How to Invest in the S&P 500 UK

Authored by:
Thomas Drury
Adam Woodhead

Adam Woodhead


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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Reviewed by:
Adam Woodhead
Adam Woodhead

Adam Woodhead


Adam is a Co-Founder and content creator for TIC. His key areas of interest are Crypto and blockchain technology.

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Last Updated 12/06/2023
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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.

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Quick Answer: To Start Investing in the S&P 500 You'll Need Follow These Steps -

  1. Select a broker or investment platform offering US stocks.
  2. Open a trading account.
  3. Deposit funds into your account.
  4. Choose your investment method: individual stocks, ETFs, index funds, or derivatives.
  5. Execute your investment strategy.
  6. Consider fees, minimum balances, and account types.

Platforms to Invest in The S&P 500

Etoro Logo
Trading 212
Interactive Investor
Mobile App Usability
Variety of Assets
Stocks, cryptocurrencies, CFDs
12,000+ global stocks & ETFs, commodities, forex
Stocks 3000+, ETF's 1000+
1,000+ ETFs, Stocks (UK & International), Bonds, Ethical Investments
18,000+ markets, stocks, ETFs, commodities, currencies, bonds, funds
ISA Available
Yes (in conjunction with Moneyfarm)
Trust Pilot Score
Fee Score
Overall Review Score

Best Investment Platforms for the S&P 500


TIC Score 4.7/5

eToro – The Best All Round Investing and Trading App

etoro screen shot showing mobile app

eToro has emerged as a standout investment platform, particularly for those interested in integrating cryptocurrencies with traditional investment vehicles under a single roof.

This platform is unique in its ability to offer a seamless trading experience across a variety of asset classes, including stocks, forex, commodities, and a wide range of cryptocurrencies. Here’s why eToro is celebrated for bringing crypto and traditional investments together:



eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk.

  • Over 3,000 stocks
  • 70+ crypto coins
  • More than 150 ETFs
  • No share dealing fees
  • Copy trading feature
  • eToro Wallet for crypto
  • User-friendly platform, ideal for beginners
  • Accepts various payment method
Trading 212 Logo

TIC Trading 212 Score 4.5/5

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

Trading 212 - Best for beginners and casual investors

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



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

TIC Lightyear Score 4.5/5

Lightyear - Best Overall AI Stock & 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.



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 Investor Logo

TIC Interactive Investor Score 4.2/5

Interactive Investor - Best suited for active, experienced investors

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.



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.

Introduction to the S&P 500

Investing in the S&P 500 from the UK offers a gateway to the US stock market, home to some of the world’s largest and most successful companies. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to investing in the S&P 500, covering essential topics like the nature of the S&P 500, the process of investing in it through ETFs, understanding ETFs and index funds, exploring investment account options, and evaluating the safety of investing in the S&P 500.

What is the S&P 500?

Investment with an arrow pointing upwards

The S&P 500, or Standard & Poor’s 500, is a market-capitalisation-weighted index of 500 of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. It’s widely regarded as the best single gauge of large-cap U.S. equities. The index includes companies from various sectors, reflecting the U.S. economy’s diverse nature. Technology stocks dominate the index, reflecting the sector’s substantial impact on the US economy. The S&P 500’s composition is dynamic, adjusting to the MC, ensuring it remains a relevant benchmark for the overall U.S. stock market’s performance.


How to Invest in the S&P 500 from the UK

Pick the Best ETF Platform for You

For UK investors, selecting a trading platform is crucial. A good platform offers access to the London Stock Exchange and international markets, including the US stock market. Factors to consider include trading fees, foreign exchange fees, and the range of available ETFs or index funds. Popular platforms like Trading 212 provide a robust framework for UK investors to start investing in the S&P 500, offering a diversified portfolio through the purchase of a single ETF or index fund.

Find the Right S&P 500 ETF for You

Investing in the S&P 500 can be achieved through ETFs or index funds that track the performance of the index. These funds offer a way to invest in the full index, providing a diversified investment in the largest companies, including technology stocks and other sectors that make up the S&P 500. When selecting an ETF, consider the total expense ratio, tracking error, and whether it’s a capitalisation-weighted index fund, ensuring it accurately mirrors the S&P 500’s performance.


After choosing a trading platform and the right ETF, the next step is purchasing shares of the ETF. This process involves opening a share dealing account, depositing funds, and buying the ETF shares. Investment platforms offer tools and resources, including financial information providers, to help investors make informed decisions.

Person in a group call at their computer

Learn More About ETFs: Understanding Structure, Benefits, and Examples

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have revolutionized the way individuals and institutions invest, offering a blend of benefits that draw from both mutual funds and stocks. Understanding the structure, advantages, and examples of ETFs, including their performance, can provide investors with valuable insights into why they are a popular choice for gaining exposure to indices like the S&P 500, sectors, commodities, or even entire economies.

ETF Structure

ETFs are investment funds traded on stock exchanges, much like individual stocks. They hold assets such as stocks, bonds, commodities, or a combination of these, and they track an underlying index, such as the S&P 500. One of the key aspects of ETFs is their unique structure, which allows for the creation and redemption of shares by authorized participants (APs). APs are typically large financial institutions that have the ability to directly interact with the ETF provider to create new shares or redeem them in exchange for the underlying assets. This mechanism helps keep the ETF’s price in line with its net asset value (NAV), ensuring that ETFs trade at prices close to their actual market value.

Benefits of Investing in ETFs


ETFs offer instant diversification across an entire index, sector, or asset class. By purchasing a single ETF share, investors can gain exposure to a wide range of securities, reducing the risk associated with individual investments.

Cost Efficiency:

Typically, ETFs have lower expense ratios compared to mutual funds, partly because they are passively managed. Additionally, the ability to trade ETFs on stock exchanges means investors can buy or sell shares without paying the fees associated with mutual fund redemption.

Flexibility and Liquidity:

ETFs are traded throughout the trading day at market price, just like stocks, offering flexibility and liquidity. This allows investors to react quickly to market changes.

Transparency: ETFs disclose their holdings daily, providing investors with the ability to see exactly what assets they own through their ETF shares.

Examples of ETFs and Their Performance

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY):

One of the most well-known ETFs, SPY aims to track the S&P 500 Index, offering investors broad exposure to the U.S. equity market. Its historical performance has mirrored the robust growth of the S&P 500, making it a popular choice for investors looking to replicate the index’s returns.

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO):

Similar to SPY, VOO tracks the S&P 500 Index but is noted for its lower expense ratio, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious investors. Over the years, VOO has provided solid returns, closely following the performance of the S&P 500.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM):

For investors seeking exposure to emerging markets, EEM offers a way to invest in a wide range of companies across developing countries. Though more volatile, emerging markets can offer higher growth potential, making EEM an interesting option for diversifying globally.

Symbols showing how an ETF works

Why People Choose to Invest in ETFs

Investors opt for ETFs for several reasons, beyond just the diversification and cost-efficiency benefits. The ability to purchase ETFs that track specific indices like the S&P 500 allows investors, including those in the UK, to gain exposure to the U.S. stock market or other markets worldwide without having to pick individual stocks. This simplifies the investment process and reduces the research burden on the investor.

Additionally, the liquidity of ETFs, combined with their trading flexibility (including options for short selling, buying on margin, and placing limit orders), makes them highly attractive for both short-term traders and long-term investors. The transparency of ETFs, revealing their holdings daily, provides a layer of trust and clarity that is appreciated in the investment community.

ETFs represent a versatile and efficient investment vehicle, suitable for a wide range of investment strategies and goals. Whether seeking to invest in the broad market, specific sectors, or international economies, ETFs offer a compelling mix of benefits that cater to the needs of diverse investors. Their structure, coupled with the benefits they offer, explains why ETFs have become a cornerstone in the portfolios of many investors globally, including those aiming to invest in the S&P 500 from the UK.

Learn More About the S&P 500: A Deep Dive

The S&P 500 is not just a stock market index; it’s a barometer for the U.S. economy and, by extension, the global financial market. Its composition—500 of the largest companies by market capitalisation listed on the U.S. stock exchanges—includes a broad spectrum of industries, from technology and healthcare to finance and consumer goods, making it a diversified reflection of the economic strength and potential of the United States.

Composition and Sector Representation

The companies within the S&P 500 span across eleven sectors, with technology, healthcare, consumer discretionary, and financials often representing the largest segments. This diversification is crucial because it means the index’s performance isn’t overly reliant on the success or failure of a single industry. For example, while technology stocks, including giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), play a significant role in driving the index’s performance, the presence of companies from other sectors ensures stability and reduces volatility.

Historical Performance and Significance

The S&P 500’s history dates back to 1957 when it was introduced by Standard & Poor’s. Since then, it has become the most widely regarded single gauge of large-cap U.S. equities. One of the key reasons for its importance is its track record of performance, which has seen an average annual return of around 7-10% over the past decades, adjusting for inflation. This long-term growth reflects the expansion and resilience of the U.S. economy, as well as the success of its largest companies.

The index has weathered various economic storms, including recessions, market crashes, and periods of high volatility. Its ability to recover from these downturns and continue growing has reinforced its appeal to investors worldwide, including those in the UK looking to gain exposure to the U.S. stock market.

Largest Companies and Their Impact

Big city landscape

The ten largest companies in the S&P 500 as of 2024, based on market capitalization, showcase a mix of technology giants, healthcare innovators, financial institutions, and consumer goods leaders. Here’s a brief overview of each: 

Microsoft Corp. (Market Cap: $3 trillion) – Specializing in software, cloud computing, and hardware, Microsoft’s expansive product range, including the Windows operating system and Azure cloud services, secures its position as a tech powerhouse.

Apple Inc. (Market Cap: $2.815 trillion) – A technology leader known for its smartphones, computers, and digital services, Apple stands as the largest company, reflecting its vast global brand influence and innovative product lineup. 

NVIDIA Corporation (Market Cap: $1.79 trillion) – Known for its graphics processing units (GPUs) for gaming and professional markets, NVIDIA has also become pivotal in AI, deep learning, and autonomous driving technologies. Inc. (Market Cap: $1.76 trillion) – As a leader in e-commerce and cloud computing (AWS), Amazon’s expansive online retail and service offerings underscore its critical role in global commerce and technology.

Alphabet Inc. (Market Cap: $1.749 trillion) – The parent company of Google, Alphabet has a diversified portfolio in internet services, advertising, and various tech innovations, making it a major player in the global technology landscape. 

Meta Platforms, Inc. (Facebook) (Market Cap: \$1.21 trillion) – Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is a dominant force in social media and digital advertising, with expanding interests in virtual and augmented reality.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Market Cap: $879.37 billion) – Warren Buffett’s multinational conglomerate holds a diverse portfolio of businesses and investments, spanning insurance, utilities, manufacturing, and consumer products.

Eli Lilly and Company (Market Cap: $742.42 billion) – A global healthcare leader, Eli Lilly is renowned for its contributions to pharmaceuticals, with significant advancements in diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disease treatments. 

Tesla, Inc. (Market Cap: \$626.54 billion) – A leader in electric vehicles, battery energy storage, and solar technology, Tesla is at the forefront of the transition to sustainable energy.

Broadcom Inc. (Market Cap: $522.56 billion) – Broadcom Inc. is a global technology leader that designs, develops, and supplies a broad range of semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions

trader with 6 large screens

Types of Investment Accounts

UK investors have several options for investment accounts through which they can invest in the S&P 500, including share dealing accounts and Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs). Each account type comes with its own set of rules, tax implications, and benefits. Choosing the right type of account is crucial for optimizing investment returns and managing risks.

Share Dealing Accounts

Share dealing accounts are the most straightforward way for UK investors to buy and sell shares of stocks, including ETFs that track the S&P 500. These accounts offer direct access to both the London Stock Exchange and international exchanges, allowing investors to gain exposure to global markets.

Benefits: Flexibility to trade a wide range of stocks and ETFs; no annual limit on contributions or investments.

Considerations: Profits may be subject to Capital Gains Tax if they exceed the annual exempt amount, and dividend income may be subject to Income Tax above the dividend allowance.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

ISAs are a tax-efficient way to invest, with the government offering several types of ISAs that cater to different needs, including the Stocks and Shares ISA and the Lifetime ISA.

Stocks and Shares ISA:

Allows investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs, including those tracking the S&P 500. Any gains or income generated within a Stocks and Shares ISA are free from UK tax.

Benefits: Tax-free gains and income; a wide range of investment options.

Considerations: There is an annual limit on how much you can contribute to all your ISAs in a single tax year (£20,000 for the 2023/2024 tax year).

Lifetime ISA:

Aimed at younger investors (under 40 at account opening), this ISA is designed for saving towards a first home or retirement. In addition to tax-free growth, the government adds a 25% bonus to contributions, up to a maximum bonus of £1,000 per year.

Benefits: Government bonus; tax-free growth.

Considerations: Withdrawals are generally intended for a first home purchase or after 60; other withdrawals may incur a penalty.

Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs)

SIPPs are personal pension schemes that offer a tax-efficient way to save for retirement. Investors can choose from a range of investments, including ETFs that track the S&P 500.

Benefits: Tax relief on contributions at your highest rate of Income Tax, tax-free growth, flexibility in investment choices.

Considerations: Access to funds is restricted until you reach the age of 55 (rising to 57 in 2028). Tax relief is subject to annual and lifetime allowances.

Junior ISAs (JISAs)

JISAs are long-term, tax-free savings accounts set up by parents or guardians for their children under 18. There are two types: a Cash JISA and a Stocks and Shares JISA, the latter of which can be used to invest in ETFs tracking the S&P 500.

Benefits: Tax-free growth helps inculcate the habit of saving and investing from a young age.

Considerations: The annual contribution limit for the 2023/2024 tax year is £9,000. The account automatically converts into an adult ISA at 18, at which point the child gains full control over the funds.

Investment Bonds

Investment bonds are life insurance policies where you invest a lump sum in a variety of available funds. Some bonds may allow investment in funds that track the performance of indices like the S&P 500.

Benefits: Potential for tax-deferred growth; can be used for estate planning.

Considerations: Taxation of bonds can be complex, depending on how and when you withdraw funds.

Choosing the Right Investment Account

Clipboard with strategy on it

Selecting the right investment account depends on individual financial goals, tax situation, and investment horizon. UK investors should consider their objectives—whether saving for retirement, a first home, or simply growing wealth over time. Tax efficiency, access to international markets, and investment limits are key factors to weigh. Consulting with a financial adviser can provide personalized insights, ensuring that the chosen investment vehicle aligns with one’s financial plan and tax situation.

Is it Safe to Invest in the S&P 500?

Investing in the S&P 500 involves market risk, including the potential for loss. However, the S&P 500 has historically provided positive returns over the long term. It’s important for investors to consider their risk tolerance, investment horizon, and the importance of diversification. While the S&P 500 itself offers a diversified investment, further diversification across different asset classes and geographical regions can help mitigate risk.


In conclusion, investing in the S&P 500 from the UK offers a pathway to diversification and the potential for growth, especially for those looking to tap into the vigor of the U.S. stock market. With a broad spectrum of companies ranging from tech giants to firms that pay high dividends, the S&P 500 encapsulates the essence of the global economy. Technology stocks, including those of leading tech companies, have significantly influenced the index’s performance, highlighting the importance of understanding sector-specific trends and how they impact stock prices.

For UK investors, leveraging shares investment platforms and share dealing platforms like AJ Bell provides access to these opportunities, allowing investors to benefit from the growth of companies that are essential to both the U.S. and global economic landscapes. Investment platforms serve as gateways to a world where investments carry both potential rewards and risks, underscored by the need for substantial investment advice and insights from financial information providers.

Growth stocks, particularly in the technology sector, continue to play a critical role in driving the index forward, even in a challenging macroeconomic environment. Yet, the importance of balanced investments in index funds and active funds cannot be overstated, offering a strategy to mitigate risks associated with volatile share prices and fluctuating interest rates. Future results, while not guaranteed, are often influenced by historical performance, earnings reports, and the ability of companies within the S&P 500 to adapt and thrive.

As the UK equivalent of investors looking to invest in s p (S&P 500), it’s crucial to remain informed, patient, and strategic. The journey of investing in the S&P 500 requires navigating through the complexities of share price movements, dividends, and the nuances of the particular sectors that make up the index. With the right investment platform, advice, and a keen eye on the global economy, UK investors can align their portfolios with the dynamic landscape of the S&P 500, aspiring for a future where their investments reflect the growth and resilience of the largest and most influential companies in the world.

Remember, all investments carry risks, and it’s essential to seek comprehensive investment advice and conduct thorough research before making any decisions. The S&P 500 represents over a quarter of the global market cap, offering a substantial investment opportunity that, if navigated wisely, can lead to significant returns and an enhanced understanding of both the U.S. and global markets.


The S&P 500: The Index You Need to Know – Investopedia

How to invest in the S&P 500 in the UK – Finder

How To Invest In The S&P 500 – Forbes


Choose a broker that offers US stocks, open a trading account, deposit funds, select your investment method (ETFs, stocks), and execute your trade.

No, a standard brokerage account is sufficient, but ensure it allows for international trading.

Fees may include commission, currency conversion charges, and platform fees. These vary by broker.

Yes, many brokers offer US ETFs and stocks eligible for inclusion in a Stocks and Shares ISA.

The minimum investment varies by platform but can be as low as the price of one share of an ETF.

Dividends are subject to UK tax, but ISA investments are tax-free.

Yes, many brokers offer mobile apps for trading international stocks and ETFs.

All investments carry risk, including market fluctuations and currency risk. Diversification can help manage this.

Consider factors like the ETF’s performance, expense ratio, and how closely it tracks the S&P 500.

A: Human intelligence is crucial in interpreting AI data, understanding market contexts, and making ethical investment decisions. While AI Yes, like any investment, there’s a risk of losing money due to market insights, human judgment is key in strategic decision-making.

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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.

ow This Content Was Created: Our assessment of the best place on how to invest in AI 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 primary objective in creating this guide is to empower traders, both seasoned and novices, with impartial, comprehensive, and actionable information to make informed decisions.

We understand the complexity of the stock trading world and aim to simplify it for our readers.

While we hope our content is discoverable by those seeking insights, our main priority is to provide genuine value to our visitors.

We staunchly oppose content creation practices that manipulate search rankings or violate any standards of integrity.

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