7 Best Options Brokers in the UK 2024

Authored by:
Thomas Drury
Thomas Drury

Thomas Drury


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

Twitter Profile
Author Bio
Reviewed by:
Dom Farnell
Dom Farnell

Dom Farnell


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.

Twitter Profile
Author Bio
Last Updated 16/03/2024
Fact Checked

How We Test

At The Investors Centre, we pride ourselves on our rigorous fact-checking process. To delve deeper into our meticulous testing procedures and discover how we ensure accuracy and reliability, visit our dedicated page on how we test.

Please bear in mind that trading involves the risk of capital loss. Between 68% and 86% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with the providers below. Prior to proceeding, it is important to assess whether you are financially capable of withstanding the high risk of potential losses.

Quick Answer: What is the best platform for Options Trading in the UK?

The best platform for options trading in the UK is AvaTrade for beginners, due to its user-friendly interface and extensive educational resources. For more experienced traders online brokers, Saxo offers advanced tools and a wide range of options markets, making it the optimal choice professional options traders.

Here are the top 7 Options Brokers in the UK

  1. Saxo – Best Overall and ideal for Experienced Traders
  2. AvaTrade – Great for Beginners 

  3. Plus500 – Optimised for CFD Options Trading

  4. Interactive Brokers – Low trading costs & a vast range of markets

  5. CMC Markets – Great for Advanced Charting Tools and Competitve Spreads

  6. XTB – Fast execution speeds, free market analysis and a user-friendly platform

  7. IG – Offers an expansive range of markets and robust trading technology

Options Broker Comparison Chart

81% of retail CFD accounts lose money
71% of retail CFD accounts lose money
82% of retail CFD accounts lose money
62.5% of retail CFD accounts lose money
CMC markets logo
67% of retail CFD accounts lose money
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money
69% of retail CFD accounts lose money
Regulatory Authority
FCA (UK), MAS (Singapore), FINRA (US)
FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), CBI (Ireland), BVI FSC (British Virgin Islands)
FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia)
FCA (UK), FINRA (US), SFC (Hong Kong), MAS (Singapore)
FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), MAS (Singapore)
FCA (UK), KNF (Poland)
FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), MAS (Singapore)
Minimum Deposit
Varies by region
$10,000 (standard), $100 (Lite)
Options Markets Available
Platform Usability
Demo Account Availability
Account Types
Classic, Platinum, VIP
Standard, Spread Betting, Islamic
Individual, Joint, IRA, LLC
Individual, Joint, ISA
Standard, Islamic
Standard, ISA
Spread Costs
Variable (ECN accounts typically lower)
CFDs only (variable)
CFDs only (variable)
Variable (commission-based, lower for higher volume)
CFDs and Spread Betting (variable)
CFDs only (variable)
CFDs, Spread Betting, Shares (variable)

Top 7 Options Trading Platforms

saxo bank logo

TIC Score 5/ 5

Saxo - Best Overall and ideal for Experienced Traders

Saxo options trading platform screen showing low-cost stock options purchasing information
Saxo Awards accolades

Saxo Bank is a leading online trading and investment specialist, offering a sophisticated platform for options trading alongside access to global markets and financial data. With a focus on professional traders, Saxo provides detailed research and professional-grade tools.



81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Saxo Bank offers an options trading experience that is rich in tools and resources for analysis, including comprehensive market research and commentary. Their platform provides access to options on forex, stocks, indices, and more, with the ability to construct sophisticated trading strategies. Saxo’s risk management tools are particularly for advanced options traders, offering detailed insights into potential outcomes.

AvaTrade Logo White and Blue linking to homepage

TIC Score 5/5

AvaTrade - Great for Beginners 

AvaTrade professional and powerful desktop trading platform display with options trading tools.

AvaTrade is a well-regarded online broker offering options trading among other financial instruments, with robust educational resources and multiple options trading platforms offer, including AvaOptions for forex and options trading. AvaTrade is celebrated for its dedication to trader education and a broad range of trading tools.



71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

AvaTrade’s AvaOptions platform provides traders with the tools to trade options and forex side by side, offering a unique blend of spot and options trading. The platform includes advanced risk management features, such as portfolio simulations. AvaTrade also offers a variety of automated options trading brokers and solutions, catering to traders who prefer to use algorithms many other online brokers for options trading.

Plus 500 logo linking to review

TIC Score 4.5/ 5

Plus500 - Optimised for CFD Options Trading

Plus500 trading platform interface showcasing options CFDs trading with start trading and free demo buttons.

Plus500 is a global CFD broker providing a wide range of trading instruments, including options trading CFDs. Their platform allows traders to speculate on the price movement of options without owning the actual asset. Plus500 is known for its user-friendly interface and risk management tools, catering to traders of all levels.



81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Plus500 offers an intuitive platform that simplifies the process of trading options through trading CFDs, making it accessible. Their risk management tools, such as stop-loss orders, are particularly useful for options traders. Plus500 also provides an option to trade with leverage, allowing traders to potentially increase their exposure with a smaller investment.

interactive brokers logo

TIC Score 4/ 5

Interactive Brokers - Low trading costs & a vast range of markets

Interactive Brokers advanced options trading tools with commission details and global market access.

Interactive Brokers is a leading global trading platform known for its low fees and trading costs and access to a vast range of markets, including the best options trading platforms. It offers advanced trading tools and robust research offerings, making it a top choice for serious traders. The platform’s high-quality execution ensures efficient trading experiences.



62.5% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Interactive Brokers’ Risk Navigator tool allows traders to model their portfolio risk, providing an in-depth analysis of potential outcomes based on current market conditions. The IBKR’s Option Strategy Lab helps create and submit both simple and complex multi-leg options orders, streamlining the trading process for various strategies. Additionally, the Volatility Lab offers tools to identify potential trading opportunities by analyzing the historical and implied volatility of options, aiding in decision-making.

CMC Markets Logo

TIC Score 4/5

CMC Markets - Great for Advanced Charting Tools and Competitve Spreads

CMC Markets options trading interface emphasizing powerful analytics and options tools.

CMC Markets is renowned for its most advanced trading platform, charting tools and competitive spreads, especially in the options trading segment. It offers an extensive product range, including a variety of options instruments. The top options trading platform is also known for its quality educational content and strong customer support.



67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CMC Markets offers a “Client Sentiment” tool, which displays the percentage of traders who are long or short on a particular option, offering insights into market trends and trader behavior. Its Pattern Recognition Scanner automatically identifies common patterns in options trading, helping traders to make informed decisions based on technical analysis. The platform also features CMC TV, providing live streaming market commentary that is directly applicable to options trading, enriching the trading experience with expert insights.

xtb logo

TIC Score 4/5

XTB - Fast execution speeds, free market analysis and a user-friendly platform

XTB platform knowledge base highlighting vanilla options trading expertise.

XTB is known for its fast execution speeds and user-friendly platform, both of which are crucial for options traders. It offers competitive spreads and a variety of free market analysis tools. Personal account management and strong customer support are additional benefits.



77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

XTB’s xStation 5 platform includes a dedicated options trading section, designed to simplify the trading process while providing valuable market analysis tools specifically for options traders. The option trading platform offers free market and advanced options analysis tools and trading education, tailored to help both novice and experienced traders develop effective options trading strategies. Personal account managers provide tailored advice and support, enhancing the options trading experience by offering personalized guidance and insights.

IG logo red for summary table

TIC Score 4/5

IG - Offers an expansive range of markets and robust trading technology

IG options trading platform overview showing flexibility and global range with demo account creation option.

IG offers a wide range of markets and an excellent trading platform tailored for options trading. It is well-regarded for its high-quality educational materials low cost options trading, and reliable trade execution. The platform also boasts a strong regulatory framework, providing traders with the best options trading brokers in a secure environment.



69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

IG provides Direct Market Access (DMA) for best options trading platform, allowing traders to use advanced order types and strategies, giving them greater control over their trades. The platform features a dedicated Options trading section within the IG Academy, offering specialized education and insights to help traders navigate the complexities of options markets. IG’s options analytics tools are designed to help traders evaluate their strategies and understand potential outcomes, making it easier to plan and execute trades with confidence.

What is Options Trading?

Options trading is a sophisticated form of investing that allows traders to speculate on the future direction of asset prices or to hedge against potential losses on other investments.

It involves buying and selling options contracts, which give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price before a specific date.

This financial tool can be used across various markets, including stocks, commodities, and currencies, providing flexibility and leverage that isn’t typically available through traditional stock trading.

How Does Options Trading Differ from Usual Trading?

At its core, the primary difference between options trading and more traditional forms of trading lies in the nature of the assets themselves. In conventional trading, investors buy and sell physical or digital assets, such as stocks or cryptocurrencies, outright. They own the asset and experience gains or losses based on its price movements.

Options trading, in contrast, deals with contracts based on the value of these underlying assets. These contracts offer the flexibility to bet on the price movement without requiring the trader to own the asset.

They come with an expiration date, adding a time element into the investment decision-making process. This difference introduces unique investment strategies and terms, such as “calls” and “puts,” which denote the type of option contract being traded.

Options Trading Example

Let’s illustrate options trading with a classic example — the story about olives. Imagine you’re a producer of olive oil, and you rely on the yearly harvest of olives.

You’re concerned that the price of olives might increase significantly by harvest time, which would reduce your profit margin when it’s time to buy them. To hedge against this risk, you decide to enter an options contract with an olive farmer. This contract gives you the right to purchase olives at a set price before the harvest.

If the market price of olives increases as you feared, your contract allows you to buy at the lower, predetermined price, thus protecting your profit margins.

This scenario underscores the essence of options trading: it’s about managing risk and speculation. You didn’t have to buy the olives outright at the time of the contract, yet you secured a way to mitigate potential adverse price movements.

What is The Black-Scholes Equation?

The Black-Scholes equation is a mathematical model used to calculate the theoretical price of European-style options. Developed by economists Fischer Black and Myron Scholes in the early 1970s, this formula considers various factors, including the stock price, strike price (the predetermined price at which the underlying asset can be bought or sold), time to expiration, risk-free interest rate, and the asset’s volatility, to determine an option’s price.

The equation revolutionized financial markets by providing a systematic method to price options, reducing the guesswork involved in trading. While it’s primarily applied to stock market options, the principles of the Black-Scholes model have also been adapted for other financial instruments, offering a foundational tool for modern financial theory and practice.

Calendar Spread Options

Calendar spread options, also known as time spreads, are an advanced options trading strategy used to capitalize on differences in time decay between options with the same underlying asset but different expiration dates. Typically, a trader executes a calendar spread by selling a short-term option and buying a long-term option, both with the same strike price. The goal is to profit from the faster decay of the nearer-term option compared to the longer-term option. This strategy is particularly favored in markets with low volatility, where the slow erosion of the option’s time value can be more predictably exploited. It’s a nuanced approach that requires a good understanding of how different factors, such as implied volatility and time to expiration, affect the price of options.

What Causes Options to Rise or Fall in Price?

The price movements of options can seem enigmatic to the uninitiated, but they’re influenced by a combination of factors that can be analyzed and understood.

These factors include the underlying asset’s price changes, time decay (theta), volatility, interest rates, and dividends. Understanding these elements is crucial for anyone looking to navigate the options market successfully.

Buying vs Selling Options

Buying Options:

When you buy an option, you’re purchasing the right to buy (in the case of a call option) or sell (in the case of a put option) an underlying asset at a specified strike price until the option’s expiration date. Buyers of options pay a premium for this right.

For call options, the price tends to rise as the underlying asset’s price increases. Conversely, put options gain value as the underlying asset’s price decreases. Options can also lose value over time as the expiration date approaches, a phenomenon known as time decay.

Selling Options:

Selling options, also known as writing options, involves creating an options contract to sell to another trader. When you sell a call option, you’re obliged to sell the underlying asset at the strike price if the buyer chooses to exercise the option.

When selling a put option, you must buy the underlying asset at the strike price if exercised. Sellers of options collect the premium paid by the buyers. This strategy can be profitable but comes with the obligation to fulfill the contract’s terms, which can lead to significant risk if the market moves unfavorably.

Person in a group call at their computer
Key Differences:
  • Risk and Reward: Buying options typically involves less risk than selling them because the buyer’s potential loss is limited to the premium paid for the option. In contrast, sellers may face unlimited losses, especially with uncovered (naked) calls.

  • Profit Potential: While option buyers have a profit potential limited by the difference between the asset’s price and the strike price (minus the premium), sellers’ maximum profit is capped at the premium received, regardless of how much the market moves.

  • Obligation vs. Right: Option buyers purchase the right to buy or sell the underlying asset, which they can choose not to exercise, forfeiting only the premium. Sellers, however, take on an obligation to buy or sell the underlying asset if the option is exercised against them.

Understanding these dynamics is key to navigating the complexities of the options market, where strategies can be tailored to fit a wide range of risk tolerances and market views. Whether opting to buy or sell options, traders need to consider the underlying securities or asset’s market conditions, the time frame until option expiration, and the volatility that might affect option prices.

Pros & Cons of Options Trading

Options trading offers unique opportunities and challenges compared to traditional stock trading. Here’s a look at some of the main advantages and drawbacks:

  • Leverage: Options allow traders to control a larger amount of the underlying asset with a relatively small investment (the premium). This leverage can amplify profits if the market moves in your favor.

  • Flexibility: With various strategies available, options trading can be adapted to suit different market conditions and trader objectives. Whether the market is up, down, or sideways, options strategies can be deployed to seek profit or hedge risk.

  • Defined Risk: For option buyers, risk is typically limited to the premium paid for the option. This makes it easier to manage potential losses, especially compared to owning the underlying asset outright.

  • Income Generation: Selling options can generate income through the premiums received. This strategy can be particularly appealing in sideways or slightly volatile markets where the option seller believes the asset will not move significantly.

  • Complexity: Options can be complex financial instruments that require a good understanding of the market, the specific asset, and the particular options strategy being used. This complexity can be a barrier to entry for new traders.

  • Time Decay: Options are “wasting” assets, meaning their value decreases over time as they approach expiration. This factor, known as theta, can erode the value of an option, making it challenging for buyers to profit if the underlying asset’s price doesn’t move enough.

  • Potential for Significant Losses: While buying options limits losses to the premium paid, selling options (especially uncovered options) can lead to unlimited losses, making it a risky strategy for the unprepared or undercapitalized trader.

  • Liquidity: Some options contracts, particularly those far from the expiration date or with strike prices far from the current price of the underlying asset, may have low liquidity. This can result in wider bid-ask spreads and make it more difficult to enter or exit positions at favorable prices.

Options trading is not for everyone, but for those who take the time to learn about these instruments and how to use them wisely, they can be a valuable addition to a well-rounded investment strategy. As always, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and consider consulting with a financial advisor to align any trading strategy with your overall financial goals.

UK Tax Treatment and Legalities of Options Trading

In the UK, the tax treatment of options trading is subject to specific rules and can be complex, depending on the individual’s circumstances and their trading activities. Generally, profits from options trading can be subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or Income Tax, depending on whether the activity is considered investing or trading by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): For most individual investors, profits from options trading are likely to be subject to CGT. This means that if your total gains for the tax year exceed the annual exempt amount, you will need to pay CGT at the appropriate rate. It’s important to keep detailed records of all transactions, as deductions for losses and costs can be claimed to reduce the taxable gain.

  • Income Tax: If you trade options frequently and HMRC deems your activities to be trading (akin to a business), then any profits may be treated as income and subject to Income Tax rather than CGT. The criteria for this classification include the frequency of transactions, the level of organization, and the intention to make a profit.

  • Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT): Generally, options themselves do not attract Stamp Duty Reserve Tax unless the option is exercised and results in the purchase of shares, at which point SDRT may be applicable on the shares purchased.

Legalities surrounding options trading involve ensuring that traders comply with the regulations set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This includes understanding the risks involved in trading options and the need to trade through platforms and brokers that are authorized and regulated by the FCA.

Option Trading Fees

Fees associated with options trading can vary widely depending on the broker or platform used. Here are some common types of fees that traders might encounter with options broker:

  • Commissions: Many brokers charge a commission per trade, which can be a flat fee or based on the size of the trade. Commission structures vary, so it’s essential to understand the details.

  • Spread: The difference between the buying and selling price of an option can affect the cost of trades. Tighter spreads generally mean lower trading costs.

  • Contract Fees: Some brokers charge a fee per options contract, which can add up, especially for traders who buy or sell multiple contracts in a single transaction.

  • Exercise and Assignment Fees: If you decide to exercise an option or if an option you sold is assigned, additional fees may apply.

  • Platform Fees: Traders using advanced trading platforms may incur monthly or annual fees for access to premium features or tools.

Traders should carefully review the fee structure of their chosen broker or trading platform to understand the total cost of trading. Some options trading platforms may offer competitive pricing structures for high-volume traders or special conditions that can reduce costs. Comparing other top options trading brokers and negotiating with brokers can sometimes result in better terms for active traders.

Options Trading Risk Management

Effective risk management is crucial in options trading, where the potential for significant gains comes with the risk of substantial losses. Understanding and implementing risk management strategies can help traders minimize losses while maximizing potential profits. Here are some common risk management strategies used in options trading:

Common Strategies

  • Use of Stop-Loss Orders: A stop-loss order is a directive to sell an asset when it reaches a certain price, helping to limit potential losses. For options traders, this can mean setting a price level at which you’re prepared to cut your losses on an options position.

  • Position Sizing: It’s vital to control the size of each trade relative to your overall portfolio. A common rule of thumb is not to risk more than a small percentage of your portfolio on any single trade. This helps ensure that a loss on one position doesn’t significantly impact your overall financial health.

  • Diversification: While options can provide leverage and the potential for profit in various market conditions, putting all your capital into a single market or strategy can be risky. Diversifying your options strategies across different assets and markets can help spread risk.

  • Hedging: Options are naturally suited for hedging strategies. For instance, buying put options can protect against potential declines in stock that you own, acting as insurance against significant losses.

  • Using Spreads: Options spreads involve taking multiple positions simultaneously, such as buying and selling options of the same underlying asset with different strike prices or expiration dates. Spreads can be designed to limit potential losses, as the loss on one leg of the spread can be offset by gains on the other.

  • Time Horizon Management: Options have expiration dates, so understanding the role of time decay in the value of your options is essential. Choosing the appropriate expiration date based on your market outlook and risk tolerance can help manage risk.

  • Continuous Learning and Strategy Adjustment: The options market is complex and requires ongoing education and strategy adjustments based on market conditions and performance. What works today may not work tomorrow, so staying informed and flexible is key.

  • Risk Capital Allocation: Only trade with money you can afford to lose. Options trading should not endanger your financial security or lifestyle.

Incorporating these strategies into your trading approach can help manage the inherent risks of options trading. It’s also important to have a clear trading plan and set of rules that dictate under what circumstances you enter and exit trades, including how to manage trades that don’t go as expected.


Options come in two basic types: call options, which give the holder the right to buy an underlying asset at a specified price within a specific timeframe, and put options, which give the holder the right to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price within a designated period.

To start trading options, you’ll need to open an account with a brokerage that offers options trading. It’s important to educate yourself on options trading strategies and risks. Many brokers also require you to complete an options trading application to assess your understanding and experience before you can begin trading.

Options trading can be used for speculation, allowing traders to bet on the direction they believe the market or a specific asset will move. It can also be used for hedging purposes, providing a form of insurance against other investments by protecting against losses.

Options can be riskier than stocks due to their inherent leverage and the time sensitivity of contracts, which can lead to rapid losses. However, when used properly, options can also provide strategies that limit risk, making them a versatile tool for managing investment risk.

To exercise an option means to utilize your right under the option contract to buy (in the case of a call option) or sell (in the case of a put option) the underlying asset at the option’s strike price. This can be done anytime before the option expires, depending on the type of option contract.

Featured Blogs

Our #1 Recommended Options Trading Platform in the UK

Resize text-+=
Translate »