(Alliance News) - UK investors will have the ability to invest in some of the most highly valued companies in the US for as little as USD5, under a new scheme launched on Tuesday by Charles Schwab.

Charles Schwab, the Westlake, Texas-based investment broker, with 35.4 million active brokerage accounts, said it is launching Schwab stock slices for UK investors.

Stock slices are fractional shares that allow investors to own part of a share of a listed S&P 500 company.

Charles Schwab said stock slices are rising in popularity amongst retail investors as a more affordable way to invest in leading companies.

Using Schwab stock slices, UK investors will now have the ability to invest in some of America's top companies for as little as USD5, even if their full shares cost more.

As fractional share owners, Schwab customers will receive dividends from the companies they invest in, proportionate to the percentage of the share they own.

Charles Schwab said the launch follows retail investors' "sustained engagement" in equity markets in recent months.

The latest Schwab trading activity index revealed Schwab clients were net buyers of equities in April amid market volatility.

Popular names bought by Schwab clients during the period included Nvidia Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Super Micro Computer Inc, Amazon.com Inc, and Microsoft Corp.

Charles Schwab UK Managing Director Richard Flynn, said: "Schwab Stock Slices are designed to make it much more affordable for UK retail investors to expand their investment options in the US market. We believe our platform provides one of the most affordable and insightful ways to invest in American businesses."

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

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