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Compare the UK’s cheapest online brokers

Last updated on 2 February 2019.

Behold! An at-a-glance cost comparison of the UK’s main online brokers and investment platforms. These services enable you to buy, manage, and sell your funds, shares, investment trusts and ETFs at a cheap price. All these services are online and execution-only.

The Good for column shows what we think is the best deal by price, relative to account type and portfolio mix.1

This table is edited by fallible human beings. Do your own research. We fix mistakes as soon as possible but we cannot be held liable or accountable for any errors. Please add updates or erratas in the comments below.

Like other price comparison websites, we may be paid a bonus if you sign-up via a link. This does not affect what you pay.

Flat fee brokers / platforms


Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing: Funds Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee2 Good for
Interactive Investor3    £90 £22.50 worth of free trades every quarter £10* £10* £1 £0
Shares ISA
Trading  –
SIPP + £120 + £120 p.a. drawdown Fund portfolios over £84K, mixed ETF/fund portfolios over £68K4
ShareDeal Active Telephone dealing only for funds £9.50 £9.50 £12 per holding + £60 account closure
Shares ISA £60 £18 cash withdrawal
Trading £18 cash withdrawal
SIPP £118.80 No fee for first year. + £180 p.a. drawdown
Halifax Share Dealing £12.50 £12.50 £2
Shares ISA £12.50 £25 per holding. £125 max Alternative to Lloyds, Selftrade
Trading £25 per holding. £125 max Alternative to Lloyds, Share Centre, Selftrade
SIPP £90 if SIPP worth less than £50K. £180 if SIPP more than £50K + £180 p.a. drawdown £60 per transfer. Max £300 £25 per holding (£215 max) +£90
iWeb £25 one-off account opening charge Does not apply to SIPP £5 £5 Large portfolios and infrequent traders, check vs ii, Lloyds, Share Centre, and Halifax
Shares ISA £25 per holding. £125 max
Trading £25 per holding. £125 max
SIPP £90 if SIPP worth less than £50K. £180 if SIPP more than £50K + £180 p.a. drawdown £60 per transfer. Max £300 £25 per holding (£215 max) +£90
Lloyds Bank Share Dealing £40 Only one £40 charge if you hold ISA and trading account £1.50 £11* £1.50 £25 per holding. £125 max
Shares ISA Fund portfolios over £26K5, unrestricted mixed ETF/fund portfolios6
Trading Fund portfolios over £26K7, unrestricted mixed ETF/fund portfolios8
SIPP n/a
HSBC Invest Direct £42 Charge per account £10.50 (£39.95 for gilts) £15 per holding
Shares ISA
Trading  –
SIPP n/a
The Share Centre 1%. £7.50 min* 1%. £7.50 min* 0.5%. Min £1 £25 per holding Large trading accounts
Shares ISA £57.60
Trading £21.60 Alternative to Lloyds, Selftrade
SIPP £172.80 + £234 p.a. drawdown  + £125
Alliance Trust Savings 4 free trades p.a. £9.99* £9.99* £1.50
Shares ISA £120 £120
Trading £120 £72
SIPP £252 £342 p.a. drawdown 1% of value capped at £1809

Note: Charges may actually be due per month, quarter, six monthly or annually. We’ve chosen to show annual cost of service. All prices include VAT. *A frequent trader rate or bonus is also available. Other charges may be applicable that aren’t included in the table.

Percentage fee brokers / platforms


Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing:
Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee10 Good for
Vanguard Investor 0.15% on first £250,000, 0% thereafter. Tiered charge. Max £375 Investments restricted to Vanguard funds and ETFs only £0 £0 twice per day, £7.50 to trade at other times £0 £0 Beats other % fee brokers in most cases and flat-fee brokers up to £46-£56K but restricted range
Shares ISA Fund portfolios up to £43K, mixed ETF/fund up to £56K, ETF portfolios up to £47K
Trading Fund portfolios up to £43K, mixed ETF/fund up to £56K, ETF portfolios up to £47K
SIPP n/a
Close Brothers 0.25% on all investments £0 £8.95 £0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA
SIPP £0 drawdown
Cavendish Online 0.25% on all investments 0.20% on whole balance if over £200K in all accounts combined £0 £10 £1.50
(Not charged on funds)
£0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA Fund portfolios below £26K
Trading Fund portfolios below £26K
SIPP Fund portfolios below £84K, mixed ETF/fund below £84K
HSBC Global Investment Centre 0.25% on all investments Trackers restricted to HSBC index funds only £0 £0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA
SIPP n/a
Charles Stanley Direct 0.35% on first £250,000 of funds11 0.35% on shares, ETFs and ITs. Min £24 / Max £24012 £0 £11.50 £10 per holding
Shares ISA
SIPP + £120 No £120 charge if £30,000+ across all accounts. + £60 p.a. drawdown + £150
Selftrade 0.3% on first £50K of funds. 0.25% £50K – £250K. 0.15% over £250K. £1,000 max. Tiered + £12.50 (+ £4.99 per account) minus dealing fees/fund platform charges per quarter. Min £0 / Max £89.92 p.a. £0 buy, £10.99* sell £9.99* ETFs,£10.99* shares £1.50 ETF portfolios with unrestricted range
Shares ISA £15 per holding Unrestricted ETF portfolios13
Trading £4.99 quarterly account charge waived if you own ISA / SIPP £15 per holding Unrestricted ETF portfolios14
SIPP + £118.80 + £180 p.a. drawdown £90
Fidelity 0.35% on all assets worth £7500 – £250,00015 Assets under £7500 = £45 p.a. or 0.35% with monthly savings plan16 £0 £0
Shares ISA ETF and IT fees capped at £45 £10 £1.50 (Not charged on funds)
Trading ETF and IT fees waived £10 £1.50 (Not charged on funds)
SIPP ETF and IT fees capped at £45 £0 drawdown 0.1% (ETFs / ITs) ETF portfolios – restricted range
AJ Bell Youinvest 0.25% on first £250,000 of funds17 0.25% on first £250K then 0.1% on next £750K etc £1.50 £9.95* £1.50 £25 per holding
Shares ISA + 0.25% charge (max £30) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds
Trading + 0.25% charge (max £30) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds
SIPP + 0.25% charge (max £100) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds. + £120 p.a. drawdown + £90 Unrestricted ETF portfolios
Bestinvest Platform fee applies to all investments Tiered charge e.g. 0.4% on first £250K, 0.2% on next £750K etc £0 £7.50
Shares ISA 0.4% on first £250,00018 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million
Trading 0.4% on first £250,00019 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million
SIPP £100 p.a, plus 0.3% on first £250,00020. + £120 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million. £120 p.a. drawdown21 + £150
Barclays Smart Investor 0.2% on funds (£48 min, £1500 max) 0.1% on ETFs, ITs, shares, bonds (£48 min, £1500 max) £3 £6* £1 £0
Shares ISA
SIPP + £150 + £120 p.a. drawdown £90 per transfer capped at £450 + £90
Hargreaves Lansdown 0.45% on first £250,000 of funds22 Tiered charge. You pay 0.45% on first £250K then 0.25% on next £750K etc £0 £11.95* £1.50 (Not charged on funds) £30 account closure + £25 per holding
Shares ISA + 0.45% charge (max £45) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds
SIPP + 0.45% (max £200) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds £0 drawdown
Aviva 0.4% on first £50,000 of funds23 Tiered charge. You pay 0.4% on first £50K then 0.35% on next £200K etc £0 £0
Shares ISA
SIPP £0 drawdown

Note: Charges may actually be due per month, quarter, six monthly or annually. We’ve chosen to show annual cost of service. All prices include VAT. *A frequent trader rate or bonus is also available. Other charges may be applicable that aren’t included in the table.

Share dealing brokers


Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing:
Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee24 Good for
Degiro  – Degiro may lend out your shares. A custody account avoids this but charges €1 + 3% (max 10%) for dividend payouts25 n/a Commission free ETF selection. €2 + 0.038% for other ETFs. £1.75 + 0.022% for shares26 €10 per holding €10 per holding No trading costs on select ETF range,27 frequent traders
Shares ISA n/a
SIPP n/a
X-O.co.uk No funds n/a £5.95 £18 per holding
Shares ISA + £60 account closure
SIPP £118.80 No fee for first year. + £180 in drawdown + £60 Alternative to Interactive Investor
Interactive Brokers $10 inactivity fee per month. Reduced by value of trades28 $10,000 min to open account. $20 inactivity fee if equity balance below $2,00029 n/a £630 International shares / ETFs
Shares ISA
SIPP Fees vary

Note:Note: Charges may actually be due per month, quarter, six monthly or annually. We’ve chosen to show annual cost of service. All prices include VAT. Other charges may be applicable that aren’t included in the table.

Who is this online broker comparison table aimed at?

We have focussed on low cost platforms that suit DIY investors who want to build a diversified portfolio through index funds and ETFs. The Good for column is therefore biased towards passive investors.

Percentage fee brokers are much better for small investors whose assets are likely to remain below £25,000 (in an ISA) or £70,000 (in a SIPP) for some time to come. If you can only invest small amounts at a time then choose a broker who charges £0 for fund dealing. (Aim to pay no more than 0.5% of your contribution in dealing costs, at the very most).

Fixed fees take a disproportionate chunk out of the assets of small investors. This is why Charles Stanley, Close Bros or Cavendish Online are generally the best for small investors using ISAs and Cavendish Online is best for small investors using SIPPs.

Flat fee brokers are better for most investors who’ve accumulated over £25,000 (in an ISA) or £85,000 (in a SIPP) – percentage fees can siphon off eye-watering amounts if your broker doesn’t apply a cap. Sadly, the table is complicated because every broker is trying to carve out a niche for itself by offering something slightly different to its competitors.

That means there is no one size fits all solution. The Good for column in the table gives you an idea of each broker’s strengths.

Our calculations assume one purchase per month and four sales per year, and that you take advantage of lower priced regular investment schemes when available. Portfolios consist of funds or ETFs or a 50:50 mix.

ETFs vs fund portfolios – Below around £25,000 you’re probably better off with funds. There’s very little to separate Interactive Investor, Halifax, Lloyds, iWeb, YouInvest, Selftrade and Share Centre above that level if you’re a moderate trader using either product type. Ultimately, product OCFs, your trading frequency and picking the right tracker for the job will be more important.

Beginners starting in funds should look at Cavendish Online or Close Bros. 
Low traders – check iWeb and Halifax for ISAs.
Whichever broker you plump for, do check it carries the funds you require. There is considerable variation in range between platforms.

Where is my missing broker?

We haven’t included every last option in this version of our table but we have included the most competitive players in the market. Do let us know if you think we’ve missed anyone important.

More on costs and fees

The ‘Platform charge’ category is intended to capture the various types of service fee typically levied by platforms i.e. custody fee, platform charge, administration fee, inactivity fee and so on until the end of time / your tether.

Assume platform charges are levied per account unless otherwise indicated in the notes column or the footnotes.

Platforms levy various additional costs for extras such as telephone trading. Check a platform’s rates and charges schedule before committing.

These costs are on top of the suite of fees you will pay for investment products such as the Ongoing Charge Figure (OCF).

Take some time to calculate the likely cost of your portfolio when choosing the right broker.

SIPP charges on the table don’t include the various additional fees levied for services once you’re in drawdown.

Platforms run temporary offers and discounts from time-to-time. These are ignored as investing is for the long-term.

Understanding account names

Accounts names vary across the discount broker universe. However they typically conform to the following types:

  • Trading = taxable account i.e. not an ISA or a SIPP. Suitable investments typically include funds, shares,Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Investment Trusts (ITs), bonds and more.
  • Shares ISA = Stocks and Shares ISA. Tax sheltered. Suitable investments as above.
    • SIPP = Self-Invested Personal Pension. Tax sheltered. Suitable investments as above.

Why are there only links to some brokers?

Links to brokers are affiliate links, where we may be paid a fee if you go on to open an account with them. We do not choose to include brokers in our table based on whether such affiliate fees are on offer, nor does the existence of such an arrangement change the fees you pay – it is a marketing payment made by them as an incentive for websites to drive traffic to their site. We’d like more brokers to pay us when we introduce new customers – it helps us pay our way on Monevator! Including all brokers but only linking where an affiliate agreement is in place was the best compromise we could come up with.

What this table won’t tell you

Some of these brokers may not be regulated by the UK authorities. Please check directly with each broker, and read our guide to investor compensation schemes to understand why this matters.

We’ve not considered customer service and fringe benefits such as website user experience and research tools, which may be meaningful. Ask away here or at Money Saving Expert’s Savings & Investments board, the ex-Motley Foolers on the Lemon Fool board, or reddit for a broader opinion.

We haven’t accounted for exclusive, discounted funds. Most platforms stock much the same range but the bigger players in the market can negotiate slight fee discounts on certain funds. If you’re tempted by those ‘bargain’ offers then make very sure that your overall cost of investment isn’t more expensive once you load the platforms fees on top.

Please tell us about additions or corrections using the comment form below. Please supply a Web link to your data if possible in your comment to help us verify what should go into the table.

We’ll keep this table as up-to-date as possible, and conduct a sweeping review every three months.

  1. Our calculations assume one purchase per month and four sales per year, and that you take advantage of lower priced regular investment schemes when available. Portfolios consist of funds or ETFs or a 50:50 mix. []
  2. Out to another broker []
  3. Also known as ii []
  4. £84K vs Cavendish []
  5. £43K vs Vanguard []
  6. £56K vs Vanguard []
  7. £43K vs Vanguard []
  8. £56K vs Vanguard []
  9. No charge for SIPP opened after 31 Mar 2017 if you’re over 55. []
  10. Out to another broker []
  11. 0.2% £250,001 – £500,000, 0.15% £500,001 – £1million, 0.05%£1million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million. []
  12. Charge waived by 1 trade per month. []
  13. £46K vs Vanguard []
  14. £46K vs Vanguard []
  15. 0.2% £250,000 – £1 million. Charges not tiered. No fee for assets over £1 million. Treat multiple accounts as one, e.g. 0.2% applies to all assets once £250K barrier crossed. ETF and IT fees capped at £45. []
  16. ETF and IT fees capped at £45. []
  17. 0.1% £250,001 – £1 million, 0.05% £1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million []
  18. Charge applies to each account separately []
  19. Charge applies to each account separately []
  20. Charge applies to each account separately []
  21. £0 if SIPP worth £100K after tax free cash. []
  22. 0.25% £250,001 – £1 million, 0.1% £1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million. Charge applies to each account separately []
  23. 0.35% £50,001 – £250,000, 0.25% £250,001 – £500,000, 0% over £500,000. []
  24. Out to another broker []
  25. No funds. []
  26. £5 max []
  27. Note, these are ETFs traded on European exchanges not LSE. []
  28. e.g. $10 fee – $6 trade = $4 actual fee that month. Waived on $100,000+ accounts. []
  29. Under 25s can open an account with $3,000 and the inactivity fee is $3. []
  30. up to £50,000 value. £6 + 0.05% of incremental trade value over £50,000. Max £29 []
{ 2342 comments… add one }
  • 2001 Scott January 23, 2018, 12:57 pm

    @Linda – a dash generally means refer to the header row for that broker, e.g. taking the first example in the Flat Fee table, Interactive Investor, their regular dealing fee is £1 – this applies whether you do it in an ISA, standard trading account, or SIPP.
    As an aside, although Interactive Investor charge an annual fee of £90 for an ISA (and/or trading account) you get this much back in trading credit, which means you could make 90 regular scheduled trades, or 9 adhoc trades, per year for no additional cost.

  • 2002 Mr Optimistic January 23, 2018, 9:23 pm

    One thing to watch is how cash is treated. With the Fidelity SIPP, uninvested cash attracts the full platform fee, 0.35%. HL charge nothing.

  • 2003 Max January 26, 2018, 3:22 pm

    Hi there

    My ISA is a pretty good fit for iWeb or Halifax.

    However, when I asked them whether they held iShares Physical Gold ETC (SGLN) OCF, they said yes, but only in USD, not in GBP.
    Is it common for brokers not to hold local stocks? Is there a good alternative to iWeb/Halifax in this range?


  • 2004 Jeffrey Beranek January 26, 2018, 3:49 pm

    Personally, I wouldn’t worry about using the USD version of an ETF from one of the major providers (e.g. iShares, Source, VanEck). If it’s anything like Youinvest, it works in practice just like the GBP version except that the value is quoted in USD. The charges are the same, in fact it may actually be cheaper because the USD version may have a “tighter spread” because it is more widely traded. Just stick to physically backed ETFs (strictly speaking an Exchange Traded Commodity) and prepare to be asked some questions when you attempt to trade. You may be asked if you are “qualified” to trade in ETCs and if you know what the additional risks (even if you are actually lowering the overall risk of a diversified portfolio).

  • 2005 Alex January 26, 2018, 4:05 pm

    Hi Max,

    I’ve generally found with iWeb/Halifax/Lloyds (they are all the same company) that if you email customer services the security name, ticker number, exchange and ISIN they will be more than happy to ask Dealing Control to add the stock as tradable on their systems for you.

    Apparently, they don’t automatically add new pooled investment products (unless it’s a really big launch) as there is some compliance work for them to do before they can allow dealing with private investors. I’ve found that it takes about one week from emailing them before a new product is tradable; they are pretty on the ball.

  • 2006 Max January 26, 2018, 4:50 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Many thanks. When I spoke to them, they said they wouldn’t add it since they already had investors using the US version. Perhaps I’ll drop them a note and ask again.

    Thanks for your help


  • 2007 Max January 26, 2018, 4:52 pm

    Hi Jeffrey

    Thank you. My concern is that in addition to gold price risk, wouldn’t I also be taking on currency risk if I buy the USD version?

    All the best


  • 2008 Jeffrey Beranek January 26, 2018, 5:54 pm

    Again, personally, I’m not too concerned which currency you use to price gold as, in a way, gold itself is a currency. By buying something tied to the price of gold you are already exposed to all currencies used to buy or sell gold, which will include principally the USD but also the yen, rupee, euro, GBP, etc. I actually prefer holding a “basket of currencies” rather than favouring the GBP, at least whilst I’m still accumulating savings. I personally don’t like to speculate one way or the other, the underlying asset is the most important thing, which is something linked to the price of gold. I’m assuming you would be buying and holding for the long term, which will hopefully even out fluctuations in currencies. Depending on how much gold you want to hold, I actually prefer using something like BullionVault. The gold is actually yours. Okay, it’s not in an ISA or SIPP, but then it does not produce income (so can’t be taxed) and you are unlikely to sell enough in one year to incur capital gains tax. The only problem is that it is slightly more difficult to maintain a specific balance between different assets, but the solution is just to top-up the one that’s dropped below a target allocation (across all accounts).

  • 2009 Max January 27, 2018, 10:15 am

    Jeffrey, many thanks.

  • 2010 Mr Optimistic February 3, 2018, 5:22 pm

    There was a blog on here a while back explaining that the intermediate currency didn’t matter. I’ll look for the link.

  • 2011 The Investor February 3, 2018, 8:56 pm

    Re: Currency risk and fund denominations:


  • 2012 Max February 4, 2018, 3:58 pm

    Hi Investor

    That’s a very helpful read, thank you so much.

    All the best


  • 2013 Jane M February 7, 2018, 11:56 am

    I came here a few weeks ago looking for somewhere to transfer my interactive investor (ex td direct) portfolio. I don’t like ii due to their past behaviour & fees tariff, and I’m already well over my comfort level with my iweb holdings. The broker tool suggested IG group as cheapest after iweb, and although IG don’t do funds, I plan to keep funds in current iweb account and so initiated ii transfer to IG. I’ve come back here today and notice now that IG has completely disappeared off the broker tool calculator and also the table. Is there some reason for this? Just concerned that there’s something I haven’t picked up on with IG and I’ve already initiated transfer to them.

  • 2014 The Investor February 8, 2018, 9:20 am

    @Jane M — I might be wrong (I’d have to check with my co-blogger) but I don’t believe IG has ever been on the table. Regarding the tool produced by our partners at Broke Compare, my understanding is that IG recently changed its pricing structure. Always best to check the pricing directly with the company; as we state the tools and the table can only be another reference point in your research, as the specifics of the different offerings do tend to move around unfortunately. 🙁

  • 2015 Robbo February 8, 2018, 10:33 am

    @ Jane M like The Investor says IG were never on the table. Maybe they recommended in the comments?

    Anyway they are bringing in quarterly fees from 1st April 2018. Please see details below from the email I got:

    We’re writing to inform you that we’re replacing our share dealing inactivity fee with a quarterly £24 custody fee.

    You could be subject to the fee if you hold shares or ETFs in a share dealing account or ISA at the end of each quarter. However, it is dependent on your trading activity – so you will be exempt from the charge if you:
    • Deal three or more times across any of your IG accounts during the quarter
    • Hold assets worth £15,000 or more across your IG Smart Portfolio accounts at the end of the quarter
    • Hold no open positions in your share dealing account or ISA at the end of the quarter
    Any commission you pay on your share dealing, ISA or SIPP accounts during the quarter will also be deducted from the fee. For example, if you placed a single trade in your ISA during the quarter at £8 commission, you would pay a custody fee of £16.

    But don’t forget that you only need to place three trades of any value across any of your IG accounts during the quarter, in order to be exempt entirely from the fee.

  • 2016 David R February 9, 2018, 11:53 am

    Very useful table and thread, thank you.

    Interesting to hear about IG changing their charging structure. I use them, and they haven’t yet advised me of this change to their fees. Possibly because I am slightly over their £15k threshold, but … its still a bit opaque of them.

    Given that Barclays and Lloyds are on the list – I would suggest it is worth adding HSBC, especially if you can invest or earn enough to qualify for Premier banking. For equities and for a limited set of ETFs (incl some Vanguard ones) they are sort-of competitive and they do provide a further FSCS-regulated platform for those with larger portfolios to spread their risk across. The other attraction – assuming that you have the 50k to invest or the 100k of income – is that Premier banking gives you and your household some good quality worldwide travel insurance incl medical/ USA/ winter sports, which makes up for the £40 or so annual platform fee.
    Overall I don’t think they are as good as say ii or iweb, but as a major clearing bank they are a very visible, way more competitive than some on this list.

    Also just had a look at DeGiro via your link and their investor protection is not as good as FSCS – Netherlands based and only a 20k limit. If you have time it would be good to have a column that identifies which regulatory regime provides protection for each platform, and how much.


  • 2017 Snowman February 11, 2018, 2:49 pm

    I think Fidelity have changed the cost of buying ETFs/shares within their ISA or dealing account to a flat £10 (was previously 0.1% of the sale/purchase amount). It remains 0.1% of the sale/purchase amount for ETF sales/purchases in a SIPP


  • 2018 Alex February 11, 2018, 3:18 pm

    Well spotted Snowman. I’ve checked Cavendish Online (since it’s a white label version of Fidelity) and they are quoting both fees depending on if people have been “migrated” to the new platform.

    Cavendish also says “If you are dealing on the FundSupermarket Pension the dealing fee is currently 0.1%. The Pension will migrate to the new platform later in 2018 and when that happens the dealing fee will change from 0.1% to £10.”

    Cavendish also make clear that dividend reinvestments are no longer 0.1% but now a flat £1.50

    Such an increase in charges seems excessive; especially since they are still only offering a “selection” of ETFs and ITs rather than any ETF or IT listed on the LSE, and that they add together all customers’ trades and just instruct their broker JP Morgan to perform one deal per day!

  • 2019 Andrew February 12, 2018, 10:20 pm

    It looks like cheap options for investing in to a ETF leaning SIPP are going away 🙁

    Wrt Cavendish/Fidelity: Does anyone know how dealing fees work with respect to tax refunds in a SIPP? If I deposit £400/mo in to a SIPP do I pay £1.50 on the £400 buy and then another £1.50 on the £100 buy after the tax relief comes in, or will it be a whopping £10 on the later buy?

    Also, why does the AJ Bell SIPP get a “good for” comment of “ETF portfolios below £15K” when Fidelity/Cavendish clearly win here? Better selection?

  • 2020 phil February 13, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Dave R,

    Ive been looking into hsbc as they have low currency exchange charge for buying US stocks but you have to have a seperate invest directplus account which is seperate to your main isa account!?

    Im leaning to IG as they only chareg 0.3% exchange rate premium vs 1.5% for most others. However they dont do funds that I can see. Is there an etf equiv of Vanguard lifestrat ( sons long terms savings) or would I have to to get a mix of etfs?

  • 2021 Stefan February 13, 2018, 5:28 pm

    A Fidelity customer service representative told me on the phone yesterday that ETFs cannot be held in their SIPP. The broker comparison table suggests that you can hold ETFs in the Fidelity SIPP, so either the table is wrong or I was given incorrect information.

    Can someone who is a Fidelity SIPP account holder please check whether ETFs are available inside the SIPP and post a reply comment so we can be sure the broker comparison table is correct?


  • 2022 Jeffrey Beranek February 13, 2018, 6:12 pm

    With HSBC you pay £10.50 a quarter for an InvestDirect trading account, then you can open an ISA trading account for no additional quarterly charge. I’ve not tried trading US shares because I have Charles Schwab IRA trading account domiciles in the USA

  • 2023 Nicky February 13, 2018, 6:16 pm

    To Stefan, I hold about a dozen EFTs in my Fidelity SIPP. There are quite a lot to choose from so yes you were given wrong info.

  • 2024 Mr Optimistic February 13, 2018, 7:52 pm

    Pretty sure you can hold ETFs in a Fidelity SIPP. Researched this recently but intend to transfer away as selection poor and costs relatively high for me.

  • 2025 Susan February 13, 2018, 8:25 pm

    @ Mr Optimistic/Stefan – you can, but two disadvantages, we found: a) it’s forward-pricing only, so you can deal ‘live’ – just put in an order for a 12am purchase/sale the next day; b) the range is limited and they were really only willing to accept existing portfolio holdings, so it was quite limiting. Service was good, but not having access to live pricing for shares was ridiculous, so we left them.

  • 2026 Susan February 13, 2018, 8:26 pm

    @ Mr Optimistic/Stefan – you can, but two disadvantages, we found: a) it’s forward-pricing only, so you can’t deal ‘live’ – just put in an order for a 12am purchase/sale the next day; b) the range is limited and they were really only willing to accept existing portfolio holdings, so it was quite limiting. Service was good, but not having access to live pricing for shares was ridiculous, so we left them.

  • 2027 Mr Optimistic February 13, 2018, 8:41 pm

    @Susan. Thanks. I have heard the Fidelity offering described as more of a platform than a SIPP so that may explain it. I noted the fact that they charge the platform fee on cash too.

  • 2028 JamesHannley February 14, 2018, 5:12 pm

    Hihi – what about Saxo bank? I see their ISAs have a custody fee of 0.06% of invested assets floored at £5/month… so £60 a month up until you have £100,000 invested… which looks alright no?

  • 2029 Tony February 20, 2018, 2:31 pm

    I’ve just tried the comparison tool and just wanted to say how easy it was to use (and quite a revelation). Thanks very much!

  • 2030 eagle February 20, 2018, 2:40 pm

    Please add sharedealactive and x-o sipp to the interactive comparison.

  • 2031 Phil Moore February 20, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Is it just me or are these platforms just changing for the worse?

    Fidelity look set to cause a conundrum for me. Having both ISA’s and my SIPP with them I made the move to mostly ETF’s and IT to reduce platform charges and make use of the £45 fee cap. However about 6 months ago I started putting some of my regular SIPP savings into cash in anticipation of a market top, only now to find as stated above, that they levy the full 0.35% charge on cash held in accounts.

    I also don’t like the fact that they are moving to fixed £1.50 dealing costs on regular contributions. I currently split my monthly contribution 8 ways, taking advantage of ability to diversify across sectors, using the percentage allocation option currently available. Total cost 0.1% on transactions. When they change over the SIPP to the new model (currently running on ISA and trading accounts) I will then face a £12 dealing charge per month. A jump from 50p to £12 is somewhat staggering on a £500 contribution and would be even worse for lower monthly savings amounts. I guess I’ll ride this out until they change it and decide what to do then.

    Other ISA’s in TD Direct have now gone to ii and again I feel this is a change for the worse. I resent having to pay charges on the basis that ‘I may’ need to use them. I hold mainly shares in this account so I think I’ll probably be joining many and changing to iWeb. My worry here is that their website and platform looks sorely in need of an update and it seems when platforms do this they also rejig their charging structure.

    On a slightly separate note I was looking to put some additional regular savings into funds. I was looking at Close Brothers? They seem cheap at 0.25% but perhaps a bit less slick (i.e. it took them 3-4 days for me to open an account and it looks like you have to post monthly savings instructions setup). Does anyone have any experience? Or perhaps Charles Stanley offer a similar alternative.

  • 2032 Phil Moore February 22, 2018, 10:08 pm

    I should clarify my previous comment. I checked out my account and actually seems that Fidelity are paying interest on cash held in my SIPP account! This works out at currently 0.35% in the current environment. Not bad to be earning something while it’s waiting to be invested. I checked the t and c’s which backs this up. I have to speak to them tomorrow and so will try to confirm.

  • 2033 Chris February 23, 2018, 12:14 pm

    I’m looking to consolidate 4 DC employer pensions into a single SIPP. I find it confusing, and I work as a fund manager, so good luck to any one who doesn’t work in the investment industry! It is unnecessarily complicated for the benefit of the providers rather than the pensions customers. I’d be grateful for a bit of help please…

    I have a total pot of £60k and am in my early 30s, so not looking to drawdown any time soon, but would be looking to transfer in additional cash once every quarter. A la Warren Buffett, I just want to be fully invested in a Global Equity tracker and forget about it for 30 years, but also have the option to take on a bit more risk with smaller companies or/and emerging markets via investment trusts. I also already have a Charles Stanley Direct Stocks & Shares ISA and like their platform.

    I’ve calculated a CSD SIPP would cost me c.£150: a platform fee of 0.25% for funds and shares (£150, which is annoyingly only capped for shares, although funds dealing is £0); and a £100 admin charge which would be waived due to platform assets being greater than £30k (so £0). This tallies with the Daily Telegraph’s SIPP table, which shows CSD SIPP being one of the cheapest for a £50k portfolio (£148).

    However, the Monevator comparison tool gives a cost of £691: £0 platform; £686 fund; and £5 exit. Can anyone help reconcile these figures?

    The comparison tool recommends ii (£213 pa), but I’m put off by peoples’ poor reviews. I know a ‘flat fee broker’ would be best in the long run but none of the Monevator ones appeal. If I invested in ETFs rather than funds, at least I’d eventually benefit from CSD or HL’s cap on platform fees for shares?

    Also, does anyone have any info on the different practices wrt SCRIP/DRIP dividends if I were to hold non-accumulating shares?

    Finally, having just checked out Vanguard’s website, I don’t know whether to just wait for them to introduce a SIPP? (“we’re working on bringing you one in 2018”)

  • 2034 Vanguardfan February 23, 2018, 3:28 pm

    @chris – a couple of points. ETFs are ‘shares’ and a good way of investing in index trackers on platforms which charge a % fee on funds. I have a Youinvest SIPP invested in VGOV and VWRL. You have to periodically reinvest divis but that’s only £1.50 a shot.
    Also, why don’t any of the flat fee brokers appeal? You’ll have to do your own sums of course, but if you expect to be getting above six figures any time soon then you should be considering flat fee. My spouse is with Alliance Trust Savings for his SIPP- not the cheapest of the flat fees but not bad. We also have ISAs with iWeb who are definitely the best value of the flat fees. I’ve never had any service issues with iWeb – I’m very much a fire and forget investor, I just do a few trades around the end and beginning of the tax year so it suits me well.

  • 2035 Linda February 23, 2018, 9:30 pm

    Can I have a little moan? When looking at the comparison table, I have to keep scrolling up to the top to read the column headings. I suppose I could write them down but it would be really good if the headings were repeated every so often so that they are readily available. On my laptop, there are about 2-3 platforms on each screen.

  • 2036 Chris February 26, 2018, 4:56 pm

    @Vanguardfan – thanks for response. I understand the difference between ETFs/shares and funds, the benefit of funds on Charles Stanley is that you don’t pay dealing fees, but the downside is that the platform fee associated with them is not capped.

    Re the flat fee brokers, ii looks to have poor customer reviews and I don’t want to give my money to Alliance Trust nor any of the high street banks (Halifax, Lloyds). I’ll have to investigate iweb and ShareDeal Active properly. I’m looking to hold for the long term too.

    I assume from your moniker that if you were starting afresh you might also wait for the introduction of a Vanguard SIPP?!


  • 2037 New Investor March 1, 2018, 3:14 am

    I’ve recently been blessed with a £150k lump sum to invest and I’m looking into optimising my allocations and choice of broker (previously I’ve filled up my last four ISAs with low cost index funds in BestInvest without doing too much allocation work, just a mix of vanguard trackers for a few markets)

    I’ve got two main questions and would be grateful for any advice:

    1) ETFs vs Index Funds: I’ve read here and elsewhere that as I have more than £25k, an ETF might be a better choice than an index fund. How come? Am I missing something about costs here? I know that ETFs have a one-off flat fee to invest in most platforms (£5-10), but are they cheaper in some % way? Don’t both ETFs and Index Funds have an annual OCF? Or are they not the same in this respect?

    2) Interactive Brokers: I hear this broker company mentioned and recommended to me a lot by others who have sensible ideas about passive investing, but in this article it was relegated to ‘share dealing broker’. Yet it appears possible to buy a very wide range of both Funds and ETFs on their website. Is there a reason you don’t recommend/mention this broker more? Am I missing something here as well?


  • 2038 ivanopinion March 1, 2018, 5:52 pm

    @New Investor
    On many (but not all) platforms, funds have a % annual fee. eg, o.25% on £150k is £375 pa. On most (but not all) platforms, ETFs have a fixed annual fee, usually around £50, so £325 cheaper, in your case. There are other differences – there was an article on this a few years ago.

  • 2039 The Accumulator March 1, 2018, 6:24 pm

    Hi New Investor,

    ETFs are not intrinsically cheaper than index funds at any given level. At the £150K level, a flat fee broker will be cheapest and they largely treat index funds and ETFs the same way price-wise. ETFs and index funds both have an OCF.

    Interactive Broker – is in the sharedealing part of the table because that’s their business, they are fundamentally a trading platform. I don’t believe you can buy index funds through them (but please point me in the right direction if you’ve found differently) but ETFs are available including a menu of commission-free US domiciled ETFs. Note, US domiciled ETFs are a whole new kettle of worms – there have been reports they can expose non-US citizens to US estate taxes.

  • 2040 New Investor March 8, 2018, 7:51 pm


    I understand the platform differences, however on the one I was going to use (iWeb) they appear to be treated the same so I was wondering whether there were any other differences.

    Thank you for your insightful comments on other posts by the way, I’ve learnt a lot from going through the comments and benefiting from your research.

    @ The Accumulator

    I forgot to thank you for keeping this site going – it’s been an invaluable resource in my research!

    Regarding IB: I could swear I saw Funds listed there, but I can’t find any now, so it appears I was wrong, sorry! However I do feel like they are a solid option for a large ETF-only portfolio, even if you’re an infrequent buy-and-hold investor. Compare them to iWeb for a £80,000 portfolio that makes 5 trades/year:
    No account opening fee
    No annual fee in either (waived as your total equity is above $100,000 equivalent)
    Much cheaper dealing fees (I bought $1100 worth of a US-listed ETF for $1 dealing fee and $1.99 currency fee)

    I definitely agree that their target market is professional traders and the like, but in my view at least they have inadvertently created a good platform for a passive ETF investor with a larger portfolio. Even with a smaller portfolio, you would pay $120/year (which compares OK to say interactive investor’s £90/year fee) and in return get all your dealing basically commission free. An added benefit is that, whereas iWeb would close my account if I moved abroad, IB wont, sparing logistical hassles.

    I could well be very wrong in my analysis so please let me know if I am!

    With regards to US-domiciled ETFs: it appears the estate tax would not be an issue if I keep the holdings under $5.4 million and remain a UK-domicile, according to http://www.kbgrp.com/articles/international-tax/united-states-estate-tax-and-residents-of-the-united-kingdom.html . I also left a long comment on another post of yours referencing @Ivanopinion’s analysis of how a US-domiciled ETF may be more tax efficient than both an Ireland-domiciled equivalent or a UK-domiciled inedx fund, but I will leave that conversation for the post I left it on.

    Thank you again for running this site!

  • 2041 Charlie March 8, 2018, 8:07 pm

    @NewInvestor – Am I right in thinking Interactive Brokers don’t offer Stocks and Shares ISAs?

  • 2042 Jeff Beranek March 8, 2018, 9:10 pm

    InteractiveBrokers does not offer ISAs or SIPPS. Also, they are a US brokerage firm, so you would need to be very careful how your holdings may be taxed in the US and the UK and what reporting requirements you might have. Also, in the words of their website:

    Accounts are geared towards professional/active traders and investors; therefore we require the following from customers:

    Good or extensive product knowledge for any product you wish to trade.
    You must have executed at least 100 trades for any product type, or 100 simulated trades in our real-time demo.
    A minimum equity deposit in cash or stock of USD 10,000 (or USD equivalent) or USD 5,000 for IRA Account (or USD equivalent).

  • 2043 theta March 9, 2018, 9:17 pm

    @Jeff Beranek
    IB offers SIPP indirectly, via third party SIPP administrators.

    @New Investor
    The only issue with regards to US estate tax is that even if you don’t owe tax you (or your executor) still needs to file a tax return. That however is a small negative that is outweighted by the cost advantages of US domiciled ETFs (on all aspects, ie commissions, bid-offer spread, and ongoing fees).
    Can you please link to your comment regarding the tax efficiency?

  • 2044 Jeffrey Beranek March 9, 2018, 9:42 pm

    There are only a small number of US domiciled funds that are regarded by HMRC as having reporting fund status. Search for the articles on Monevator called “Do you owe tax on excess reportable income?” and “Avoid tax shocks by using reporting funds”. The Accumulator suggests avoiding non-reporting funds like Ebola-carrying monkeys unless you hide them in an ISA on a pension, which these days you probably can’t due to stricter rules on which ETFs are allowed on UK platforms. By the way, I have a US brokerage account, but it’s an IRA, I’m a US/UK citizen and I file tax returns in both countries. For those reasons I need to stay well clear of US non-reporting funds outside the IRA and also Irish/Luxembourg/UK funds outside a SIPP

  • 2045 Jeffrey Beranek March 9, 2018, 10:39 pm

    Also, if your W8-BEN form is up to date then you’ll pay 15% withholding tax on any dividends on US shares held in a US brokerage, or 30% if it’s not up to date. You might also need to file a 1040NR tax return to the IRS. You might be able to use UK foreign tax credits to reduce you tax liability, but it doesn’t seem worth all the hassle to get marginally cheaper funds and trading costs compared to the best UK platforms, where you can take advantage of the ISA and SIPP.

  • 2046 theta March 10, 2018, 3:36 pm

    Are you sure I would need to file a US tax return for US holdings if I am a UK tax resident, not a US person, and I have a properly filled W8-BEN form?
    At the moment I’m trying to restructure my holdings and thinking of the following:
    -SIPP with exclusively US holdings (my entire US allocation) in order to take advantage of the 0% div tax withholding
    -ISA with Irish/UK funds where there is small difference in expenses compared to US equivalents.
    -Non sheltered IB account with everything else, which is going to be mostly US domiciled funds with non-US underlyings (as these would be in the SIPP)
    If I do indeed have to file a 1040NR, this is probably enough of a deterrent to using US listed funds (for the hassle, as there will be no tax to pay for sure).
    Still, I can’t imagine everyone who trades the odd US stock files a 1040NR. Are they wrong not to?

  • 2047 Jeff Beranek March 10, 2018, 4:00 pm

    With regard to having to file the 1040-NR if you hold US shares, to be honest, I don’t know. I cannot provide tax advice and UK investment platforms do not provide tax advice either. So you are left on your own to decide what to do. I’ve seen tax specialists online recommending people to file the 1040NR (and also potentially Schedule B for dividends & Schedule D for capital gains). As I say, I’m no tax expert, but you might actually be able to get some of that 15% tax withholding back, but I doubt it would be worth the hassle of the insanely complicated tax forms. At the moment, I don’t see the need to hold US funds or shares in anything other than my SIPP where (most seem to agree) they are safe. As you say, I doubt most UK investors that hold a few Apple shares have any idea of the potential pitfalls. Note also that your platform will also be charging fees on currency transfers in both directions, each with a small spread taken out. I personally don’t see the point when I can buy a full replication S&P 500 tracker in the UK for 0.07% as well as a whole host of US “factor” funds for less than 0.3%

  • 2048 theta March 10, 2018, 5:13 pm

    For SPX trackers the savings are small, true. But for many other funds the difference is usually >10bps in expense ratio, plus higher transaction costs and bid-offer spreads. With Interactive Brokers FX conversion is a non-issue (costs $2 per trade for interbank rates and you can “attach” the FX to the trade so it’s done in one step semi-automated) and US stocks trading costs are a fraction of Europeans with almost zero slippage, so even for a single transaction you are better off trading the US one.

    I did some search regarding US taxes. It seems there’s no tax to pay NOR any tax return to file.

  • 2049 Jeff Beranek March 10, 2018, 6:26 pm

    So, as I said above, you still have to pay a 15% withholding tax on any dividends if your W8-BEN is up to date. You may be able to reclaim some of this by filing a tax form in the US, but that depends on your specific tax situation.

  • 2050 theta March 10, 2018, 6:34 pm

    Oh I see, so there may be a benefit to filing the 1040NR. While I appreciate you are not offering tax advice, can you elaborate what this situation may be? Is it as simple as not having used the annual div tax allowance? (because otherwise the UK tax is more than 15% anyway).

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