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Stocks and shares at a glance

  • Shares are investments in an individual company

  • They can pay you some income in the form of a dividend, although this isn’t guaranteed

  • They are a higher risk form of investment - their value can change sharply and suddenly

Important information

Please remember the value of your investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount you originally invested.

All investments carry an element of risk which may differ significantly. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any particular investment or product, you should seek professional financial advice


What can I trade in on the Alliance Trust Savings Platform?

Through our platform you can trade in both UK and overseas stocks and shares. To view all available UK stocks and shares read our list. To research available overseas stocks and shares use our Investment Selector.

View the list of UK stocks and shares   VISIT INVESTMENT SELECTOR

Overseas stocks and shares

Overseas stocks and shares available to trade include North American and European securities.

In fact you can access any overseas investment that can be traded through Crest as a Crest Depository Interest (CDI). A CDI is a form of UK security that represents your ownership of the underlying overseas investment.

All cash on our platform is held in UK Pounds, so we also settle all trades in CDIs in UK Pounds and charge an international trading fee if we have to make deals for you in another currency. The details are in our Charges Guide.


Remember, if investments have holdings that are in a currency other than UK Pounds they may be affected by movements in exchange rates.

So the value of the investment may rise or fall in line with the exchange rates.

How shares work

If you invest directly in the shares of a company you become a joint owner of it with the other shareholders.

You'll share in the ups and downs of the company's fortunes, so how risky an individual share is depends on the company's particular circumstances.

Share prices in any company can change sharply and suddenly and it is this that makes them a higher risk investment. In extreme cases, the company, or the industry it is part of, might fail. And when you want to trade there may not be a market to buy or sell the shares.

Risk versus return

Shares are higher risk investments. But although investment returns are not guaranteed and prices can go down as well as up, shares can also bring higher returns over the longer term (10 years or more) compared to other types of investment.


Unfamiliar with some of the terms? Our glossary might help.

go to the glossary

Certificated Dealing

Hold shares in certificate form? Trade them through us.

Income from shares

Ordinary shares

Can pay you income each year in the form of a dividend based on how the company performs, but that isn’t guaranteed.

Preference shares

Pay you a fixed dividend every year, evening out the income highs and lows that Ordinary shareholders may experience.

The other way to generate income from shares is, of course, to sell them. If you sell shares in an IDA at a higher price than you bought them for, this counts as a gain for any capital gains tax you might have to pay.


  • Be clear on your investment goals and how much risk you are prepared to take.

  • Do your research before deciding to buy.

  • Get advice if you need it.

Find a financial adviser near you


London Stock Exchange (LSE)

In the UK the main market for shares is the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Its split into different indices made up of groups of companies. The most famous is the FTSE 100 covering the 100 biggest companies listed on the LSE.

The FTSE 100 index is often used as a guide to overall market performance for shares. It's updated through the trading day with a closing time of 4.30pm each business day.

Another popular market for shares is the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). This is for smaller companies that might be looking to grow.

AIM Market guide

Extensive investment choice.

Trading in listed securities?

Get a quick quote now.

Please note the quotation tool does not include funds. There is also a minimum 15 minute delay on the last price quoted.

Browse investments

Our Investment Selector is powered by Morningstar, a leading provider of investment research. Use it to:

  • Check what you can access through your Account (over 4,000 investments to choose from)

  • Find out about the risks and charges for each investment (which are on top of the charges you pay us for your Account)

  • Review past performance for investments although remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance

Behind the scenes

When you buy and sell shares your transaction is usually completed (or settled) by an electronic service known as CREST.

It usually takes 2 days for this to happen. Or T+2 in industry jargon.

How our service works

To make our service smooth and efficient, we hold your shares and other investments through a Nominee company.

But you still own the rights to the investment.

Read our Platform Guide to find out more about what this means in practice.

Alliance Trust Savings Limited is a subsidiary of Alliance Trust PLC and is registered in Scotland No. SC 98767, registered office, PO Box 164, 8 West Marketgait, Dundee DD1 9YP; is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, firm reference number 116115. Alliance Trust Savings gives no financial or investment advice.