> Pros and Cons of IG

Pros and Cons of IG

What I Like

  1. Trading platform is simple to use, very easy to access data and tic charting.
  2. Compatible with most operating systems including Mac. PDAs and smartphones can also gain access.
  3. Once logged in you are presented with a series of windows that are fully customisable to display watch lists, charts, news and analysis.
  4. They have CFDs for pretty much every futures market, heaps of stock markets (with cheap live data feeds or free delayed feeds for most), and a bunch of British and European ETFs/ETCs. Be aware though these are all CFDs you will not be paying the same bid/ask as on a proper futures broker, you will not be properly counter partied to anyone but the broker usually but it can still be profitable and useful if you know what you are doing.
  5. Share CFDs at transparent market prices from just 0.1% commission. IG Markets CFD equity/share prices are the same as the underlying market. They charge a commision to buy or sell rather than adjust the prices.
  6. IG Markets (unlike some other CFD providers who only quote FTSE 350 UK stocks) lists most UK shares including AIM companies up to a market capitalisation of £10.
  7. Minimum spreads on some forex pairs have been reduced to just one pip: EUR/USD – 1 pip (but generally still 2 pips) and USD/JPY – 1 pip (but generally still 3 pips).
  8. The PureDeal platform doesn’t give that many re-quotes; for instance in a year i’ve never been requoted index trading with IG. I also like the fact that I can place a stop simultaneously when sending a market order.
  9. With IG Markets, dividends are credited to your account on the ex-dividend date, just like a normal share holding except that the payout is quicker. They also give you a free L2 dealer screen.
  10. IG Markets L2 platform now combines the order books from Europe’s two leading MTFs and the London Stock Exchange to increase liquidity by over 50% on FTSE 100 shares – which for us means even better execution and tighter spreads on top UK stocks.
  11. Throw in free news, free platform and plenty of research, makes it a very good provider for non-professional/small account traders trading with accounts of up to £50,000.
  12. Professional-level real-time charting. They have also recently launched a brand new application – Autochartist which is basically an automated pattern recognition tool that automatically notifies clients of emerging trends. It works by scanning various markets on your behalf and can flag up when certain criteria are met; very handy for scanning a market for technical patterns such as double tops, double bottoms, heads and shoulders….etc. For active traders, these scans can be working on very short-term charts, following the markets during the day but the application can also be used for scanning longer-term charts.
  13. Phone support has been is very good. As they have Australian and British offices they can provide 24 phone support. On the few occasions I’ve had to ring them i’ve gotten through straight away.
  14. One real positive about IG Markets is they’re always improving their service on a regular basis, advanced tick charts and DealThru charts (ability to make a trade directly from a chart) for two.
  15. I like the fact that I’m allocated a dedicated Account Manager to assist me in all aspects of my dealings with IG.
  16. And lastly but not least when I requested funds to be transferred out they did it fast…
  17. They are supposed to be the best capitalised CFD broker in town (largely thanks to their huge British client base).

What I Dislike

  1. Web based platforms are slower than application platforms (platforms you download in your pc) in terms of updates, price feeds, feeling positions and server response.
  2. If you are inexperienced IG may only offer you a ‘Limited Risk Account’ which comes with guaranteed stops for all trades (but of course these come with a few more pips on the spread so its best to push for the ‘Trader Account’). Note that when applying if you put your net liquid assets as less than 10k then you are forced to choose the ‘Limited Account’ option.
  3. PureDeal (the market maker platform) only displays Level 1 data so no market depth or course of sales can be found for share CFDs.
  4. I don’t like it when IG occasionally blocks me out of trades. For instance today two trades were not available. First one, ‘price no longer valid’. Second one, ‘market currently rolling over, unavailable’.
  5. Shorts are not listed – you either have to try and Short a stock to see if it’s accepted or ring them up – even if a stock is listed on the exchange as being a acceptable SHORT it may not be accepted by IG.
  6. Spikes in prices and charts are usually errors that IG don’t hold you to e.g. if it did take you out of the trade a phone call usually fixes it (and the chart).
  7. Usually a CFD provider pays you interest when you are short and you pay interest when you are long. The interest rate applicable is the benchmark rate (4.25%) plus/minus a margin to IG’s favor. Short positions now attract financing charges where the margin is greater than the benchmark rate. The margin is 2.5%… If the benchmark rate is 4.25 you get charged 6.75% per year interest on long positions and if you are short, you get paid 1.75%. So say benchmark (LIBOR) is 2% (for instance as is the situation in the UK), IG end up paying you -0.5% (i.e. actually charging you) on any shorts you have. So basically IG will charge interest on short positions as well as long positions if LIBOR is below their 2.5% spread.
  8. Not suitable for scalpers. Also, if trading spot forex their java based platform tends to freeze up in periods of very high volatility. During the spike after a recent fed statement I tried >10 times to exit a postion on Eur/Usd but was given the dreaded ‘Price is no Longer Available’ message, then the platform froze up and the ticket to close the trade took almost a minute to pull up. My personal experience with this broker is that it works flawlessly 98% of the time – it’s the 2% when you really need it (eg. large position, abnormal market volatility) that it sometimes give problems which is where having a backup broker comes in handy.

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