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

We've summed up how to invest in the S&P 500 from the UK along with some popular S&P 500 index funds and ETFs.

See the best performing funds Best funds
How to invest in the S&P 500 See the options

The S&P 500 is the most famous stock index in the world. So much so, when people refer to the US stock market, they’re talking about this index. It’s a mammoth collection of some of the best companies in the world and it’s now easier than ever to invest in the S&P 500 from the UK.

Best S&P 500 ETFs

One of the best ways to invest in the S&P 500 index from the UK is by using an exchange-traded fund (ETF). These funds let you invest in all the stocks within the index in a single investment.

The table below shows the best-performing S&P 500 ETFs available right now. There’s only slight changes in performance which largely comes down to when each ETF updates the stocks. All S&P 500 ETFs should contain an almost identical selection of stocks.

Best S&P 500 ETFs

IconFund5-year performance (to March 2024)Link to invest
Invesco iconInvesco S&P 500 (SPXP)103.74%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
DWS Xtrackers iconXtrackers S&P 500 Swap (XSPX)103.38%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
Vanguard iconVanguard S&P 500 (VUSA)100.79%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
iShares iconiShares Core S&P 500 (CSP1)101.61%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
SPDR iconSPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPX5)101.08%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
HSBC iconHSBC S&P 500 (HSPX)101.89%Invest with XTBCapital at risk

Which S&P 500 fund is best?

Rather than looking at slight discrepancies in performance, you’re better off looking for the cheapest S&P 500 ETF or index available on your chosen investing platform.

Because these funds are all copying the same index, there’s no reason you should pay higher fees. Cheap is often best when it comes to investing in passive S&P 500 tracker-funds. S&P 500 funds are passively managed (rather than actively managed), so you don’t get any added benefit by using a specific brand or fund.

It’s also going to be worthwhile ensuring your share dealing account charges low (or no) commission for investing in the S&P 500 through a fund.

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 the S&P 500 from the UK

There are 2 main ways to invest in the S&P 500 – the first is to buy shares in all 500 companies at the same weightings as they have in the index, then constantly keep up to date with changes to the index and rebalance your portfolio. This can be very time consuming and expensive.

The preferable option, which saves you time and money, is to invest in an S&P 500 fund (like an ETF). Essentially, someone else does the above for you and all you have to do is choose one to invest in. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find an S&P 500 index fund or ETF. We have some examples of S&P 500 funds at the top of this page as well as information on how to choose an S&P 500 index fund.
  2. Open a share dealing account. In order to invest in an S&P 500 fund, you’ll need to open an investment account that offers index funds. Keep in mind that some index funds may only be available on certain brokerages or platforms – we’ve listed some S&P 500 index funds and platforms that offer them above.
  3. Top up your account. You’ll need to deposit funds into your account to invest. Some platforms charge you deposit fees and you may need to pay a foreign exchange fee in order for your pounds to be converted into US dollars.
  4. Buy the S&P 500 fund. Once your money has been deposited, you can then buy your chosen S&P 500 index fund. You’ll generally pay a small annual fee to invest in an ETF or index fund.

The whole process can take as little as 15 minutes. You’ll need a smartphone or computer, an internet connection, your passport or driving licence and a means of payment.

How to choose an S&P 500 index fund

Some S&P 500 index funds and ETFs 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.

When you choose to invest in an S&P 500 fund, you’re not necessarily looking for the one that performs best. Each one aims to match the performance of the S&P 500 index, so they should all mirror the performance of the index pretty closely.

It’s usually best to compare funds based on the ongoing fees, which is measured by Total Expense Ratio (TER). The cheapest S&P 500 fund is the Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETF, which has a 0.05% total expense ratio (TER). This means if you invested £1,000, you’d be charged 50p in annual fees each year.

While the performance of S&P 500 funds shouldn’t diverge too much, there are some that have performed slightly better than others over time. Also, investment companies need to pay royalties to have “S&P” in the title of its fund, some will avoid this by calling it something like the “US 500” fund.

What is the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 (Standard and Poor’s 500) is an index made up of 500 leading public companies in the US. The name comes from the merger of 2 financial data companies: Poor’s Publishing and the Standard Statistics Company.

The index contains some of the most recognisable companies in the world and when people talk about the “US stock market” they’re often referring to the S&P 500 because this has become a key measure of the US economy and gives a snapshot into its overall health.

How do companies make it onto the index?

The companies in the index are hand-picked by the US Index Committee. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the 500 biggest US stocks.

There’s some basic criteria to allow a company to be eligible to be part of the S&P 500:

  • Must be a US company
  • Market capitalisation of at least $14.5 billion
  • Highly liquid shares mostly owned by the public
  • At least a quarter of a million of its shares traded in the last 6 months
  • Needs to be at least 1 year since its intial public offering (IPO)
  • The sum of its trailing 4 consecutive quarterly earnings must be positive

What are the main sectors covered by the S&P 500?

Here are the top sectors that currently make up the bulk of the S&P 500 in terms of weighted exposure:

  • Information technology
  • Healthcare
  • Financials
  • Consumer discretionary
  • Communication services
  • Industrials
  • Consumer staples
  • Energy
  • Utilities
  • Real estate
  • Materials

Latest updates

Our experts keep on top of the markets to bring you the latest on what's shaking up stock prices.

21 December 2023: After a solid December so far, the S&P 500 index stumbled and was down by around 1.47% yesterday with investors taking profits after the recent rally.

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

Yes! There are several ways you can invest in the S&P 500 from the UK. You can buy stocks in the companies that make up the S&P 500 or buy an index fund, mutual fund or ETF that tracks the overall performance of the S&P 500 index.

Platforms where you can invest in the S&P 500

These trading apps allow you to invest in S&P 500 stocks directly, companies or invest in and S&P 500 funds (like an ETF).

Best for 0% commission stocks

Finder Award
Go to site
Capital at risk. Other fees apply.
Copy picks from top traders
  • Commission-free stock trades
  • Receive dividend payments
  • Invest in fractional shares

Best for fractional shares

Go to site
Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.
Personalised market updates
  • Commission-free trading
  • Invest in fractional shares
  • Over 5,400 stocks & ETFs

Best for customer satisfaction

Finder Award
Go to site
Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.
97% would recommend
  • No commissions for funds
  • Expert research and insights
  • Wide range of tax wrappers

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

There are more than 100 S&P 500 index funds and ETFs listed on the London Stock Exchange (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.

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

The S&P 500 tracks the performance of 500 leading companies on US stock exchanges, and it’s the most popular US stock index. The equivalent of the S&P 500 in the UK is the FTSE 100, which 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 a general yardstick to measure the relative health and performance of the UK stock market and wider economy.

How to invest in S&P 500 stocks

If you don’t want to invest in a 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 – the providers in our comparison table below let you buy US shares.
  2. Sign up and fund your account. You’ll need to provide some personal details and information about how you’ll fund your account. If you’re buying US stocks you may also need to fill out a W-8BEN form.
  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. We’ve listed some of the largest stocks on the index below.
  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 share 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 use an index fund or invest in an ETF that tracks the performance of the S&P 500.

What stocks are in the S&P 500?

We’re not going to bore you by listing all 500 stocks in the S&P 500. Instead, here are the current top 10 S&P 500 stocks by market cap (as of December 2023). With most S&P 500 funds, the bulk of your investment will go to these top holdings:

CompanyTickerWeighting
iconAAPL7.3%
iconMSFT7.0%
iconAMZN3.9%
iconNVDA3.2%
iconGOOGL4.4%
iconTSLA2.0%
iconMETA2.3%
iconBRK2.0%

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. It’s one of the best (and simplest) ways to get exposure to the US economy as an investor.

If you only invest in stocks on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), you’ll be limiting your options. Investing in an S&P 500 index fund or accessing the US stock market to invest in stocks listed on the S&P 500 will help to diversify your portfolio internationally.

How much does it cost to invest in the S&P 500?

There are a couple of fees to keep in mind if you plan to invest in US stocks – the commission fee (the cost of carrying out the trade), and the foreign exchange or FX fee (which is the cost of changing your money over to US dollar). If you buy an S&P 500 fund that’s denominated in pounds, you won’t have to pay an FX fee. And if you use a 0% commission platform, you won’t have to pay a trading costs either.

But if you want to buy indiviual stocks in the S&P 500, here are some of the costs of buying US stocks with major brokers:

PlatformFee for a US tradeForeign exchange fee
eToro£00.5%
Freetrade£00.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown£11.951%
IG£100.5%
Stake£00.5%
Trading 212£00.15%

The most expensive part of buying US stocks is the foreign exchange fees. Compare the fees for the providers that have the lowest foreign exchange fee, even if they’re not commission free, to work out whether it might work out cheaper to go with another provider.

Expert comment: Is the S&P 500 index overpriced?

georgesweeney profile picGeorge Sweeney

Finder Money Expert

The S&P 500 contains plenty of growth-oriented companies that tend to trade at higher multiples than other stocks. So many analysts who compare the S&P 500 to something like the FTSE 100 will tell you that the S&P 500 index is overvalued and will likely fall to a more reasonable level. This makes sense. The problem is that analysts have been saying this for years.

Although the flagship index from the US tends to see greater volatility and bigger falls when things turn sour, it’s also proven over long periods that it can make back lost ground (and then some), leaving other international markets in its dust. Unless the US becomes less important to the global economy, paying a premium to invest in many of its best stocks sounds reasonable.

Pros and cons of investing in the S&P 500

Pros

  • Access some of the largest US stocks
  • Investing in the index provides a degree of automatic diversification
  • You can invest with ETFs and funds
  • By tracking an index rather than actively picking stocks, you can invest passively which is often cheaper

Cons

  • Not completely diversified — it only includes US stocks
  • Foreign exchange (FX) fees might apply if you buy individual S&P 500 stocks
  • Market cap weighting means most of your investment goes to the top stocks
  • You get no control over the investments in an S&P 500 fund

Bottom line

Home to Disney, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, and much more – the S&P 500 is made up of top US companies. It’s understandable why investors want to get a piece of the action. Take some time to consider how you want to invest – are there specific S&P 500 stocks you want to buy, 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 likely be a foreign exchange (FX) fee on top of any commission. If you buy an S&P 500 fund or ETF in GBP denomination, you can avoid this. Investing in the S&P 500 is a decent way to get exposure to the US stock market with a single investment, but remember to think about how this fits in with the rest of your portfolio.

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.

Track the performance of the UK's top 10 most popular stocks

This compares the performance of the top 10 most popular stocks in the UK in 2023, by tracking the value of a ficticious £1,000 investment at the start of the year.

NVIDIA topped the 2023 race, fuelled by rapid advancement of AI technology.

All the content may be republished with a link to this page
Press enquiries

Latest news on global markets

More guides on Finder

  • How to buy iShares Core MSCI Japan IMI UCITS ETF USD Acc

    Ever wondered how to invest in SJPA ETF? Learn more about it now and find out where you can invest in it. Compare ETF brokers to start investing today.

  • How to buy SPDR FTSE UK All Share UCITS ETF Acc

    Ever wondered how to invest in FTAL ETF? Learn more about it now and find out where you can invest in it. Compare ETF brokers to start investing today.

  • How to buy Franklin FTSE United Kingdom ETF

    Ever wondered how to invest in FLGB ETF? Learn more about it now and find out where you can invest in it. Compare ETF brokers to start investing today.

  • How to buy HSBC FTSE 100 UCITS ETF

    Ever wondered how to invest in HUKX ETF? Learn more about it now and find out where you can invest in it. Compare ETF brokers to start investing today.

  • How to buy Flutter Entertainment shares

    Thinking about buying shares in Flutter Entertainment? We explain how to do it and compare a range of providers who will give you access to global markets.

  • How to buy Dettol shares | 4167p

    Sales of Reckitt Bencksier products like Dettol have risen due to coronavirus. Here’s how you can invest in Dettol, by buying Reckitt Benckiser shares.

  • How to buy AT&T shares

    Ever wondered how to buy shares in AT&T? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including AT&T.

  • How to buy Wincanton shares

    Ever wondered how to buy shares in Wincanton? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including Wincanton.

  • How to buy United Utilities Group shares

    Ever wondered how to buy shares in United Utilities? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including United Utilities.

  • How to buy Relx shares

    Find out how to buy shares in RELX, see its share prices over the last three months and check out our must-do checklist if you’re looking to invest.

Go to site