Buying shares has always been in fashion, after all, there’s a reason why some stock exchanges like the London Stock Exchange have outlived their founders. However, the average UK resident may be overwhelmed by the amount of information there’s on the internet with respect to how to buy shares from the UK – since it’s so popular. Let us condense all the information you’ll need into a concise, informative article.
In this article, we’ll begin by explaining what the process of buying a share in a company, both domestic and international ones, looks like. There are certain steps that you must follow before you can invest in real shares or buy share CFDs. These steps include opening a share dealing account, depositing funds, doing your research and picking shares that best align with your analysis and interests, selecting an order type, and finally activating the order.
Then we’ll go over the costs of buying shares very quickly, to give you a brief idea of all the fees you may incur when you begin trading. Some of the fees that you may incur include taxes, deposit & withdrawal fees, and commissions.
Also, you should keep in mind that brokers can offer different types of trading platforms to their clients to make it easier for them to trade wherever and whenever they want to. Finally, we’ll also identify the pros and cons of share buying from the UK in general.
Start things off by doing your research. Pick a broker from the ones listed above after you’ve done an adequate amount of research on each of them. Take all the factors that are important to you into consideration such as the fees and commission. Then simply follow the steps below to buy shares from the UK.
- Open a Share Dealing Account
- Deposit Funds
- Research and Pick your Shares
- Select the Order Type
- Activate the Order and Buy your Shares
The companies that you want to buy their shares from will be listed on different exchanges. That is the only way to invest in them. Each global exchange will list different companies, for example, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) available to eToro account holders, hosts the UK’s top 100
corporations. Similarly, other exchanges from which UK investors can buy shares include the New York Stock Exchange, Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Shanghai Stock Exchange.
This can be costly if you do not choose the right brokerage platform as there are different kinds of costs that you may incur. First of all, being UK-based, your share dealing account is probably denominated in GBP. While that wouldn’t pose a problem when buying UK stocks, for example those listed on the London Stock Exchange, you will have to take into consideration the current exchange rates when purchasing international stocks. Additionally, your dividend income is subject to the tax laws of the respective country. Other charges like deposit/withdrawal fees and spread may also apply. Spreads are a very common cost for traders and can be defined as the gap between the bid and ask prices of securities like stocks.
Moreover, brokerage firms may also charge a commission on the purchase of shares – on average around 1%. This is usually the largest cost that you will have to put up with. But on the bright side, there are many brokerage firms like eToro that do not charge any commission on stock trading – drastically bringing down your overall costs.
- Cheap Shares from the FTSE 100 Company
- High Dividends
- Strong Regulatory Protection
- Investor Compensation Schemes
- Use of ISA Accounts to Reduce Taxes
- Currency Conversion Rate when Buying International Stocks
- High Losses in Bearish Market
Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are financial products that authorize traders to speculate on the price movements of an underlying asset, such as shares, without owning the asset itself. One of the key features of CFDs is that they allow traders to use leverage, which means they can control a larger position with a smaller initial investment.
Regarding shares CFDs, traders can buy or sell contracts based on the price movements of a particular company’s shares. This means that traders can profit from the price increases (buying) and the price declines (selling) of the underlying shares.
One of the main benefits of trading shares CFDs is the ability to use leverage, which can amplify potential profits. However, it’s important to note that leverage can also amplify losses, resulting in significant losses exceeding the initial investment. Additionally, CFDs are a complex financial product, and trading them requires a good understanding of the underlying markets and the risks involved.
After implementing new regulations by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in 2018, the maximum leverage that UK brokers can offer for retail traders in shares CFDs is 1:5, for individual shares. This has reduced the potential risk of significant losses for retail traders.
Another advantage of trading shares CFDs is that brokers often offer access to a broader range of markets than traditional share dealing platforms. For example, Capital.com currently offers shares CFDs on more than 2,000 global companies, including many international markets that may not be accessible to UK-based traders through a traditional share dealing platforms.
Learning what to look for in a broker is a crucial step in answering how to buy shares from UK. We’ve simplified this tedious process for you and outlined the main things you need to consider when choosing a broker.
When choosing a broker to buy shares from, regulation should be your top priority. This is owing to the fact that regulated brokers are subject to the strict supervision of trusted regulatory authorities. If a broker is regulated, traders do not have to worry about their money getting stolen because the broker most likely has no ulterior motives.
All firms in the UK engaging in the selling and promoting of financial products and services are mandated by law to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – so you know if the brokerage firm isn’t authorized by them, it is operating illegally.
The FCA was set up in 2013 to take over the country’s regulatory work. As of today, it has regulated more than 50,000 businesses in the UK. FCA-authorized brokerage firms need to have met a particular criterion to attain that status. These firms for as long as they operate within UK territory will continue to be inspected and supervised by the FCA. Consumers are protected from all sorts of fraud and scams as the FCA’s close supervision identifies the threat before it can harm them.
Lastly, under FCA jurisdiction, all investors that encounter a situation where their broker closes down for good and files for insolvency are entitled to receive a certain amount as compensation for their loss.
The corporation you want to buy its share will be listed on a stock exchange (also referred to as a stock market). Therefore, it is crucial that you choose a broker that grants you access to a wide range of both local and international stock exchanges – to prevent a situation where the company you strongly believe in and want to buy its share is not available on the respective brokerage’s trading platform. A good example of a broker that grants you access to plenty of stock markets is eToro. eToro customers have access to a whopping 17 exchange markets, inclusive of NASDAQ and Stockholm, among many other markets.
After you’ve carefully counted the number of stock exchanges the broker offers, it’s time to turn your attention to their trading platform(s). Brokers can have a proprietary trading platform, a popular platform like MT4 or MT5, or both – your best bet is to go for a broker that has both. A
proprietary trading platform is specifically designed keeping in mind the needs of that specific broker, which means that the chances of the user interface being user-friendly and beginner-friendly are much higher than compared to a standard platform like MT4 – which is usually more complex in nature, but perfect if you’re a seasoned trader.
Moreover, these trading platforms can often exist as web, desktop, mobile, or a unique mix of the three. The best broker would provide a trading platform available through all three channels to make things as convenient as possible for their clients.
Brokerage firms have the liberty to choose whether or not they want to offer both CFD shares and real shares to clients. The best broker would satisfy the maximum number of clients by permitting them to buy shares as both CFDs and real shares. The difference between the former and the latter lies in the status of ownership – in the former, you do not own the underlying asset, however, you can speculate on the share’s market price hoping to earn a profit when the market goes your way. On the flip side, investing in real shares involves owning the share in question and being able to earn it through a variety of ways, such as selling it or through annual dividend payments.
Additionally, some firms may also allow consumers to buy fractional shares in a company. This can be very handy, considering that real shares have to be bought with your own capital, and sometimes you may not have sufficient funds to fund such a transaction.
A commission is one of the greatest costs to a trader since it is calculated on their trading activity – oftentimes, the more you trade, the higher the commission fee incurred.
Commission in Europe is based on the client’s trade volume, and it is often noticed that the purchase and sale of assets in the European markets warrant varying commission rates. Over time as your trading activity grows, these charges can culminate to a huge figure – consuming a large chunk of your funds, making it very important that the broker you’re striking a deal with charges low trading fees.
However, if you see this cost as something you can’t afford, fortunately, plenty of good zero-commission brokers, such as eToro, exist.
Brokers in the UK usually always offer the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms to their clients, but an increasingly large number of brokers have built their own custom trading platforms with sometimes a more user-friendly interface and features. Both of these trading platforms can be used to buy shares in the UK.
Proprietary Trading Platforms and Apps
First up, we have proprietary trading platforms and apps. These platforms are developed by brokers only for their clients, and access to outsiders is strictly denied. When designing the interfaces of these trading platforms, the developers keep in mind the reality that a significant number of traders that open an account with them may be novices, and an overly complicated intricate layout would make things a lot more difficult for them. Due to that reason, the user interfaces of their trading
platforms tend to be very beginner-friendly without posing any serious problems to seasoned traders. They offer all sorts of features, such as different chart layouts, order type customizability, and even search tools to simplify the process of finding an asset to buy.
Desktop and mobile versions of the proprietary trading platforms usually exist, so those that prefer to make use of the humongous size and storage of their PCs and those who prefer to trade on the go are content with the trading platform.
MT5 Platform & App
The MT5 platform, which presents itself as a new and improved version of its predecessor, MT4, was made public in 2009. Among the long list of reasons why it has stood the test of time and is still offered by stock brokers to their clients is the remarkable execution speeds that can be reached on the trading platforms. Buying shares has never been more hassle-free since the platform features real-time quotes, current market data, and charts. It even allows traders to automate their trades using robots, fundamental analysis, and signals.
What’s more is that, beginners love the interface too – claiming it grants them access to loads of information about the asset, such as its price, all at once. The suite of trading instruments available on the platform along with online trading, makes it another popular option among UK-based traders looking to buy shares.
Deviating from the question of how to buy shares from UK, let’s quickly reinforce why it is a good idea to buy shares in the first place.
When you invest in a share of a company, there are a number of benefits you can get from this action alone. For example, just holding on to the stock until it shows signs of positive growth and its market price rises and then selling it may generate some profits. Another way to earn from the buying of stocks is through the periodical dividend payments issued by companies to their shareholders. As if those weren’t enough reasons to buy shares already, shareholders are also permitted to take part in meaningful discussions and decide on matters that will ultimately shape the trajectory of the company.
You may also get special discounts on the purchase of goods and services from these companies, in some cases. The last two benefits are usually only granted to those shareholders that own a large proportion of the shares of the company – so it’s best not to get your hopes up too high.
The above scenario is only applicable to companies that show consistent positive growth trends because just as there are benefits to buying shares, there are numerous risks attached to it too. Lots of investors tend to lose money when the prices of their shares fall below the price they bought them. Moreover, if your investments are too concentrated in a certain sector, the good performance of that particular industry or firm becomes more crucial than ever since you may run the risk of making huge losses if it underperforms. This can, however, be easily rectified by remembering to diversify your shares in a wide range of markets.
Summarizing the above, investing in shares has both benefits and risks attached to it, so one should be mindful of both when investing in them.
Buying a share is a long-term investment, and will do no good to you if you plan on only holding onto the stocks for a few months or a year or two at best. Many companies need at least a decade to reach their potential. As explained above, there are many key benefits of holding stocks – all of which help build generational wealth. In this section, we would like to elaborate on that claim.
Everyone’s familiar with one of the largest companies in the world by market capitalization: Tesla. Tesla had its initial public offering back in 2010, with each stock priced at just over $17. Data shows that if you’d invested $10,000 in Tesla stocks back then, their worth would have grown to an approximate jaw-dropping $2.6 million. While this may be an extreme example of positive exponential growth, there are lots of companies around the world that have seen increases of 1000%+.
But just as there have been upward movements in price, downward movements aren’t that uncommon either. Remember, losses are sometimes unavoidable.
We’ve already explored the specifics of how to buy shares from UK, however, it is useful to look at the wider community’s thoughts on it before moving forward with your decision. Below, users of Reddit and Quora offer some insightful advice with regard to buying shares from the UK.
Reddit, founded in 2005, is a social media platform that encourages fruitful discussions among Reddit users and gives them the option to upvote or downvote content, in order to bring attention to subjectively relevant topics. There are a multitude of threads and pages on Reddit dedicated to discussions on investing in UK shares.
In one of these threads, when asked about their thoughts on buying shares by a UK-based Reddit user, this particular user advised them to stick to global trackers rather than individual stocks because a great amount of skill and knowledge is required when evaluating which stock is best for you, and only people like “Warren Buffet” are actually good at this – which leaves little hope for beginners. A lot of people on Reddit agreed this was good advice and should be the route taken by most individuals if they’ve only just dipped their toes into the vast world of shares.
Quora, on the other hand, takes on more of a question-and-answer format, allowing users to ask questions, answer them, and comment on each other’s answers. Users on Quora, too, can upvote and downvote certain responses in order to highlight them. A lot of users on Quora were concerned with understanding the dynamics of investing in shares and its link with financial freedom, if any. Paul Jackson, a Stock Market Investor on Quora, stresses that buying stocks is a “long-term” investment and everyone should choose their shares “carefully”; many others on Quora too agree with his financial advice. Experienced traders were eager to offer valuable tips, exploring the different things UK investors need to keep in mind before pouring their investments into a company, such as remembering that a company’s past performance is no indicator of its future success and the importance of diversifying one’s portfolio to spread risk.
Learning how to buy shares from UK is not as difficult as it is cut out to be, the only really difficult part is deciding which share dealing broker you wish to use and the companies in which you want to buy their stocks. All you need to do to make sure you are making the best possible decision is to do a lot of research before committing to anything. After that’s out of the way, the account opening procedure, transfer of funds, and selection of the right order type for you is surprisingly quick and easy.
When choosing a share dealing broker you must remember at all costs to check their regulatory status, the number of markets, trading fees, and types of trading platforms offered if nothing else. Also, if you wish to invest in share CFDs instead of real shares, don’t forget to check if the brokerage firm even has such a feature in the first place.
Trading platforms offered by brokerage companies can be broadly classified into two types: their very own proprietary trading platform vs something more standard and widespread like the MT5. Each has its pros and cons, and because each trader’s experience level and trading goals are different, some may prefer one over the other. However, most would agree that both get the job done pretty well.
Before pouring your life savings into investments such as shares, you must familiarize yourself with the benefits and risks that such a decision warrants. Benefits include the ability to create wealth, while a major risk of investing in stocks has to do with making major losses because the company/industry you invested in underperformed.
Finally, remember that buying shares is a long-term investment, and most investments of this nature only grant appreciable returns in a decade’s time, so be prepared to wait a really long time.
Q & A
As a beginner, you can start with as little as £500 and work your way up from there, by saving more and adding to your portfolio.
All you need to do to buy shares from the UK is to open an account with a regulated brokerage firm, deposit funds, do your research and place an order for the share of your chosen company(s) from one of the broker’s many stock markets.
There are lots of companies that are bouncing back. According to Forbes, some of the most sought-after UK stocks include Rolls-Royce (RR), Harland & Wolff (HARL), Lloyds (LLOY), and ITV (ITV).
Some of the cheapest shares in the UK include Ferrexpo (FXPO), Oakley Capital Investments (OCIO), Royal Mail (RMG), Ashmore Group (ASHM), Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ), and Sirius Real Estate (SRET).
You can buy shares in companies using a stock broker, financial adviser, or through online brokerage firms.
A certain company may begin to buy back its own shares from shareholders by placing orders for them in the market to increase the demand and price of the stocks, this is what we refer to as share buyback.
Reports show that in light of the current circumstances (stock prices have been on a downward trajectory lately), many UK companies did indeed buy back their shares in 2022.
Yes, beginners can buy shares too, as long as they have sufficient capital to fund their investments. Even so, fractional shares still remain an affordable option for many beginners. Though, they need to understand the associated risk before starting their trading journey.
Of course, you can buy shares online.
Investing in shares can be profitable, but there is no guarantee of profits and there is always risk involved. Traders can use a free demo account to test their skills and strategies in a simulated market environment without risking real capital.
Buying shares is just like any other investment, so you may end up losing money in the process.
Just like all other kinds of investments, share trading and share investing also come with risks of volatility, and uncertainty. However, if the company you choose seems to have growth prospects in the future and everything goes as planned, it can be considered relatively safe. But, selecting such a type of investment requires a lot of experience.