UK Shares

Stamp Duty

On top of the brokerage you will be charged 0.5% stamp duty. This makes standard day trading not an option for me.

Spread betting

It looks like current tax laws give tax free gains. Any losses are not tax deductable.

Dividends

The tax rate for high income earners equates is 32.5%

My requirements

Low cost sharedealing. Trade once per month.

HSBC InvestDirect

My ISA is held with these guys. Transactions costs are ?11.95, and an extra ?5.00 if transacted within an ISA. I opened this because I already had a current account with HSBC.

One annoying thing is the time between transfers. It is faster to phone them up and have them direct debit your current account to move funds into the trading account.

There are 2 types of investment account.

InvestDirect Plus gains access to US shares, but you have no settlement account. This means you have to tranfer money into the account before you can trade. It takes 3 working days like any slow UK interbank transfer. If you phone up, they can debit card the money for you, but it won't appear in your account for 3 days. However they are willing to take phone trades with the money.

InvestDirect is for UK shares only, and you have a ?10000 settlement account. The settlement account is linked to your Current Account and automatically deducted.

Limit orders automatically expire after 1 day, and you cannot modify them without contacting support.

InvestDirect and InvestDirect Plus do not offer DRIP (Dividend Re-investment Plans). Shares not held via CREST but with HSBC.

From 2008-05-09 the cash balance pays:

3.15% for less than ?50,000

3.59% for less than ?100,000

3.88% over ?100,000

I think this counts towards qualification for a Premier Account.

The Motley Fool Share Dealing Service

I liked their online money site so I decided to give this a go. I had a lot of trouble opening the account, and the login has an annoying random question you have to answer. e.g. What is your pet's name, or your place/town of birth. This is hard if you typed it differently, or if you provide fake info to these types of questions.

The account was opened easily enough, but I have not linked in my current account so the balance on this one is still 0.

The Motley Fool ShareBuilder has low transaction fees (?1.50) because they bundle and purchase on a set day on your behalf.

Charges include a ?15 fee per stock to transfer away from the account.

Glossary

An EPIC is the stock code.

Regulatory News

You can find market capitalisation data from "Total Voting Rights" notices and "Transaction in Own Shares" notices.