable and fully customizable. It provides everything from news alerts and third-party trading signals to watchlists and dynamic charts. The amount of information you can apply to the charts - indicators, drawings, economic events and more - while maintaining a clean, organized layout (even when toggling back and forth between chart time frames and single- and multi-chart layouts) is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the platform. Some traders may gravitate toward IG's MT4 charting package or one of the other advanced charting packages for the special features they offer. But most traders are going to find everything they need in IG's online, browser-based trading platform.

Pros

Everything in the online trading platform is customizable - from the color of the platform to the positioning and number of charting, news and portfolio windows. You can also trade forex, indices, individual shares, commodities, cryptocurrencies, ETFs and bonds and rates all within the same platform. Integrated trading signals from Autochartist and PIA-First, news updates from Reuters and customizable trade alerts all help keep you engaged and informed.

Cons

Launching the online trading platform is a multi-step process. Traders must first log into your account and then choose which platform you would like to launch from the dashboard.

Mobile Experience

4.6
Mobile Platform Experience

The IG mobile app includes most of the functionality available in the desktop application. Traders can access IG's trading instruments, complex order types and account details, trading signals, and charting (complete with trading indicators and drawing tools) from the Android or iPhone apps. The app has a customizable layout so that a client's default opening screen can be focused on the information they want to see first. The iPhone app includes fingerprint security but the Android version does not.

Pros

The mobile app includes all of the same functionality clients can use in the desktop version to analyze and research trading opportunities. Clients can use advanced order types, track their accounts and receive trading alerts. The dynamic charts can also be expanded to full screen to provide better clarity during the technical analysis process. Clients can also easily toggle back and forth between accounts if they have more than one.

Cons

Although the app includes fingerprint security in the iPhone version, there is otherwise no added security beyond the login password. We would like to see the app include customizable, automatic sign-out and verification of login from another device.

Customer Support

3.8

IG customer support provides a robust network of agents to assist clients. Clients can contact customer support via phone, email, live chat or Twitter. IG also provides a dedicated team to offer one-to-one guidance to new clients. The company also maintains a robust FAQ database and investor community where clients can interact with and support each other. IG's only negative? No in-person support is available.

What you need to know

Customer service is available 24 hours a day from 8am Saturday to 10pm Friday. In our experience, response times via each of these customer service channels was prompt, knowledgeable and courteous. The FAQ section covers a wide variety of topics and has an excellent search engine. The IG Community provides a forum to discuss trading strategies, ask for help and learn about the various features of IG's trading platforms. While anyone can browse the forum, you must have a live account to post in the forum. Demo account holders may not post.

Research & Insights

5.0

IG scored high in the research category. The platform includes real-time news feeds, calendars, and advanced data analytics. It also provides insight into what is happening on the IG trading floor and what other IG clients are trading in their own accounts.

IG Client Sentiment
Know what other clients are trading.
IG View
News reports from IG's analyst team
IG Squawk
Twitter feed of market news from the IG trading floor
Market Screener
Screen for stocks based on fundamental criteria
Morning Call
Daily email with news and analysis
Trading Diary
Note-taking platform to track progress and lessons learned

Pros

IG provides a wide range of analytics, research and tools. We especially liked the client sentiment tool and the dynamic charts. The economic calendar was easy to use, integrated into the trading platform, and included expectations, actual results, currencies affected, and historical data. Research from IG's analysts was timely and informative.

Cons

The economic calendar provides timely data for the current trading day, but it lacks the ability to go forward or backward in time to see what is coming in the future or what has happened in the past. The pop-up data windows that appear when you click on a specific economic event are also broken.

Education

5.0

IG's education via its IG Academy is well organized and comprehensive. It is even available in a mobile app so you can take your education with you. The ongoing webinars and commentary incorporate the trading platform, which will help investors to become more proficient with its use.

Mobile App
Trading Education On-The-Go
(Watch videos, read lessons, take quizzes)
IG Academy
Master Various Trading Concepts
(Collection of predefined courses and ongoing live training sessions)
Course Tracking
Track What You Still Need to Learn
(Keep progressing and mark off lessons completed)

What you need to know

The nine trading courses available emphasize spread betting and CFDs. But the courses on technical analysis, trading psychology, understanding risk and reward, etc. are applicable regardless of the market you are trading.

Bottom Line

IG scored high marks across the board in our analysis. They offer a broad array of trading platforms, including desktop, browser-based and mobile applications that we felt would appeal to both new traders and experienced traders alike. New traders will find the tools and educational opportunities necessary to get started. Seasoned traders will appreciate the flexible, customizable trading platforms and low trading costs. The firm covers a broad array of financial markets including Forex, stock indices, individual equities, stock sectors, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds and interest rates. We would have preferred at least the option to talk to a representative in person, but otherwise their customer support was professional and courteous. The firm's selection of research, news and analytics was impressive.

John Jagerson
Reviewed by John Jagerson

John Jagerson has worked in the capital markets and private equity for most of his career, including investing, writing and money management. He currently manages a registered CTA and contributes to www.pfxglobal.com, the companion site to the book "Profiting With Forex" by John Jagerson and S. Wade Hansen.

About Our Broker Review Methodology
Investopedia's mission is to provide online investors with the most unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of self-directed brokers. Vetted by multiple industry experts - including a financial research firm with more than 20 years of experience in broker ratings - Investopedia's Broker Ratings and Reviews embody industry best practices for research design.

Investopedia consulted independent researchers, and financial institutions, and conducted multiple tests, to design a system that rates brokers based on 10 categories and 149 carefully selected variables. Selection of ratings elements was a culmination of 5,498 survey responses, 100+ hours of industry research, and 100 hours of user feedback. Each category encapsulates the key elements needed for thorough evaluation. All have been tested for replicable results with a battery of evaluators. Every review goes through a rigorous verification process to maintain editorial separation and ensure an unbiased ratings result.

IG Group News