5 Best ETF Platforms in the UK in 2024

Authored by:
Thomas Drury
Thomas Drury

Thomas Drury

Co-Founder

Seasoned finance professional with 10+ years' experience. Chartered status holder. Proficient in CFDs, ISAs, and crypto investing. Passionate about helping others achieve financial goals.

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Dom Farnell
Dom Farnell

Dom Farnell

Co-Founder

Dom is a Co-Founder and of TIC. A passionate investor and seasoned blog writer with a keen interest in financial markets and wealth management.My goal is to empower individuals to make informed investment decisions through informative and engaging content.

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Last Updated 13/01/2024
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Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Seeking the ideal ETF platform?

I have evaluated, graded, and listed the top ETF platforms in the UK.

If you’re in search of ease of use, security, or a wide range of trading possibilities, rest assured, I’ve taken care of it for you.

designed to portray the Best ETF Platform in the UK, featuring a sleek digital interface that showcases a variety of Exchange-Traded Funds available to investors. It includes symbols of the UK financial market and tools for ETF analysis and investment, highlighted with symbols of excellence to convey the platform's reliability and comprehensive service

Quick Answer: what are the best ETF platforms in the UK?

Trading 212 – Best for a new sign up bonus*

LighthouseBest overall ETF Platform

Interactive Investor – Best for Customer Service

eToro – Best to include crypto all under one roof

IG – Best for a range of markets and additional trading services

*Use code TIC to get a free share worth up to £100 when you make a minimum deposit with Trading 212

ETF Platform Comparison Chart

Trading 212
Lightyear
Interactive Investor
Etoro Logo
Etoro
IG
Regulator
FCA
FCA
FCA
FCA
FCA
Mobile App Usability
4.5/5
4.6/5
4/5
4.2/5
3.5/5
Variety of Assets
12,000+ global stocks & ETFs, commodities, forex
Stocks 3000+, ETF's 1000+
1,000+ ETFs, Stocks (UK & International), Bonds, Ethical Investments
Stocks, cryptocurrencies, CFDs
18,000+ markets, stocks, ETFs, commodities, currencies, bonds, funds
ISA Available
Yes
No
Yes
Yes (in conjunction with Moneyfarm)
Yes
Trust Pilot Score
4.6/5
4.8/5
4.7/5
4.3/5
4./5
Fee Score
4/5
4.5/5
4.2/5
3.5/5
4/5
Overall Review Score
4.5/5
4.4/5
4.4/5
3.9/5
3.9/5

Top 5 best ETF Platforms in the UK

Navigating the world of ETF investments in the UK has never been easier with our expertly chosen top 5 ETF platforms. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or new to the world of Exchange-Traded Funds, these platforms offer the perfect blend of features, user experience, and investment options to cater to all your investing needs.

trading 212 logo white and black linking to homepage
4.5/5

TIC Trading 212 Score 4.5/5

Use code TIC to get a free share worth up to £100

Trading 212 - Best for a new sign up bonus

Trading 212 is an online brokerage platform that allows individuals to trade a wide range of financial instrument.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Lightyear Logo
4.5/5

TIC Lightyear Score 4.5/5

Lightyear - Best Overall ETF Platform

Lightyear is a user-friendly and low-cost trading platform that offers a range of stocks and ETFs, with a focus on simplicity and accessibility for beginners. It stands out for its multi-currency account feature, competitive fees, and the unique advantage of earning interest on uninvested cash.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

interactive investors logo for interactive investor review
4.2/5

TIC Interactive Investor Score 4.2/5

Interactive Investor - Best for Customer Service

Interactive Investor is a well-established UK-based investment platform offering a comprehensive range of investment options including stocks, funds, and ETFs, along with a variety of ISA and pension products. Known for its fixed-fee pricing structure, it caters well to both active traders and long-term investors, providing extensive research tools and resources.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Etoro Logo
3.9/5

TIC eToro Score 3.9/5

eToro - Best to include crypto under one roof

eToro stands out for its unique social trading features, including copy trading, which allows users to mimic the trades of experienced investors, making it an innovative choice especially for beginners. The platform offers a diverse range of trading options including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs, catering to various investment preferences and strategies.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

IG logo red and white linking to IG homepage
3.9/5

TIC IG Score 3.9/5

IG - Best for a range of markets and additional trading services

IG is a leading online trading and investments provider offering a comprehensive range of over 18,000 markets, including stocks, ETFs, forex, and commodities, ideal for traders seeking extensive market access. Renowned for its advanced trading platforms and robust educational resources, IG caters to both experienced traders and those keen on developing their trading skills.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

What Is an ETF?

An Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) is a type of investment fund and an exchange-traded product, meaning it is traded on stock exchanges much like stocks. An ETF holds assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds and typically operates with an arbitrage mechanism designed to keep it trading close to its net asset value, although deviations can occasionally occur.

The beauty of ETFs lies in their hybrid nature, combining the diversification of a mutual fund with the ease of trading that stocks offer. They are available in various types, catering to different investment strategies, such as index ETFs, bond ETFs, commodity ETFs, and industry-specific ETFs, among others. This variety allows investors to diversify their portfolio without the need to purchase each individual asset.

ETFs have gained immense popularity due to their low expense ratios and fewer broker commissions compared to buying individual stocks. They offer transparency in holdings, efficiency in terms of tax and trades, and flexibility as they can be bought and sold during trading hours at current market prices.

Investors use ETFs for several purposes. They serve as a tool for gaining exposure to a broad market or a specific sector, hedging against risks, or implementing various investment strategies due to their inherent flexibility.

Image explaining how ETFs work from start to finish
How Do ETFs work?

How Do ETFs Work?

Understanding how ETFs work requires delving into their structure and trading mechanisms. At the core, an ETF is a type of fund that owns the underlying assets (like shares of stock, bonds, oil futures, gold bars, foreign currency, etc.) and divides ownership of those assets into shares. These shares are what investors buy and sell in the stock market.

The operation of an ETF is overseen by a professional investment manager who decides which assets to include and how to allocate them. This process can either mimic a specific index (passive management) or be more hands-on to outperform the market (active management).

When it comes to buying and selling ETF shares, it works much like trading any other stock on the exchange. The price of ETF shares fluctuates throughout the trading day as they are bought and sold on the market. This is different from mutual funds, which only trade once a day after the market closes.

ETF shares are created through a process known as creation and redemption, which involves large specialised investors, known as authorised participants (APs). APs buy and hold assets that the ETF wants to hold in its portfolio. They then exchange these assets for new shares of the ETF, which they can sell on the stock market. This process keeps the supply and demand of ETF shares in balance and ensures that their market price reflects the underlying assets’ value.

In addition, ETFs can be more tax-efficient than mutual funds. As the shares are traded on the stock market, ETFs allow investors to buy and sell shares without triggering capital gains taxes. This is because the shares are exchanged in-kind with assets rather than being sold for cash, which would trigger a taxable event.

In summary, ETFs offer investors a unique combination of diversification, ease of trading, and potential tax efficiency. Their design as a basket of assets that tracks an index, sector, commodity, or other asset classes, along with their ability to be traded like a stock, makes them a flexible and accessible investment option for a wide range of investment strategies. Whether for long-term investment or for more strategic, short-term trades, ETFs have become an essential tool in the modern investor’s toolkit.

ETF vs Index Fund

When considering investment options, understanding the differences between an ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) and an index fund is crucial:

  • Trading Mechanics: ETFs are traded like stocks on an exchange, meaning their prices fluctuate throughout the day. Index funds, on the other hand, are a type of mutual fund with a price that updates only at the end of the trading day.

  • Investment Strategy: While both can track a specific index, ETFs offer a broader range of investment strategies, including active management. Index funds typically adhere to a passive management strategy.

  • Expense Ratios and Minimum Investment: Generally, ETFs have lower expense ratios compared to index funds. Also, there is usually no minimum investment for ETFs, unlike some index funds that require a minimum amount to start.

  • Tax Efficiency: ETFs are often more tax-efficient due to the unique way they are bought and sold, potentially offering advantages during tax season.

How Do I Buy ETFs in the UK?

Purchasing ETFs in the UK is a straightforward process:

  1. Choose a Broker or Investment Platform: Select a reputable online broker or investment platform that offers access to the stock exchange. Examples include platforms like Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell, or Interactive Investor.

  2. Open and Fund Your Account: Open an investment account with your chosen platform and fund it with the amount you intend to invest.

  3. Research ETFs: Before investing, research to find ETFs that align with your investment goals. Consider factors like the ETF’s performance history, expense ratio, and the assets it holds.

  4. Place an Order: Once you’ve selected your ETF, place an order through your investment platform. You can choose from different types of orders, such as market orders (buying at the current price) or limit orders (setting a specific price at which you’re willing to buy).

  5. Monitor Your Investment: Regularly review the performance of your ETF and adjust your investment strategy as needed.

By following these steps, investors in the UK can easily add ETFs to their investment portfolios, leveraging their flexibility and the potential for diversification and growth.

How to Choose ETFs

Selecting the right ETFs requires a thoughtful approach:

  • Determine Your Investment Goals: Understand whether you’re seeking long-term growth, income, or a balance of both. Your goals will guide the type of ETFs suitable for you.

  • Consider the Expense Ratio: Lower expense ratios can mean more of your money is invested in the market, potentially leading to better net returns over time.

  • Look at the Underlying Assets: Examine what the ETF holds. Ensure it aligns with your desired market exposure, whether it’s a specific sector, country, or asset class.

  • Check the ETF’s Performance: While past performance isn’t indicative of future results, it’s useful to see how the ETF has done in different market conditions.

Pros & Cons of ETFs

Pros

Cons

Final Thoughts

ETFs have revolutionized the investment landscape, offering flexibility, diversification, and accessibility. They are an excellent tool for both novice and experienced investors. However, like any financial instrument, they come with risks and considerations. Careful research, understanding your financial goals, and considering both the advantages and limitations of ETFs are crucial steps before investing.

Always remember, successful investing is not just about selecting the right ETF; it’s also about having a clear strategy, staying informed, and being disciplined with your investment decisions. Whether you are building a retirement fund, saving for a big purchase, or just looking to grow your wealth, ETFs can be a valuable part of your investment portfolio.

FAQs

An ETF trading platform is an online tool that allows investors to buy and sell ETFs. It provides access to the stock markets where ETFs are listed, and often includes additional trading tools and educational resources.

ETF brokers specialize in offering Exchange Traded Funds and often provide platforms optimized for ETF trading, with features like lower expense ratios and access to different asset classes, unlike mutual funds which may have higher fees and limited trading options.

When choosing an ETF trading service, consider factors like trading fees, the range of ETFs offered, the availability of educational resources, and whether the platform offers commission-free trading.

The best ETF broker for you will depend on your specific needs. Look for brokers that offer a wide range of ETFs, competitive trading costs, and robust trading tools. Also, consider if they provide specialized services like CFD trading or trading spread bets.

Using an ETF broker in the UK can offer benefits like access to UK and international ETFs, local customer support, and platforms that comply with UK regulations.

To trade ETFs on a mobile trading app, download the app from your broker, log in to your brokerage account, and navigate to the ETF section. These apps often allow you to manage your investment account and execute ETF trades on the go.

Many ETFs pay dividends, depending on the underlying assets. These dividends are typically reinvested or paid out to ETF investors, depending on the settings in your investment account.

The best ETF broker in the UK stands out by offering a blend of competitive pricing, a broad range of ETFs, user-friendly platforms in the UK, and often additional services like stocks and shares ISAs or self-invested personal pensions.

Yes, some brokers are known as the cheapest ETF broker due to their low trading fees and commission-free trading options, making them attractive for cost-conscious investors.

The best ETF trading platforms provide a combination of user-friendly interfaces, a wide array of ETFs, educational resources, and tools for both beginners and experienced ETF investors.

Many ETF trading platforms differ in terms of trading fees, the range of available ETFs, platform usability, and additional trading options like CFDs or trading spread bets.

Yes, ETF trading platforms often provide access to a variety of asset classes including stocks, bonds, commodities, and even cryptocurrencies.

The top ETF trading platform typically offers features like real-time market data, advanced trading tools, diverse ETF offerings, and educational resources to help investors make informed decisions.

To find the best ETF trading platform, compare factors like trading costs, platform features, available ETFs, and whether the platform offers specific needs like mobile trading app compatibility or specialized ETF trades.

In our opinion, Lightyear emerges as one of the best ETF platforms in the UK. Lightyear offers investors a unique and innovative approach to ETF trading, with a focus on providing a seamless investing experience. With a range of ETFs, competitive features, and a commitment to investor satisfaction, Lightyear has earned recognition as a top choice for those seeking to explore the world of Exchange-Traded Funds in the UK. Nevertheless, it’s essential to conduct your own research and align your choice with your specific investment objectives and preferences.

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Who Created This Content: This guide was authored by Thomas Drury is an experienced financial trader in leverage intruments, crypto and general investing. 

He has over a decade experience in finance and holds Chartered Status in the financial industry, Thomas’s specialty is trading CFDs, Forex and Day Trading.

His crypto portfolio is heavily weighted towards BTC and Eth, but enjoys trading low cap crypto’s with higher volatility. Thomas’s favourite trading strategy is break out Trading.

How This Content Was Created: Our assessment of the best ETF Platforms in the UK is rooted in rigorous research and firsthand experience. Here’s our methodology:

  • Platform Testing: We actively tested multiple platforms over a span of six months, analysing their functionalities, ease of use, and reliability.

  • Fee Analysis: Each platform’s fee structure was dissected to ascertain its competitiveness in the market.

  • User Feedback: We engaged with real users and considered their reviews and experiences, lending a holistic perspective to our evaluation.

  • Market Dynamics: Regular updates from industry news, changing regulations, and market dynamics ensure the guide remains current and reliable.

  • AI-Assistance: While human judgment and expertise are at the core of our assessments, we utilized AI tools to improve structure, critique our work.

Note: Our use of AI tools is strictly for data gathering and content assistance. All conclusions drawn and recommendations made are based on human analysis and judgment.

Why This Content Was Created: Our main goal in crafting this guide is to equip users, both experienced and newcomers, with unbiased, thorough, and practical knowledge to make informed choices. We recognize the intricacies of the investment app landscape and strive to demystify it for our readers. While we wish our content reaches those searching for insights, our foremost concern is to offer genuine value to our visitors. We firmly stand against content creation methods that skew search rankings or breach any ethical guidelines.

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