≡ Menu

Weekend reading: Grab a free share by signing up to Freetrade

Weekend reading logo

What caught my eye this week.

Hey you! Yes – you! Are you someone who would like to grab a free share in a publicly traded company?

Perhaps you’re a passive investor who wants to dabble with a little ‘fun money’ portfolio on the side, to stop you straying with the big stash?

Or maybe you’re an active investor – like me for my sins – and you’re sick of spending thousands in fees?

Maybe you’re jealous of all this no-fee trading in the US that you keep reading about?

Or maybe you’ve enjoyed Monevator for years and would just like the chance to throw us a bone – at no cost to yourself!

(Did I mention it was free already? Yes, a free share.)

Well in all these cases you’re in luck.

Because you can now get yourself a free share by signing up via my referral link to Freetrade, the UK’s commission-free trading pioneer.

And in getting your free share, Freetrade will give me one, for introducing you!

Our free shares will be randomly allocated, but there’s the chance of getting one worth up to £200. Yes really. So far I’ve only had shares worth less than £5, but hey, a blogger can dream.

To get your free share you need to set up your Freetrade app via my link, which involves funding your new account with as little as £1 and ideally filling in the W-8BEN form via the app.

Filling in this form means your free share can be UK or US-listed.

Incidentally it’s worth signing up to Freetrade just to see how slick it is. Over the years I’ve completed a W-8BEN form for half-a-dozen brokers, and none took mere seconds like here.

The design of the app (pictured) is pretty, too.

Don’t miss your free share

So what are you waiting for? Sign up and we’ll both get an early Christmas present.

I would conclude by saying it’s a win-win, except you should know I’m doing slightly better from the deal than you. That’s because I’m also a (tiny) shareholder in Freetrade.

Hence – full disclosure – I am just a smidge biased when I say I hope you love the app. 😉

Again, click here to begin the sign-up process towards getting your free share.

Thanks to anyone who does the deed – and have a great weekend!

From Monevator

Vanguard finally reveals details on its long-awaited SIPP – Monevator

Lump sum investing versus drip-feeding – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Help, the market has gone up! – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

UK household wealth surges to £15 trillion [Reminder: my law of crazy big numbers]ThisIsMoney

Saudi Aramco raises $25.6bn in world’s biggest share sale – BBC

House prices in surprise bounceback as buyers take advantage of cheap mortgage deals – ThisIsMoney

Tory chancellor pledges to review IR35 rollout in UK private sector, just like all the other parties – The Register

Mini-bond ad ban ‘too little, too late’ – Yahoo

The death of Chile’s pension promise [Search result]FT

Every new mobile phone purchaser in China must now have their face scanned – MIT Tech Review

Martin Wolf: How to reform today’s rigged capitalism [Search result]FT

Products and services

Tandem Bank scraps best-buy 0.5% cashback deal for new membership model – ThisIsMoney

Ratesetter will pay you £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 for a year – Ratesetter

Hiring a nanny: What I wish I’d known [Search result]FT

ETF gatekeepers and keymasters [Nerdy, podcast]Trillions

Gated commercial property funds mini-special

M&G UK commercial property firm suspended… – BBC

…investors flee Standard Life Aberdeen property fund following M&G gating – Investment Week

…and investors have withdrawn £1.5bn from UK property funds since the start of 2019 – ThisIsMoney

Comment and opinion

Be ready to see your portfolio go down in value – Klement on Investing

How to spend money – Of Dollars and Data

Bull markets can last much longer than you think – A Wealth of Common Sense

Five mindsets that can get in the way of creating wealth – Psychology Today

Morgan Housel: The big thing that investors have trouble accepting [Video]The Reformed Broker

Beware these investment traps – Carolyn Gowen

Are we nearly there yet? – The Escape Artist

Why pension funds and millennials should avoid ESG investing [Data]Factor Research

Trouble brewing on the tax front for investors – IT Investor

Is asking for a prenup a good idea or a buzzkill? – Pete the Planner

Your harshest critic lives in your house – Abnormal Returns

Naughty corner: Active antics

Harvard and MIT find conclusive evidence that public companies distort their earnings – Institutional Investor

Marks & Spencer: The destroyer of shareholder value [PDF]UK Value Investor

Shareholder yield isn’t new: the Dutch East India company was doing buybacks in the 17th Century – OSAM

Dennis Gartman calls it quits as era ends where humans dominated investing advice – Globe and Mail

Elimination alpha: A portfolio strategy that aims to eliminate losers rather than pick winners [Podcast]Animal Spirits

A most depressing chart for active fund managers – Bloomberg

Ray Dalio is more famous than ever and delivering sub-par returns – Yahoo

Ten things fund managers say, and what they really mean – Behavioural Investing


General election 2019: Andrew Neil issues interview challenge to Johnson [Video]BBC

Jonathan Pie: A decade of the Tories [Sweary video]YouTube

Why Leave will win the Brexit battle [Search result]FT

Factcheck: Would Labour really save families more than £6,700 a year? [Monevator gut-check: nope]Guardian

Marina Hyde: PM’s Operation Avoid Trump goes off almost without a hitch – Guardian

Tim Harford on ‘naive realism’ [aka why so many numpties on all sides now hate the BBC] – via Twitter

Kindle book bargains

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou [The Theranos story] – £0.99 on Kindle

Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the odds on your side by Howard Marks – £0.99 on Kindle

How To Have A Good Day: The Essential Toolkit for a Productive Day at Work by Caroline Webb – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Deep fake/end of civilization latest: A Nixon broadcast on the death of moon landing astronauts – wbur

How the information economy has chained us to our virtual desks – The Atlantic

Instagrammers love this iconic beauty spot, but here’s the photo they don’t want you to see – CNBC

52 surprising things learned in 2019 – Tom Whitwell

You do not need goals – Rory Argyll via Medium

The most common last name in every country [Map, click to enlarge]NetCredit

And finally…

“Remember one thing, Warren: Money isn’t making that much difference in how you and I live. We’re both going down to the cafeteria for lunch and working every day and having a good time. So don’t worry too much about money, because it won’t make much difference in how you live.”
– Ben Graham to a young Warren Buffett (whose mind was presumably elsewhere), The Snowball

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every Friday!

  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. []
{ 44 comments… add one }
  • 1 Kindke December 6, 2019, 7:46 pm

    I’ve heard that freetrade are able to offer you zero commission trades because they offer you an awful spread on the buy/sell

    I’ll have to have a look myself

  • 2 Neil December 6, 2019, 8:05 pm

    Signed up to free trade, I’ll have a play, hope we get a good share!:)

  • 3 Passive Pete December 6, 2019, 11:41 pm

    I’m in too. Sent funds but they’re not showing up in Freetrade immediately. I presume that once they do I’ll be asked to complete the W-8BEN. T’s & C’s say the free share is only available once the W8-BEN is completed.

  • 4 The Investor December 7, 2019, 1:11 am

    Thanks to everyone giving it a go. 🙂 The free share definitely takes a few days to show up. I can’t remember how long funding took me, but yes there is a process.

    But hey, it’s free. And like a lottery for investing nerds like us! 😉

  • 5 The Investor December 7, 2019, 2:12 am

    T’s & C’s say the free share is only available once the W8-BEN is completed.

    Don’t fear the W8-BEN faff either way. They’ve made it incredibly easy to complete with a few ticks. 🙂

  • 6 britinkiwi December 7, 2019, 4:20 am

    OK, I confess I was being wildly optimistic but…

    UK Tax Residents only….

  • 7 JimJim December 7, 2019, 8:26 am

    If anyone missed it, and having read it I am not totally convinced but it made me think. Here is an Opinion piece from the Guardian (a bit Brexity, apologies in advance or ignore)

  • 8 Al December 7, 2019, 9:06 am

    Thanks for the share offer. Are there any ongoing costs involved with being a Freetrade member?

  • 9 The Investor December 7, 2019, 10:18 am

    @AU — It’s a Freemium model. Under the basic account you set up to get the free share there are no charges for basic trades (executed once a day at 4pm) nor monthly charges or for exiting the account. If you want, you can trade instantly for £1 a share. If you want an ISA it’s £3 a month.

    @britinkiwi — On a brighter note, you do get to live in New Zealand. 😉

  • 10 Brod December 7, 2019, 10:55 am

    Well I’ve signed up for Freetrade. My £1 not showing yet but it’s only an hour.

    Btw, I think it says free shares are allocated on Wednesday and need to complete by Tuesday midn or something.

  • 11 Brod December 7, 2019, 10:59 am

    So now TI has seduced us to the dark side with a free share (how cheap am I?), will you be launching “The Investing Masterclass”? All for a bargain subscription fee of £5 a month?

  • 12 Tammer December 7, 2019, 11:29 am

    The Factor Research article on esg investing seems to be lacking a view of the big picture.

  • 13 The Investor December 7, 2019, 11:31 am

    Haha, well one of the ideas that always comes up in ‘how to monetize Monevator’ is some sort of premium/paid-for walled garden for my (now rarely sighted here) active investing stuff. 🙂

    The free shares can take a while to come through. If you’ve done the W8-BEN form and funded with at least £1 it will show up but in tests with friends before publishing the link here it did sometimes take a week or so. I’m not certain how much of that was teething trouble.

    I found it bizarrely enjoyable when it shows up though, considering the relatively low monetary value. I think it’s the random factor pushing some behavioiral button. 🙂

    Incidentally, Freetrade has quite a few index tracking ETFs in its universe of investable shares, including the ever-popular Vanguard World (VWRL).

    You can see the list here:


  • 14 Matthew December 7, 2019, 11:54 am

    I will sign up, thanks @TI 🙂 also shared this page to a friend
    What happens with dividends out of curiosity? As I may be best off instantly selling and just buying my normal

  • 15 Brod December 7, 2019, 12:01 pm

    When my share turns up, I’m hoping for Berkshire Hathaway.

  • 16 weenie December 7, 2019, 12:18 pm

    Free shares are currently only ‘revealed’ once a week (on Wednesday), although they are working on more regular reveals. Notifications are also a little out of sync as they continue to work on the referral scheme.

    The highest valued free share awarded to a lucky person last week was Lululemon @ £171.05 – it wasn’t me! I’ve not received a free share over £12 in value yet, so continue to live in hope! 🙂

    Also, anyone who signs up to Freetrade and deposits money will also themselves have the chance to refer/invite friends/family to get a further free share.

  • 17 Matthew December 7, 2019, 12:21 pm

    Tempting though it is I think we should let @ti have the referrals for introducing us and for doing this blog for us

  • 18 JimJim December 7, 2019, 1:32 pm

    I was hoping the book would be out in time for Christmas to support all@Monevator. An advance copy purchase site???

  • 19 The Investor December 7, 2019, 2:00 pm

    Book is a nightmare of unfinished-ness. Definitely 2020!

  • 20 Matthew December 7, 2019, 2:00 pm

    App not compatable with my phone :/ (galaxy s4)

  • 21 DavidTheHedgehog December 7, 2019, 2:35 pm

    I’ve signed up too. It’s ironic that a blog about passive investing is tempting us down the active path! I reckon though 1 share versus my Vanguard Portfolio still makes me 99.99999999% passive investor. However this could be the gateway drug!

  • 22 Al December 7, 2019, 4:30 pm

    I’ve downloaded the app now and sent my £1. Others who’ve done this: did you get prompted to complete the W-8BEN form automatically or did you tap on the avatar in the app and then click on ‘US tax exemption’ to fill in the form ?

  • 23 Sara December 7, 2019, 4:59 pm

    Re: Freetrade – But what if I get M&S?

  • 24 Sara December 7, 2019, 5:00 pm

    Where did my emojis go? – should have had sad face followed by wink!!!

  • 25 Passive Pete December 7, 2019, 5:26 pm

    I expected an automatic prompt, but didn’t get one. No mention of W8-BEN in the FAQ’s, so I had a good look around and found that avatar on the portfolio page; from there I completed it manually.

  • 26 Steve21020 December 7, 2019, 6:24 pm

    –“OK, I confess I was being wildly optimistic but…
    UK Tax Residents only….”–

    Do you not have an address you can use in the UK? Brother, sister, mother….?

    As long as you don’t commit fraud or evade taxes, you’re perfectly okay. I used Halifax Sharebuilder for many years while in France. They just needed an address in the UK.

  • 27 Mr Blue Shoes December 7, 2019, 9:40 pm

    Re Chile Pensions. The article states that there is a mandatory 10% of salary contribution to a personal pension – less than half of that of developed nations. Have I miss read this? Most people that I speak to in this developed nation seem to contribute less than 20% including employers contribution. Naturally, being a monevator reader I contribute more. 😉

  • 28 Viktor Nebehaj December 9, 2019, 11:35 am

    Hi Kindke,

    Viktor here, I’m Freetrade’s CMO & Co-founder.

    Regarding: “I’ve heard that freetrade are able to offer you zero commission trades because they offer you an awful spread on the buy/sell”

    We never make money from the spread or include hidden commission baked into the spread. More details here: https://blog.freetrade.io/how-do-freetrades-orders-execute-5db0d35a8ea2

    Enjoy the app and buzz the team via the in-app chat if any questions!

  • 29 AAJ December 9, 2019, 2:54 pm

    “Tory chancellor pledges to review IR35 rollout in UK private sector, just like all the other parties”

    Am I the only person happy about this? For a moment I thought I might have to get a proper job next year :-/

  • 30 DavidC December 9, 2019, 2:55 pm

    @Mr Blue Shoes
    I _think_ they’re comparing Chile’s 10% with what the rest of the world pays for their pensions _including_ their state pensions. If I’m reading the article correctly, Chile’s private-sector pensions system with mandatory 10% employees contribution was instead of a state pension – part of their “neoliberal” approach to things at the time. Since then they’ve added a small state pension for the poorest workers, but that’s a tiny slice of GDP.

  • 31 Cliffo December 11, 2019, 6:43 pm

    Aviva share for me. Decent, thanks!

  • 32 Nick December 11, 2019, 8:27 pm

    £15 with Travis Perkins. Spot on!

  • 33 Brod December 11, 2019, 8:48 pm

    Ooh – Alliance Trust. I’m well chuffed. Thanks TI.

    Now, about that Active Investment course you were promising

  • 34 Kel December 11, 2019, 8:51 pm

    Sports Direct! I’m not sure how I feel about this. Free money is free money but I am not a fan of Mike Ashley.

  • 35 The Investor December 12, 2019, 12:17 am

    @all — Cheers for signing up, and for checking back and reporting what you got. Great fun! 🙂

    It’s bizarre isn’t it? The sums involved aren’t huge but it really feels like a win. Something behavioural psychological going on no doubt.

  • 36 Al December 12, 2019, 6:48 am

    I got Aviva too :o)

  • 37 Jon December 12, 2019, 4:08 pm


    Any suggestions for what to do with the deposited £1 ?!

  • 38 DP December 12, 2019, 4:45 pm

    Can Freetrade be used on a PC, or is it only app-based?

  • 39 DavidTheHedgehog December 14, 2019, 9:25 am

    Aviva for me too!

  • 40 weenie December 17, 2019, 11:48 am

    @DP – currently, Freetrade is app-based only. There is a plan to produce a web-based version but it doesn’t appear to be their priority.

  • 41 The Investor December 19, 2019, 3:51 pm

    Hi all!

    Cheers for reporting your free shares, it’s good to be involved in the fun. 🙂

    Incidentally, I’ve learned from FreeTrade that a few people signed up / created accounts but haven’t gone on to claim their free share.

    If that’s you and you still want to do so, make sure you’re funding your FreeTrade account (it need only take £1, which isn’t a cost/charge, it is money that goes into your FT trading account) and ideally fill in the W8-BEN form (a 30-second job, just tells the US tax authorities they don’t need to tax you, and makes you eligible for a free US share).

    The deal is still on at https://freetrade.io/monevator

  • 42 Sara December 20, 2019, 3:01 pm

    I had an initial problem and had to reinstall the Freetrade app but have just received a MoneySupermarket share – does that count as ironic?

  • 43 Paddy January 7, 2020, 8:08 pm

    A little late to the party but I received an Experian share today. Thanks for bringing freetrade to my attention and hope you got a good share too!

  • 44 The Investor January 8, 2020, 9:11 am

    @Paddy — Good stuff! I’ve had a nice spread of shares, thanks all, but not sure which one tallied which comment here. 🙂

Leave a Comment