Here I am going to list some of the tools I have used and interesting websites I visit to get my information.
Share Dealing Platforms
This is possibly one of the most important choices to make and there is a bewildering array of companies with different services to chose from. The services range from self trade online platforms to brokers who will offer a more personalised service with differing charges for conducting trades, for inactivity or even to open an account. I decided to go with the former and my shortlist contained the following:
2. Interactive Investor
3. TD Waterhouse – Now TD Direct investing.
I initially tried to apply to both Selftrade and Interactive Investor but I had only recently moved house and they were asking for all kinds of documentation from me. At this stage I was quite eager to get started and found that applying to TD Direct Investing was quick and easy so that is who I ended up with. Overall I have found them fairly decent. They don’t have any charges for just having an account, provided that you have either a minumum amount of money invested or conduct a minimum number of trades per quarter. Their research tools are really rather good. I believe they are powered by Morning Star and have everything I need such as historical share prices, financial information, dividend information and some ratios and the like which I don’t properly understand! One feature I quite like is that they collect analyst opinions on every share and when aggregated, these can be a good indication of what the market thinks eps will be next year for example.
Another great feature is that if you contact TD and ask to go to an AGM for one of the shares you own, they will sort all that out for you. In my view AGMs are a great way to get to know your investments a bit better and meet other investors along with the directors. I feel you can gain much more by seeing the management in person than in reading statements made to the market. At some AGMs there will also be refreshments and even some “goody bags” containing some of the company’s products. The one main annoyance is that they take place during the working week so I have to either take a day off work or miss out on them.
If I did have a criticism, it would be that the email customer service responses are not that rapid, or indeed helpful, but I guess this is a minor criticism.
If you want to check out TD Direct, then you can click on the banner below (this is an affiliate link so if you end up joining I get a small fee from TD Direct so if you would rather this does not happen, you can always google them…
Another tool which I make some use of which can be useful to gather some information from other people about a share, and can be quite entertaining in its own right is the share forums. I am a member of two – interactive investor and advfn.
Interactive investor (the same company that I considered for a share dealing platform) can be interesting and can offer some fast moving debate about the larger shares. There are also pockets of smaller cap share discussion that can be interesting. The interface is slick but I do find it slow on my poor old computer.
Advfn offers discussion in a slightly different way. For each company there are several message boards started by users and these are then added to. There seems to be a higher number of small cap shares that have big followings, it depends on the share really. Altough Advfn runs better on my computer the interface is not the most attractive and it has spammy pop up ads which get annoying.
I am sure there are other forums and considering it is something I find quite interesting, I would encourage any readers to share their favourites with me in the comment box below.