IG is a global leader in online trading, providing fast and flexible access to over 15,000 financial markets – including indices, shares, forex and commodities.
We are a member of the FTSE 250, with headquarters located in the City of London. We offer both leveraged and non-leveraged products via our award-winning platform and mobile apps.
We are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and process an average of over seven million transactions globally per quarter (Apr-Jun 2016). We were established in 1974 and now have over 152,600 clients worldwide, with a net global trading revenue of £456.3 million (May 2016).
Country: United Kingdom
If you are wise Stay Away!
It seem widely recommended, from my experience instead I could say there are a lot of suspicious behaviour around it.
Spreads widen disproportionately on occasion (as much as 3%), slippage is another huge component (I have been closing positions when showing an amount but when cash out the value was a little lower, always) and finally position closed microscopically with loss several times, when the price of other providers did not go there either in buy or sell.
I have the feeling your battle is not íjustí against the market but against the broker too.
Account application refused - lack of any logic.
To add: they then rang me a week later to ask me to complete my application - they had no record of themselves turning down my application. When the issue of not sufficient credit was explained I told them other brokers were not stipulating a liquid asset level as high as theirs but I was told this was not true. Sorry, but I have had accounts with Go Markets, FXCM and Dukascopy in the last year and always gave the same details - they were happy with the asset level and deposit level. I understand prorealtime is available with Interactive Brokers and a 5,000 Euro deposit. This would definitely be my preferred option to IG in this scenario. Failing that, I will happily continue with Dukascopy for execution.
In the end I transferred money there but still testing out the plattform, trying to adjust the UI and get a pragmatic workflow with their application. Of course one shouldn't compare the UI with standalone applications but I was shocked how simple and not adjustable most things were. Most paid and free sites I know are way more flexible and usable. Not to forget the history of data, sometimes way to short (just a few days or even not this) to get an overview. But maybe trading within two or better three timeframes I shouldn't expect. If that would the only thing, great but it was one of many things keeping me away from really using the platform for daily trading. It was quite irritating that so many people I knew in one forum (not here) were using IG so intensively, actually people who knew what they were talking about. Having used Marketindex (with the Oanda-Platform underneath) a long time and CMC and more the experience with IG was more than disappointing. Last but not least the market spread even during low volatility was partly on a shocking high level. Many times I asked myself why the hell should I pay that much knowing so many other brokers with usable UI and compelling costs?
Many times I tried again and again, so many people can't be wrong with their decision for IG but the platform is not for serious and daily work and trading is way to expensive.
Why I Dumped Them
Great trading house
I have used IG on & off for some 25 years and never had a problem with them.
Small investor, but not encountered any problems
IG are a sly Market Maker - continually changing the goalposts
I have been trading full time now for over 5 years. The first broker I used was IG. They were a very good platform to learn on due to the very small contract sizes. The prorealtime charts are also excellent. Once I started making money I openned an account with MF Global. They were great until they went under. Having lost most of my trading capital I went back to trading with IG Markets, afraid of putting my money into another broker and I perpetuated with them for too long.
I have had many instances where trades have been rejected.... almost all of them highly profitable trades. Speaking with the staff at the help desk they came to the conclusion that it might have been a "flash error". Ok, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. So my solution to the "flash error" was to write my own trading application built on top of their REST API. Using this, I thought great... no more errors in getting my trades submitted. But guess what happened??? you guessed it, rejected trades. I rang up to find out why the trade was rejected and the reason was: "The markets were too volatile, so we turned off the ability to trade in the API". "You what" I said... You have got to be kidding me. IG has cost me at least $20000 in missed trading opportunities where I pressed the button... most of them were very profitable within 5 minutes. If I traded the real futures then every single one of them would have gone through.
It seems to me that the moment they detect that there is a situation where they are going to lose money, then they attempt to stitch it up. This kind of behaviour I find intolerable... so off I go to a real broker, not a broker that has no interest in me winning my trades.
So if you are considering IG Markets, my advice to you is, train yourself up with very small amounts of money... and once you start making money consistently then stop using them.
Good platform but recently continual IT Problems
I am in the UK and have been trading now for two and a half years, as a retail trader, with progression from losing, then to breaking even, then to making consistent but very modest profit. The plan is to now go to the next level and start making bigger profit of course but I am in no rush and consistency is what is important to me. For the last six months I have concentrated solely on trading the Dax Futures on a day trading basis. I trade perhaps what some traders would call scalping. But it is not scalping in the proper sense, whereby huge stake players try to make a point or so and then close and are in for micro seconds. More in terms of going circa £2.00 to £20.00 a point and averaging anything from a few seconds to 15 minutes in a trade. So I am not a swing or position trader and donít hold trades for an hour or two or overnight etc. As such I donít trade the front month futures which have a wider spread but no overnight costs, but simply the daily futures (which have a 1 point spread on the Dax). I trade every day and rarely outside of cash hours.
I have used IG consistently over the last two years but have had a look at the competition as well.
Firstly, IG are not some sort of bucket shop or offshore dubious, or even criminal or fraudulent, operation. They are a UK company regulated by the FCA and are listed (on the FTSE 250 I think) along with all the strict obligations which come with that.
Secondly, there appears to be a bit of debate over whether they are the counterparty to your trade or not. There should not be this debate. As most other reviewers have (negatively) concluded, IG are indeed the counterparty to your trade. IG are a market maker not an STP or ECN broker in the true sense. If you trade with IG they offer either spread betting or CFDs but very few people in the UK will do anything other than spread betting with them, as profits / losses from spread betting are not subject to taxation in the UK whereas the reverse applies with CFDs. Of course most would be traders donít stop to think that they may not actually make any profit at all, and by contrast may loose money, and so there will be nothing there for the state to tax in any event, but rather people aspire to be successful, and so opt for the spread betting route. The term spread betting is however really misleading. Whether what you are doing ends up being gambling rather than trading, is a consequence of whether or not you are actually a successful trader, more so than the generic description of how you get into the market. Assuming therefore that if you use IG, you will be using their spread betting platform, then as I say, IG are the counterparty. They would like you to hear from them that they make their money through the spread. This is not untrue. They clearly do make money through the spread. If I go long on the Dax in cash hours at £10.00pp then they have made £10.00 form me before we start. That said there is no commission and so in a way you can argue its just swings and roundabouts when compared to a pure broker. However thatís only how they make some of their money. What they are not as keen to advertise, although obviously a plain fact, is that the real money in it for them when your trade loses. If I do that £10.00 pp long with a 10 point stop, and the trade is successful and I close for +20 points, then they have to shell out £190.00 of their profits to pay me (keeping £10.00 for the spread). If by contrast the trade is not successful, and the stop gets hit, they make £100.00 out of me rather than just the £10.00. In either case no other trader, either person, corporate or robot, at the other side of the world, or indeed a mile down the road from me, is involved. There is no matching your buy with someone elseís sell here - you simply trade IGs index.
Thatís not to say that IG donít hedge or mirror in the underlying market. They certainly do. They will tell you that rather than doing this with individual trades they mirror or hedge their aggregate position. I have no reason to doubt that. Equally, I am sure for some, their trades do go to the dealing desk, or are individually mirrored, hedged or even placed in the underlying market. This will include extremely successful traders, more so if they are migrating to higher stakes, traders dabbling with spoofing etc, or those with lots of money who go very large stake pp irrespective of whether they know what they are doing or not. But for the vast majority it is likely your trade will just be automated and you should have no problems if you are trading a very liquid market like the Dax, FTSE, S&P etc, during cash hours.
Notwithstanding you are trading index futures, if you stick to cash hours, then I have not seen anything to concern me regarding the price on offer. I have checked on a number of occasions and IGs Dax and FTSE indexes (and I expect the rest of the big ones) follow the underlying market price pretty much to the tenth of a point all day long. Your stop doesnít get hit because IG go hunting for it (although it benefits them if it does), it gets hit because the underlying market hits it. I have never seen IGs index do something different to the underlying market during cash hours. When I started trading and was trading the FTSE I was short with a 20.00 stop and got stopped out on a sudden spike up and back down which turned out to be a fat finger caused by HSBC. IG refused to refund my trade but I could later see myself that this had occurred on the underlying market itself and IGs index had simply tracked the underlying market. HSBC were ultimately to blame (and if recall correctly I think got fined) not IG. Thatís a more extreme example however and in terms of the minute to minute movement it does seem to me to track the underlying market fully. If, by contrast, you place a trade at 3.00am in the morning, then it may be a different story. Other than in cases of pronounced fundamentals there is clearly nothing like the same liquidity at these out of hours times. Just to be clear I am not saying I think that IG see out of hours as open season on stops. I personally donít, and I think their reputation, let alone their license, is more important to them in a heavily regulated market like the UK. On the other hand I am a lot less cynical than some other traders I know. Either way however, in my view, you are asking for trouble anyway if you trade seriously out of hours. There is however plenty of liquidity in the 7-8am slot and up until the S&P close after the European cash close.
The reason of course that IGs business model works is human pride. I donít know the exact figures but seemingly something like only 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 retail traders make money (with the rest losing money) and this seems totally believable to me. So for every £10.00 pp winner that IG have pay out they likely have 15 or so losers to gain from. Do the maths, and it becomes clear that and the spread is a nice add on for them, rather than their core profit. However, all the above said, providing you are clear on all that, I donít personally see it as a criticism of IG compared to their competition out there.
In terms of their platform then, I would review as follows. Bear in mind here, as I have said, I am a relatively newish retail trader and I am comparing IG here to their other high street peers, not to the hedge funds or corporate brokers used by the real pros or much bigger ticket or more experienced traders.
There are more pros than cons in my view.
The main positive is the speed of execution. This is particularly important with quick in and out day trading. You can set automatic orders to open and close, and short of any slippage which can happen now and again when the market ticks through a level (which is rare but does happen), these work every time immediately. If you click manually to enter and close ditto. I have had a couple of annoying rejections but generally get filled at the price I click at within the boundaries of technology and speed of the market. When you click you are in instantly. I have tired some other platforms. I recall trading with City Index for example when I first started out. On clicking both on entry and exit you would get a windows type hourglass revolving on your screen and your action was then confirmed say a few seconds after you clicked. IG claim something like that on average a trade is executed in one tenth of a second. I have regularly called up and had them check my own stats and this does appear to be representative. In short, their platform is in a different galaxy to some of the competition out there. They have some sort of rejection policy whereby all trades at one price level are rejected if the resulting price is more than I think two points either way or maybe double this in a very fast moving market. It does not favour larger trades over small ones. I have had rejections on average in about one in fifty trades, which is a small few every month or two, albeit still annoying. However I have encountered some resistance by them to go into finite detail on this policy and thatís why I cannot describe it definitively. I see no reason why they cannot be more transparent about this.
In terms of formal slippage, by which I donít mean the market moving in that tenth of a second when your trade is in transit from your PC to IG (or more than that sometimes), but I mean where you have a pre-set limit or stop, and that is not fulfilled. For example a long (which fails) with a 10 point stop, which is closed at a loss of -12 instead of the -10 it should have been. Again, this does happen. But again rarely (leaving aside the Swiss thing of course). The most I have been slipped in this way is -4.5 points last month. I have been slipped by a couple of points negatively a few times and twice positively for 2 and 3 respectively. Usually a couple of times a month. On each occasion I have checked (or had them check) the tick by tick chart and this happens where one tick straddled the stop or limit level. So again annoying but no complaints really.
In terms of charting, IGs own chart is good to watch the immediate price action on, and works well in a market where you have decided to enter based on price action, rather than on technical levels. Its feed mirrors the price action and so in that respect it is robust and as such is necessary to have open on one pane at all times. While it does easily allow plotting of basic lines and so on, and has more advanced options too, it is really no good for advanced technical charting as it is too basic. Here IG offer ProRealTimeís full package, albeit that it is linked to their own index / prices, and platform. This is offered essentially for free. Technically it is not free and costs £30.00 a month but if you place something like a couple of trades a month you donít pay anything so if you are trading regularly then thatís free. This is a very good professional charting package and allows all the technical charting you want.
IG offer a mass of different markets to trade. Although I would caution against trading all sorts of exotic stuff on a market makers platform.
Otherwise the platform is easy to use and operate and as good as anything else out there. Customer service is generally good but not perfect.
IG used to fail to provide a demo account which was a major minus but now they do.
In terms of negatives, there is only one main one in my view, if and once you have accepted that they are a market maker not direct to market interchange. Clearly for some people that is a negative in itself but that is what it is.
The one negative I do have is the amount of IT outages / problems of late. When the platform works it works well, and as above the speed of execution is pretty much second to none in the UK retail market. But I first used IG from 2013. In the first year and a half I can only remember one major and one minor IT outage. By which I mean you canít log on at all, or if you can the platform is down so you canít trade, or if not totally down you canít trade properly because half of it is not working, etc. And thatís having been on it pretty much every day in that period. Most people would think that is pretty good stats. Ideally however it should not really ever happen. But once a year I think we can forgive and forget.
However in the last 2-3 months (I am leaving this review May 2015) there have been no less than four further IT outages. For the first the entire platform was simply down for the vast part of the trading day sometime in late March early April. I was lucky in that I made a pile of points from 8.00am to 8.20am and decided to call it day then and had no open positions when it went down at circa 8.30am. It wasnít fully fixed until about 3.00pm, during which time you would not have been able to log on or trade at all and (assuming you could get through in less than 30 minutes in a queue) would have had to phone up to close any trades in progress. A couple of weeks later ProRealTime was down for the whole weekend. While no one is going to trade on a Saturday or a Sunday it is a time when you want to give your main charts a good spring clean and plot and update your channels etc etc and / or do a load of back-testing or other similar non trading stuff. This was out from first thing Saturday morning until late on Sunday. IG can argue that the fault was at ProRealTimeís end however I donít really care. It is provided through, linked to and tailored to their own platform and integral to any serious trader who uses them, and they know this and took two days to fix it. I had not even logged my trades from Friday and ended up having to start an hour early on Monday just to be able to trade that day. Then back to IGís own platform a couple of weeks later. Could log on this time and place a trade but not working properly again. No lines appearing on your chart showing your stop level or even entry level and I wasnít even clear if my trades had actually been entered. IG didnít fix this until early afternoon. That was a couple of weeks ago. Today is a Monday and we now have instalment number four. Platform is working in terms of being able to log on, and itís not a trading day as multiple public holidays, but once again there are problems. Your saved layout is not working. You are presented with an entirely different screen layout when logging in. Your list of markets is different. You have no chart. And so and so on. I called IG about this at 10.00am and they were aware of it. Despite that the platform says there are no reported problems. So that is simply untrue. Itís now 6.00pm and it is still not working. Who knows whether it will be fixed for market open in the morning. Lastly, at various times over the last few weeks, the price feed to the ProRealTime chart seems to be lagging IGs own chart and feed, by a about a second, and this has persisted on and off for the last month or so. It is not always present and manifests itself more so when the market gets into high gear. ProRealTime shows exactly the same price action, just lags by a second getting there. The problem here is that many traders like me will have both charts open at once. IGs chart totally keeps up and looking at that is fine. But you have your support and resistance levels and lines and so on, on the PRT chart. If you are long and propose closing the split second it hits that strong resistance, and are at that time watching the PRT chart alone, you can see the problem here. Again IG have told me they are acutely aware of this and are working to sort it as a priority, but I am not sure sorting it out is happening at breakneck speed, if indeed at all.
This ĎIT issuesí trend is starting to seriously worry me. I have no idea what is behind it. IG obviously donít want this to happen as when it does, at worst no one can and thus will trade with them and they will lose a whole days business. At best it will frustrate their client base. Each time you jump up and down on the phone and determine to leave a negative review, but once it is fixed you move on and donít have time. However it is now becoming too much of a regular occurrence to ignore. IG lost a significant amount of profit when the SNB made their appalling announcement in January (along of course with anyone who was long with them on that market at the time probably losing their whole account). Those cynics I know wonder whether they have made a cut to their very large IT department to cut costs. I have no idea. This may just be coincidence which may go away. But no matter how good their platform is when it works, if it is down every couple of weeks then its time to start having a look elsewhere.
For now thatís not my intention. IG is simply too good in terms of execution to as a retail platform for me to move at the moment. But I am going to keep a close eye on these ongoing IT issues in the coming weeks and may well review that if things donít improve.
UPDATE 3 July 2015
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the waterÖ.
I donít intend to update this with every little niggle I have with IG. That would designate this review as out of control and too unwieldy. However, any updates now are likely to be negative, as I will just concentrate on any further problems. I think that is OK though, as I have left a balanced review above, and indeed if anything the main review is a lot more positive than negative. I donít think therefore any further criticism loses its power, which it might do if all I was saying was wall to wall negative in the first place. By contrast it is important to follow up to make sure this commentary on IG remains up to date. I will therefore just update from here with any further problems in the short term.
And in that vein then, Tuesday 30thJune, and here we go againÖ
IGís platform went down bang on market cash open at 8.00am (UK time) on the morning of Tuesday 30thJune 2015, and was offline for about 30 minutes. People logged in lost connection and anyone not logged in, and trying to, couldnít until when it was fixed about 8.30am. While only half an hour, this is another bad example of ongoing IG IT problems, albeit the first issue since I left the original review above. This is because 8.00am to 8.30 am is a pretty key time. Dax cash opens 8.00am UK time as does FTSE cash. Obviously the first part of your trading day is history if you canít even log on for the first half an hour of the trading day, let alone trade. And this is totally unacceptable.
I mentioned above that some other traders I know are more cynical than me, and one I know commented that IG always seems to Ďgo downí when there is the potential for a large market drop. The thinking behind this is apparently that they donít want people getting the early short on, when the market has potential to seriously tank. And of course fuel is added to that fire here, for anyone claiming itís all a big conspiracy, will readily point out that Tuesday 30thJune was the second trading day after Greece had announced the referendum, the Dax had already gapped down a not unexpected, but still eye watering, 500.00 or so points, or 4-5%, on Sunday night IG futures open, from the Friday night close, and this Tuesday was the last trading of the quarter, not just the month, where there can sometimes be a bit of a sell off. I continue to be of a more reasoned mind, and personally donít subscribe to these sort of conspiracy theories. However, IG can simply avoid such rumours and comments circulating in the public domain in the first place, by sorting out their repeated and ongoing IT problems, and I have no sympathy with IG until they can provide an unbroken trading service, which they are currently continuing to fail to do.
Anyway I digress, but what is clear, is that this is now instalment number five, in half as many months, of further major IT problems for IG. I still donít change my overall view, that IG can be recommended, but a further episode of this, or something similar, and I will be starting to have a look around elsewhere.
I will post any further major problems in a future update.
UPDATE 16 DECEMBER 2015 8.00PM GMT (YEP FOMC RATE DECISION TIME)
I'll keep this update short. Doubt anyone on here reading this will not be aware, but for helpfulness when people are looking at this in the future, this is slap bang in the middle of the December 2015 FOMC rate rise.
IG's entire charting system went down (actually to be technically correct didnt go down but simply froze the price - no candlestick movement and no price change for about the last hour, on any chart, on any market), at approximately 7.05pm GMT, about 5 mins after the rate decision and 25 mins before Yellen's press conference at 7.30pm GMT. Its now 8.00pm and still down.
I wont even bother giving any commentary on this as I think it speaks for itself.
Have lowered my rating to 6 out of 10.
rock solid track-record and policies in 'swiftly' bankrupting their clients
Their track record in doing so is without comparison in the industry: http://www.smh.com.au/business/when-brokers-are-the-enemy-20100827-13w40.html
In case the link does not work google: When brokers are the enemy - Sydney Morning Herald
Personally, I was robbed of a six figure sum - and earned cynical comments from their Credit department - the abyss is so unbelievably deep, there is only one advise for retail traiders: RUN AWAY, spend your money on something nice, treat yourself, be good to yourself
They treat clients like wolves kill sheep
I find IG arrogant and having had business dealings with them I can say they are arrogant with a false sense of self-importance; sadly as in most of the City ethics don't come first in their business dealings. Steer clear.
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