Investing in shares

Learn more about the shares and markets, and how to research shares for your portfolio

You can hold shares in a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), Stocks and shares ISA, Dealing account or Junior ISA. By buying a share, you become a shareholder in a company. Shares in listed companies are traded on exchanges, and you can buy and sell them online.

Share prices move up and down according to the performance of the company and its plans for the future, and also move with the market in general. They can be influenced by global news, and by news specific to their industry.

How to research shares

Investing directly in shares requires a fair bit of research and reading up on the company and with hundreds of different listed companies available this can feel quite overwhelming. Luckily, we have plenty of research available free to customers including investment articles and videos, lists of the top buys and sells and for customers with an account balance of over £4,000, a free access to Shares magazine.

Markets and indices

In the UK, listed companies are traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). They can be listed on the main market, or if they are smaller companies, they can be listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). There are fewer regulations for companies wishing to join AIM than LSE, so as a result they can be riskier investments.

Indices are used to track the performance of individual markets. For example, the FTSE 100 tracks the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange. This gives an indication of how the top of the market is doing, while the FTSE 250 tracks the next 250 largest. For a broader look at the market, you can look at the FTSE 350 (the two combined), or the FTSE All Share, which tracks not quite all, but 98% of the companies listed on the LSE.

If you are looking to invest in international shares we offer dealing in over 24 markets including the US, Canada and most European markets.

Certain investments – which involve a high degree of risk – are described as complex financial instruments. Before dealing in these for the first time, you should read up on the risks involved. You'll also need to complete an online test.

How to buy and sell shares

Shares can be bought and sold online through our website or app when the market is open - for UK shares this is between 8:00am and 4:30pm. Outside of these times you can place limit and stop loss orders which allow you to specify the price you are willing to buy or sell. Many overseas markets have different hours – for US and Canadian markets you can deal online between 2:30pm and 9pm. 

You can find the company you are interested in dealing in by using the site search on our website and following the link to the company's research page which includes the current price, historical price chart and research.

It is simple to buy and sell shares online. You’ll receive a quote from the market, which is the best price you can get at that point in time. You’ll generally have 15 seconds to confirm your order at that price, and once completed you will receive a contract note with all the details of your deal. To view our costs for dealing and holding shares please click here.

Receiving dividends

Many companies will pay out income to their shareholders and these are called ‘dividends’. The amount of the dividend depends on the profits of the company and they are normally paid twice a year as an ‘interim’ and ‘final’ dividend. The date the dividend is paid varies from company to company and there is no guarantee that a company will continue to pay dividends. Many smaller companies do not pay any dividends at all. You can find out more about receiving dividends by visiting our FAQs.

If you are due a dividend from a share that you hold in your portfolio we will pay this into your account as cash and send you a secure message to let you know. We offer a dividend reinvestment service which allows you to reinvest your dividends back into the company, increasing your holding.

Save regularly using shares

You may not want to invest a large chunk of money straight away in shares, but you can build your portfolio over time by using our regular investment service. This allows you to save from just £25 a month, and we’ll automatically buy more shares with this at the same time each month. You can easily set it up and amend your choice online, plus you’ll benefit from a dealing charge of just £1.50.

Choose the right account for you and start investing today


Put your pension pot in your own hands with our award-winning self-invested personal pension.

Stock & shares ISA

Invest £20,000 this tax year into our tax-efficient ISA, and access your money when you want it.

Dealing account

Our Dealing account is low cost and unlimited. Invest as much as you want, whenever you want.

Accounts for children

Build a nest egg for your children with our Junior ISA, Junior SIPP and Dealing accounts for children.

Lifetime ISA

Invest up to £4,000 per year in our Lifetime ISA and get a government bonus of up to £1,000.

Why deal in shares with us?
  • Low-cost dealing never pay more than £9.95 per online deal

  • Deal online and on the go with our free mobile app

  • Regular investment service allows you to save from as little as £25 per month

  • FREE subscription to Shares magazine if your balance is £4,000 or more

  • Frequent dealing rate of just £4.95

  • Dividend reinvestment available across a range of shares, investment trusts and ETFs

We make investing easier

For nearly twenty years, AJ Bell Youinvest has helped people invest in the life they want to live. We’re part of AJ Bell, one of the largest investment platforms in the UK, with £74.1 billion in assets under administration.

Our awards

We're the only investment platform to be a Which? Recommended Provider three years running – in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In 2020, we were also proud to have won Best Execution Only Broker at the 2020 ADVFN International Financial Awards.

View all our awards

What our customers say about us

We’re here to make things easier for you

Sometimes tackling your investments can seem like a real headache. That’s why we strive to do one thing here at AJ Bell Youinvest – to make investing as easy as possible for you.

AJ Bell is now one the UK's largest online investment platforms, with £74.1 billion in assets under administration.

We’ve succeeded by staying true to our beliefs, by understanding your needs as a DIY investor and by providing award-winning accounts, backed up with excellent service at a low cost.

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, we take your security as seriously as you do, and have comprehensive measures in place to keep you and your money safe. You can find out more by visiting our security centre.

So whatever stage you’re at, we’re sure we can help you manage your money and your future.

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