February 21, 2024

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How long does it take for ETFs in the UK to settle?

ETF currency risk: How to handle it | justETF

An ETF, or exchange-traded fund, is a type of investment fund that trades on an exchange, like stocks. They offer investors access to various financial markets, including commodities, bonds, currencies, and stock indexes. 

When you trade ETFs in the UK, there are typically three different settlement times: same day (T+0), two business days after a trade is placed (T+2), and four business days after the trade is placed (T+4). The time it takes for an ETF to settle depends on the specific trading platform and your broker’s policies.

Several factors can influence how long it takes for your ETF trades to settle. The first is the trading platform that you use. Some platforms, such as Saxo Bank, offer a same-day settlement.

Another crucial factor that affects the time it takes for an ETF trade to settle is the broker you use. Some brokers will assess a fee if you request a transaction outside the standard settlement period, so checking their policies before placing any trades is essential. Additionally, some brokers will only allow you to place trades for certain types of ETFs (for example, a broker may only allow you to place trades on the FTSE 100 index or other major indexes).

Why do ETFs take longer to settle than other investment products?

One of the main reasons that ETFs take longer to settle than other investment products is that they are more complex instruments than stocks or bonds. They consist of multiple underlying securities and require constant tracking to keep prices accurate at all times. 

Additionally, because ETFs hold numerous investments, there is a higher risk of fraud or other market manipulation that you must carefully monitor.

Another crucial factor that can impact how long it takes for ETFs to settle is the trading platform used. Some platforms may take more time to process trades than others, resulting in a more extended settlement period.

What can you do to minimise the time it takes to settle ETFs?

You can do a few things to minimise the time it takes to settle ETFs in the United Kingdom and reduce your exposure to market risk. 

Use online trading platforms

First, if possible, you should use an online trading platform well-known for fast processing times and high-security standards.

Understand how ETFs work

Additionally, you should be sure that you understand how each ETF works before placing any trades or investments, as this will help you avoid making decisions based on inaccurate information.

Don’t trade too frequently

Finally, try not to trade too frequently or hold prominent positions in a single ETF. These actions can increase the likelihood of settlement delays and expose you to unnecessary risks.

What are the risks associated with trading ETFs?

The risks associated with trading ETFs can vary depending on several factors, including your trading platform and broker’s policies. Some major risks include increased market risk, fraud or other forms of market manipulation, and delayed settlement times.

One of the most significant financial risks in trading ETFs is market risk, which is related to fluctuations in prices and values. As ETFs typically hold multiple assets, they are more susceptible to these price changes than single-security investments like stocks or bonds, which means there may be a higher chance of losing money if an ETF’s underlying assets decline before you have time to sell it.

Another risk associated with trading ETFs is fraud or other forms of market manipulation. Because ETFs contain multiple securities, tracking and regulating their activities is more complex than single-security investments, making it easier for fraudsters or malicious actors to manipulate prices or transaction volumes, putting your money at risk.

In addition to these risks, ETFs can also be subject to delayed settlement times if your trading platform takes longer than usual to process trades. You may not have immediate access to your funds, which can create uncertainty and jeopardise your investments.


Overall, trading ETFs can be a complex and risky process, mainly due to the risks of market fluctuations, fraud, and delayed settlement times. To minimise these risks, choosing a reliable trading platform with high-security standards is essential as fully understanding how each ETF works before placing any trades. Additionally, you should avoid trading too frequently or holding prominent positions in a single ETF to reduce exposure to these risks.