Complaint: Spread issues

So I just want to share my experience with other people regarding this app to see if others have come across the same issues.

Yesterday I made a sell trade, which was advertised at one price yet executed at another, with over a 2% variance (between the price I agreed to sell at, and the price it was executed at). This resulted in a marginal gain now becoming a marginal loss.

This is the 3rd consecutive time I have a made a buy/sell transaction and the price has differed quite significantly from the price I agreed the trade at.

Freetrade’s generic response is that pricing given in the app is “indicative” and an “estimate” (their words). Regardless of whether this is “indicative” or not, Freetrade do not offer the correct execution price - in the case I presented above there is a 2% difference, which is hardly even “indicative” and ALOT when it comes to executing an order in the financial markets. They also claim to “achieve best execution” on the trades (again, their words in a response to my message). I monitored the spot price before and after this trade and at no point in the day did the price actually drop to the price they executed at. So Freetrade have failed in this obligation, which they refuse to recognise as an issue, or it indicates something more sinister is at hand (perhaps this is where they are building in charges?!).

It is not so much about the money (which I have lost), which in the grand scheme of things is incidental. It is more their refusal to accept there is an issue on spread differences and their lack of effort to rectify it.

I have been an early advocate of Freetrade up until now, but I cannot tolerate this type of poor service nor recommend their platform to friends or family going forward. Yes it is great that it’s ‘free’, but it is my opinion that the loss on trades due to spread differences is starting to out way any benefit of using freetrade over other platforms that charge but allow you to execute at an exact price.

Has anyone else come across these problems with freetrade? They really need to address is this if they want to consider themselves a viable share trading platform. Their lack of willingness to accept there is a problem is concerning.

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It’s not really the price you agree to trade at, it’s an estimated price. next to “amount” it says “est.” and if you click that, it gives an explaination. On the stock chart, right at the bottom of the page, it tells you the last time the price was updated (can be up to 15 mins ago).
I didn’t realise this at first either.

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Yes I realise that it does say “est” but this doesn’t explain why the spread is so different. If this is only an estimate, and the execution price can differ so much, then they should give you the final execution price before it is committed so you can decide whether to accept or decline. It also doesn’t explain why their execution price was, in this occasion, even lower than the bottom trade price throughout the whole day

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A lot of that will depend on what the stock is, where you get prices from and how often the price is updated.

the “final execution price” is a commonly requested feature from what I’ve seen, so maybe it’ll happen one day :man_shrugging:

A simple solution is for the Freetrade app to show what most if not all stockbrokers have been showing for a long time - a bid price (buy) and an offer price (sell), all indicative - in the interest of transparency. I’ve looked at a random price in a new Aussie competitor’s app which offer US stocks in the UK and it shows two things: 1) A price (same as the buy/bid price); 2) a bid price + an offer price. From the user experience point of view, it was great and didn’t look like there was too much info. It’s in line with best market practices. Plus, there’s an option to choose from a Limit Buy, a Market Buy or a Stop Buy order. These things, if implemented, would solve all these issues. Basic standard market practices.

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Fully agree and great suggestion.

I agree that I’d like to see a better pricing mechanism. However depending on the liquidity and volatility of the share and the amount you are trading,you often trade outwith the bid/ask prices.

Some brokers run their own order book and others use a range of Retail Service Providers and under market rules your trade will execute at the best available at that time.

I’m not sure how FT route their orders to market but many other brokers can place orders directly on the order book.

I’m sure that FT have not done anything wrong here and have executed at the best price available. However have you looked at trade history for that share? Were there any trades of similar size around that time that you can compare? You also need to check if it was an ordinary trade or an automatic trade as there can be differences.

But without any details of the trade itself any advice is purely general.

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This would be a lot more palatable with limit orders. The volatility right now makes transactions very risky. I been burned a few times already (not just on this platform)

Message me your trade details - stock, qty, time of order etc… are I’ll dig into the trade execution data and look at the actual LSE order book at the point of trade…

It is almost 100% your order was executed via RSP - which makes it 100% ‘best execution’ - but I’m fascinated by this stuff and have the data to help… ping me the details…

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