Look for a flexible, convenient service

At the same time, look for flexibility and range in the specific services that matter to you. If you’re looking for a stockbroker, consider whether the broker offers tax-advantaged accounts, such as ISAs and SIPPs in the UK. Minimising tax can make a big difference to your investment returns, especially for higher rate taxpayers.

For international investing, a multi-currency account – which allows you to hold cash in several different currencies – is a must and should be provided without any extra charges. Most stock brokers charge commission every time you convert from sterling to foreign currency and back again, so you want to minimise how often you do so.

And see if they’ll allow you to transfer in money that’s already in the foreign currency you want to use. Transferring in money from a foreign currency bank account or using a foreign exchange specialist to do the conversion instead of letting your stock broker do it could save you quite a bit in commissions.

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