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IG Trading Platform: The Way Forward for Traders?

Updated 23 Nov 2021

Trading in financial markets can be complicated, especially for those with no experience, but even with some experience it can be hard to keep track of investments for traders who want to manage their own portfolios. IG is a world-leading investments provider through its online trading and has been in business since 1974. Counting more than 178,000 clients globally, the company offers access to over 16,000 markets, giving wide-ranging opportunities to investors using the MT4 platform and apps, with IG app for Android, IG app for iPad, IG app for iPhone covering all mobile bases.

  • Easy to use
  • Mobile capability
  • Fast dealing
  • Demo account

Easy to use

Any trading platform needs to be easy to use, and anyone venturing into financial trading should make a trading platform broker comparison before starting out. What helps define the IG trading platform as a best platform trading broker is its user-friendly interface. Working through any online tool can sometimes be hard work, but IG has developed a platform where users can download the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) programme that is flexible both to understand and use. It allows traders to test out trading strategies, analyse quotes and close deals with an array of practical tools. Traders have the option of using hedging to offset possible gains or losses on market activity or use LIFO – Last In First Out ­– if they prefer.

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When using the MT4 platform with IG, users should be aware that an alternative platform, MetaTrader 5 (MT5), does not have hedging as an option, with LIFO as its default position. When deciding on the best platform option, it's important to be clear about what tools will work best for you. It's different for each individual, so learning more about broker comparison should be a key part of deciding on the platform. Accessibility is also essential when it comes to keeping in touch with investments and the IG trading platform. Knowing that traders can access it globally is a plus. It's also important that data can be received in a number of languages, and the platform supports languages that include Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and French.

Mobile capability

The idea of office-based work has gradually begun to change, in that offices can now be mobile. There is still an important role for going into a physical office and working on desktops or laptops, but the reality is that offices for many people are virtual, especially for those working in the freelance sector. Traders don't need to be stuck behind a desk when the IG trading platform offers a sophisticated IG trading app, allowing traders to access their accounts on mobile devices. Tablets and smartphones are the currency for people on the move, and any platform that offers mobile access will be popular. The IG trading app is available from app stores as an IG app Android, IG app for iPad, IG app for iPhone. Most app designers work with both Android and iOS operating systems, as both large companies and individuals trading have requirements for either or both, depending on their IT requirements. Mobile trading is a normal part of any trader's working environment, and the design of the app from IG means instant access to investment information. The app has good functionality, and traders can access a full set of trading orders as well as the ability to examine interactive quote charts. Using the app means traders can keep up to date with their investments 24/7 both out of office and in leisure time, and with an interface similar to the desktop version, there's no need for learning a new way to interact with it.

IG offers apps for:

  • Android
  • iOS including iPad and iPhone

Fast dealing

In many cases, speed is of the essence when trading, and working with the IG platform gives traders an entry into fast dealing. Markets are fluctuating all the time, and it's essential to be able to respond quickly either to boost profit or cut losses. With IG, traders don't need many clicks to deal and can take a position in seconds. They can also turn on one-click dealing, streamlining the process to get an even faster experience. Using the platform's intuitive navigation allows access to markets that are important at the time, and it has been designed to be easy to use as well as fast. The IG platform can also be used to enter sizes, distances, fill options and price and will remember them so that more time can be saved rather than inputting information and preferences each time the platform is used. Another key aspect to the platform is the speed with which charts can be loaded, making everything highly responsive and giving traders complete control over every deal made and the ability to track the movement of currencies, stocks and shares and commodities. A chart can be split up to four times, so traders can get an in-depth analysis when comparing across multiple timeframes. They can also view deal tickets and charts side by side so that deals can be edited or closed directly from the charts. The platform also offers clear research that includes trending stocks and news updates from an integrated Reuters feed.

Demo account

Learning how to invest well can be a big step into the unknown. Indeed, learning how to invest at all can be a worry, knowing that mistakes are likely to cause a loss of money. This is why IG offers a demo account, so would-be traders new to the financial world can start to build up some experience and an understanding of how markets work and what they might be able to do with a real account. A demo account is a useful tool to develop knowledge and skills and let new traders get to grips and become familiar with the IG platform. It takes time to get comfortable with trading software and to get a feeling for how markets work. A demo account is exactly what it says, a demonstration of how the particular trading platform operates. What it doesn't do is give traders the experience of using their own money and the emotional highs and sometimes lows that come with live trading. A demo account gives users a risk-free environment to begin with, offering most of the functionality of the live platform features and offering £10,000 of virtual funds to practise with. A particular advantage of the IG demo is that the IG app for Android can be downloaded onto a tablet or phone so that the benefits of practising trading can be done on the move. The demo programme helps to give a deeper understanding of how this aspect of the financial world works.

  • Useful and effective demo account
  • Offers primary functionalities of live account
  • Risk-free introduction to the trading world

Trading in markets

The IG trading app gives traders access to a variety of markets. It offers a choice of over 16,000, with more added on a regular basis, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore different markets and find what fits best with a trader's instincts and skills.

  • Indices: IG offers 24-hour dealing on 25 indices that include the FTSE 100, Wall Street, US 500 and US Tech 100. Most indices have fixed spreads, and traders can access live prices and data for free.
  • Shares: Over 12,000 shares can be traded through IG's platform, and traders can speculate on the direction the price of an asset will move. With this spread betting option, profit or loss is determined by how far the markets go either way. Profits are currently free of tax.
  • CFDs: With no stamp duty on returns, CFDs – contracts for difference – allow traders to open a contract for the difference between the opening and closing price of an asset.
  • Share dealing: Non-leveraged trading lets traders manage their own investments either by investing in shares and ETFs or by using an IG Smart Portfolio where the company builds, monitors and manages a diverse ETF portfolio that is tailored to the trader's risk appetite and goals.
  • Stocks and shares ISA: Traders looking to avoid paying income tax or capital gains tax can add an ISA to their investment programme to take advantage of IG's share dealing rates.

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Using IG MetaTrader 4

Traders who sign up with IG get access to MetaTrader 4 (MT4), one of the most popular trading platforms available. The platform was developed in 2005 by Meta Quotes, and though it's mainly associated with Forex trading, it can be used to trade in other markets as well. In addition to Forex, traders who use MT4 can trade indices and commodities via spread betting and CFDs. The platform is frequently used by experienced traders who can configure it to develop Expert Advisors that can be used to monitor and trade the markets on their behalf. MT4 has several reasons as to why it remains a popular trading platform. It can be used for automated trading where IG clients can build their own algorithms or import an Expert Advisor, and it gives IG traders 18 free apps that can be customised to improve charting, interface and functionality. Traders can also trade with a variety of providers without needing to use different platforms, and instead of it being a web-based programme, it downloads to your PC as long as it runs Windows. Importantly for Mac OS users, there is a mobile app available for iPhone and iPad as well as for devices running Android.

Powerful analysis tools

Clear and detailed analysis is key for any trader working the market, and the IG platform using MT4 provides this with a range of powerful analysis tools. These have 30 built-in indicators, and traders can access a further 2,000 custom indicators free of charge. MT4 has a technical analysis for Forex that can detect specific patterns and trends consisting of shapes formed on symbol charts or typical figures. Market analysis can be done at a number of levels of complexity, depending on exactly what the trader wants and how experienced he or she is. With an array of 24 analytical objects that include lines, arrows, shapes and channels, traders are enabled to forecast future price dynamics and apply the objects manually to indicator windows and charts. Traders who want to develop their own indicators can either get help from an experienced developer or, if they have enough experience themselves, they can write their own programme. With the capacity to set support and resistance levels, forecast price direction and recognise a variety of trends, these analytical tools are an important addition for any trader.

IG review ­– our verdict

With more than 40 years of experience trading in financial markets, IG has the background and knowledge to help both newcomers to trading and those with long experience. The IG platform offers a wide range of opportunities to trade in spread betting with Forex, commodities and stocks as well as providing savings vehicles such as ISAs and SIPPs. With MT4, there are options for using analytical tools that offer various levels of complexity so that experience can be developed over time as a trader's skills become more sophisticated. What helps make IG a popular choice for traders is the ability to access trading on the move through its apps for iOS and Android devices, which enables them to trade from anywhere in the world with a smartphone or tablet. The desktop version is powerful and, when a large screen is used, is easy to follow in terms of the amount of information available and the various charts that can be used. With charges kept as low as possible, IG is a successful broker that has a high level of respect in a crowded marketplace.

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