Halifax is a banking brand owned and operated by Lloyds Banking Group, the massive British banking and investment firm. The bank offers Halifax share dealing and ISA accounts that are distinct from those that Lloyds offers, although much of the platform and research tools are shared.
The biggest difference between Lloyds and Halifax is the pricing structure. Halifax is geared towards long-term investors who only place trades infrequently, with low account fees but relatively high trading commissions.
If you’re considering using Halifax as your share broker, our Halifax share dealing review will cover everything you need to know. We’ll take a closer look at what markets you can access with this broker, what fees and commissions you’ll pay, and how the research and trading tools stack up against competitors’.
- 1 What is Halifax?
- 2 What Shares Can You Buy on Halifax?
- 3 Halifax Share Dealing Charges, Fees and Commissions
- 4 Halifax Share Dealing Platform and Trading Tools
- 5 Research and Analysis at Halifax
- 6 Payments at Halifax
- 7 Halifax Contact and Customer Service
- 8 Is Halifax Online Share Dealing Safe?
- 9 Halifax Share Dealing Pros and Cons
- 10 Halifax vs. eToro
- 11 The Verdict
- 12 eToro – Buy Shares With No Commission
- 13 FAQs
What is Halifax?
Halifax was established as a bank in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1853 and became one of the largest banks in the UK. It merged with the Bank of Scotland in 2001, and formally became a subsidiary of Lloyds in 2009 when the UK banking behemoth purchase the Bank of Scotland. Currently, Halifax manages about £13 billion in investor assets. Today, although Halifax is part of Lloyds, which also owns iWeb, it retains its own distinct brand and offers many of the same services it had before the acquisition. Halifax offers a wide range of products, including bank accounts and loans, credit cards, home insurance, and investing accounts. The firm also specifically has wealth management division, which can be useful for clients looking to manage more than just share investments.
Notably, Halifax offers standard share dealing accounts, ISA accounts, and SIPP pension plans. The company also has a unique ShareBuilder investing account. This is essentially a limited version of the standard Halifax share dealing account that only offers access to the UK market (shares and ETFs), although the fees remain the same.
The Halifax online share dealing account offers a reasonable but not overly wide selection of assets to trade.
To start, you can trade all shares on the UK’s London Stock Exchange. You can also access most shares on exchanges in New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Amsterdam and Brussels, which amounts to thousands of shares in total and includes most of the best shares to buy.
Notably, our Halifax share dealing review found that the broker doesn’t offer any stock trading on markets in Asia, Africa, or South America. That means that your ability to get exposure to these emerging markets is limited to investing through funds.
Funds, ETFs, and Trusts
The Halifax share dealing account offers more than 2,000 mutual funds, approximately 575 exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and nearly 300 investment trusts. Compared to other UK brokers, these numbers aren’t all that exciting. But, the available funds cover a relatively wide range of assets, including commodities, real estate, and emerging markets. The selection might not be the widest at Halifax, but most investors will be able to build a fully diversified portfolio using the available funds and ETFs.
Helpfully, it’s very easy to find funds that suit you thanks to the broker’s excellent screener tool. We’ll cover this in more detail below, but it enables you to search funds by market region, sector, and rating.
Halifax also offers ready-made portfolios that are managed on your behalf. These include shares, real estate, and bonds – primarily through mutual funds – and there are three options that vary in their risk tolerance.
While these ready-made portfolios are appealing on their face, their performance leaves a lot to be desired. Over the past five years, the funds have returned an average of 1.3% to 2.1%. By comparison, the FTSE 100 have gained an average of 7% per year over that same time period.
The Halifax share dealing fees structure is set to benefit long-term investors who don’t make any trades. With a standard Halifax share dealing online account, you pay £12.50 per trade for shares, funds, ETFs, and investment trusts. This is on the high side, but it’s counteracted by the fact that there are no account fees whatsoever, which is rare among Halifax’s competitors. The commission for trading with a Halifax share dealing ISA is the same, but this account comes with an annual maintenance fee of £12.50.
Halifax doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees, which is helpful for keeping costs down. In addition, you can lower the trading commission fee to £2 per trade by using the broker’s regular investing feature. The £2 per trade commission applies when you set up monthly investments in a specific share or fund.
If you only place a few trades per year or take advantage of regular investing, Halifax online share dealing charges can be relatively low. For example, at four trades per year, you would pay £62.50 at Halifax compared to £92.80 at Hargreaves Lansdown or £119.88 at Interactive Investor. However, Halifax’s pricing structure becomes much less favorable relative to these competitors once you place 10 trades or more each year.
Importantly, Halifax’s ready-made portfolios come with their own additional fees. The exact charge varies according to which of the three portfolios you invest in, but is around 0.65% of your investment.
For SIPP accounts, you will pay £22.50 per quarter for accounts with less than £50,000 or £45 per quarter for accounts with more than £50,000.
Our Halifax share dealing review found that the broker offers an easy to use trading platform with a handful of tools, but there is very little that stands out about this broker’s platform. Perhaps most notably, Halifax’s trading platform is available only through a web interface. This broker doesn’t offer a mobile trading app, even though the banking branch of Halifax has its own app.
The best place to start is the Halifax Shares Centre, which is an online dashboard where you can monitor top gainers and losers in the FTSE 100 along with market conditions in the US and Europe. This dashboard isn’t laid out all that well, as you have to scroll down the page to get a good idea of what’s happening in the global market. It also doesn’t display your watchlists – those are in a different area of Halifax’s online trading platform.
The news feed is slightly better, although this too is in its own section of the online platform rather than integrated into the main shares dashboard. You can quickly find market-wide headlines as well as company-specific stories written by analysts at Lloyds, Halifax, and the Bank of Scotland.
The Halifax online share dealing account also offers an ‘Investment Ideas’ section on its site, although this is focused more on investor education than on helping you find specific shares to invest in. You’ll find articles explaining the benefits of different types of investing accounts and offering advice on how to invest in specific market sectors. To be sure, there are some stock picks in these articles, but it’s not exactly the best tool for figuring out what shares to invest in.
Perhaps the best feature that Halifax offers are its search tools for funds, ETFs, and investment trusts. These are three different, but highly similar tools. You can filter among the products available for trading through Halifax by risk rating (on a scale from 1 to 7), by Morningstar’s star rating of funds, and by the market sector that the fund covers. You can also filter by provider and by whether funds are focused on price appreciation or dividend generation. While the interface for the search tool could be more seamless, the number of parameters you can screen by is a major help when looking for new investments through Halifax.
Research and Analysis at Halifax
The research and analysis tools available on Halifax share dealing are also fairly limited. For the most part, investors are limited to technical price charts. Halifax does an alright job with these, offering a simple browser-based interface and upwards of 90 popular technical indicators. However, the drawing tools aren’t all that exciting and investors don’t have free rein to modify the parameters underlying the built-in indicators.
Unfortunately, our Halifax share dealing review found that it doesn’t provide traders with much fundamental information about shares traded through the platform. Given that the broker’s pricing structure makes it best suited for long-term investors – who often look at fundamental rather than technical data – this is a disappointing oversight.
Payments at Halifax
Halifax only offers a few basic payment methods for funding your investment account. You can make a bank transfer or wire, or pay by debit card. The Halifax online share dealing does not accept credit cards or online payments from an e-wallet. Helpfully, there are no fees for deposits or withdrawal with this broker.
Halifax Contact and Customer Service
Halifax is a full-service bank, lending firm, and investment service, so the customer service is very robust. There’s a dedicated phone number for investment accounts and Halifax customer services are available from 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.
You can also get in contact with the company over Twitter or visit a Halifax branch in person for immediate service (most branches are open 9 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday). Halifax is based in West Yorkshire and its parent company, Lloyds, is based in London.
Halifax contact number: 0345 835 5726
Halifax address: Halifax, PO Box 548, Leeds, LS1 1WU
Halifax is part of Lloyds, one of the largest, oldest, and most trusted financial institutions in the UK. Lloyds, and Halifax along with it, are regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. Plus, since Lloyds trades on the London Stock Exchange, its financial data is made public quarterly and pored over by analysts.
In the unlikely event that Halifax does run into financial trouble in the future, all investment accounts are backed by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This insures your Halifax share dealing account for up to £85,000.
Halifax vs. eToro
If you’re looking for the best share dealing broker in the UK, we’d recommend eToro over Halifax. eToro is 100% commission free and doesn’t charge monthly account fees, so you can buy shares free of charge. That’s a huge advantage for active traders, but it can even save long-term investors money. Just keep an eye on eToro’s inactivity fee, which is £8 per month after one year without a trade.
|Charge per Trade||Annual Fee||Inactivity Fee||Deposit/Withdrawal Fees|
|Halifax||£12.50||£0 or £12.50 for ISAs||£0||£0|
|eToro||£0||£0||$10 per month (after one year)||$5|
Importantly, eToro also offers a more globally diverse set of shares to invest in. You can choose from more than 800 shares on exchanges in London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and more. If you want exposure to emerging markets, this is a significant plus for eToro. However, you do lose out on some less popular UK shares that Halifax offers trading for.
eToro also offers more than 500 ETFs – a comparable number to Halifax. But, if you want to trade investment trusts or mutual funds, you’ll need to stick with Halifax as eToro doesn’t offer these products. Notably, Halifax may be better suited for retirement investors since you cannot open an ISA with eToro.
That said, we also prefer eToro’s trading platform to Halifax’s platform. eToro offers a mobile investing app, and you can interact with other investors and traders thanks to the built-in social trading network. Technical charting capabilities are comparable between the two brokers – both offer a wide range of built-in indicators – and neither platform includes companies’ fundamental financial data. However, eToro also offers copy trading, so if you’re still learning how to invest in stocks, you can copy the portfolios of top performing investors.
Overall, eToro is a far cheaper alternative with an array of innovative social and copy trading tools, so we think its a far better share dealing platform than Halifax.
Having carried out our Halifax share dealing revieq, we think there are better options than Halifax for the majority of UK investors. The big draw to this broker is the fact that Halifax online share dealing accounts are free of monthly fees. But, that advantage is offset to a significant degree by the pricey £12.50 per-trade commission that Halifax share dealing charges. For anyone who places more than a few trades per year, Halifax ends up being more costly than many of its competitors.
On top of that, we weren’t particularly impressed by Halifax’s range of investments. The broker offers enough tradable assets for most investors – including access to European and US exchanges and more than 2,000 mutual funds – but it doesn’t offer share trading in emerging markets and its fund list is less extensive than those of competitors.
The fact that there isn’t a Halifax share dealing app is also a significant negative for this broker. This is a near-necessity in today’s mobile-first world. While you can access the Halifax web interface from your smartphone, it isn’t all that seamless even on a desktop and the included tools are mostly mediocre.
Looking for the best UK stock broker? We recommend eToro, which beats Halifax with commission-free trading, access to more than 800 global shares, and innovative copy trading tools. Simply click the link below to register an account with eToro today.
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Can I invest in IPOs with Halifax?
No, Halifax does not enable account holders to invest in IPOs. This is true even for IPOs that are managed by the broker’s parent company, Lloyds.
Does Halifax enable me to trade international stocks?
You can trade stocks on the NYSE, NASDAQ, NYSE Amex, XETRA, MTA, and Euronext exchanges, which cover the US and Europe. Halifax doesn’t offer trading on stock exchanges in Asia, although you can get financial exposure to Asian companies through mutual funds, ETFs, and investment trusts.
Is there a minimum deposit required to start trading with Halifax?
No, you do not need to make a minimum deposit to open a Halifax share dealing account with Halifax. However, if you open a Halifax share dealing ISA, you will need to be able to pay the first year’s account fee (£12.50) at the time of registration.
Does Halifax provide share picks for investors?
Halifax doesn’t provide investment advice, but you will find articles written by analysts at the broker that examine the pros and cons of individual shares or market sectors. However, there is no structure for share picks – you will need to find and analyze all investments on your own.
Can I set up price alerts when trading with Halifax?
No, Halifax does not enable you to set price alerts or any other alerts for shares in your watchlist.
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