Top option trading platforms that you can use in Britain 🇬🇧
Best Options Trading Platforms
When a book becomes a bestseller, the author may get her novel “optioned” as a movie script by a production house. The studio has a certain amount of time to purchase full rights – until then, the studio has “first dibs” because it paid for the option.
Roughly speaking, this is the same way that options work in financial trading… Options trading generally means buying and selling contracts that give you the option to buy something else (for instance, stocks). However, you aren’t obligated to.
With each contract, you’ve agreed in advance on what price that asset will be sold or bought at. And contracts expire after a given window of time.
That should give you a good (highly simplified) framework. Without further ado, let’s explore top options trading platforms on the UK market.
Plus500 Disclaimer: 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
IG Disclaimer: Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
|*1. Plus500||★★★★★||Click Here|
|**2. IG||★★★★★||Click Here|
|3. AvaTrade||★★★★★||Click Here|
|4. CMC Markets||★★★★★||Click Here|
|5. Interactive Brokers||★★★★★||Click Here|
|6. Saxo Bank||★★★★★||Click Here|
|7. City Index||★★★★★||Click Here|
|8. Spreadex||★★★★★||Click Here|
|9. Tastyworks||★★★★★||Click Here|
|10. Freedom24||★★★★★||Click Here|
At a Glance, pros and cons of options trading
There are reasons why options contracts may seem appealing. But is it the right choice for you? If you want a succinct overview of the advantages and disadvantages of options trading, this is the right section for you.
✅ Limited loss potential. When you use contracts for differences or you are shorting an instrument, this leads potentially to an unlimited downside. On the other hand, buying a put option limits how much loss you could make to 100 per cent.
✅ Possible leverage. When you buy an option rather than the actual underlying stock that the options contract is tracking, you theoretically can gain the same ROI as buying a full stock but with only putting up a much smaller initial investment.
✅ Used by sophisticated traders. Options work by creating time-sensitive trades. This can be used to play around with volatility. When you directly trade underlying stocks, you are limited to either buying or selling. On the other hand, options give you the next level of sophistication potentially, if you know what you are doing.
❌ Time. This is probably the biggest drawback to options trading, other than the consequences of trading becoming a gambling habit. If you purchase the stock outright, you theoretically have an unlimited amount of time for your bid to be proven savvy. On the other hand, a stock option must be proven right by the specific expiration date.
❌ Leverage is double-edged. Sure, you are investing less upfront in order to make a potentially much larger ROI. If your bid is wrong, you could easily see a much bigger loss than you initially invested. This happens if your guess is wrong.
❌ Can attract high fees. Depending on the circumstances, your options trade may accumulate high fees. For instance, in some rare cases, profits get taxed at the high-end short-term gains rate. Additionally, commissions for weekly options tend to be much greater for options compared to stocks.
Top options trading platforms: Overview
Minimum Deposit: £100
Assets: leverage trades in global markets, use ETFs to back your options, ETFs, and stocks (all the instruments are available for trading only through CFDs)
Minimum Deposit: £250
Assets: dabble with stocks, potentially get lower tax rates, more than a dozen global markets with more than 12,000 company shares, penetrate Asia, the US and other international regions
Minimum Deposit: £100
Assets: more than 200 instruments, 60 currency pairs, access to major index assets, crypto, commodities (for instance, gold, sugar, coffee, oil, gas), exchange-traded funds
4. CMC Markets
Minimum Deposit: n/a
Assets: the most traded options on the CMC Markets trading platform are stocks, trading on the various indexes and ETFs
5. Interactive Brokers
Minimum Deposit: n/a
Assets: gives its users access to binary options that let you speculate on movements in the market; featuring user-friendly mobile options trading
6. Saxo Bank
Minimum Deposit: £500
Assets: gives its users access to 1,200 option markets, allows CFDs and DMA’s but no spread betting
7. City Index
Minimum Deposit: £100
Assets: gives its users access to over 40 options markets.
Minimum Deposit: £1
Assets: much lower minimum, however, only around 5 different options markets are opened up by this app, according to research.
Minimum Deposit: n/a but costs over £1 for opening ETF options and equities, no commission to close
Assets: trade options on a broad range of vehicles: ETFs, stocks and broad indices
Minimum Deposit: unknown
Assets: apparently gives access to over 800,000 options, as well as more than 30,000 stocks, 3,000 ETFs and 140,000 bonds across 15 stock-based exchanges.
Best options brokers – British reviews
1. Plus500 – CFD trading platform for experts
We’ve written before about day trading. This particular type of trading involves high adrenaline and an aggressive outlook. It’s well suited for high testosterone, high intelligence traders. But there are consequences that come with the lifestyle…
Day trading is similar to the reality of handling contracts for differences-based options. And the top traders, regardless of temperament, usually succeed by being more disciplined than the competition.
So if you don’t have a well-tested trading strategy, you can lose your entire capital.
CFDs are a leveraged product and can result in the loss of your entire balance. Trading CFDs may not be suitable for you. Please consider whether you fall within Plus500’s Target Market Determination available in their Terms and Agreements. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved.
|81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.|
If you, however, are the rare few who have a clear idea of what you’re doing, then this platform potentially gives you access to interesting markets that include the following:
- Ways to trade on commodities like oil and precious metals
- Ways to trade on stocks for media companies like Amazon
- Exposure to British and global marketplaces
This is not a dedicated platform for options trading or for binary options. What you get is a clean-cut layout showing you charts and preconfigured technical indicators with drawing tools. There are also trade alerts, an economic calendar, guides and risk management for accounts. This management includes things like guaranteed stops, trailing stops and closing at profit or loss.
Your screen shows you the live prices of instruments in the various markets. You can also execute orders from your window. And the platform operates with or without sedation. On the web browser, you’ll be using what is known as Web Trader. For Mobile, Plus500 is compatible with Both Apple and Windows Users – Including iPad.
Verdict? A dangerous platform. Certainly, this is best for very experienced traders who know how to use it in a disciplined way. Features charts, reporting and the ability to add or withdraw funds from your account.
✔️ Well-known platform
✔️ Magnify your positions
✔️ Regulated in Britain (Plus500UK Ltd is authorized & regulated by the FCA (#509909))
❌ CFDs are dangerous
❌ Requires intense self-discipline
2. IG – Top options trading platform, well reviewed
You can either purchase options contracts outright or indirectly bid on them through CFDs and/or spread betting.
Once again, because of the complexities of options trading and the explosive power of spread betting and CFDs, this may be a platform that is best for traders with experience under their belts.
We would recommend that you have sound risk management fundamentals before using this options trading platform.
Once you take out an options contract on a piece of stock, you are able to buy or sell (depending on the option that you bought) before or after that share reaches the strike point that you agreed on.
The limitation, of course, is that you can only take this action before or on the actual expiry date of the option.
Please note: the conditions for taking a position on your options contract differ according to whether you are trading as a British trader or a northern American trader. US traders can buy or sell during the life of the option. British traders can only take this action at the actual expiry point.
For this limitation, fees are less for UK traders. This feature became available after testing in IG’s offices in December of 2021. And the trading hours for British share options are 8 am to 4 pm (GMT).
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
The central advantage to options trading lies in your being able to take market positions regardless of whether it’s stagnating, dropping or rising. It’s not only stocks that you can take out options on. IG also lets you trade options contracts on a day, week, month, or quarter-long basis for:
- Stock options
- FX options
- Index options
Verdict? There are many similarities between this platform and our number one selection. Get a good window for hours of trading. And play with leverage if you know what you are doing.
✔️ Amplify your trades via CFDs and spread bets
✔️ Open trading hours
❌ Better suited for experienced traders
❌ Indirect ownership of stocks
3. AvaTrade – Leading options trading platform for forex options
AvaFX became available to the market in 2013 and offers dedicated options trading.
You’ll find a wide selection of instruments there are tradable through options contracts. This makes AvaTrade one of the UK’s leading options trading platforms, particularly for currency pairs. Find options contracts for 40+ currency pairs.
Users have the option – no pun intended – to purchase options directly or through contracts for differences (CFDs). The latter option is available for the majority of instruments.
Remember, CFDs are a double-edged sword, perhaps in an even more extreme way than options contracts. We highly recommend that you activate the ‘negative balance protection’ feature.
This feature, imposed by changes to the financial regulation services, puts a rugged limitation on how much money a user account can lose when trading via the CFD vehicle. All in all, it is a more secure version of a guaranteed stop loss – so that accounts do not go into the red with your hard-earned cash. It does still mean that you can lose your account funds very quickly if the trade goes bad.
So overall, contracts for differences offer you more potential contractual upside as well as a downside on your options trading decisions. But a central reason that we’ve put AvaTrader as our number 1 entry is that it has a specialised options platform, called AvaOptions.
AvaOptions is an additional offering to the main AvaTrade platform. It’s compatible with both iOS and Windows. You can do a no-installation via the web-based browser. Alternatively, install the AvaOptions app on your mobile or tablet.
AvaOptions offers a variety of advanced technical and fundamental indicators. These include reports, analytics, educational resources and account management.
When we last checked, the following were the most popularly traded forex options on FXOptions, according to the homepage. With world events in 2022, this surely will fluctuate as more unfolding happens:
- 📉 GBP/USD
- 📈 USD/JPY
- 📉 EUR/CHF
- 📈 EUR/GBP
- 📉 EUR/USD
Note that AvaTrader does offer some social and passive options trading. This can be done through automation technologies offered by integrations with mirror systems, ZuluTrade and DupliTrade. Just not that it isn’t quite as user-friendly as the top copy trading platform, of course, eToro. But particularly for more seasoned traders, it’s a useful addition.
Overall, there’s a lot of discovery to be made. Usual options across commodities, stocks and bonds and more. While potent and dangerous, you can also explore packing even more power by layering spread betting and/or CFDs atop. From wheat and gold to oil and gas, to Amazon and Ali Baba, AvaTrade lets its users take aggressive positions on options contracts – by bidding on them indirectly.
Verdict? Options trading is a rather subtle and potentially complicated form of trading. AvaTrade and AvaOptions suit seasoned traders who are looking to add more sophistication and variety to their arsenal.
✔️ Dedicated options trading
✔️ Amplify your trades via CFDs and spread bets
✔️ Social trading elements
❌ Better suited for experienced traders
❌ Indirect ownership of stocks
4. CMC Markets – Popular options trading platform, good reviews
CMC Markets has been in the trading game since 1989 and seems to have a good number of positive user reviews.
As with AvaTrade, this platform offers forex options. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Overall the company has a good track record for compliance in the trading industry and is used internationally – not just on the British market. They stand out a fair deal for having a competitive fee structure.
So, you should find some of the most reasonable prices on the market. For instance, spreads reportedly start forms .3 pips for EUR/USD. And the platform offers commission-free trades.
As for the interface, it looks to be straightforward. Find advanced settings inside of a friendly UI. At the top of the app is a search bar that filters through the key features CMC Markets offers.
Find items like research, analysis, instruments and other trading tools. In addition, you can integrate CMC Markets with M T4. Alternatively, Use the CMC Markets proprietary platform. Whichever you use, you’re able to make trades through to vehicles: contracts for differences and forex options.
For safeties, these probably apply to more markets than options contracts do – and reportedly also include cryptocurrencies.
Verdict? Surprisingly, CMC Markets reportedly does not have two-factor authentication. So this is one weakness to keep in mind. Otherwise, it’s quite similar to the first entry in this guide. The platform seems to have a good number of positive user reviews. And there is a good range of support across live chat, phone and email.
✔️ FX options
✔️ Support across live chat, phone and email.
✔️ Commission-free and regulated
✔️ Good user reviews
❌ No two-factor authentication
❌ Options seem limited to forex
5. Interactive Brokers – Popular options trading broker
Another platform that doesn’t require a minimum deposit to get started. Interactive Brokers has a strong catalogue of tier one licences under its belt that includes ASIC in Australia, the FCA for Britain and SFC for options trading in China. Among others including Singapore and Canada.
Each of the platforms in this guide seems to have a good online presence in terms of positive user reviews.
While there are some question marks about the viability of review sites such as Trustpilot, it’s still worth a mention. So you can consider Interactive Brokers a leading options trading platform in this space.
They offer a customised proprietary interface for their users. Alternatively, if you are an experienced trader who is more familiar with M T4/MC five, you can also integrate these instead. Of course, you can expect a range of supporting indicators up to advanced such as detailed charts, notifications for price point setting, watch lists and demo trading.
Fund your account via bank transfer. But note that there isn’t any support for cards or PayPal when we last checked. So the lack of a minimum deposit balances out against the increased time it takes to find using your bank.
Verdict? Reportedly, Interactive Brokers offers a large number of currency pairs to bet on. This also includes bitcoin. They have a mobile-first approach. And there’s a good selection of additional tools for evaluating the market.
✔️ Good user reviews
✔️ Magnify your positions
✔️ Commission-free and regulated
❌ Limited options for funding
❌ May be reliant on CFDs
6. Saxo Bank – Well-known options trading platform UK
While it costs half a thousand as a minimum deposit, it’s nevertheless a popular name in the options trading market for the UK. There aren’t a lot of high-profile companies offering this vehicle in Britain as it’s more of an American approach.
Trading can be a challenging activity. Even the most seasoned investors get nervous when they see their account balance drop dramatically. If you’re going to trade, then you need to do it with an effective trading platform that offers you everything you need to succeed.
The Saxo Bank is an options trading company that offers more than 40 different trading instruments and features. You can access them all from one place, which is what makes Saxo Bank a useful platform for time-efficient traders.
So who are these guys? The Saxo Bank is an online brokerage that offers a range of trading products for investors. You can access the full range of products from a single trading platform, which makes trading with Saxo Bank convenient and easy.
While they haven’t been around as long as options itself, which dates all the way to Christ, the company was founded in 1992 by Kim Fournais and is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In operation for thirty years. they have an office in London and offer a range of services including custody, trading, financing and research. There are currently more than 400,000 Saxo Bank clients based in more than 100 countries. Options products offered are available to retail investors of all levels and experience.
Discover a platform that is reportedly simple, intuitive (insofar as trading can be described as intuitive), and easy to use. It gives you access to all of Saxo Bank’s trading options, along with a range of other trading products.
FInd the tools they need to execute a full trade, including charting and analysis tools and order management tools. You can access all of the trading tools you need from a single trading platform, so you don’t have to switch between multiple screens or programs.
This makes trading with Saxo Bank much easier and more efficient than a less streamlined platform. It’s built on a cloud-based architecture, which means it runs in the cloud. The platform itself is available in English, German, French, Swedish, Japanese, Russian, and Chinese.
The language settings can be adjusted on a user-by-user basis, so you can access the trading platform in whichever language is most comfortable for you.
Investors can access to a number of different trading instruments to carry out options trades or other types of trade:
- Futures – This is a form of asset trading that involves the purchase of a fixed amount of an asset at a predetermined date and price. It’s similar to options trading.
- CFDS – This stands for “contract for difference”. This is a type of options trading that allows you to profit from a change in the price of an underlying asset. You’re bidding on options indirectly.
- Stock Indices – These are indices that track the performance of a number of stocks. They can be used to replicate the performance of a portfolio of stocks.
Final Word: The Saxo Bank is one of the most trusted and reliable options trading companies available. They offer a range of options trading products and features, including a trading platform that is easy to use and provides all the tools traders need to succeed.
Overall, it’s an interesting option for traders looking for a leading option trading company with competitive enough fees and a range of products. If you’re ready to get started, then the Saxo Bank may be worth a look.
✔️ Offers direct market access to options
✔️ Access to 1,200 option markets
✔️ Industry-grade platform and reputable
❌ No spread-betting
❌ Minimum deposit of £500
7. City Index – Well-known options platform
When it comes to trading options, as with any of finance, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Trading on your own can be costly and time consuming.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for an efficient tool. Finding an option trading platform that offers low-cost trades can be challenging.
You probably want an options broker that offers its users access to a variety of trading instruments while keeping costs and fees down as much as possible.
This entry ranks as a way to run high-risk, high-ROI gambits either through spread betting or CFDs. Please not ther there isn’t any DMA (direct market access) to options.
What is City Index?
City Index is a European-based broker that provides traders with access to a variety of options trading instruments like weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even daily options. The site features a variety of trading instruments that cover a wide range of asset classes like stocks, indices, commodities, and more.
It also allows traders to create their own trading strategies. The site’s dashboard features a variety of options trading tools like order routers, charting, and order management. Traders can access their accounts through a series of digital interfaces like the desktop, mobile, and web applications. It’s, of course, Index is available in multiple languages including English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian.
Let’s suppose you’re studying trading as a career. This platform lets you create yoru own option trading strategies. The firm reportedly offers a variety of trading tools for inventors to formulate their own custom trading strategies, gradually over time. The site’s dashboard features a variety of options trading tools like order routers, charting, and order management.
You’ll need to be prepared to fund your account with at least a hundred quid. This opens you up to around 40 options markets. Because there’s no DMA, you’re betting indirectly on options, most likely at a lower level of liquidity than the actual markets…it’s therefore very important that you trust your broker.
✔️ Indirect access to 40 option markets
✔️ Clever trading signals
✔️ Magnify trades
❌ No DMA
❌ Minimum deposit of £100
8. Spreadex – Non-professional options trading tool
This is a gambling app that can technically be used for options trading. Gambling is a serious addiction so we would not advise this entry. Problem is, it’s difficult to find an options trading platform with direct market access.
Spreadex isn’t a DMA options platform, it’s a general investment platform that allows you to invest in stocks and other securities through either CFDs or spread betting. As we’ve said earlier, this will have liquidity implications.
The CFD trading route lets you can trade virtual contracts such as stocks, bonds and commodities; and of course, options. There are many CFD trading platforms available, but they all function the same way. To trade with Spreadex, you must first become registered and deposit funds into your account. Then you will be able to trade with them like any other broker or exchange.
Quick Look at Spreadex
Formed in 1999, and British-based, Spreadex isn’t a professional brokerage, but rather a gambling platform. But it reportedly allows you to invest in stocks, commodities and other financial assets like options. The platform offers a CFD trading service that is popular with some users.
Once again, a CFD is a type of derivative that lets indirectly speculate on stocks, currencies and other assets. However, rather than buying and selling the assets themselves, you “pledge” the value of the assets to the brokerage. Thus, CFD trading is similar to betting on the price movements of assets. Spreadex offers CFDs that speculate on options and other things.
It also offers spread betting, which everyone from football to horse-racing bookies use. Key A few key terms to know:
- CFDs – Invest in stocks, indices and commodities through CFDs. Leverage – You can increase the amount you have invested on margin.
- Margin – This is the amount you need to “borrow” from your account to place trades. With margin trading, you can increase your investment and open trades that are much larger than your own funds.
- Account Types – There are two types of accounts: a standard account for less experienced traders and a Pro account for more experienced traders.
- Live Trading – You can access a range of tools to help you trade.
- Markets – You can trade a range of markets, including stocks, indices, commodities and Forex. If you want to trade foreign exchange, you can use the EME, USD, GBP and JPY markets. You can also access other markets. But remember, you’re not actually trading the underlying goods via the markets; you’re placing bets with the bookie itself.
- Market Data – Inform your positions by accessing market data. You should look into historical data, real-time data, news and financial data. As for research, many professional traders do stock research, market research and technical research.
Final Word on Spreadex
Once you’re registered and funded, you can trade with Spreadex like any other broker or exchange. You can access the platform through a web client, a mobile app or through a broker. Once you are logged into the platform, you can choose the market and asset you want to gamble on.
Review your open gamble and manage your funds. For example, you can place orders, view your Account Summary, review your historical trades, manage your funds, and more.
Remember: A CFD is a contract between a buyer and a seller, similar to a lease or a loan. In this case, you are the seller and Spreadex is the lender. You simply pledge the value of the financial assets to the loan and then buy the same amount of assets at an agreed-upon price.
When the price of the asset changes, your loan is repaid and you have a profit or loss depending on the change in price. Spreadex facilitates this.
✔️ Indirect access to 5 option markets
✔️ Only £1 minimum
✔️ Magnify trades
❌ Only around 5 options markets and not necessarily a professional trading tool
❌ Absolutely no DMA, you’re making bets against a lender
❌ Liquidity will be different to actual DMA
9. Tastyworks – Plush options trading company for the experienced
In a single paragraph: tastyworks (lowercase) as a broker committed to ETS, stocks, crypto, options and futures trading. The options fees begin at roughly £1 to start a contract and about a £10 limit per trade (no fee to close a position).
Rumour has it that tastyworks best fits experienced traders, particularly those who want to hone their abilities. The platform has full features necessary for an active trader, including derivative tools.
Although tastyworks will be a lot for beginners to chew on, the train platform offers lots of educational resources and research for learners. But the lower fees don’t mean your experience earns account restrictions and some thinness on the investment and passive trading side of things. So this one is worth looking into an investigating, but it might not be a good fit for the bulk of day-to-day investors.
In 2021, tastyworks was formed as a partnership deal between IG Group and tastytrade. Currently, it is considered a subsidiary of the tastytrade entity, functioning as an online broker with a focus on stocks, futures and options.
But the topline company started in 2017, with the assistance of co-founder and New Yorkan Tom Sosnoff, and the broker has gone quickly since. It’s now one of the most popular financial brokerages around. In fact, it was created by the creators of thinkorswim, focusing on sophisticated options orders and strategies. Albeit, this platform has a DIY approach to things, supporting users with education and of resources.
✔️ Enormous library of education and resources
✔️ Ability to customise options trading
✔️ Sophisticated and special tools for the advanced options trader
✔️ Choose from single and multi-leg options contracts
✔️ Short stocks or go long
✔️ Deal with commodities and futures, and this includes the Small Exchange
✔️ Access the following: bitcoin futures, crypto, Treasury Bills and more
However ❎ :
❌ Features can be overwhelming, especially for beginners to options
❌ There are notable limitations in investments and amenities
❌ Research and market news could be sharper
Tastyworks offers three different trading platforms: The mobile app, web browser, and desktop. Whatever you choose, there’s lots of customisations available, such as seeing the details of positions, having a trading page summary, running watch lists, viewing volume, theta, delta and more.
The tastyworks platform features a strong emphasis on active options trading, you will find a lot of tools required for assessing volatility and probability.
Keep in mind that for trading options, there are two views available — the curve or table view. Each view has the ability to load up options trading strategies, for instance, straddle, butterfly and iron condor. Drag and move around different options orders as you set your parameters, boosting the speed and efficiency of your active trading.
Furthermore, located underneath the options chain, you can view all of those in your portfolio and see their metrics, such as the standard deviation, Delta, profit, P/L, expiration dates, volatility, prices, expected move, and more. Which means you can quickly evaluate your position all from one view.
Both the website and desktop use a very similar interface, giving you a seamless trading experience. You can access live quotes, details, charts, and view quotes from multiple platforms at the same time. Active traders might prefer the desktop version because it has superior charting and graphing capabilities.
There are some optimisations used by tastyworks for handling taxes, but you cannot select this before you create a certain order. But this is a good thing for traders who naturally sell shares according to the first in, first out (FIFO) approach.
Other than this, it’s difficult to do any substantial customisation for income tax, so traders with more adaptable methods might find it lacking. All in all, the platform has a boutique curation of traders in its demographic, and it serves them with a strong emphasis on its choice of tools for options and even the way there is laid out.
As for the types of orders available, all of the different versions allow you to use stop limits. But it’s only the desktop version that facilitates conditional orders, for instance, one-cancels-the-other (OCO) and one-triggers-the-other (OTO). Also, you can only one simultaneous multiple orders using the desktop platform — and none of them let you do trailing stops or stage orders on late entries.
A final word on tastyworks
Keep in mind that —because tastyworks Has a strong bias for serving active options traders — there are certain limitations of using this for other types of trading then other competitor brokers. You also can’t trade any penny stocks (OTCBB), Municipal or corporate bonds. But, it is quite an innovative platform that does support crypto and some derivatives like bitcoin futures.
✔️ Advanced, multi-and single-leg options contracts
✔️ Has futures options
✔️ Harness indicators for liquidity and other experienced features
❌ Can be an intense experience for starter options traders
❌ Some limitations on investments, for instance, penny stocks
❌ Could have sharper research and market news
10. Freedom24 – Powerful options trading platform
Our final entry provides more than just options. Access bonds, futures and ETFs across the big European, Asian, and American exchanges with IPO access for retail investors.
If you’re dealing with USA stocks, you’ll be charged around 50p per contract. It’s about triple this for some of the other contracts. Freedom24 is a subsidiary of Freedom Holding Corporation.
This online investment broker is handling more than £130 million worth of holdings, with a total of nearly half £1 billion of client assets it’s managing.
Freedom24 Gives you penetration into more than 800,000 options. Also 35,000 stocks, 500 futures, and over 140,000 bonds across 15 exchanges. The standout feature is being able to access IPOs, which they purportedly cure using in-house researchers and business indicators.
In fact, Freedom24 is the only stockbroker that is based in the EU and listed on the NASDAQ. The access to more than a million different financial instruments, this IPO is purportedly a return of 59% after the lock-up period.
How Freedom24 Works
Freedom24 gives you the ability to invest in IPOs as well as options.
IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) I put a unique offering as they have been notoriously elusive for retail investors to access, with potential strong returns being possible. This platform has garnered attention for offering this, bringing IPO markets into the retail realm and giving access to some of the smaller capitalisation stocks at the IPO price.
So it’s worth investigating. The platform gives traders a unique ability to participate in both European and US initial public offerings. Freedom24 also has a few perks in this domain such as:
- Adjusted threshold for retailers at around £2000
- Purported is 59% average returns after the lock-up phase
- IPO stocks reportedly curated by analysts of Freedom Finance
- Permission to sell shares once the lock-up period is finished
- Permission to hedge by purchasing forwards sales contracts
- Simplified investment process
- Because IPOs are notoriously elusive to retail investors, historically speaking, Freedom24 allocates according to your rating as the client — they will review the liquidity of your portfolio, your activity, and your IPO involvement consistency.
IPOs give investors early access to company stocks before they become publicly available. Before stocks are publicly traded, the IPO runs. It’s an opportunity to make a profit during the lock-up period, which can lead to returns of as much as 100%. However, you can also go in the reverse direction, leading to a drop in price and poor future returns.
Final Word on Freedom24
Overall, looks like both beginner and experienced traders have a lot to explore with this platform. Of course, any financial investment should not be taken lightly and options trading gets very complicated.
The main USP of Freedom24 Is for those who specifically want to invest in IPOs as this is not common for retail investors. This online portal gives you access, with a free plan to try out their offerings.
✔️ Hundreds of millions of pounds in holdings
✔️ Half a billion pounds worth of client assets being managed
✔️ Provides access to 855,000 options
❌ Available only to EU/UK residents
❌ Small number of withdrawal and deposit methods
❌ No crypto
Best options trading apps – Buying Guide
This section could be useful if you are interested in learning more about how options trading and top options trading platforms function.
Definition and the history of options contracts
Options trading has been with us in some form since perhaps the 4th century BC…
So why do we need options contracts in the first place?
You might be surprised to learn that options trading actually predates the modern stock marketplace and exchanges. Indeed, it predates these digital banking and investment markets by a large time window. To understand options, we need to go back into ancient history and understand the cultural aspects of the Samurai and Greeks.
Options trading has been with us in some form since perhaps the 4th century BC. One of the earliest references to options trading was documented in a piece of literature by Aristotle himself. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher in the mid-fourth century BC. His book “Politics” documents how one of his peer philosophers, Thales of Miletus, made great profits during an olive harvest.
Thales was erudite in the subjects of mathematics and astronomy. He used these primarily to form the foundational principles of options contracts. The philosopher understood how to predict when olive harvests would be massive where he lived. He predicted this by reading the position of the stars in the skies. So he knew when the olive presses would have intense demand, and be able to profit by preparing early.
But because Thales did not have the funds to purchase olive presses himself, he instead paid money to rent olive presses to owners in order to be able to use them at the time of harvest. The owners had a win-win. They were paid in advance. And even if Thales opted out the following year, the owners could sell the rights to a new person for use of the presses each year.
Today, options are used in the following ways (non-exhaustive list):
- Options are a contract between two entities. One is offering the other permission to buy or sell a security (in the example above, the olive press was the security that the philosopher was securing: although he rented it). And this white will occur at a future price and date which is set ahead of time.
- Options contracts can be cost-effective. In the example above, Thales the philosopher did not have the money to purchase the presses outright. So instead, he purchased the right to rent the presses at a particular period of time – a rolling yearly contract that could be opted out of at any point. A single upfront payment was needed to secure this right.
- Options trading can be risky, nonetheless. The greater the level of speculation, the more the risk. So, as with any form of trading, parties need to know how much they are willing to lose in the worst-case scenario – based on an intelligent system calculation… It’s no wonder that Thales was adept at mathematics; he deeply understood how to make sound mathematical decisions.
- Today, options contracts are conservatively used by hedge fund managers. Through various complex utilisations, they mitigate risk in their portfolios stemming from volatility in their assets and the market.
Self-directed trading accounts and example
‘Self-directed accounts’ is a fancy term for a retail investment broker. Any of the names in this guide would qualify as a self-directed trading account.
It simply means that you can register with the platform, and as long as you meet the requirements, you can begin directly interacting with the markets. (In some cases, you will be interacting indirectly with the markets, such as with contracts for differences – these tend to steer more on the side of gambling than actual investment).
If you were to go through your financial adviser or employer (eg. a pension plan), you would be herded into limited selection criteria. But these platforms tend to give you more securities to trade. For instance, you could be trading crypto, stocks and bonds, options and even futures. This comes with obvious risks because many of these derivatives are very complicated and precarious.
Example of an options trade
Let’s return to the main example we used above, featuring Aristotle’s colleague…
Thales didn’t outright purchase the presses he needed during the time of harvest. He couldn’t afford that much equipment. So instead, he purchased contracts (the right) to use those presses during the time of harvest.
He knew that this harvest was going to be extreme and so he would be able to reap significant profits from gaining early permission. However, he did not purchase the obligation to use the presses – whether he chose to or not at the time of harvest would be up to him.
Similarly, when you take out an options contract, it’s granting you the right, not the obligation, to buy or sell an instrument. But how can you use this in a basic strategy? Suppose you wanted to buy 10,000 shares of the company for a fiver per share.
Like Thales, you don’t have the upfront money secure that many shares. So instead, you buy an option contract that gives permission to purchase 10,000 shares. If the price goes up when you activate the contract, then you reap the profits (minus the cost of the options contract).
It gets a lot more tricky and confusing, so this is a very basic example. There are many different types of options contracts – many forms of making a call or a put. Each of these comes with its limitations and risks.
Best options trading platforms: The Verdict
One way to think of options trading is that it gives you more versatility in terms of the bread basket of goods you can speculate on (for instance, utilise indices, foreign currencies and commodities). And while the fundamentals are not too hard to understand, the nuances of options trading get intensely complicated.
So overall, options trading is best for those with a solid experience already in stock trading. Options arguably work the same way as stock trading – but they add more sophistication, more complexity and more manoeuvrability.
So this capability will probably need the most attractive to traders who are making the transition from intermediate level to advanced – and who are looking for additional ways to curate their trading systems.
We hope this article was a useful introduction to the top platforms and subject. Leave us a comment.
Top options trading brokers – FAQs
What are the average earnings of an options trader?
This will vary according to what source you look at. Many traders do not disclose their income to anyone other than HMRC. Some sources, such as the peer, claim there is around £90k per year. And this breaks down to £40+ an hour.
Please note that actual outcomes will be very dependent on individual circumstances, including risk appetites, starting capital and personal attributes of the trader. In many cases, options contracts are used to hedge larger portfolios rather than as a primary means of investment.
What is the difference between call holders and put holders?
Call holders buy the right to purchase a stock at a specific price. The potential upside is unlimited but the downside is limited to the initial premium. This gives you an advantage if an asset rockets in price (you purchase it for a lower price than when you first bought the option).
By comparison, put holders are getting the rights to sell a stock at a specific price – it’s a lot like shorting. The potential upside is limited to whatever the differences between the current value of the asset compared to when you first bought rights to the asset. (If it drops thousand pounds, you would earn that money, but they can’t drop to anything less than nothing). So you are earning money on the falling price of an asset.
What is the difference between call writers and put writers?
When you sell a caller (called writing), you are offering a contract for somebody else to buy. The upside is limited to whatever you paid for the option but the downside has no limits. This form of options is quite complicated and an optimal outcome, arguably, is if the markets stay still and your call isn’t exercised.
By comparison, put writing is when you give somebody permission to sell. How much you gain is limited to wherever you pay for the option and the optimum outcomes arguably if the price stays greater than the strike point so that the option isn’t exercised.
What is a covered call?
This is a form of hedging, to reduce risk. Covered calls happen when somebody selling a call option already has significant direct ownership of the underlying asset. Although a simple strategy, it can be surprisingly powerful – it can safeguard against small price movements and periods of standby. However, it does tend to cap upside.
What is a protective put?
Protective puts are also a form of hedging used to safeguard against the downsides of owning an asset. If the market goes from bullish to bearish, this approach hedges things. Fundamentally, it means that you still have a bullish approach to your asset but you want to protect against it depreciating unexpectedly.
What are the most common options trading strategies?
Covered calls – these are when you already own pieces of an underlying asset. You choose to sell call options on their asset. You then sell the call option unless the stock price goes over its strike price.
Married puts – this describes a similar session situation to the above. But instead of selling call options, you’re buying options for the same number of shares that you own in their asset. The protection given by the strategy is that you have permission to sell your assets at a specific strike price.
The long straddle – the strategy sees a traitor by a call and put option at the same time for an asset. However, each type of option uses a different strike price and expiration date. This stance is taken when an investor does not know which way an asset is going to move either way.
Is options trading risky?
This question depends hugely on your level of experience and skill at handling options. If done correctly and with mastery, it can be argued that there is more fundamental risk in directly handling stocks and bonds, and other assets, than in dealing with the options that are related to them.
As a tiny example, if you believe the stock would soon rise in price before the expiration date of an option, then you might purchase a call. However, if you thought it would decrease, you might buy a put. And if your research indicated a standstill, you might sell a call or a put. Either way, you have… options.
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