Offering spread betting and contracts for difference on a wide range of trading instruments, IG is currently one of the world’s largest CFD brokers. It gives traders and investors easy access to over 16,000 global markets, competitive fees, as well as excellent and reliable customer support available 24 hours a day.
IG was founded in 1974 as a spread betting company in the UK following the collapse of the Bretton Woods System, a system of rules and regulations that required all major economies to have their currencies pegged to the price of gold. The new business, called IG Index (Investors Gold Index), for the first time, allowed investors in the UK to trade gold as an index rather than buying and owning the physical commodity. In 2000, the company was named IG Group plc and was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Today, IG Markets is authorized to offer CFD trading and other products in the UK, most of Europe, Australia and the US.
IG is the brand name of IG Group plc and its several operating companies. Each of them is registered and regulated in a different part of the world, offering the specific trading and financial products and services that are allowed and regulated locally. Overall, the company has a reputation for being a safe, reliable provider of spread betting and CFDs on financial markets – it is fully regulated in multiple jurisdictions and publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange, which makes it even more trustworthy and transparent. Moreover, the IG site fully discloses all fees and conditions unlike many of its competitors who often hide high commissions and additional fees in the fine print.
The broker is licensed and fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, as well as by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in Australia. It has also received licenses by several local regulators such as the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in Germany and the Dubai Financial Services Authority. In the US, IG US LLC is registered in Delaware and headquartered in Chicago. IG is a registered RFED and IB with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and member of the National Futures Association. Residents of Arizona or Ohio cannot open IG US accounts, however.
IG offers spread betting and contracts for difference (CFDs) on a great variety of instruments across 12 asset classes, including Forex, commodities, shared, indices, cryptocurrencies, and more. In total, the broker gives access to more than 16,000 markets from all around the world. However, not all trading instruments are available everywhere – while CFDs are the preferred way to trade in Europe and the UK, for instance, they are not allowed in the US. Instead, IG offers its American clients binary options.
The broker offers great opportunities for Forex trading and its clients can opt for spread betting, CFDs or DMA (Direct Market Access). DMA is a type of Forex execution where traders receive direct access to the physical market and it is available only to professional clients, which is why we will not discuss it any further. The other two alternatives, however, are available to all retail clients of IG – both spread betting and CFDs are a wonderful solution to those who want to benefit from the inherent liquidity of the foreign exchange market.
There are differences between them, as well. First of all, CFDs are financial derivatives, which means that the contracts traded are based on the prices of the underlying asset. The contracts do not expire, except for futures. In contrast, when spread betting on Forex, traders can speculate on the market by betting on various outcomes within a fixed time frame. Moreover, UK-based traders can enjoy tax-free profits. At IG, traders can opt for a wide range of FX pairs, including commonly traded ones like GBP/USD, EUR/USD, USD/CAD, USD/JPY or less popular pairs like EUR/CZK, TRY/JPY, CAD/CHF, etc.
IG also offers its clients to trade indices as either a spread bet or a CFD. Indices are extremely popular instruments and they represent the top traded shares on a particular exchange. They could be bundles of the shares of the top 100 companies in the US or the most successfully traded companies in the German economy.
Overall, indices are easier to trade for most traders as they track the performance of a particular sector of the economy based on a wide variety of events rather than focusing on one particular company. Traders can deal on many different indices at IG, including FTSE 100, which includes the stocks of the top 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange by market cap, Wall Street, DAX, Australia 200, Dow Jones, NASDAQ, S&P500, Nikkei, and more.
IG clients can profit from either leveraged share trading – CFDs and spread betting, or non-leveraged trade of shares, available through an ISA account (Individual Savings Account) or a share dealing account. Most traders, especially less experienced ones, prefer trading with leverage since they need only a fraction of the value of the asset in order to open a position. However, they should also know that leverage also increases the risk.
Those who can afford more significant deposits and can buy and sell stock without leverage at IG. The broker gives its clients Direct Market Access and allows trading the actual shares rather than only speculating on their prices without actually owning them. Top traded shares at the IG trading platforms are those of Apple, Facebook, Alibaba, Lloyds, BP PLC, and Rio Tinto.
Once again, IG offers spread betting and CFDs on commodities and commodity futures. The broker allows trading on a total of 27 commodities – hard and soft. Hard commodities include various precious metals, oil, and other energy products that have been mined, while soft commodities are typically agricultural ones. Popular commodities are gold, silver, natural gas, crude oil, Brent, wheat, coffee, and sugar.
Their prices fluctuate based on multiple factors, including supply and demand, of course, economic and political events. Usually, their prices also change when there is a change in the price of the US dollar since most commodities are priced in USD. Another factor that influences their value is the weather simply because it has a direct effect on the production of commodities.
Trade on cryptocurrencies works much like regular currency trading – traders simply speculate on the price of the cryptocurrency and profiting when it goes up or down instead of buying the actual cryptocurrency. For many traders, this is a very exciting market – it is relatively new, it is highly volatile, and it sees a huge speculative interest. IG allows spread betting and CFDs on the most widely spread cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, NEO, EOS, and Stellar (XLM).
IG clients can also trade on volatility with an interesting instrument, called options. Options are complicated at first but in the simplest terms, they allow traders to trade on the future value of a market. They are similar to futures but there is one important difference – when buying options, traders have the right but not the obligation to trade if they do not like the price, for instance. With futures, on the other hand, traders are required to complete the trade.
Options are flexible, leveraged financial tools and they can be used for hedging, speculating or simply buying more time to decide whether a trade is profitable or not. IG offers call (the right to buy) and put (the right to sell) options on various asset classes, including Forex, shares, indices, and commodities.
IG offers CFDs and spread bets on exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are investment funds that hold assets and are traded just like stocks. However, they only track the performance of certain indices, stocks, commodities, and futures, and their ownership is divided into shares. ETFs are affordable, convenient to trade, and were specially designed for individual investors.
Those who choose to trade ETFs can experience exposure to multiple markets at a low price and with just a single position. IG clients can choose from more than 6,000 exchange-traded funds and filter them by asset class, performance, country and eligibility for an individual savings account.
In addition to Forex, commodities, shares indices, options, and cryptocurrencies, IG also offers trading on several additional markets. While for many investors, these additional financial instruments represent a good way to diversify their portfolio, for others, they could be the main markets where they make a profit. Being successful in this type of trade, however, requires knowing the fundamentals and having a deeper understanding of the market trends.
For instance, IG offers trading on interest rates, bonds, and industry sectors, which are quite common and most traders should be familiar with them. However, there is one quite interesting market that can be traded and it is called IG Digital 100 – in fact, these are simply binary options but the broker decided to change the name of the instrument in 2017.
This is a trade based on simple yes or no statements and with it, IG clients can speculate on a market event taking place. Those who manage to predict the outcome correctly make a profit, of course. Due to regulatory restrictions introduced in 2018, the Digital 100 instrument, however, is available only to professional clients.
In addition to the standard trade on weekdays, IG also offers its clients trading on select markets during the weekend. This includes Forex, indices, and cryptocurrencies, but each of these trades works differently. Prices on indices and Forex are quoted separately to the weekday prices based on the broker’s prediction on the particular market as a result of the latest economic and political news, client business, etc. The positions on Forex and indices are also separate.
Weekend trading of cryptocurrencies, however, works a bit differently since this market remains open during the weekend anyway. Therefore, clients’ positions on Bitcoin, for instance, will continue to change over the weekend as normal.
IG clients have a great choice of trading platforms and API interfaces and one of them is the IG’s own platform. It is web-based, which means there is no need to download any software. Traders would find it simple and intuitive and it would be easy to use even for first-time clients of IG. It features a nice design, as well as basic risk management tools like stop losses and price alters. In addition, it is very fast and comes with split charts, customization tools, automated trading options, various indicators, as well as an integrated live news feed from Reuters and ProRealTime charts.
The mobile version of the IG trading platform is available for both iOS and Android and can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play. The trading apps allow spread betting and CFDs trading on a wide range of markets, including Forex, indices, and commodities. The mobile applications are noticeably less customizable than the web-based platform but there are price alerts, stop-losses, customized watchlists, and Face ID and Touch ID security.
The broker also offers the industry-standard MetaTrader 4 (MT4), which can be downloaded on Windows and Mac. It is also available on mobiles and can be installed for free from the App Store and Google Play. To use it, traders simply need to log in using their IG account credentials. MT4 features a great variety of add-ons and indicators and through its convenient interface, clients can download additional indicators or even create their own. Of course, the platform also includes the Autochartist and the Expert Advisors. Clients can also upgrade to ProRealTime, which features state-of-the-art technical analysis software.
IG accepts several different payment methods and currencies but unfortunately, the broker does not disclose this information openly on its website. New users would need to contact the support before opening an IG account if they wish to register it in a minor currency. Apart from that, major currencies, including USD, GBP, and EUR can be registered as a base currency of the IG account.
The minimum deposit amount is $450 and the maximum amount is capped at $50,000 by a card. Those who wish to deposit more should choose a bank transfer, although it is definitely a slower option. Deposits are typically instant, whereas deposits via bank transfer usually take up to 3 days to process. The processing time for withdrawals varies depending on the payment method – withdrawals to e-wallets, for instance, take up to 24 hours to process, while withdrawing via bank transfer may take two weeks. Clients can withdraw up to $20,000 every 24 hours.
Along with bank transfer, IG clients can use credit and debit cards to make deposits and request withdrawals from their accounts. Major card brands like Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Another popular banking method for online trading is the digital wallet – it is similar to the real, physical wallet, but rather than storing cash and all your credit and debit cards, it links to your bank account any other online payment accounts.
IG allows using several different e-wallets on its platforms, including PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller. It also accepts deposits through the online payment settlement system WebMoney, which was introduced in Russia in 1998 but is now available almost anywhere around the world.
IG offers several major types of accounts and before opening a live one, clients are advised to register a Demo Account. This way, they will have the opportunity to try the IG trading platform, see all trading instruments and markets, try out various analytical tools, etc. They will be given instant access to the trading platform along with a demo balance of $20,000. However, Demo Accounts are not subject to slippage, interest and dividend adjustments – to see all costs, trading tools, and functionalities, clients will have to opt for a Live Account.
The broker offers Smart Portfolios to investors from Germany and the UK. These Smart Portfolios are invested in iShares ETFs from BlackRock, one of the largest asset management corporations in the world. Along with this standard investment account, IG clients can also apply for a tax-efficient stocks and shares ISA (Individual savings account) or SIPP (Self-invested personal pension).
IG also offers joint accounts for CFDs, spread betting, and share dealing. Clients with MT4 accounts or Smart Portfolios cannot apply for a joint account. The other type of account available at IG is the professional one. Only clients who meet certain criteria are eligible for professional accounts – important factors include one’s trading history, investment portfolio, and their employment history. Professional clients can trade with more leverage and are granted a three-month free trial of the advanced charting platform ProRealTime.
The customer support service is one of the strongest sides of IG. Unlike most brokers, it offers 24/7 support – after all, it allows trading on weekends, too. The site’s interface and the support are available in several languages, including English, Spanish, and German. Of course, there are not as many local support teams as there are regional IG platforms.
Clients can open dedicated IG websites for most of Europe – UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Russia, and Romania, as well as for the United States, Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.
The support can be contacted via the 24/7 Live Chat or by phone. The broker offers phone lines for the UK (0800 195 3100), Australia (1800 601 799), New Zealand (0800 442 150), and many more. The international phone is +61 (3) 9860 1799. Clients can also send their queries at one of the several email addresses available – it is email@example.com for new clients from the UK, for instance.
IG is an excellent choice for novices and professionals who look for competitive pricing, a good variety of trading platforms, and tons of markets. It is one of the largest and most reputable CFD brokers right now, offering access to over 16,000 markets and providing its clients with the highest levels of online security. Overall, IG is among the best options for those who look for a safe, reliable, and accessible broker with good pricing and high-quality trading platforms.