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Frequently asked questions
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Frequently Asked Questions
A Personal Dealing Account (sometimes also called a 'Fund and Share Account', a 'Trading Account' or a 'Dealing Account') is a way to invest without using one of tax wrappers such as SIPPs and ISAs. They are suited to investors wanting to buy and sell the funds and shares themselves, rather than having a robo-adviser or financial adviser do it for them.
Unlike a tax wrapped account such as an ISA or self-invested personal pension, there are no limits to the amount you can pay in to your Dealing account, and you can withdraw your money whenever you like.
Self-directing your investments with a Personal Dealing Account rather than having an advisor act on your behalf will result in lower costs.
"Shares", "Stocks" and "Equities" are interchangeable terms for units of ownership of a company.
A company may decide to sell shares to investors in order to raise capital, the investors then become equity shareholders in the business. Shareholders have the opportunity to earn dividends in return, with profit distributions depending on the company’s share price and overall performance.
On share dealing platforms the 'Shares' section will often include Shares, Bonds, and ETFs ('Shares' really seems to denote 'traded on an exchange') - and the costs for buying on holding all of these instruments is the same.
If you are planning on investing in individual shares or bonds when using your Share Dealing platform, please select 'Shares' under the 'Investing In' input field.
Before you open a share account and start looking at how to buy shares, there are some share dealing costs to think about.
The charge per trade is how much you pay for making a single share dealing trade (buy/sell).Often there is a frequent trader rate or discount, for those trading over a minimum number of deals each month (e.g. 10+ deals per month).
Platform fees are the cost for transferring money in or out of your stock account and holding investments. These often depend on the type of investment you hold.
It's important to look at share dealing fees before you make any decisions. This page shows you the combined fee of trading charges and platform fees to help you make an informed decision.
An exchange traded fund (ETF) is a type of investment fund that includes a collection of securities—such as shares or bonds—that often track an underlying index such as the FTSE 100. ETFs are similar to tradition mutual funds, however, they are listed on an exchange and traded between investors during the day just like ordinary stock (which also means you can buy and sell them at any point the exchange in open, whereas with traditional funds you can only buy and sell once per day).
A fund is a pooled investment vehicle. The money from many individual investors is pooled together to buy a range of securities (e.g. bonds or shares), giving investors certain benefits, including economies of scale and diversification.
A fund may passively track an index (e.g. the FTSE 100 or S&P 500), or it may be actively managed where a fund manager makes decisions about how to invest the fund’s money.
In the UK, there are two main types of fund (sometimes called 'traditional funds') - OEICs and Unit Trusts. When buying either of these, you are buying shares or units of the fund, the value of which will closely track the underlying assets (e.g. shares or bonds) the fund is investing in.
The costs for buying and holding 'Funds' (OEICs and Unit Trusts) is often different from the costs for 'Shares' (individual bonds, individual shares) and ETFs, hence you have the option to change the 'Investing In' setting in the input section at the top of the page, this will change the fee for the majority of the Share Dealing Platforms.
*If you are planning on buying bonds, please select the 'Shares' option on the 'Investing In' input field. The 'Shares' investment type mirrors the section often found on investing platforms which typically includes individual bonds and individual shares.
Unlike shares, bonds don't give you ownership rights. They represent a loan from the buyer (you) to the issuer of the bond. The issuer agrees to pay you back the face value of the loan on a specific date, and to pay you periodic interest payments along the way, usually twice a year.
The market value of a bond changes over time as it becomes more or less attractive to potential buyers. The attractiveness can change if the financial health of the bond issuer (e.g. a government or corporation) increases or decreases, or if the bond market conditions change
A company has to make bond payments ahead of any distributions to shareholders, so you won't see as much impact when a company isn't doing as well, as long as it still has sufficient resources to make bond payments.
Bonds that are higher-quality (more likely to be paid on time) generally offer a lower interest rates. Bonds issued by Governments tend to be higher quality than those issued by Corporations. Also, bonds that have shorter maturities (length until full repayment) tend to offer lower interest rates.
The easiest and cheapest way to buy Shares / Funds / ETFs is online via a Investment ISA. If you've used your ISA allowance a Share Dealing Platform (like the ones listed on this page) is another easy route to buying Shares / Funds / ETFs but does not offer any tax-benefits. These platforms allow you to buy Shares or ETFs listed on the stock exchanges or fund units/shares from a fund manager.
A platform will set up the ‘nominee account’ and hold the shares on your behalf, so you do not have to deal with any additional paperwork. You are still the legal owner of the shares, but your name will not appear on the company’s share register.
You may also be able to benefit from tax-relief treatment by investing in a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) wrapper, for more information on tax-efficient wrapper accounts please see our Stock & Shares ISA comparison page or SIPP Comparison pages
Each platform charges different fees whilst offering different investments, research, and customer support. The best platform is the one that suits your individual needs at the lowest possible cost.
Certain platforms are tailored more towards seasoned investors with a wide array of options and research available, whereas others are designed more for those with less time and limited experience, with a small range of pre-made funds that provide broad market exposure but at a slightly higher price.
A regular monthly investment is where you instruct your investing platform to purchase a Share/Fund/ETF for a specific amount each month. This process is called pound-cost averaging, and it has the effect of reducing volatility on the overall purchase as you will be buying the security when the market is up and down.
Often there are discounted dealing fees when using a regular monthly investment.
The 'Starting Balance' field is for a one-off purchase of Shares, Funds or ETFs, you plan to make when starting to use a new Share Dealing platform.
If you are looking for a new platform, enter the current balance of your existing account into the 'Starting Balance' field, along with any other one-off top-ups you plan to make when you switch over.
Fees are calculated by taking the starting balance and monthly investments, increasing them by the investment returns selected over the investment time period. As the balance increases due to returns, the fee can often increase (when based on the current account balance). Each platform provider charges for their services using a combination of flat fees, fees related to the account balance, fees for individual dealing transactions and fees for regular investments.
One-off trades are treated as not affecting the balance, but incur trading fees on certain platforms.