A Complete Guide to Knowing What ICICI Direct Offers, their Brokerage Charges and Why or Why Not it is Recommendable

The ICICI Direct which is a part of ICICI Securities ranks number one in the full-service stockbrokers’ list. It is armed by the leading private financial services provider ICICI Group which is in existence since 1994. The high-quality and customized services along with the 3-in-1 account facility are what the company counts on to be able to capture such a vast number of active clients. They have been number one in terms of active customers until 2019 when the top discount broking firm Zerodha toppled them with a client base of more than 2 million. However, ICICI Direct is the most visited trading platform in India. The reason why a lot of investors and traders would want to trade through this company is that they not only provide the general stockbroking products and services but also a huge range of insurance products, financial distribution products, investment banking, institutional trading, wealth management services, Home Loans, Bonds, Fixed Deposits, IPO services, NCDs and loan against shares. They were the first in India to start issuing digitally signed contract notes to its customers and since then it had been automated by each stockbroker.

In this review article, we are going to discuss how was ICICI Direct originated, the brokerage and other charges they charge, why it is recommendable to trade through this retail stockbroking firm, what disadvantages an investor will have to accept if they trade with them, what range of other products and services they offer apart from the stockbroking service and much more.  

The History of ICICI Direct about When and Who started this Leading Arm of the ICICI Group

ICICI Group was founded in 1994 and in 1995 they started a Public Limited Company, ICICI Securities Limited to provide stockbroking services. To provide online brokerage facilities, they launched ICICI Direct in 2000 and since then the company is ever-growing with more than 4 million operational accounts with them. In the following years, it started adding new products and facilities such as online mutual funds platform, derivatives direct link, Buy Today Sell Tomorrow, Government of India Bonds, online currency derivatives, private wealth management services, National Pension System facilities, SIP in equity, ‘F&O at Fingertips’, centre for Financial Learning, Lifetime prepaid brokerage plans, income tax return filing facility, Target Investment Plans, online document storage service, tutorial programs through ‘Webetorial’, SPAN based margining for Futures & Options, eLearn for investors new to the market and the list continues. They introduced the distribution of online insurance products and website for Active Traders Service through ‘On the Move’. They have also come up with inflation-indexed National Savings Securities, investment advisory services, Flexi Cash Facilities, equity-linked debentures, consolidated portfolio statement, ‘iGain Brokerage’, Insta accounts facility, Robo based advisory service called ‘Track and Act’, ‘bullet trade’, overseas trading facilities, ‘multi price order’, ‘One Click Investment for Mutual Funds and so on. 

This technology-first brokerage firm also provides health and insurance facilities through the same platform and hence it is considered as an all-in-one solution for any investor or a trader. Since it is a part of the biggest financial service provider company their products related to financial distribution service, wealth management, home loans and loan against shares are also considered one of the best facilities provided by any brokerage firm in India. With their PAN India presence, they operate in more than 87 locations in India with over 1500 offices and branches all over the country. Not only that, but they also have their global presence through a strategic partnership with online multi-asset trading platform. The retail broking firm provides the simplest form of trading facilities and other financial instruments along with their banking services. The main advantage for any investor or trader to trade with this company is that they offer banking-related services and also provide in-person consultation with regards to the market-related queries and knowledge.  

List of Charges: Brokerage and Transaction Charges, Account Opening Charges and Other Related Charges

I-Secure Plan (Flat Brokerage Plan)

SegmentBrokerage
Equity Delivery0.55%
Equity Intraday0.28%
Eq Margin & Margin Plus0.05%
Eq Future & Future Plus0.05%
Eq Future & Future Plus (Intraday)₹50
Currency Futures0.05%
Currency Futures (Intraday)₹10 per lot
Options & Option Plus₹95 per lot
Options & Option Plus (Intraday)₹50 per lot
Currency Options₹25 per lot
Currency Options (Intraday)₹10 per lot
NCDs / Bonds0.75%

Prepaid Brokerage Plan

Prepaid PlanBrokerage – CashBrokerage – FutureBrokerage – OptionseATM limitMargin Trading Interest Rate(yearly)
₹10,0000.25%0.03%₹35/lot₹10 Lacs12.90%
₹25,0000.22%0.02%₹30/lot₹10 Lacs12.90%
₹50,0000.18%0.02%₹25/lot₹25 Lacs11.40%
₹100,0000.15%0.02%₹20/lot₹1 Cr8.90%
₹200,0000.12%0.01%₹15/lot₹1 Cr8.90%
₹300,0000.09%0.01%₹10/lot₹1 Cr8.90%

Prime Plan

PlanEquity CashFuturesOptionsMargin Trading Interest Rate(yearly)
₹9000.25%0.03%₹35 per lot12.90%
₹45000.18%0.02%₹25 per lot11.40%
₹95000.15%0.02%₹20 per lot8.90%

Account Opening Charges

TransactionCharges
Trading Account Opening Charges (One Time)₹975
Trading Annual maintenance charges (AMC)₹0
Demat Account Opening Charges (One Time)₹0
Demat Account Annual Maintenance Charges AMC (Yearly Fee)₹700
NRI non-UK Clients Account Opening Charges (One-time)₹4000
NRI UK Clients Account Opening Charges (One-time)₹6000

NRI Equity Brokerage Charges

Total Eligible Turnover (Volume of Transaction) per monthBrokerage
Trades above Rs. 50,00,000/- (Above Rs. 50 lacs)0.50 %
Rs . 25,00,001/- to Rs. 50,00,000/- (Rs. 25 lacs to Rs. 50 lacs)0.75 %
Rs . 10,00,001/- to Rs. 25,00,000/- (Rs. 10 lacs to Rs. 25 lacs)0.90 %
Rs . 5,00,001/- to Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rs. 5 lacs to Rs. 10 lacs)1.00 %
Up to Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rs. 5 lacs)1.25 %

Margin Exposure

SegmentMargin
Equity Delivery5x with Interest
Equity IntradayUp to 25x
Equity Future4x
Equity Options2x for shorting

Key Features

  • It is the first full-service broker to launch a digital trading platform and electronically signed contract notes.
  • It has a PAN India presence with over 1500 offices in India and they also have their branches operating outside India too.
  • To educate investors and traders, they have launched ‘eLearn Portal’, ‘Webetorial’, and many other online tutorials and videos where their users can understand the fundamentals of the market.
  • With the most visited trading platform, ICICI Direct enjoys a customer-base of more than 2 million which is the second largest after Zerodha – a discount broking firm.
  • They also provide customer-centric brokerage plans based on the requirements by each investor and trader being either a regular investor or an active trader. 
  • Wide range of products and services have made them number one in financial service industries. 
  • They offer Robot-based as well as in-person research and advisory services to their clients and every year they add some of the other new feature or a product or service.

Products and Features

ICICI Direct is said to be the most competitive broking company in India as they launch and innovate products and services every year considering investors needs and their ease of trading with them.

Products: From Banking to Insurance to Equity, Currency, Derivatives Trading, Mutual Funds, Forex and SIP everything they offer under their full-service retail brokerage arm. However, they do not offer Commodities trading.

Services: The extensive services offered by the full-service broker contains Demat, Trading, Intraday, IPO, Stock tips, Robo Advisory, Research and eLearning services and Portfolio Management Services. The company is known for providing tailor-made services. Since they offer 3-in-1 account services, many investors would prefer to trade with them despite being charged the high brokerage costs.

Research and Advisory: The online and offline research service provider also presents to their clients for free the fundamental reports, in-depth research reports, company analytical reports, exclusive company stock reviews by the experts of ICICI Direct, daily market overview and not only that they also assign a dedicated relationship manager to every new user who would want to have in-person assistance.

Web-based Trading Platform: This high-speed and technology-driven web-based trading platform was one of the first best online trading platforms that started online trading in India in 2000. They also have charting, analytics and fundamental statistics reports feature enabled on this platform for any investor or trader to understand the performance of their portfolios. It also offers multiple widgets that can be customized based on the specific needs of every user.

Trade Racer: It is the direct trade terminal that allows users to access the live market streaming with real-time updates across various exchanges and related technical and fundamental analysis for effective trading decisions for their investors and traders.

Mobile Trading App: It allows customers to keep track of their portfolio along with equity-based trading across various exchanges along with the related stock tips and recommendations. The app also offers easy to access tools to trade and invest in mutual funds and generate corporate FDs.

Pros and Cons

There are many advantages to trade with the full-service retail broker due to its offerings in various segments and high-quality services. However, those who are well-versed with the market can find few disadvantages due to their vast experience of trading with other firms too and hence below are the general pros and cons that may be subjective for each person.

Pros: 

  • Their products and services are ranked value for money in the stockbroking industry due to their additions and innovations to new products and services almost every year.
  • The users also get an advantage of learning the stock market fundamentals from the panel of experts through their ‘Webetorial’ and eLearning portal.  
  • They have a PAN India presence in many cities across the country as well as outside India. 
  • Their trading platforms are based on advanced technologies and provide very smooth trading experience to their users which is self-explanatory. The availability of multiple widgets on such platforms makes their customer’s trading experience with an efficient decision-making process.
  • They offer a dedicated team of customer support executives who are well-structured and for the personalized needs, they also provide the relationship managers. They also offer in-person consultation for new entrants in the market. 
  • It serves as your one-stop solution for your trading as well as financial related needs. 
  • The variety of brokerage plans are offered considering specific requirements and different types of investors and traders. 

Cons:

  • They charge a bit too high brokerage charges from their users for the trading through various platforms and these charges are non-negotiable.
  • They also have a minimum brokerage charge system where the customers are charged certain minimum brokerage irrespective of their trading quantity.
  • They do not offer commodity trading.
  • They offer Demat account services only if users have a bank account with ICICI Bank.