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Ask Justin

Ask Justin

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Should I switch to Share Centre?

Investment | Shares Helpful? 4

Asked by winger14, submitted 29 July 2012.

Open Quote As I receive so little advice from the stockbroker I use I am thinking of transferring my share account to the Share Centre, and wondered if you know this Company and can confirm they are ok. I have noted that they say client's money is kept seperate from their own money so I assume they are ok?

They also claim to provide free advice by phone, your account seems to be updated throughout the day rather than on a daily basis, and you can apply stop loss limits, so it seems better.
End Quote

Answered by Justin on 01 August 2012

Share Centre is a well established stockbroker that seems to have a good reputation, so from that point of view they're fine to use.

However, they're not cheap. there's an annual administration fee of £12, rising to £60 for an ISA, and dealing fees are 1% with a minimum of £7.50. Putting this another way, an ISA portfolio with six £10,000 trades a year would cost £660. You can reduce dealing costs to a fixed £7.50 by paying an extra £96 a year, reducing total annual cost in our example to £201. By contrast, low cost broker would charge £35.70, albeit their website and service is rather bare bones (though functional, with features like limit orders and stop loss).

The key is whether Share Centre's telephone advice and service is worth the extra fees. As I'm not a customer of theirs I can't give a specific answer, but in general the advice given by stockbrokers tends to be rather mixed (a bit like fund manager performance). If you have the time, then reading newspaper business pages, magazines like Investors Chronicle and/or Internet investor websites may result in you making better decisions than a stockbroker.

I think it's standard practice for online stockbrokers to update client account valuations real time, so you should expect this facility whoever you use.

Likewise, it's normal practice for stockbrokers to hold client money and investments separately from their own. Cash is normally pooled together with that of other investors, but the usual Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) limit of £85,000 per person per institution applies. Share Centre also spreads the cash across several banks and building societies, which is sensible.

Shares will be held via a nominee account, which is basically owned by the stockbroker for your benefit. While such arrangements run a slim risk of fraud, I wouldn't be concerned about Share Centre in this respect. For more details about nominee accounts please read my article here.

In summary, the only reason I wouldn't use Share Centre is cost. Hard to know whether their advice will prove worthwhile, perhaps it's a case of giving them a try to see. If any reader's have experience of Share Centre perhaps you could post below, thanks.

Please note this answer does not constitute a recommendation or financial advice and should not be relied upon when making specific investment or other financial decisions. You should always undertake your own research into whether a product or service is appropriate for your needs and, if necessary, use a qualified professional adviser.

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Readers' Comments (4) - To post a comment please register or login .

Comment by winger14 at 2:11pm on 05 Aug 2012:

Unless I am mistaken the Share Cente have a frequent dealing option which is fixed at £7.50 per trade. I'm not sure about the other charges but I will check, thank you, your answer is very helpful

Comment by justin at 9:01am on 08 Aug 2012:

That's ok. I think the £7.50 dealing fee applies when you pay a £96 annual fee - mentioned in my answer above.

Comment by winger14 at 5:55pm on 24 Aug 2012:

ive been on the x-o site and it looks fine and very cheap. I think I will probably transfer to them, thanks v much for the suggestion

Comment by justin at 7:21pm on 24 Aug 2012:

I'm just finishing off a comprehensive comparison of low cost stockbrokers, should be live by tomorrow, so you may want to take a look at that. Club Finance have a great deal for frequent traders.