Join our community of smart investors

International Investing: Best DIY platforms

Check your platform's charges before you invest in overseas stocks
International Investing: Best DIY platforms
  • International stock markets regularly outperform the UK, investors should look overseas for diversification
  • In this free guide, we reveal the Top Rated platforms for international investment, as voted for by IC and FT readers

Investing in overseas stock exchanges used to be costly, complicated and time consuming. But advances in technology and the development of investment platforms have made this more straightforward. Many of the world’s fastest-growing companies are listed outside of the UK, so there are good reasons to have exposure to them, if you have the right risk appetite and investor profile.

If you decide to invest in overseas stocks directly rather than through funds, you need to consider via which investment platform you can do this most efficiently. And there are wide variations in what choice of overseas listed equities they offer. 

In the links below, we have compared the costs of many different investment platforms to help you pick the most cost effective. And we have collected feedback from IC and FT readers to rank platforms.

 

Picking a platform - consider the costs

Buying overseas stocks is more expensive than buying ones listed in London because you have to pay foreign exchange costs. This means that every time you trade, there is a conversion from pounds to the currency you are buying in and every sale you make is converted back to pounds. 

Most platforms charge a foreign exchange fee as a percentage of the total amount invested on top of their usual dealing fees. Therefore, if you trade overseas listed stocks frequently it could make sense to do it via a platform that lets you hold foreign currencies in your account. Doing this would mean that you do not pay currency conversion fees every time you transact. You can download our full spreadsheet in the link below to compare all the costs of platforms which allow you to hold non-UK equities.  

 

Picking a platform - the value of service 

The process for buying foreign shares and funds is broadly the same as for UK investment, but tax forms, market opening hours and pricing all need to be considered. A platform which reduces the complication of international investing is therefore hugely beneficial. 

We have collected feedback on various criteria from IC and FT readers on various investment platforms. The table below shows the top ranked platforms based on support, ease of use and platform visibility. 

Watch our webinar on Top Rated International Investing platforms from November 2020