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Overall

Forex and CFD traders looking to trade a large number of instruments across multiple asset classes, including exchange-traded securities on international exchanges, will find IG offers an extensive range of tradable products on its platforms.

By Steven Hatzakis / April 4th, 2017 / Updated: May 17th, 2018

help 97
Trust Score
Dislikes
  • Web platform trading windows must be resized manually to keep the layout organized

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As an early pioneer in offering contracts for difference (CFDs) and spread betting, IG was founded in 1974 and has grown to be a global leader in the online trading industry. IG is a London-based public company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 250 (LON: IGG).

IG offers traders access to trade over 10,000 products across multiple asset classes, including forex, CFDs on shares, indices, commodities, binaries, bonds, cryptocurrencies, and provides access to other global markets including exchange-traded shares through its regulated offerings. In 2017, IG launched Smart Portfolios as its first move into the managed investment space, as well as seven CFD cryptocurrency pairs including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum.

As of its financial year ending May 31st 2017, IG services over 185,000 active clients globally through its its 15 global offices and 1,400 staff, across its regulated entities in the UK and internationally. IG Group offers binary derivatives to US clients through its North American Derivatives Exchange (NADEX) division regulated by the CFTC.

Commissions & Fees

IG has very competitive pricing on its web-based and mobile/tablet platforms, which include the MT4 platform, with minimum spreads on the EUR/USD from 0.6 pips and average spreads of 0.74 pips on the pair, for the 12 weeks ending February 24th 2017, for mini and standard size contracts.

IG forex commission average spreads euro usd currency pairs

For volume traders, IG has even more competitive rates on its commission-based offering, Forex Direct, in which spreads can drop to 0.26 pips (based on March 2016 data), where a commission of $1 to $6 per standard lot (100K units) is added, depending on the related tier pricing level you qualify for based on specific volume thresholds.

Compared to brokers that have a higher minimum for their active trader account, IG is a viable alternative as only £1,000 is needed for Forex Direct, compared to $50,000 for a VIP account at TickMill, $25,000 for an Active Trader account at FXCM, or $10,000 for a Premium account at FOREX.com.

Customer Service

For our 2018 Forex Review, 129 customer service phone tests were conducted over three months. The data collected is institutional grade. On average, three questions were asked for each test. To score each test, the tests were divided into three separate groups and scores were given for the time taken to connect with each support representative and the ability of each representative to professionally (and thoroughly) answer each question. A Net Promoter Score was also given for the overall experience.

Results:

  • Average Connection Time: 1-2 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 6 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 6.4 / 10
  • Overall Score: 7.9 / 10
  • Ranking: 28th (43 brokers)

Research

One of IG’s strong points, aside from its competitive pricing and large number of tradeable products, is its depth of research content on its platform, in the IG Analysis section on the company’s website, and on its DailyFX.com portal.

IG Daily FX research

On its trading platform, IG offers streaming news from Reuters and research in the form of an Economic Calendar, as well as a customizable screener for various asset classes including CFDs on global stocks, forex, and cryptocurrencies. The broker also integrates AutoChartist into the platform, allowing traders to view trade signals generated by automated pattern-recognition and technical analysis.

IG DailyFX Research Sentiment Forecast

Compared to our 2017 Review, IG has done very well in centralizing most of its research into the platform, with only the Economic Calendar function launching in a new browser tab.

News is also tailored for a given instrument that is analyzed, so that when a chart is open, relevant news to that instrument will appear in both the web and mobile platforms. Overall, IG is a close competitor in this area to Saxo Bank as both companies rank highly in the research category.

Platforms & Tools

IG’s main trading platform is web based and available as an app for Android tablet or smartphone devices, and as an iOS version for iPhone and iPad, as well as for Windows smartphone and tablet devices.

In addition, IG offers the MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform, which it launched in 2013, enabling clients to run a desktop or mobile version of the popular MT4 software. To learn more about MT4, read our guide to MetaTrader MetaTrader. For this review, I focused on IG's proprietary platform.

For desktop-based software, IG offers the L2 Dealer platform where Forex Direct and Direct Market Access (DMA) are available for share trading.

Starting with IG’s web-based platform, after setting up a demo account, logging into the IG website with the new login credentials is easy as the platform can be launched with just a click. The default layout doesn’t have much going on, with two floating panels displayed in a mostly empty backdrop.

IG web platform default layout

I wasn’t thrilled with the default layout; however, after taking a few minutes to see how various modules can be added to workspaces, it was easy to customize the layout. In the future, IG would be wise to add several pre-templated layouts for users to select from, which would simplify the platform onboarding process.

IG web platform layout

Compared to our review last year, IG has undergone a major overhaul and redesign of its platform, giving it a more responsive and fluid design. And, while resizing the windows in the layout isn’t an automatic process (i.e. drag and drop), it has improved considerably compared to the prior version of the platform.

Charts can be opened from nearly any view that shows live market prices and streaming bid/ask rates, and various other shortcuts provide access to a trading ticket or order dialogue window.

IG web platform chart watch list

In addition, from these rows where prices are shown, right-clicking reveals a drop-down menu of options. For example, traders can one-click add the security to their watch list or launch a trade ticket (order) window.

The default charts within the platform feature some advanced functionality, such as the ability to add an alert on a specific indicator, with a total of 22 indicators available to choose from.

IG web platform Charts zoom in

More advanced charting with nearly 100 indicators is provided by IG via the ProRealTime premium charting, which is available as a standalone application. ProRealTime costs £30 per month unless at least four trades are made during each calendar period.

All in all, IG provides an excellent offering of trading platforms and tools. The functionality is widespread and serves traders of all experience levels. The broker was a Best in Class category finisher in our 2018 Review, repeating its impressive performance from 2017.

Mobile Trading

Overall features within IG’s mobile app were on a par with leading competitors, including Saxo, CMC Markets, and FOREX.com, among others, and it was easy to access key categories from the side menu.

IG’s mobile app ranks highly as the app comes packed with plenty of features such as alerts, sentiment, an economic calendar, watch list, and detailed market information for each instrument, all packed within a well-designed layout.

IG mobile android rates

The charting function within IG's mobile app is loaded with technical indicators and drawing tools that can be accessed by tapping anywhere on the chart for the list of tools to appear.

IG mobile android charts

In 2017, charting was improved with new features, for example, any indicators added to a chart are automatically saved and reappear with each subsequent login. Regarding research, AutoChartist was also integrated into the experience.

IG mobile android AutoChartist analysis

All variables considered, IG’s mobile app ranks highly as the app comes packed with plenty of features such as alerts, sentiment, an economic calendar, watch list, and detailed market information for each instrument, all packed within a well-designed layout.

Other Notes

IG launched CFDs on Cryptocurrencies in 2017, including on Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum (ETH), priced in Euro and US Dollars, with seven pairs in total available for traders.

IG web platform chart bitcoin trade ticket window

IG provides open access to its API, available at IG Labs, and is similar to the way in which OANDA and FXCM provide their API feeds for open public access.

IG provides open access to its API, available at IG Labs, and is similar to the way in which OANDA and FXCM provide their API feeds for open public access.

IG also offers exchange-traded securities (non-CFDs) for residents of the UK, Germany, and Australia to access international stock exchanges. Furthermore, IG offers 7,500 CFD products and at least 70 currency pairs.

Final Thoughts

Comparable to other brokers that require a larger minimum deposit, such as Saxo Bank, IG may be a good alternative for traders on a smaller budget, as minimum deposits start from £100, and £1,000 for access to Forex Direct.

IG can also offer a greater degree of leverage to eligible clients, compared to brokers with a tiered-margin structure or others with account-based restrictions. Close competitors to IG offering access to markets beyond forex include CityIndex, Plus500, CMC Markets, Markets.com, XTB and FxPro.

Overall, retail forex and CFD traders who want access to nearly every market, including cryptocurrencies as CFDs or exchange-traded securities on a number of international exchanges, will find that IG provides a wide selection on its available platforms. IG offers powerful research tools and competitive spreads, making it a market leader and top finisher in our 2018 ranking of forex brokers.

Methodology

For our 2018 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 43 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on 140 variables. Learn more.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses."Learn more.

View all IG Group Fees & Features
Steven Hatzakis

Reviewed by Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Over the past 18 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

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Ratings Overall

Summary

Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Education

Best in Class

2018
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  • Mobile Trading
  • Education
  • Active Trading
  • MT4
  • Crypto Trading
2017
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Overall
  • Overall Ranking
  • Commissions & Fees
  • Offering of Investments
  • Platform & Tools
  • Research
  • Customer Service
  • Education
  • Active Trading

Trading CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies involves a high degree of risk. All data was obtained from a published web site as of 4/03/2018 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The ForexBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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