I want to start investing in ETFs, but this is my first time doing this and I don't know what do I need to do for buying stocks.

I want to buy some ETF that tracks an index such as S&P or FTSE100, and an ETF that holds blue-chip company bonds, probably from companies that belong to one of the above two indexes.

I want to deposit the hypothetical benefits in a savings account, that I will open with my bank, and which provides some tax relief.

Let's say that my plan is start with £5000 and reinvest dividends plus a fixed amount of money each month.

Do I need a brokerage account for doing the above?

remarks: I have no interests at all in margin operations or in day trading.

  • 1
    I'm not in the UK, but a Stocks and shares ISA might be what you're looking for. moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/stocks-and-shares-isas
    – RonJohn
    Oct 12, 2019 at 17:38
  • An account with a broker is certainly the easiest way to buy and sell ETFs. All of the large UK banks will offer brokerage. When I was in the UK, Barclays was the largest of the private client brokers and the one which I used. If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to open an account with a broker, then you may be able to open an account directly with an ETF provider, however this will limit you to trading only those ETFs offered by that ETF provider.
    – not-nick
    Oct 12, 2019 at 17:58

3 Answers 3


Strictly-speaking, no, you don’t need a brokerage account to trade ETFs. If you are determined to avoid brokers, you can, but it’s usually not worth the trouble to do that.

ETFs are Exchange Traded Funds, so using a broker is the primary way to trade them.

Your alternatives to using a broker are to either find someone who wants to sell the ETF you’re interested in, in the quantity you want to buy, and do an off-market transfer, or to get a seat / license to trade at the exchange yourself. The former is a lot of hassle, and the latter puts you in the broker’s shoes but is likely to be very expensive and more trouble than it is worth if you’re just wanting to trade a couple of ETFs.


Open an account with one of the brokers listed at https://monevator.com/compare-uk-cheapest-online-brokers/ . They all have slightly different charging structures, and some may be better for a purely ETF portfolio than others.

If you're UK tax resident, you almost certainly want to open an ISA account rather than a regular trading account. You can currently put up to £20,000 per tax year into an ISA, but once the funds are in there there are no capital gains tax due on trading profits, and income from the investments is tax free.

(LISAs and SIPPs are other tax-sheltered types of account with their own advantages and disadvantages.)


yes you can do this easily by setting up a brokerage account. Check out fidelity.com; It's free, it's simple to use, and most of all you can invest in stocks, call options, shorts, use margin, etc. Google "brokerage" firms- find one in your area and check out its competitors on Google Finance- and see what they offer you as a customer in the U.K.

Check out the pros and cons of each then make a decision as to which firm will help you meet your goal. Remember that these companies make money on day traders, etc- and they will eat you up in costly transactional fees- so if you buy anything, wire money, transfer money, it will cost you $4.75 (here in USD anyway), if you sell anything it will cost you $4.75, lot's of pros and the equal amount in cons.

You can go to Fidelity or similar Brokerage house, and invest in a few of the ETF's that they have rather easily. They have ETF's that model the S&P500, among others. Do a quick google search, and you'll find the list.

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