Stop loss and limit orders
Automated investment instructions
What are stop loss and limit orders?
Stop loss and limit orders allow investors to set a price which, if reached, trigger an instruction to buy or sell a particular share.
Publication of limit orders
By choosing to use our online limit order service you agree that Hargreaves Lansdown will not disclose or publish details of your unexecuted limit orders. The publishing of limit orders instructed over the telephone, and not immediately executed, is at the discretion and control of a 3rd party market maker. Any such telephone orders will be accepted at our discretion on a “good for the day” basis and if not executed, will be cancelled at the end of the day.
All executed limit orders are charged at our normal online and telephone dealing rates, determined by how you place your instruction. There is no additional charge should your order be published on the market. Find out more about our charges.
Types of order
- Buy limit - An order to buy a share, which is triggered if the offer price drops to, or below, a price set by you.
- Sell limit - An order to sell an existing shareholding which is triggered if the bid price rises to, or above, a price set by you.
- Stop loss - An order to sell an existing shareholding which is triggered if the bid price falls to, or below, a price (the stop price) set by you. This could be used when you buy a share to give you some protection and help minimise the loss should the share price fall.
The below terms and conditions relate to the online limit order and stop loss order service. By choosing to use this service you acknowledge that you understand and accept these terms. These terms supplement the terms and conditions that apply to your overall HL Account.
Hargreaves Lansdown cannot guarantee that your stop loss or limit order will be executed, even if the share price reaches the limit price or stop price you have set. If you are not comfortable with this, you should not use this service.
After the share price reaches the limit price or stop price you set we will attempt to place your deal in the market. However, share prices can change in seconds and if a share price has moved by the time we attempt to place your deal it may not be executed at the price you have set, or at all.
Limit orders - If the bid price is lower than your sell limit price or the offer price is higher than your buy limit price when we attempt to place your deal, it will not be dealt and your limit order will remain pending until it is successfully executed or expires.
Stop loss orders - If the bid price is higher than your stop loss price when we attempt to place your deal, it will not be dealt and your stop loss order will remain pending until it is successfully executed or expires. However where, on occasion, we are able to obtain an improvement on that bid price though our Price Improver service we may execute your order at a price above your stop loss price.
If the bid price is lower than your stop loss price when we attempt to place your deal, we will continue to place your deal at the lower price. In some cases a share price that is falling could ‘gap’, for example moving straight from £1.20 to £0.90; if a stop price was set at £1.19 the shares would still be sold at £0.90.
There are a number of other factors that could prevent your order being executed even if the limit or stop price is reached.
- Market conditions at the time, such as a 'fast market' where the market is so volatile that the prices quoted by market makers are indicative rather than guaranteed.
- Other clients’ limit or stop loss orders that are placed at similar limit or stop prices but were placed at an earlier time than your own order, and are therefore executed in priority to your order.
- Operational factors such as the London Stock Exchange being unable to provide live prices.
- Hargreaves Lansdown suspending the service (we reserve the right to do this at any time if we deem it prudent to do so).
- The size of the order.
- Other factors that are outside our control.
The size of order that can be executed automatically for each share will be set by the market makers we use, and can change. If your order is too big to be placed automatically, where possible we will endeavour to place it manually.
Share prices can fluctuate considerably, and you may see extreme price ‘spikes’. Certain factors may also cause the bid-offer spread (the difference between the buying and selling prices) of an investment to widen. Both of these situations may only last for a few minutes or less, but they could nevertheless trigger your limit or stop loss order.
Some stocks simply have wider bid-offer spreads; therefore you should ensure you know the bid price of the share before deciding how far away to set your stop price.
Some stocks are more volatile than others. You should bear this in mind when deciding how far away from the current share price to set your stop or limit price.
We do not accept any liability for any loss or potential loss you may suffer if there is a delay in execution of a limit or stop loss order, a stop loss order is executed below the stop price or there is failure to execute a limit or stop loss order.
General terms & conditions
Limit orders are available on UK listed stocks, however we reserve the right to amend the range of stocks for which limit and stop loss orders are available.
We will attempt to execute limit orders and stop loss orders as soon as practicable. All orders will be executed in the order we receive them.
Limit orders and stop loss orders can only be executed during normal market hours and only if:
- In the case of sales, you hold sufficient quantity of stock in your Hargreaves Lansdown account.
- In the case of purchases (i.e. buy limit orders only), you hold sufficient monies in your Hargreaves Lansdown account to cover the intended purchase.
- The limit and stop loss orders service is available (we reserve the right to withdraw or amend the facility to place limit orders or stop loss orders at any time).
If these criteria are not met your limit order or stop loss order will be cancelled in full; partial execution is not available.
No limit orders or stop orders will be executed in the first thirty seconds of the trading day.
Limit orders and stop loss orders will be executed on an all–or-nothing basis. Partial execution is not available.
In the event of a corporate action or stock suspension we may, but are not obliged to, cancel your pending limit order or stop loss order.
You may cancel a limit order or stop loss order providing that it has not been executed or is not in the process of being executed. It is your responsibility to check that your instruction to cancel has been accepted.
Limit orders and stop loss orders expire after 90 calendar days. They are deleted after close of business on the day of expiry.