IG Review: Playing in the Big League

IG Markets has held such a commanding position in the UK market for so long that its name is almost synonymous with spreadbetting. As the place with the most number of clients with active accounts, the UK’s biggest forex broker has many new online competitors that would like to steal its crown. This will be no easy task as the broker has showed itself to be innovative in its development of new products and services. Bestforexbroker.info takes an in-depth look at the IG’s forex offering.

Take Credit for Referring a Friend

When this review was published, IG wasn’t offering a bonus incentive scheme for opening an account. Still, if you already have an IG account and refer a friend you can benefit from the broker’s referral scheme and receive up to £400 by inviting friends to join. If you are looking for a bonus for opening a forex account there are currently an array of offers available, including introductory deals from Markets.com and Plus500.

Demo Mode with No Risks Attached

If you haven’t traded forex or CFDs before, you should always practice first with a demo account before you make the first trade. It is much better to experiment without the risk of losing real money. IG offers users a demo account with £10,000 of virtual funds to play with. The demo account displays live prices, providing users with a vivid feel for what it will be like when they start trading for real. Users can change settings to match their own unique trading style. Traders can navigate quickly between charts, news and deal tickets, with the chart packages made available free of charge. Still, traders should be mindful that there are differences between the demo and real account. Aside from the absence of any adrenaline rush that may arise when that first forex trade is made, a demo account isn’t subject to interest and dividend adjustments or out of hours price movements. Trades in the demo account also aren’t subject to slippage, when there is a price difference between the expected price of a trade and the price at which the trade actually occurs.

Playing Hard to Stay Number One

IG is a broker that has honed its offering to provide retail investors with a state-of-the-art trading platform. Bestforexbroker.info takes a look at the trading applications, charting services, mobile apps and features that make up the broker’s complete forex offering.

A Universe of 10,000 Markets

IG has an expansive offering that provides its clients with access to 10,000 markets. The broker offers spot forex and forward forex pairs trading on major, minor, Australasian, Scandinavian, exotic, emerging and spot forex (virtual) currencies. In addition to forex, IG offers CFDs on indices, commodities, shares, binaries and options. Traders can also deal on interest rates, bonds, and take a position before and after high-profile Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), where a company begins trading as a listed entity on the stock market.

Tight Spreads in Forex

The forex broker offers spreads that vary depending on the volatility and spread available in the underlying market. The lowest spreads available are from 0.8 pips on EUR/USD and AUD/USD. The spread on EUR/GBP and GBP/USD is 1.0 pips. Spreads can be higher on less popular currency trades. For example, traders pay a spread of 1.9 pips on USD/CHF and a spread of 2.5 on USD/CAD.

Leverage to Gear Up on Risk

The level of leverage available varies with the market and risk of the product. This can be illustrated most starkly with examples outside of forex on some of the other markets available to trade on the IG platform. For example, IG requires just a 200:1 margin requirement on indices while a margin requirement on some risky mining shares can be 5:1. Leverage is a valuable tool deployed by traders to obtain a large exposure to a financial market without actually tying up a large amount of their capital. This tool should only be used once you’ve acquired a good understanding of how forex markets work as you risk losses in excess of the margin that you’ve put down.

Easy to Use Web-based Platform

The IG trading platform has a flexible design, enabling you to customize the trading screen to match your individual forex trading style. This can be done by moving windows around, tabbing windows on and off, saving layouts and editing the different columns on screen. These columns display the various markets and instruments to trade and are easily intelligible. You can seamlessly switch between pairs and view small or large lists of instruments. In addition, you can use the finder tab to search quickly for the forex pair you’re interested in trading. When you make a trade you can put in place stop and limit orders to manage your risk. The platform also allows you to set up trading alerts to notify you by SMS or e-mail when a price has been hit. If you have a trading idea that involves a variety of currencies you can set up a watchlist on the platform and monitor groups of different currency pairs. The watchlist can be broadened to include other asset classes such as oil, gold or shares. If you are an experienced trader you can opt to receive Direct Market Access (DMA) prices for CFDs and obtain access to trailing stops, buffer limits and multiple deal tickets.

Charting Like a Real Pro

ProRealTime, the forex broker’s flagship charting package, offers traders more than 100 technical charts. Retail forex traders taking a chartist approach to their investment decisions can analyse indicators such as price movements and volatility, where the level of price fluctuations can provide a signal of whether to buy or sell. The charting tools available have the capacity to enable users to compare up to six markets from a single chart. The functionality of the IG trading platform enables its clients to trade and set orders directly from charts. The platform offers real-time tick-by-tick charting. Users can place trades, attach stops and set limits directly from their charts. Traders can print out charts or make a screen grab and export charts for further analysis. Those wanting to share their technical wizardry can post charts on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Native App Ready to Trade

IG offers users a native app that immediately displays live market prices before you’ve logged in to your account. These prices can be customized within the app to enable you to keep an eye on your favourite market and access a chart analysing the latest price moves. Trading can be done seamlessly in the same way as on the website’s trading platform. You can also click on the latest news for the forex pair that you’re interested in trading, obtain a historical snapshot of the past performance and access charting tools. If you get a margin call and need to deposit more funds you can also do this using the app. The IG trading app is available on Android mobile and tablet, iPhone and iPad and Windows phone and tablet. The app has robust security features in place with secure 256-bit SSL encryption. The trading app is available on iOS operating system 7.0 or above or on Android 4.0.3 or above.

Funding Your Forex Broker Account

There are a variety of options available for funding your account. If you deposit funds into your account using a credit or debit card you will incur a 2.3 per cent transaction fee. Your bank may also charge you if you make a telegraphic transfer. All other methods, including making an internet bank transfer or sending a cheque can be done without having to pay any fees. Unless you make a specific request for money to be deposited to a certain account, the broker will send a withdrawal payment back to the payment method by which you used to fund your account. You may be asked for further proof of your identity before a payment is made. The broker currently does not make payments to MasterCards issued outside the UK. Same-day sterling payments of £100 or more are free while those for under £100 incur a £15 fee. The broker may apply a £15 fee for international payments.

A Safe Place to Invest

IG Group Holdings Plc, the parent company, is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of about £2.25 billion. IG is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the forex broker is also governed by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). Funds from customer deposits are put into segregated bank accounts, ensuring the safe return of client funds if an unforeseen event should occur resulting in the liquidation of the company.

A Forex Broker that Knows Where the Wind is Blowing

Innovation in the forex broker space in recent years has been rapid with the emergence of new players. This has meant that IG can’t take its pre-eminent position in the UK for granted. Not that the nation’s biggest forex broker is showing any signs of complacency. The development of a market-leading app that gives users the ability to deposit funds and trade in seconds shows that IG is attuned to where the wind is blowing in retail forex. With more than 80 forex pairs available and a plethora of charting software at your fingertips the portal equips you with the tools you need to execute a successful forex trading strategy.

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