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★★★★★

“I use 4 online stockbrokers. Beside Lloyds TSB...”

Written on: 21/11/2008

Good Points
The appearance of the site is restrained, orderly, logical, and intuitively compelling. Most links are good. The layout is oustanding, clear and easy to take in at a glance, though some users might wish for slightly larger fonts, maybe jazzier colour. Not my taste, investing isn't like going to a night club and it's good to have a service provider that doesn't visualise the modal user as male, aged 22, and a fashion victim with more money than sense. The additonal services are offered in a low-key, non-insistent way. It is a site for adults. Watchlist organisation and navigation is outstandingly user-friendly and communicative. I even like those little cutesie cartoon model figures that welcome you to the log-on page, but am glad they tactfully whizz off immediately after.

Bad Points
Getting the broker sentiment 'extra' pages is not as straightforwad to as the Help screens suggest. Once set up, though, it is very useful. Supplying less detail than a stockbroking professional of regaular day trader might desire, or need, it is readily navigable and easy to take in - there is, once again, restrained use of 'pretties' and 'smart-booties' than at some other site. The one use of vivid colour (for overall summaries of broker sentiment) is effective. Still, it is annoying that you cannot back-page straight from the dealing pages to the portfolio, but must go via Accounts link.

General Comments
I use 4 online stockbrokers. Beside Lloyds TSB stockbrokers, Barclays looks cheap and cheerful but always does the job in the end...albeit at times only after you swear at it a bit. Waterhouse is a serious contender for Lloyds in the areas of information on broker sentiment and financials. But its colour scheme is bilious, its layout and general organisation is rather like North American cars - solid, reliable, a long way behind the times, and in the end rather sad looking, if not pathetic. I wouldn't use Waterhouse if I didn't need to disperse my holdings. Using Lloyds-TSB is provides genuine pleassure, even on bad news days. I'm only just getting into InvestDirect. My initial feeling is that it is similar to the HSBC online banking site - i.e. a clunker. It will have to be very good to rival LLoyds, and the first signs are not good. Overall, then, Lloyds in winning this race by several lengths as far as I am concerned.

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