IG is a trading name of IG Markets Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales under number 04008957 and IG Index Ltd (a company registered in England and Wales under number 01190902). The registered address is at Cannon Bridge House, 25 Dowgate Hill, London EC4R 2YA. IG Markets Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under number 195355. IG Index Ltd is also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, under Register number 114059. In 1974 IG Index was first established, to enable clients to trade gold as an index rather than the commodity itself. The company became IG Group in 2000 and is now one of UK’s top 200 firms, listed on the FTSE 250.
Is IG a Scam?
We like to be fair towards all the brokers we review (although some of them are not fair to traders) so we have this section on all our reviews. However, in this case it is almost useless because I don’t know how a brokerage with roots back in 1974 and regulated by the FCA can be a scam. But I could be wrong so I recommend you to personally review this broker before you invest. In case you’re based in the USA, choose NADEX.
Update October 2016: We like to revisit periodically the brokers that we review to bring you new information (if it exists) and to make sure our reviews are up to date, especially regarding the “Scam” question. It’s safe to say that nothing has changed in this regard and IG’s name cannot be associated with the word “scam”.
Editor’s Note – Why IG DOESN’T Suck in 50 Words
Hmm, 50 words… that’s tough because I need like 1000 to describe all the reasons why IG doesn’t suck. Basically it’s the best you can find in a brokerage. IG is the sister brokerage of NADEX and both are part of IG Group Holdings, a company with a global presence, member of the FTSE 250 with a market capitalisation of £2.7 billion. I think it’s safe to say they will not hunt your money. They have enough.
Why IG Sucks in 50 Words
If you want to trade with a brokerage you can trust – and I mean really trust – then you will have to put in some work to learn to use IG’s platform, which is not newbie friendly to say the least. The amount of features is mind-boggling and the platform itself is nothing you’ve ever seen on the usual binary options brokers. This is not a bad thing in my book (in fact I consider it a positive) but I know the regular binary options trader will complain about it because it’s not as easy as 1,2,3.
Should I Open an Account with IG?
Binary trading was introduced by IG in 2003 and as we know, it took other brokers 5 more years before they could offer the same product so IG is already a bunch of steps ahead of others. In fact, it is not fair to compare IG with regular, mainstream binary options brokers because IG is in a league of its own. If you like to see smiling girls and hip guys welcoming you on the home page, limousines and 100% bonuses, risk free trades and “insured” trading, this is not the place for you. This is the real world, where trading involves risk, you don’t receive gifts from your broker and if you lose a trade – guess what – you lose money. Nobody will lie to you telling you will receive back money that you’ve lost in the market. What a joke…
So you won’t get any of the above, but what will you get? Well, for one thing, you are not trading against the house because IG actually passes on your order and they have no interest to steal your money. They make money from spreads and commissions. Oh and speaking of spreads… have you ever wondered why your regular broker doesn’t charge a spread? How do they make money? They bet against you. If you lose, they win and if you win, they will find a way to keep your money. But enough about others, let’s talk about IG: their binary options are not the “classic” ones. It still works in a binary way, but options are capped at 0 and 100. You win it, you get 100, you lose it you get zero. How much money 100 and 0 mean depends on the size of your trade but more on that in a separate article (maybe link here when it’s posted?). To open the trade you will have to pay a premium. If you win, your profit will be 100 minus the premium and if you lose, you lose the premium. Like I said, there will be another article that will explain with more detail how to trade options with IG.
Update January 2017: A new trading platform has been introduced. It is faster, leaner and offers the same information if not more but it is more user friendly. With this change, their binary options are now called Digital 100s and the new platform only offers Up/Down 5 minute options on currency pairs and indices. The classic platform can still be accessed and there you can use a wider range of markets. According to their website, the full range of assets and expiries will be available soon on the new platform as well.
If you are serious about trading – and I am not talking about just binary options – then you should choose a serious partner and IG is in my opinion that partner. They are a professional brokerage house and they’ve been doing their job since ’74. I wasn’t even born then so I can imagine they must know what they’re doing. It is not the best brokerage for a newbie but it is probably the best binary brokerage for a trader.
People will always find something to complain even when it comes to the best broker and IG is no exception. They have quite a few complaints over the internet but most of these are about slippage and delayed entries, a fact which makes me believe that their Forex offerings are not as stellar. However, I couldn’t find any complaints regarding the binary options section of IG.
Update October 2016: The binary options branch is still not hit with a lot of complaints. However, some spread betting clients have complained about the way IG handled things on January 15, 2016 (the day when the Swiss National Bank removed the floor on EUR/CHF).
Update January 2017: We’ve still encountered complaints regarding slippage and high spreads but these are mainly related to Forex trading, not binaries. However, we’ve also located isolated complaints regarding delays of execution for binary options. We cannot vouch for the authenticity of these complaints.
IG Regulatory Announcements and Warnings
It comes as no surprise the fact that IG fully complies with all regulatory authorities in the territories where they operate. We couldn’t find any Warnings issued by such authorities and furthermore, we must note that IG Markets Limited is registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) under ABN 84 099 019 851 and registered in New Zealand with the Financial Service Providers Register under number FSP18923.
IG doesn’t offer first deposit bonuses, risk free trading and they won’t give you tickets to concerts if you deposit more money. As I said, this is the real world.
Their preferred way of sending money to you is by credit card (currently they can’t make payments to MasterCards issued outside the UK) and this usually takes about three days after processing the request. Wire transfers of more than 100 pounds are free (15 pound fee applies if you withdraw less than 100) and are made the same day. The same day! That’s something, isn’t it?
Update October 2016: Wire transfers within the UK (CHAPS) are made the same day. BACS payments take between 3 to 5 working days. International payments may incur a 15 Pounds fee.
Charts, professionalism, same day withdrawals, hundreds of markets to trade on, binaries on bitcoin, extensive market insights from professional analysts, video market insights four (4) times a day (via IG Live) and they even offer a tool that allows you to keep a Trading Diary online. Compared to the classic binary options brokers, I think everything is an extra with IG.
Update October 2016: IG now offers Sunday Trading. For more details, visit this link.
User Friendly 15/20
The website is not very user friendly for the simple reason that it is very complex and has a ton of features so you will spend a lot of time going through all of them. The platform can be a bit difficult to get used to, but again this is because it offers a lot of features and this shouldn’t be regarded as a bad thing. More than 20 languages available.
Update January 2017: They have introduced a new platform, which in my view is easier to use, faster but still complex and with tons of features. The new platforms has a live news feed and a Twitter feed (focused on financial news of course).
Number of assets and expiry times 16/20
They offer literally hundreds of markets on which to trade on and even give you the possibility to trade Binary Specials, which means you can trade on the outcome of the US Non-Farm Payrolls and other major economic events (predict if the actual number will be above/below a certain number predetermined by them). The expiry times range from 5 minutes to monthly but you can also trade Sprint Markets, which is a fast form of binaries, similar to 60 seconds or Turbo Options. Sprint Markets expiry is limited to 60 seconds, 2 minutes and 5 minutes (and 20 minutes for some markets).
Update January 2017: Sprint Markets/Binary Options are now called Digital 100s and the only available expiry is 5 minutes. For now they offer just a few assets, limited to currencies and indices. The range of assets will be widened in the near future according to them but the full range of Digital 100s can be accessed via the “old”, classic platform, which is still available.
Commissions, Support and Effective return 18/20
There are no commissions for opening an account (which is normal for any broker) but you will pay an inactivity fee of 12 pounds on the first of each month for accounts that have been inactive for 2 years or more. Support is pretty straightforward and you will not get any cheap sales tactics like: “we have a special offer, just for you, just today” (note that some versions of the website do not offer live chat – depending on region). The effective return is based on market volatility, time before the option expires, distance between market price and strike price, trend and other factors. The price (premium) you have to pay for the option is of course known before you open the trade and the difference between that and 100 is your payout. Learn how to Trade Binary Options with IG – coming soon.
Deposit, Payment and Bonus 17/20
Deposits can be made via debit cards (UK Visa, Switch/Maestro, Solo, Electron cards, and Irish Laser cards. Non-UK debit cards are charged a 1.5% fee.) and credit cards (Visa and MasterCard – 1.5% fee) and wire transfers. IG does not accept payment cards where the holder is a US resident. As a special feature, clients can add funds via special iPhone and Android apps. Withdrawals are made via debit/credit cards (they do not make payments to MasterCards issued outside the UK) and wire transfers. IG does not offer a Bonus.
Website Extras 16/20
Considering the “Extras” section that you’ve read in the main part of this review, I believe IG markets definitely deserves 20 points out of 20. However for the typical binary options trader those extras might be hard to understand and adapt to.
IG Overall Ratings 82 + Regulated (+3) = 85/100