International Retail Service (IRS)

What is the International Retail Service (IRS)?

The IRS is operated by the London Stock Exchange. It provides a simple and quick way to invest in approximately 350 European and North American blue chip stocks.

The list of stocks is updated by the LSE on a weekly basis. Popular European stocks offered include Banco Santander, Nokia, Fiat, Pirelli and Ericsson.

Stocks are structured as CDI's (CREST Depository Interests). This is a type of security held by CREST in an overseas settlement system. They trade just like any other UK listed share.

What are the benefits of the IRS?

  • Easy access - all IRS stocks, including European stocks, are available online as well as by telephone
  • UK dealing commissions apply. Find out more about our rates and charges
  • No stamp duty on North American and European Markets
  • Stocks are priced and settled in Sterling - therefore, there is no need for a FX transaction

How does the IRS compare with live market trading?

  • Costs of FX are absorbed into the bid/offer spreads quoted by Retail Service Providers. These spreads are therefore wider.
  • IRS bid/offer spreads are also wider because the IRS market is smaller and hence less liquid.
  • The service is available during normal LSE opening days and market hours. CDI's have different Mandatory Quote Periods during the UK trading day because of different time zones and global exchange hours. These are as follows:
RegionTrading Hours
USA & Canada 14.45 - 17.00
Norway 08.45 - 15.00
Italy & Sweden 08.45 - 16.00
Rest of Western Europe 08.15 - 16.00

Which account do I need to take advantage of the IRS?

You can take advantage of the IRS with our Trading and Trading accounts.

Other Requirements - Complete a W-8BEN Form. View our helpful guide here.

To begin trading on any of the international markets through the Computershare Sharedealing service, we require you to complete and return the US Internal Revenue Service form, W-8BEN. This form will also allow us to ensure that the correct amount of non-resident tax, withheld at source on US dividends, is deducted.

Need Help

Call our Customer Services team on 0370 707 1606

The value of your investments can go down as well as up. You may not get back all the funds you invest.

Brokerage Services provided by TD Direct Investing (Europe) Limited (a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank). Incorporated in England and Wales under registration number 2101863. Registered office: Exchange Court, Duncombe Street, Leeds, LS1 4AX, United Kingdom. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HS, United Kingdom (Financial Services Register Firm Reference Number 141282), member of the London Stock Exchange and the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange. VAT Registration No. 397103051.

Banking Services provided by TD Bank N.V. Incorporated in the Netherlands and registered as a branch in England and Wales under branch registration number BR006780. Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank – DNB Institution Number 481) and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register Firm Reference Number 216791). Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request

Compensation Arrangements (see also Appendix E of our Terms of Service)

The compensation arrangements applicable to your assets held with us are dependent on where your assets are held. This is set out in the terms of service.

TD Direct Investing (Europe) Limited

Stock held electronically with us is placed in safe custody with a nominee company that has been established for this purpose in accordance with FCA rules. Stock held within the customer's brokerage account is covered by the FSCS. This means that if we are unable or likely to be unable to pay claims against us, customers can apply to the FSCS for compensation.

Cash held within TD Direct Investing is protected as client money and are segregated from firms money. In the event of failure of TDDI then the funds should remain segregated and should be repaid to the client in full. Should any shortfall arise due to discrepancies on distribution then each client will be entitled to make a claim under the FSCS.

Any claim against the stock and cash will be limited to £50,000 per individual. Further information is available on the FSCS website at

Your cash is pooled with those of other clients and deposited with a number of Financial Institutions. The UK deposits are protected under the FSCS to a value of £85,000. In the interests of diversifying the risk we may invest a proportion of the pooled money in a Country outside the UK where we cannot guarantee that the money will be protected by similar Deposit Guarantee Scheme to the FSCS. The FSCS publish some useful material on this matter on

TD Bank NV

Your eligible deposits with TD Bank N.V. are protected up to a total of 100,000 euro by the Dutch Deposit Protection Scheme and are not protected by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Any deposits you hold above the 100,000 euro limit are not covered. Further information is available on the De Netherlandsche Bank website at