I wish to invest in multiple US-based mutual funds and companies. I already have an account with Charles Stanley Direct for my UK-based funds and was disappointed to see that I couldn't use their service for this purpose.

The way I understand it I have 2 options:

1) Find a broker that lets me buy overseas shares in sterling (£)

  • Dealing fee and commission fee for the currency conversion when buying and selling

  • Commission fees apply to dividends as well

  • Since account is in sterling, stocks can go into an ISA

2) Open an overseas account

  • Need a separate service to conduct currency conversion (but this would typically be cheaper than the fees from option 1)

  • Shares cannot contribute to an ISA (HM Revenue & Customs' rules forbid foreign currency in an ISA)

  • Shares can contribute to a SIPP

  • Need to file a W-8BEN document (?)

At first glance it seems like Option 2 is the cheaper option. Is this correct?

Are there other options? Are there any gotchas I have missed?

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