Choosing a broker is an important step when starting to invest. There are many different options available, so picking the right one for you is challenging. We take a closer look at ING Self Invest, a broker based in Belgium and started by ING bank. We'll look at the pros and cons, the fees, convenience of setting up an account and safety. By the end, you'll be able to decide if ING Self Invest is a right broker for you to invest your savings, or if another broker suits you better.
Pros and cons of using ING Self Invest
Read on to get the full low-down of ING Self Invest.
The story of ING Self Invest
ING launched their own trading platform aimed for do it yourself investors in September 2021 called ING Self Invest. Trying to catch up to their bank rival KBC's Bolero or Belfius's Re=Bel, ING Self Invest focuses on offering an easy way to put your money to work and start trading in only a few minutes (provided you're already an ING customer).
ING Self Invest makes it easy to buy stocks, ETFs, funds and bonds. You can access their service directly in your Home'Bank app or on the web. Their goal is to attract younger Belgian investors by providing an easy app to invest.
Note that ING Self Invest is only available to you if you're an existing ING customer. If you wish to use ING Self Invest, you have to sign up for a bank account with ING first and then you'll be able to access the app.
It's free to create an account. You'll pay a transaction fee for whenever you buy or sell something.
ING Self Invest charges higher transaction fees for higher transaction amounts, and different fees per exchange. This fee structure is fairly standard for a broker but can make the whole process a bit confusing. Their pricing is fairly competitive for the Belgian broker market, but only for small transactions.
Essentially, you'll pay a 0.35% transaction fee when buying on Euronext Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris. The fee for the other exchanges is 0.5%. Let's take a look at some example transactions for buying stocks and ETFs:
ING Self Invest charges a custody fee
However, ING Self Invest charges a slightly hidden fee, namely a custody fee of 0.0242% per month on your total investment. This is quite rare for a broker and something to consider when choosing a broker for the long-term.
Fee for currency conversion
ING Self Invest charges a maximum 1% fee if you don't have an account in the transaction currency. For example, if you're buying a US stock, they'll automatically convert your euros into US dollars.
It's expensive to move your assets
ING Self Invest charges €96.80 per security you wish to move to another broker. Incoming transfers are free though.
Fees for ETFs
For ETFs, ING Self Invest has two prices. When buying on the Euronext Amsterdam, Euronext Brussels or Euronext Paris exchange, the transaction fee is 0.35% of the amount, with a minimum of €1.00. For the other exchanges, the fee increases to 0.5% with a minimum of €1. IWDA can be bought on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, so buying €1,000 worth will cost €3.50. This is an average price compared to other brokers.
Find out all the fees on ING Self Invest's website.
Convenience of ING Self Invest
As ING Self Invest is a Belgian broker owned by ING and only for their own customers, they handle a lot of the heavy lifting for Belgian investors.
TOB ("beurstaks" / "taxe boursière")
There’s a tax on the transaction every time you buy or sell a security in Belgium. The rules concerning the tax rate are complicated, also for ETFs. Depending on the characteristics of the ETF, the transaction tax varies between 0.12% and 1.32%.
Fortunately, ING Self Invest handles the payment and declaration of the TOB for you.
There’s a 30% tax on dividends that you perceive through shares that you hold. This tax is applicable to individual stocks but also to distributing funds.
As ING Self Invest is registered in Belgium, they automatically withhold and declare the dividend tax for you.
For ETFs that consist of at least 10% bonds, there is a 30% tax on the profits made when selling. For example, if you bought a bond ETF at €100 and end up selling it later for €130, your net profit will only be €21. The other €9 will go to the Belgian state through this tax.
Again, ING Self Invest handles the Reynders tax for you so you don't have to worry.
Does ING Self Invest require declaring the account to the Belgian National Bank?
No need, as they are Belgian and part of ING.
Automated savings plans
ING Self Invest doesn't offer any saving plans or any type of automation for their customers. You'll have to manually send money towards your account to top it up.
ING bank isn't known as a very customer-friendly bank. They've closed down a lot of branches in Belgium over the last few years. You're able to call them and set up a chat via your ING app. However, they are slow to respond to requests and are more helpful if you're using their ING "Easy Invest" plan or putting money in their actively managed products.
Similar to many brokers in Belgium, ING Self Invest does not offer fractional shares. You're forced to buy whole units of shares. Combined with the relative high fees, it becomes very impractical to invest on a monthly basis when using ING Self Invest. You almost have to resort to consolidating your monthly investments into large and infrequent contributions, like every quarter or six months.
Setting up an account
Let's dig into the details of setting up your ING Self Invest account for the first-time.
ING Self Invest uses itsme
Unfortunately, you need an ING bank account to use ING Self Invest. Opening a bank account with them can take a few days. However, you can create a new ING account using itsme. At least this speeds up the process.
Account openings for ING customers are instantaneous
Once you're an ING customer, setting up an ING Self Invest account is very quick.
Create an account on the web and mobile
Besides a web platform, ING Self Invest is accessible through the ING home banking mobile app for both iOS and Android.
Ease of use: 2/5
As it's a trading app, ING Self Invest shows many details that aren't very relevant to most investors, especially for buy-and-hold index investors. The app itself is fairly smooth and it's easy to find a specific stock or ETF you wish to purchase. However, being only able to create an ING Self Invest account through your ING bank account means you're stuck with a bank account you may not have wanted. That's why we've rated it a 2 out of 5!
Does ING Self Invest offer children accounts?
Unfortunately, ING Self Invest does not offer children accounts. The investments will have to be in your name.
Does ING Self Invest offer joint accounts?
Yes, you can set up a joint account on ING Self Invest if you already have a joint account on ING.
Is ING Self Invest safe?
Who is the regulator?
ING Self Invest is owned by one of Belgium's biggest banks, ING. This provides us with a sense of safety for our assets, especially if we're investing a large chunk of our life savings. They are regulated by the Belgian regulator, the FSMA.
Have they had any issues with the regulator?
Based on our research, we can't find any information that ING Self Invest has had any issues with any regulator.
How much of your assets are protected by the investor protection scheme?
Your assets are protected up to €20,000.
Is your cash protected by the deposit guarantee scheme?
Yes, if you have a cash balance on your ING Self Invest account, it's protected up to €100,000.
Does ING Self Invest do securities lending?
They do not do securities lending. This means you don't risk certain types of counterparty risk.
Does ING Self Invest do payment for order flow?
ING Self Invest does not do payment for order flow. PFOF is a notable source of income for many new brokers, including Trade Republic. This practice involves routing your orders to certain market makers, who then pay the broker for the right of executing these orders. PFOF can work at your detriment, as brokers may prioritise payment over executing the best possible trade for you.
ING Self Invest vs other brokers
We also compared ING Self Invest with other brokers in our guide for best brokers in Belgium.
The easier way: Curvo
Brokers push you to trade and to pick individual companies to invest in. Rather than picking individual stocks such as Amazon or Tesla, index funds are a way to buy the whole market, across all sectors and regions of the world. Essentially, you own a small portion of thousands of companies throughout the world. Instead of betting on a particular company, you are placing a bet on the global economy.
Rather than having to pick the right stocks or ETFs among the thousands available through a broker like ING Self Invest, you invest in a portfolio that is tailored to you and your goals. These portfolios are composed of globally diversified index funds, meaning you earn a piece of the growth of the global economy, and they're best suited to make the most of your savings long term. And they're secure, as they're managed by NNEK, a Dutch investment firm under supervision of the regulator in the Netherlands (AFM).
We believe that investing is an important tool for our generation to improve our financial well-being and to prepare for our future. We are building Curvo to fulfil that vision, by making good investing easy and accessible to all:
- Diversified portfolio set up for you: The best portfolio for you is built by NNEK based on your time horizon and financial goals. Simply answer a short questionnaire and you’ll get everything set up for you.
- Automated savings plans: Through Curvo’s app you can set up a monthly contribution from €50. That means that money is automatically invested for you in your portfolio. Put your savings on autopilot!
- Fractional shares: All the money you send towards your portfolio is fully invested by NNEK. No cash is left on the side.
- No TOB: Significant savings as the portfolios aren’t liable for the Belgian transaction tax (or "TOB"). This saves you between 0.12% and 1.32% for every time you buy or sell!
- Sustainable investments: Your investments focus on one guiding principle: don’t invest in companies that are considered destructive to the planet. This means that sectors like non-renewable energy, vice products, weapons and controversial companies are all excluded.
- Project yourself into the future: Through Curvo you can see how much your portfolio is expected to be worth in the future. You can answer questions like “how will increasing my monthly contribution by €50, €100 or €200 affect my long-term savings?” to give a concrete idea for the “future you”.
Learn more on how it compares to investing through a broker.
ING Self Invest is a relatively new player for the Belgian market having only launched a couple of years ago. Considering you can only create an account on ING Self Invest by being an ING customer is quite a significant barrier to entry. The ease of use of ING Self Invest being integrated into the ING app (if you're a customer) is convenient especially as they handles all the taxes and administration for you.
However, its most important drawback is that it's expensive in comparison to other brokers. The fees add up and negatively impact your returns, especially if you're trying to invest on a monthly basis. Plus, ING Self Invest is one of the few brokers to charge a custody fee which makes it unattractive for the long-term.
Questions you may have
What is the best broker in Belgium?
The answer is: it depends on your expectations! Brokers vary in terms of convenience, safety and price. We suggest you go through our list of best brokers in Belgium.