How to invest in the S&P 500 in the UK

Find out the quickest and easiest ways to invest in S&P 500 from the UK

Can I invest in the S&P 500 from the UK?

Yes, there are a number of ways you can invest in the S&P 500 from the UK. The S&P 500 is a stock market index that tracks the performance of 500 leading US companies that are listed on the stock exchange. This means you can’t directly invest in the S&P 500, but can buy stocks in the companies that make up the S&P 500 or buy an index fund, such as a mutual or exchange-traded fund that tracks the overall performance of the S&P 500 index.

How to invest in the S&P 500

  1. Find an S&P 500 ETF, index fund or mutual fund. Some index funds track the performance of all 500 S&P stocks, whereas others only track a certain number of stocks or are weighted more towards specific stocks. You should select the fund that best suits your investment goals.
  2. Open a share-trading account. In order to invest in an S&P 500 fund, you’ll need to open a trading account with a broker or platform. Keep in mind that some index funds may only be available on certain brokerages or platforms.
  3. Deposit funds. You’ll need to deposit funds into your account to begin trading. Some brokers may charge you deposit fees, or you may need to pay a forex fee in order for your pounds to be converted into US dollars.
  4. Buy the index fund. Once your money has been deposited, you can then buy the S&P 500 index fund. You’ll generally pay a small annual fee to invest in an ETF or index fund.

What S&P 500 index funds can I buy in the UK?

There are more than 100 S&P 500 index funds listed on the LSE that you can invest in from the UK, and you’ll have access to even more if you have an account with a trading platform or broker that offers direct access to the US stock market.

The most popular S&P 500 index funds in the UK include:

  • iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF
  • Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETF
  • Xtrackers S&P 500 Swap UCITS ETF
  • SDPR S&P 500 UCITS ETF
  • HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD
  • Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD
  • Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF
  • Fidelity 500 Index Fund (FXAIX)
  • Vanguard 500 Index Investor Share Class (VFINX)
  • Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX)
  • iShares S&P 500 Index Fund (BSPAX)
  • T.Rowe Price Equity Index 500 Fund (PREIX)
  • iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF (IVW)
  • Portfolio Plus S&P 500 ETF (PPLC)
  • Schwab U.S. Large Cap ETF (SCHX)

What’s the best S&P 500 index fund?

As S&P 500 index funds all track the same group of stocks, the returns offered by different funds or ETFs should be fairly similar. When deciding on the best S&P 500 index fund, it’s therefore better to compare them based on the fees they charge, which is measured by Total Expense Ratio (TER).

The cheapest s&P 500 index fund is the Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETF, which has a 0.05% TER. This means if you invested £1,000, you’d be charged 50p in annual fees each year. This is followed by the iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF and Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF, which both have a 0.07% TER.

While the performance of different S&P 500 index funds shouldn’t diverge too much, there are some S&P 500 funds that have performed slightly better than others over time.

According to JustETF, the best performing S&P 500 funds in 2020 were:

  • Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF – Acc
  • Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD
  • Xtrackers S&P 500 Swap UCITS ETF 1C
  • Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETF Dist
  • HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD
  • Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETF
  • iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD (Dist)
  • Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF (USD) Accumulating
  • iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Acc)
  • Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF

What is the UK equivalent of the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 tracks the performance of 500 of the largest companies on US stock exchanges, and is the most popular US stock index. The equivalent of the S&P 500 in the UK is the FTSE 100, which similarly tracks the performance of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange.

Like the S&P 500, the FTSE 100 is also used as general yardstick to measure the relative health and performance of the UK stock market and wider economy.

Compare S&P 500 trading platforms

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
UK: £2.95
US: $3.95
EU: €3.95
N/A
£0
Your first 100 trades are free with Fineco (T&Cs apply)
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. The minimum deposit with Fineco is £0. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
£0
N/A
£0
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply. The minimum deposit with eToro is $200.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
£0
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. The minimum deposit with HL is £1. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0.50 + $0.004 per share
N/A
£0
Degiro is widely seen as one of the best low-cost share brokers, for people who are looking to trade regularly. The minimum deposit with Degiro is £0. Capital at risk.
interactive investor Trading Account
£7.99 (with one free trade per month)
N/A
£9.99 per month
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. The minimum deposit with ii is £0. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Moneybox stocks and shares ISA
£1
0.45% and £1 monthly subscription fee (free for first 3 months)
£0
Moneybox offers a smart and simple way to invest. Sign up in minutes and start investing with £1 via their award-winning app. Capital at risk.
interactive investor stocks and shares ISA
Any lump sum or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.75%
N/A
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
InvestEngine stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.25%
£0
Offer - £50 welcome bonus for new customers. Subject to minimum investment. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm stocks and shares ISA
£1500
0.75%
£0
Moneyfarm helps you meet your investment goals with fully-managed portfolios designed around you. Capital at risk.
Fidelity Stocks and Shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £20 a month
0.61%
N/A
Legal & General is a big financial services company which offers insurance, lifetime mortgage, pensions and stocks and shares ISAs. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Stocks and Shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

How to invest in S&P 500 stocks

If you don’t want to invest in an S&P 500 index fund then you can buy individual S&P 500 stocks.

  1. Find a stock broker. You’ll need one that lets you invest in US stocks.
  2. Sign up and fund your account. You’ll need to provide some personal details and information about how you’ll fund your account.
  3. Find a stock you want to invest in. Research some of the shares you’re interested in and find it on your chosen platform.
  4. Choose how much you want to invest or how many shares you want. The platform should tell you how much this will cost you.
  5. Hit buy. It’s as easy as that!

If you choose to invest in all 500 stocks, you’ll find that it’s a very expensive method of investing as you may need to pay trading fees on every single stock you purchase. Some of the stocks in the S&P 500 are also valued in the hundreds of dollars, so you’d need to invest thousands of pounds in order to get exposure to all companies in the index.

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio by investing in the companies in the S&P 500, it’s likely going to be a lot cheaper and more efficient to invest with the second option. An index fund tracks the performance of the S&P 500.

What stocks are in the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 comprises 500 of the largest US companies by market capitalisation, which means it includes some of the most recognisable and popular stocks in the world. These include the following:

Why should I invest in the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 features some of the largest and most successful companies in the world and has historically given investors a decent return on their investment.

If you only invest in stocks available on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), you’ll be limited in the number of stocks you can buy. Investing in an S&P 500 index fund or opening a trading account that gives you access to the US stock market will let you diversify your portfolio and open up the potential gains offered by US stocks.

How did the S&P 500 perform in 2020?

Like most stock indices, the S&P 500 saw significant volatility in early 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, those who held or bought during the crash saw their investments rise over the next few months, and the S&P 500 reached record highs towards the end of 2020.

Historically, the S&P 500 has had an average annual compounded return of 7.5%. Since 2009, the index has been profitable every year apart from 2018, and in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, it grew by 16.11%. With the pandemic still ongoing in 2021, it remains to be seen how the S&P500 will fare in 2021.

Bottom line

Home to Disney, Netflix, Twitter and Tesla, the S&P 500 is made up of some of the largest technology companies. It’s understandable why investors want to get a look in! Take some time to consider how you want to invest – are there specific S&P 500 companies that you want to invest in, or are you looking to diversify with an S&P 500 index fund or ETF?

Make sure you consider the costs of investing in US stocks, as there will be a foreign exchange or currency exchange fee on top of any commission.

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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