London Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is the primary stock exchange in the UK, with just under 2000 companies from over 100 countries listed. The best brokers with access to the London Stock Exchange offer trading on the share prices of listed stocks, plus associated indices like the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250. This review ranks the top London Stock Exchange brokers with expert ratings and comparisons.

Best London Stock Exchange Brokers in the UK

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    AvaTrade is a leading forex and CFD broker, established in 2006 and regulated across 9 jurisdictions. Over 400,000 users have signed up with the broker which processes over 2 million trades each month. The firm offers multiple trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, and a proprietary WebTrader. 1250+ financial instruments are available for trading, alongside a comprehensive education center and multilingual customer support.

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    Eightcap is an award-winning, FCA-regulated broker offering industry-low trading fees. They are also the highest-rated brand by TradingView’s 50 million-strong users, who can trade directly on the platform. UK traders can sign up for a live account with an accessible £100 minimum deposit.

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    Spreadex is an FCA-regulated broker that offers spread betting opportunities on an impressive 10,000+ CFD instruments including 60 forex pairs. Traders can also take short-term positions on sporting events. The brand has been around for over 20 years and has won multiple awards.

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    Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for traders at all levels.

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    Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage for experienced traders, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

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    eToro is a top-rated multi-asset platform which offers trading services in thousands of CFDs, stocks and cryptoassets. Launched in 2007, the brand has millions of active traders globally and is authorized by tier one regulators, including the FCA and CySEC. The brand is particularly popular for its comprehensive social trading platform. Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in the UK and some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

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    OANDA is an award-winning global broker, established in 1996. The hugely respected brand offers competitive trading accounts and serves clients from 196 countries. It remains a popular option with both beginners and experienced traders thanks to its user-friendly and sophisticated web platform, no minimum deposit and premium currency products and services. The company is also overseen by reputable regulators, including the FCA, ASIC and CIRO.

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    Trade Nation is a top FX and CFD broker regulated in multiple jurisdictions including the UK and Australia. The firm offers low-cost fixed and variable spreads on 1000+ assets with robust trading platforms and training materials. The Signal Centre can also be used for trade ideas.

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    Founded in 2009, Vantage offers trading on 1000+ short-term CFD products to over 900,000 clients. You can trade Forex CFDs from 0.0 pips on the RAW account through TradingView, MT4 or MT5. Vantage is ASIC-regulated and client funds are segregated. Copy traders will also appreciate the range of social trading tools.

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    Established in 2008 and headquartered in Israel, Plus500 is a prominent brokerage that boasts over 25 million registered traders in over 50 countries. Specializing in CFD trading, the company offers an intuitive, proprietary platform and mobile app. It maintains competitive spreads and does not charge commissions or deposit or withdrawal fees. Plus500 also continues to shine as one of the most trusted brokers with licenses from reputable regulators, including the FCA, ASIC and CySEC.

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    Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.

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    Founded in 2001, easyMarkets is a multi-regulated forex broker offering leveraged trading opportunities on forex, stocks, indices, commodities and crypto. With fixed spreads, an affordable initial deposit, regulation from several reputable bodies and a diverse selection of account currencies, this broker provides simple and straightforward trading solutions to a diverse range of traders.

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    Kwakol Markets is a Nigerian headquartered broker with strong regulatory oversight in Australia and Canada. A great selection of trading assets are available, including synthetic products that simulate realistic market activity. Clients can trade on the MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms, as well as a copy trading solution whereby a fee is only paid on profitable trades.

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    SimpleFX is an online broker specializing in CFD and cryptocurrency trading, with multi-currency accounts, STP execution, low pricing and no minimum deposit. Bringing innovation and gaining recognition at numerous industry events since 2014, SimpleFX now caters to retail traders from over 190 countries, boasting a client base exceeding 200,000 active users.

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    ActivTrades is a UK-headquartered CFD and forex broker established in 2001. The brokerage is heavily regulated with licenses from the FCA, SCB, CSSF, BACEN & CVM and CMVM. Over 1000 CFDs are available spanning 7 asset classes. Over 93.60% of orders are executed at the requested price. ActivTraders also offers a selection of leading trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, TradingView and ActivTrader platforms.

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    FP Markets is an ASIC- and CySEC-regulated broker that offers forex and CFD trading on a broad range of assets through the MT4, MT5 and IRESS platforms. With trading available through standard and raw spread accounts on thousands of international stocks, forex, indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds and ETFs, this broker has some of the most comprehensive market coverage available. FP Markets also offers a full range of additional features, including educational resources and access to powerful software such as Autochartist.

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    TMGM is an ASIC-regulated forex and CFD broker with a vast range of tradeable assets covering forex, stock, index, crypto and commodity markets. The account types on offer provide a flexible choice between no commission or zero spreads, with competitive pricing all-round.

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    Infinox is a UK-based and FCA-regulated broker that offers diverse trading products thanks to its STP and ECN account types and support for MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and a proprietary platform. Clients can also benefit from a free VPS that can support automated strategies and a social trading platform, catering to both beginner and seasoned traders.

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    AdroFx is an offshore ECN/STP broker that has offered CFD trading since 2018. The firm supports 100+ tradable assets on the popular MetaTrader 4 platform as well as a web trader, Allpips. Eight live accounts are available with no restrictions on trading strategies.

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    Saxo Markets is a multi-award-winning trading brokerage, investment firm and regulated bank. With a huge 72,000+ trading instruments, plus investment products and managed portfolios, clients have no shortage of opportunities. The trusted brand also offers transparent pricing and top-tier regulatory protection from 10+ agencies including FINMA, FCA & ASIC.

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    Zacks Trade is a FINRA-regulated US broker offering trading on stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, bonds and more through a proprietary terminal. The broker is geared toward active traders and offers very affordable fees on most assets as well as an app and a vast amount of market data.

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    Just2Trade is a reliable multi-regulated broker registered with FINRA, NFA and CySEC. The company has 155,000 clients from 130 countries and stands out for its huge suite of instruments and additional features, including a social network, robo advisors and a funded trader programme.

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    Capital.com offer CFDs on a range of markets with competitive spreads and zero commissions. The broker also offers the Investmate app, negative balance protection and leveraged trading.

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    LegacyFX is a multi-asset broker offering an MT5 download & free signals.

Choosing London Stock Exchange Brokers

Online brokers are the intermediary through which you trade assets on the exchange. Fortunately, as one of the world’s oldest and leading exchanges, there is a long list of London Stock Exchange brokers to choose from. When comparing trading firms, consider:

Fees

Research both trading and non-trading fees when comparing London Stock Exchange brokers. These include commission charges and in-built spreads, which will negate a portion of your profit per trade. These can also include non-trading fees such as inactivity charges, overnight rollover fees, or charges for making deposits and withdrawals.

Importantly, look for London Stock Exchange brokers with a transparent fee structure and competitive costs. Pepperstone, for example, offers CFDs on UK shares with a 0.10% commission per side with a minimum of 10 GBP. Alternatively, spread betting on London Stock Exchange shares comes with a 0.10% spread markup.

Note, it is normally cheaper for British investors to trade through UK-based brokers that use GBP as a base currency, so no conversion fees are necessary.

Vehicles

A key question for investors comparing London Stock Exchange brokers is how they want to trade. Whether you are a buy-and-hold investor or a day trader, you will need a brokerage that provides the right trading vehicle. Popular options include:

  • Stocks – The direct purchase and sale of stocks will typically suit longer-term investors. Traders will own a piece of the company and can receive dividend payments and voting rights.
  • CFDsContracts for difference allow traders to speculate on stock price movements without actually buying or selling the underlying securities. Leverage also enables investors to take much larger positions than their current cash would allow.
  • Spread BettingA similar derivative to CFDs and also popular among retail traders, particularly in the UK where profits from this type of trade are tax-exempt.
  • ETFsLonger-term LSE investors may choose exchange-traded funds, which bundle together a range of securities listed on the London Stock Exchange. Popular examples include ETFs that track the FTSE 100, giving the trader exposure to the biggest companies on the exchange. However, traders can find ETFs with a diverse range of features, including sector-specific funds.
  • Binary OptionsSome retail traders opt for binary options to make a straightforward bet on a stock. The timeframe and potential profit/loss are determined before the contract begins, and all the trader needs to do is predict whether the asset’s price will rise or fall.

Platform

The platform is the terminal through which investors analyse chart data and execute trades. The best London Stock Exchange brokers will offer industry-recognised platforms such as MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 or provide proprietary technology.

Look out for a range of analysis features, customisable charts, and useful tools to create the best conditions for successful investing. You should also consider access to a mobile app if you want to keep up with investments on the go.

eToro, for example, provides an intuitive web-based, multi-asset platform alongside a sleek mobile app. Retail investors can create custom watchlists, access expert research analysis and view portfolio performance within one interface.

Trading UK shares on eToro platform

eToro UK Stock Trading Platform

Market Execution

Traditionally, London Stock Exchange brokers request individual security prices from market makers, known as Retail Service Providers (RSPs). However, this is changing and some of the best London Stock Exchange brokers now offer Direct Market Access (DMA). This permits retail investors to access the same pricing and order book execution model as provided to institutional investors.

IG Index, for example, provides its customers with access to free market depth data from the LSE and direct trading on the exchange’s order book. Note, a £3 fee applies for UK shares if three or more orders are executed per month.

Regulation

One of the most important factors to consider when comparing London Stock Exchange brokers is their regulatory status. Oversight from reputable financial regulators such as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will ensure that your personal information and finances are better protected against fraud, scams, or misconduct.

You may not be covered by any compensation schemes, have access to negative balance protection or have your funds held segregated from a broker’s money if you choose an unregulated broker or one with more lenient supervision.

Customer Support

Customer service quality and access are important when choosing between London Stock Exchange brokers, especially for beginners. Access to a customer support team during trading hours will be helpful if you have any urgent platform queries or need withdrawal guidance.

Many of the top brokers with access to the London Stock Exchange provide 24/5 help, though Pepperstone ranks even higher with a 24/7 toll-free telephone contact number.

Live Chart

What Is The London Stock Exchange?

Established in 1698, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) was one of the first official stock exchanges in the world. In 2007, the LSE merged with the Milan Stock Exchange (the Borsa Italiana), creating the multinational stock exchange operator, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). Today, LSEG is ranked the eighth-largest stock exchange globally, and the second-largest stock exchange in Europe. The stock exchange is physically located in the city of London, with headquarters in Paternoster Square.

London is Europe’s largest capital market, providing companies with access to some of the world’s deepest and most liquid capital pools. The LSE also offers a range of equity, fixed-income, and exchange-traded products available to retail investors via London Stock Exchange brokers.

Some of the largest companies listed on the LSE include Unilever, Shell, and HSBC. The company also owns several financial subsidiaries including Refinitiv, LSEG Technology, and FTSE Russell.

History

Below we outline the key dates in the formation of the London Stock Exchange:

  • 1698 – John Castaing publishes a list of commodity, currency, and stock prices at Johnathon’s Coffee House
  • 1773 – A more formal trading establishment is formed with a dealing room, known as ‘New Jonathan’s’
  • 1840 – The telegraph machine is implemented by the exchange with NYSE prices available in London within 20 minutes
  • 1872 – The ticker tape machine is introduced, followed by the telephone in 1880 for faster price information transmissions
  • 1970 – The introduction of the Market Price Display System gives London Stock Exchange brokers access to real-time prices of securities
  • 1984 – The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 (FTSE 100) is launched, an index of the 100 biggest organisations by market cap
  • 1986 – A computerised trading floor replaces the old physical processing technique, known as the ‘Big Bang’
  • 1995 – The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) launches with 10 companies originally listed for access to investor capital
  • 2007 – The London Stock Exchange merges with the Italian Stock Exchange Borsa Italiana, creating the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG)
  • 2019 – A relationship between the Shanghai Stock Exchange is established with London-listed firms able to issue CDRs in Shanghai and Shanghai companies approved to issue GDRs in London

Markets

The London Stock Exchange consists of four markets; the Main Market, AIM, High Growth Segment, and Premium Main Market. Each market has different capital-raising requirements and admission needs.

  • Standard Main Market – The core European listing standards for international organisations. It is typically reserved for larger, more established companies as it has strict listing requirements for entry
  • Premium Main Market – Companies need to pass even higher listing criteria to gain a place in the top-tier market
  • High Growth Segment – A market designed for innovative and high-growth organisations looking to increase business visibility with potential customers and the investor community
  • Alternative Investment Market (AIM) – The LSE market for small and medium-sized growth companies. Today, the number of AIM-traded stocks represents 3500+ global organisations taking advantage of the opportunity to raise equity capital

Indices

Several well-known indices are available at the best London Stock Exchange brokers and they can also form the basis of ETFs that track the price of multiple securities. The most popular and widely traded is the FTSE 100, though brokers with access to the London Stock Exchange may also offer some of the below.

  • FTSE 100 – The Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 index is a market-capitalisation weighted index of UK blue chip companies, comprising the top 100 firms trading on the LSE.
  • FTSE 250 – A market-capitalisation-weighted index consisting of the 101st to the 350th largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. Although not as well known, the index includes some major companies including Cineworld Group, Greggs, National Express, and Royal Mail.
  • FTSE 350 – A market-capitalisation-weighted index combining FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 firms.
  • FTSE SmallCap – An index made up of small market capitalisation organisations consisting of the 351st to the 619th largest-listed companies on the main market exchange.
  • FTSE All-Share – A market-capitalisation weighted index comprising the FTSE 350 and the FTSE SmallCap index.

Largest Stocks

Below are the five largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with their ticker symbols and market cap as of 2023:

  • AstraZeneca – Ticker symbol AZN, market cap of approx £175 million
  • Shell – Ticker symbol SHEL, market cap of approx £165 million
  • Unilever – Ticker symbol ULVR, market cap of approx £105 million
  • HSBC – Ticker symbol HSBA, market cap of approx £100 million
  • BP – Ticker symbol BP, market cap of approx £85 million

The top London Stock Exchange brokers, including Pepperstone, also split out UK shares by sector:

Brokers with access to UK shares

Pepperstone UK Shares

Trading Hours

The London Stock Exchange standard operating hours are from 8am to 4:30pm (GMT) Monday to Friday. Note, a daily market closure applies between 12pm and 12:02pm (GMT). Interestingly, the LSE has some of the longest opening hours in the world, with a standard 8 hours and 28 minutes of trading time per day.

Some London Stock Exchange brokers also support extended hours, with a pre-trading session from 5:05am to 7:50am (GMT) and a post-trading session from 4:40pm to 5:15pm (GMT). During these hours assets will typically see less liquidity but increased volatility. As a result, there are often wide price swings.

Should You Invest In The London Stock Exchange?

A London Stock Exchange listing maximises access to long-term capital and liquidity, helping companies attract a range of domestic and overseas investors. But should you trade assets listed on the London Stock Exchange?

Trading UK shares may offer retail investors a way to create returns faster than depositing money in a standard banking account with annual interest payments. The FTSE All-Share Index, for example, provided an average annual return of 6.4% for investors between 1993 and 2018.

Additionally, some LSE stocks provide dividend payouts on a quarterly or annual basis. You can withdraw these dividends to supplement your income or reinvest them. This compounds your gains, which may exceed those made from interest in a standard savings account.

Points To Consider

  • Portfolio Management – In today’s world, individuals have many options regarding the management of their invested funds. London Stock Exchange brokers may offer a range of solutions, such as fully managed profiles, robo-advisors, and self-managed accounts.
  • Investment Capital – How much you invest in London Stock Exchange products will depend on your personal circumstances. Your budget and expected returns timeframe will influence how much to put on the line. When making long-term investments, some suggest a minimum timeline of three years. Active traders usually open and close positions more quickly – in some cases within minutes. Whatever your approach, ensure that you don’t stake too much capital on a single trade, and keep some cash in reserve to help you claw back any losses.
  • Research – The best London Stock Exchange brokers will provide live news streams with information relevant to listed companies. This, alongside educational content and expert analysis, can help you make forecasts on price movements and execute trades more accurately.
  • Practise – If you are new to trading, or exploring a new platform, it is worth spending time in demo mode before putting your capital at risk in a live environment. Many London Stock Exchange brokers provide demo accounts free of charge, with profiles funded with virtual money.

Bottom Line On London Stock Exchange Brokers

London Stock Exchange brokers provide investment opportunities on some of the largest publicly-traded companies. When comparing firms look for low fees, stable platforms and apps, analyst insights, responsive customer support, and oversight from a trusted regulator like the FCA.

Alternatively, choose from our list of the best London Stock Exchange brokers.

FAQ

Can I Trade On The London Stock Exchange Through Online Brokers?

Yes, brokers with access to the London Stock Exchange provide a gateway to the UK financial market through an online terminal or investing app. Typically you can open an account free of charge, with just a few registration requirements. Look out for competitive fees, FCA oversight, and a reliable platform with suitable analysis tools.

Is There A London Stock Exchange Broker Directory?

There is a list of London Stock Exchange brokers on the official LSE website split into service levels; execution-only, advisory, and discretionary. Alternatively, choose from our rankings of the best brokers with access to the London Stock Exchange for UK retail traders.

Can I Trade Stocks From The London Stock Exchange?

Yes, you can invest in individually listed stocks or trade indices such as the FTSE 100. Stockbrokers including Pepperstone, AvaTrade and Interactive Brokers, offer opportunities on the London Stock Exchange with competitive derivatives and user-friendly tools.

Which Is The Best London Stock Exchange Broker?

There is no ‘best’ London Stock Exchange broker, often this comes down to personal preference and strategy needs. Our experts recommend you compare fees, mobile apps, payment methods, customer support, FCA regulation, platform functionality and execution model.

What Are The Trading Hours On The London Stock Exchange?

LSE trading hours are from 8am to 4:30pm (GMT) Monday to Friday. Some London Stock Exchange brokers may provide extended hours with a pre-trading session from 5:05am to 7:50am (GMT) and a post-trading session from 4:40pm to 5:15pm (GMT).