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Compare the UK’s cheapest online brokers

 Last updated on 30 August 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
Halifax / Bank Of Scotland Share Dealing £12.50 £12.50 £2
Shares ISA £12.50
SIPP £90 if SIPP worth less than £50K. £180 if SIPP more than £50K + £180 p.a. drawdown £60 per transfer. Max £300 £90 Fund portfolios above £102K
iWeb £25 one-off account opening charge3 £5 £5 Large portfolios and infrequent traders, check vs ii, Share Centre, Lloyds and Halifax
Shares ISA
Trading The cheapest if you rarely trade
SIPP £90 if SIPP worth less than £50K. £180 if SIPP more than £50K + £180 p.a. drawdown £60 per transfer. Max £300 £90 Fund portfolios above £102K
Lloyds Bank Share Dealing £40 Only one fee if you hold ISA and trading account £1.50 £11* £1.50 £0
Shares ISA Fund portfolios over £26K4, unrestricted mixed ETF/fund portfolios5
Trading Fund portfolios over £26K6, unrestricted mixed ETF/fund portfolios7
SIPP n/a
Interactive Investor8    £119.88 Investor Plan9 1 free trade per month10 £7.9911 £7.9912 £0.99 £0
Shares ISA
Trading  –
SIPP + £120 + £120 p.a. drawdown
ShareDeal Active Telephone dealing only for funds £9.50 £9.50 £12 per holding + £60 account closure
Shares ISA £60 £18 cash withdrawal
Trading As above
SIPP £118.80 No fee for first year. + £180 p.a. drawdown
HSBC Invest Direct £42 Charge per account. No funds n/a £10.5013 £15 per holding
Shares ISA
Trading  –
SIPP n/a
The Share Centre 1%. £7.50 min* 1%. £7.50 min* 0.5%. Min £1 Large trading accounts
Shares ISA £60 £25
Trading £24 £25 Alternative to Halifax, iWeb, Selftrade, Lloyds
SIPP £180 + £234 p.a. drawdown  £125

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. N.B. Accounts held with Halifax / Bank Of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, and iWeb count as one for the purposes of the FSCS compensation scheme.

Percentage fee brokers / platforms


Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing:
Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee14 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 for fixed daily times, £7.50 to trade at other times £0 £0 Beats other % fee brokers in most cases and flat-fee brokers up to £43K-£55K but restricted range
Shares ISA Fund portfolios up to £43K, mixed ETF/fund up to £55K, ETF portfolios up to £47K
Trading Fund portfolios up to £43K, mixed ETF/fund up to £55K, ETF portfolios up to £47K
SIPP n/a
Cavendish Online 0.25% on all investments 0.20% on whole balance if over £200K in all accounts combined £0 £1.50
(Not charged on funds)
£0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA £10 Fund portfolios below £26K
Trading £10 Fund portfolios below £26K
SIPP £3 for new contribs, £1.50 for other trades15 Fund portfolios below £102K
AJ Bell Youinvest 0.25% on first £250,000 of funds16 Tiered charge e.g. 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 As above
SIPP + 0.25% charge (max £100) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds + £120 p.a. drawdown + £90 Unrestricted ETF and mixed ETF/fund portfolios
Fidelity 0.35% on all assets worth £7500 – £249,99917 Assets under £7500 = £45 p.a. or 0.35% with monthly savings plan18 £0 £10 £1.50 (Not charged on funds) £0
Shares ISA ETF and IT fees capped at £45
Trading ETF and IT fees waived
SIPP ETF and IT fees capped at £45 £0 drawdown ETF portfolios – restricted range
Charles Stanley Direct 0.35% on first £250,000 of funds19 0.35% on shares, ETFs and ITs. Min £24 / Max £24020 £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, ITs £1.50 £15 per holding ETF portfolios with unrestricted range
Shares ISA Unrestricted ETF portfolios21
Trading £4.99 quarterly account charge waived if you own ISA / SIPP Unrestricted ETF portfolios22
SIPP + £118.80 + £180 p.a. drawdown + £90
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
Close Brothers 0.25% on all investments £0 £8.95 £0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA
SIPP £0 drawdown
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 £250,00023 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million
Trading As above As above
SIPP £120 p.a. + 0.3% on first £250,00024 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million. + p.a. £120  drawdown25
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 funds26 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 funds27 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 fee28 Good for
Degiro  £0 Degiro may lend out your shares. A custody account avoids this but charges €1 + 3% (max 10%) for dividend payouts29 n/a Some commission-free ETFs.30 €2 + 0.038% for other ETFs. £1.75 + 0.022% for shares31 €10 per holding €10 per holding Commission-free ETF range, frequent traders
Shares ISA n/a
SIPP n/a
Freetrade Smartphone app only.
Restricted list of ETFs
n/a £0 for fixed daily time, £1 to trade at other times £0 Commission-free ETF range, frequent traders
Shares ISA £36
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 p.a. in drawdown + £60
IG Funds in SIPP only. Only one fee for ISA and trading account £0 £8*
Shares ISA £96 £24 waived quarterly by 3+ trades a quarter in trading account32 £0
Trading £96 As above £0
SIPP £200 + 0.18% on first £500,000 of funds Tiered charge. 0.15% £500,001 – £1 million, 0.05% over £1 million. + £150 p.a. in drawdown + £150
Interactive Brokers $10 inactivity fee per month. Reduced by value of trades33 $20 inactivity fee per month if equity balance below $2,00034 n/a £635 International shares / ETFs
Shares ISA n/a
SIPP Fees vary
Trading 212 £0 Restricted list of ETFs n/a £0 £0 Commission-free ETF range, frequent traders
Shares ISA
SIPP n/a

Note: Commission-free brokers generally make money from spreads, foreign exchange fees and cross-selling of other services. 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 aimed at passive investors.

Percentage fee brokers are much better for small investors whose assets are likely to remain below £25,000 (in an ISA) or £100,000 (in a SIPP and depending on the mix of assets) 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 Vanguard Investor 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 £100,000 (in a SIPP and depending on the mix of assets) – 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 Vanguard Investor or Cavendish Online. 
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 all the various additional fees levied for services once you’re in drawdown. The drawdown figure we do include is the annual ongoing charge you’ll pay for being in flexi-access 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 online broker universe. However they typically conform to the following types:

  • Trading = a taxable account i.e. it’s not not an ISA or a SIPP and will incur dividend income tax and capital gains tax if it grows large enough. 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. Some broker brands are owned by the same financial group. You do not diversify your risk by splitting assets across brands owned by the same group. Our investor compensation scheme guide (linked to above) explains how you can identify these brands.

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. You’ll pay another £25 if you later open a SIPP. []
  4. £43K vs Vanguard []
  5. £55K vs Vanguard []
  6. £43K vs Vanguard []
  7. £55K vs Vanguard []
  8. Also known as ii []
  9. £167.88 Funds Fan plan; £239.88 Super Investor plan []
  10. 2 free fund trades per month Funds Fan plan; 2 free UK trades per month Super Investor plan []
  11. £3.99 on Fund Fans or Super Investor plan []
  12. £3.99 on Super Investors plan []
  13. £39.95 for gilts []
  14. Out to another broker []
  15. Trades are at fixed times daily []
  16. 0.1% £250,001 – £1 million, 0.05% £1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million []
  17. 0.2% £250,000 – £1 million. Charges not tiered below £1 million. No fee for assets over £1 million. ETF and IT fees capped at £45 []
  18. ETF and IT fees capped at £45 []
  19. 0.2% £250,001 – £500,000, 0.15% £500,001 – £1 million, 0.05%£1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million. Tiered charge []
  20. Charge waived by 1 trade per month []
  21. £47K vs Vanguard []
  22. £47K vs Vanguard []
  23. Charge applies to each account separately []
  24. Charge applies to each account separately []
  25. £0 if SIPP worth £100K after tax free cash. []
  26. 0.25% £250,001 – £1 million, 0.1% £1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million. Charge applies to each account separately []
  27. 0.35% £50,001 – £250,000, 0.25% £250,001 – £500,000, 0% over £500,000 []
  28. Out to another broker []
  29. No funds. []
  30. Commission-free ETFs trade on European exchanges not LSE. Other restrictions apply []
  31. £5 max []
  32. or by £15,000+ assets in Smart Portfolio accounts []
  33. e.g. $10 fee – $6 trade = $4 actual fee that month. Waived on $100,000+ accounts []
  34. Reduced by value of trades. Inactivity fee is $3 for under 25s – again reduced by value of trades []
  35. up to £50,000 value. £6 + 0.05% of incremental trade value over £50,000. Max £29 []
{ 2423 comments… add one }
  • 2151 UXR July 18, 2018, 11:41 pm

    @ Damian , what you could do, which is exactly what I do and it works is the following (I assume you would like to minimise platform holding costs):

    1) Open iWeb S&S ISA and move all your current investments over to iWeb (“in-specie” transfer). One off costs of £25 + transfer costs from your current broker.
    2) Continue investing into an ISA with a provider that doesn’t charge any fees for monthly investments into funds – e.g. CSD is a good example that I use. Also, note what that provider chargers as transfer fees per holding – CSD charges £10 per line of stock/fund for example so do your research on this.
    3) Once a year, do a transfer of all those funds to iWeb. Example: for 8 funds with CSD you would pay £80 per year to transfer them to iWeb. You should specifically instruct iWeb and original broker to keep your original ISA open – as you will continue investing into it,
    4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 once a year every year. With CSD as an example of the ISA in which you do all the buying, your fees would be 8x£10 transfer fees + 0.0025%*average total holding in the year. This is probably close to £100 all in really per year with no additional payable fees to iWeb. This compares very favourably to buying 8 funds every month for £5 each in iWeb (12*8*£5=£480) and it beats keeping all funds in a % fee platform/broker as well (just at £100,000 total value you would be paying £250 to CSD every year).

    Bit of a hassle with yearly admin, but it works if you invest a lot in many different funds and on periodic basis.

    Key rules to note:
    – You can only open up one new ISA account per financial year
    – You can fund only one ISA in a financial year
    – In-specie transfers to another ISA provider do not count as contribution to ISA – so you are free to do them as often and whichever way you would like.
    – Check with iWeb prior that they are able to accept the 8 funds you hold..

    Hope that makes sense!

  • 2152 John. July 19, 2018, 1:11 am

    Well, I have to say it, what a convoluted, odd way to invest.
    Contributing £1000 a month, every month, doesn’t need to be split into smaller chunks balanced across all 8 funds.

    If you really must rebalance monthly then make one purchase each month costing £5 at iWeb, just add the entire £1K to the fund most out of kilter (in absolute terms) from it’s desired allocation value. Each month, rinse and repeat. Obviously that will massively overstretch the allocation in the early months but investing should be a long term project and after a few years the overload effect will be very much less pronounced.

    That’s a total annual cost of £60 all in at iWeb, on each annual £12K tranche, which equates to a 0.5% platform dealing charge (£5 per £1000) and no cross referencing, monitoring or transferring out/in hassle whatsoever. But it’s also expensive.

    If the total portfolio value is less than £24K then it makes no sense whatsoever using iWeb for monthly rebalancing, just use CSD or some other 0.25% annual percentage fee broker that doesn’t charge commission on fund dealing.

    For a simple index tracking portfolio though, I’d be looking to trim the number of holdings down to one single global equity tracker or global multi asset fund and deal one annual contribution lump once a year. I use two ETFs in mine VWRL and WOSC equally weighted but contemplating ditching WOSC and just holding VWRL.

    That would reduce iWeb’s effective platform charge on a presumed £12K annual contribution purchase to less than half of one tenth of one percent (0.042%) per annum.

    Better still save the regular £1K a month contribution in an interest bearing account instead, that pays monthly, then use the interest received to cover iWeb’s £5 dealing fee entirely, at just 1% interest you could even do quarterly iWeb purchases at net no cost.

    Just some ideas, hope it helps.

  • 2153 Jeff Beranek July 19, 2018, 9:51 am

    @Damian: IMHO for most people with a £100,000+ sized portfolio, if looking to lower costs, you should consider a flat-fee broker. However, if you are conditioned to using a traditional personal pension plan or % fee broker, where fund trades are “free”, then you probably need to change the way you buy new units, as suggested by John. If you are going to hold 8 funds, there is really no need to buy all 8 funds every month. You don’t even need to invest monthly, just buy whenever you happen to have enough new money and dividends/interest to buy a good chunk of whichever sector is lagging it’s target allocation the most. Even if you mechanically bought one fund a month in a round-robin fashion your costs would drop (in your example) to 0.06% annually on iWeb (excluding the actual fund charges). It doesn’t even matter if some funds are accumulating and some are distributing, as it will all balance out over the long run. I think it’s good mental training to be always buying low and almost never selling. It can help psychologically to have a fixed amount of cash going into the account every month, even if it’s not earning any interest for the month or two before you spend it. It really depends on how much time you want to spend monitoring things and if you can trust yourself to stick to a defined spending/allocation strategy.

  • 2154 Damian July 20, 2018, 9:32 am

    Interesting replies. I see what you’re getting at @UXR but if that’s a bit too much work for me. Interesting idea though and made me reconsider a few things!

    @John Not sure if you were replying to me or UXR. Why is a regular monthly investment of £1000 split between 8 funds a convoluted way to invest? I assumed this is how most do it as regular investing on some brokers is free. Changing it to £1000 added to the fund most out of kilter would mean it requires more involvement as I’d have to log in, check funds, change monthly payment etc. It’s not really monthly re-balancing, just adding funds to each one and then doing a yearly re-balancing.

    I agree with reducing the holdings down to one global tracker etc and I’m looking to do that at some point in future. I was just thinking there’s a better flat fee broker available for my situation right now, rather than using percentage fee broker Cavendish at the moment.

    Hope I don’t come across as argumentative as I really am curious and interested in responses.

  • 2155 Stephen Watson July 20, 2018, 9:47 am

    I used to have few different trackers. Now I just have VWRL at iWeb. So costs me the £25 one off set up fee and I reinvest dividends 4 times a year, do any topping up then, so making a £20 annual fee. Works well for me and cheaper than AJBell who I used to be with, even with their small £1.50 regular invester dealing charge.

  • 2156 John. July 20, 2018, 10:45 am

    I replied to UXR and I suppose to you in a round about way.

    The essence of what I said is that you don’t need and shouldn’t want eight regional index trackers or to be rebalancing them monthly but… if you really must have that many and really must contribute/rebalance monthly… then the simplest way to do so is to buy the ‘cheapest’ one with all the £1K contribution, and do that every month forever.

    The cheapest one, in terms of the portfolio allocation, will be the one furthest below it’s desired weighting or allocation each and every month.

    This process requires logging in, looking at the current values, doing one simple rebalancing calcultion to select the target and making one purchase once a month and nothing else, no selling down or annual adjustments, rebalancing or anything else, just one monthly purchase of the ‘cheapest’ fund, that’s about the least involvement possible with eight trackers being rebalanced monthly.

    I fail to see how having to calculate how to split £1K each month, between eight funds, after working out much under or over allocation each one is and then adjusting can be described as less involved. Unless you’re talking about an automated process that simply dumps 1/8th of the £1K into each fund each month but that’s not rebalancing.

    In the process I’ve described, there is no need to worry about getting it exactly right at the start or checking it and rebalancing it annually or anything else. Adding the entire £1K to the ‘cheapest’ each month will build up over time and eventually after a few years begin to reflect your desired allocation model. At that stage you’d simply continue adding the entire £1K monthly chunk to the ‘cheapest’ fund of the eight each and every month.

    Hope that clarifies, of course the sensible thing in terms of effort, time and cost is to buy one cheap global index tracker and let that do all the regional rebalancing for you.

  • 2157 John. July 20, 2018, 10:55 am

    A shame there’s no edit feature… I intended to write in the last sentence..

    Hope that clarifies, of course the sensible thing in terms of effort, time and cost is to buy one cheap global index tracker and let that do all the regional [i]allocations[/i] for you.

  • 2158 Vanguardfan July 20, 2018, 11:00 am

    iWeb is best for large portfolios with infrequent trading (as I think the broker table makes clear). I have two ISAs (self and spouse) and a dealing account with them, total assets mid six figures. I fund the ISAs fully each year and make two or three purchases (one holds one fund, the other two). I make one sale and one purchase in the dealing account (to use capital gains allowance). Income is paid out (and indirectly used to fund the ISAs the following year). Total cost £25 per year, much lower than the cheapest percentage based broker.
    But if I was making 8*12 purchases a year, different matter entirely – that’s already £480 for one account!
    My children’s JISAs are with Charles Stanley. They have seven funds in each (I am trying to teach them about asset allocation and rebalancing). Even here I only make one deposit a year and hence 7 purchases, adjusted to maintain the asset allocation. Their balance is around £30,000, and costs £75 per year (platform charge at 0.25%, no fund dealing charge). I’m already looking to transfer to flat fee broker (but most don’t do JISAs so may need to wait till they are adults). When I/we do so, the portfolio will have to be simplified as in general what you gain in lower platform fees you can easily lose in trading costs. I expect to go down to three or maybe four funds.

  • 2159 The Accumulator July 22, 2018, 6:33 pm

    Broker table updated. XO and Share Deal Active now charge SIPP fees after year 1. Club Finance no longer open for business and now removed. Flat fee brokers broadly similar – though Alliance Trust and Share Deal uncompetitive. The top 8 percentage fee can all do a job for small investors though the best fit depends on individual needs / portfolio variation.

  • 2160 dearieme July 24, 2018, 3:05 pm

    I’ve looked at this table many times and I still can’t make out what “-” is meant to mean. Sometimes it could plausibly mean ‘nothing’, sometimes ‘n/a’, sometimes ‘ditto’.

    Does it have a single, unambiguous meaning?

  • 2161 old_eyes July 25, 2018, 11:02 am

    Hi, the FSA projection document you reference is dated 2012 and is out of date. Latest FCA generated version is here https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/rates-return-fca-prescribed-projections.pdf

  • 2162 Trevor Shand July 25, 2018, 6:34 pm

    @The Accumulator, I’ve contacted Jarvis who manage the X-O SIPP and they have advised;

    “It is our understanding that this change will not affect existing SIPP account holders, who will continue to receive the SIPP annual fee refund. From the 01 August 2018 new SIPP account holders will be refunded the annual fee for the first year only.”

  • 2163 The Accumulator July 25, 2018, 8:05 pm

    @old_eyes – thanks very much for the heads up. Much obliged.

    @dearieme – it means there’s no relevant info to add in that particular field

  • 2164 Damian July 26, 2018, 9:52 am

    @Jeff Beranek Sorry Jeff I didn’t even see your reply between the messages!

    @Jeff Beranek @John. I think I see what you guys are saying now. Basically, in my % based broker, I’ve always had a monthly savings plan for £1k, invested automatically split between 8 funds, and then I’d do yearly rebalancing. From what you guys have said, it looks like that this is not the way things are done with a flat-fee broker, which explains why I’ve been struggling to find the best one out there for my scenario. I assumed it was the same (ie some brokers would offer automatic regular monthly investing for free).

    So if I wanted to move to a flat-fee broker, I really need to reduce my holdings down to 1 or 2 funds and change the way I add money. I’m still looking for a hands-off approach where I set a monthly plan and can forget about it and only check it once a year. I’m not sure that’s possible tho with flat-fee broker if I also wanted to keep my costs to a minimum. If I only had 2 funds, it might not cost me as much as I could still do monthly investment of £1k split between 2 funds.

    So takeaway I got from all of this is that if I want to move to flat-fee broker, I should either look at reducing funds first so I can set up automatic savings/investing and pay minimum fee OR continue with 8 funds but change the way I add money into them by manually checking once a month to add money to the lagging fund.

  • 2165 old_eyes July 26, 2018, 11:11 am

    @Damian – Between my partner and I we have 7 funds across our ISAs. Every time we add money we just plonk it in whichever fund is currently most underweight. Admittedly we are not adding a defined amount of money every week. It is a bit variable on amount and when it becomes available, so we have always done it manually. But it is really easy. Move the money into cash holding on the platform on one day (1 minute). A couple of days later issue a buy instruction for the underweight fund (1 minute). So not totally automatic, but hardly onerous.
    You could reduce the number of funds, but you don’t have to as long as you know your target allocation. I look at my bank account at least once a week, so that I know what is going on, and at our ISA accounts once a month. The on-cost of buying my chosen fund every month or couple of months is trivial.
    Over the last 5 years, I have never hit my target allocation exactly, but that does not matter. I am always trending to the target in a curve of pursuit.

  • 2166 John. July 26, 2018, 11:59 am


    Exactly right, no one will ever maintain an exact allocation balance for more than a few days at most so what’s the point trying, its far better to just keep lifting the laggard.

    As for having 7 or 8 or however many separate lines of stock, there’s nothing wrong with that if they’re managed and/or distinct but in terms of holding, specifically, individual regional equity index trackers versus one global, broadly equivalent equity index tracker… I just cannot see any worthwhile advantage to be gained from over complicating things unnecessarily… especially when the costs, as being discussed, are likely to be far higher than they should ever need to be.

    A lot of it boils down to perception and perhaps a belief by the investor that they know better than the markets do themselves, what the global marketplace will do in future. Things like overweighting EM, trimming US exposure or whatever.

    I think it far wiser to hold something like VWRL, accept you haven’t a clue what the future holds and just let it do it’s thing. Focus instead on keeping costs to a bare minimum, with perhaps one annual purchase using the complete ISA allowance or saving monthly to invest quarterly if you must (as examples) and then considering how comfortably that level of exposure to equity investments fits within your overall finances and risk tolerance.

  • 2167 old_eyes July 26, 2018, 3:04 pm

    @John. I don’t think having a few different funds demonstrates “a belief by the investor that they know better than the markets do themselves, what the global marketplace will do in future”. The Slow and Steady Portfolio on this site invests in seven funds. Tim Hale recommends quite a few different funds, and the Permanent Portfolio has over 10 in many of its implementations.
    Yes, you can buy a lifestyle fund and have it all sorted for you, or you can severely restrict the range of assets you invest in. The reason many select a range of funds is diversification. I don’t think that trying to select a portfolio that covers the asset classes and tries to spread the risk is trying to outguess the market. Even the one-stop shop funds are trying to estimate what an ideal portfolio is, not actually trying to hold balanced amounts of absolutely everything.
    I can see that being over analytical and fund picking can edge into active investing, but I would argue that selecting funds to give a mix of home and global, defensive and growth, spread across the classes, fitting our risk appetite, trading rarely and sticking to our portfolio plan is what most of us mean by passive investing

  • 2168 Jeff Beranek July 26, 2018, 3:18 pm

    I would suggest reading “Investing Demystified” by Lars Kroijer for more on this debate. In his opinion, the most “passive” investment is one that represents a market-cap weighted allocation to the entire world of equities, with an allocation to short-term local government bonds if you need to lower your risk tolerance/capacity. Any allocation that more heavily weights towards or against this market cap weighting (e.g. lower US due to CAPE valuation, or higher Emerging Markets because you think they are higher growth) is making an *active* investing decision. See Lars’ contributions to Monevator here: http://monevator.com/tag/kroijer/

  • 2169 old_eyes July 26, 2018, 4:05 pm

    @Jeff Baranek. I would agree with Lars on equities. We have two equity funds FTSE All Share and Global ex-UK because I read Lars after I invested in both, and I don’t see the value of shifting assets for the sake of it. Others argue that some home bias is worthwhile if that is where you spend your money. I don’t know, so am happy to stay where I am. I guess I have about double the exposure to the UK than is warranted by its share of the global economy. Don’t know what that would be in terms of FTSE All Share as percentage of total global equities.
    Then there are other asset classes and defensive investments. I could bring the number of funds down, but don’t want to go to a single lifestyle fund. I may be wrong, but I am comfortable.

  • 2170 Jeff Beranek July 26, 2018, 4:18 pm

    According to Vanguard’s VWRL, the UK makes up about 6% of total world equities (including emerging).

  • 2171 old_eyes July 26, 2018, 4:23 pm

    So a bigger share of capital than of the global economy (4%). Interesting.

  • 2172 Jeff Beranek July 26, 2018, 4:41 pm

    Remember, they are only counted as UK shares because they are listed in London. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the economy of the UK is measured relative to the world economy (e.g. by GDP). This is where people might choose to divert from the market cap weighting, e.g. by trying to take into account GDP, purchasing power, population, debt, volatility, risk, valuation measures, demographics, etc. However, Lars’ argument, which I find very compelling, is that all of this information should be in the price, i.e. taken into account in the market weightings, through the activity of all the world’s investors. Now the behavioural side of the argument is that there’s nothing to stop a large proportion of the world’s population being “wrong” for a significant period of time. Just because that’s the way things are allocated now does not mean that’s the most efficient allocation for every possible market environment (short term or long term). But you will be claiming to have an “edge” if you think you know better than the market.

  • 2173 The Accumulator July 27, 2018, 2:07 pm

    @ Jeff – While I largely agree, theories can breakdown at the extremes. I read a piece once that said the Japanese stock market was p/e 50 or thereabouts in 1989. Much as I don’t think I have edge, that presents an interesting conundrum for the committed passive investor. What would you do if that scenario unfolded now? For me, the answer lies in William Bernstein’s over-balancing: using a rules-based mechanism to take money off the table when risk seems very high by historical standards.

    I wrote a bit about rebalancing here:

    @ Trever – thank you for in the info on that. In situations where brokers treat old and new customers differently, I default the table to the new regime. That way you can assess your options if you’re unhappy where you are.

  • 2174 Damian July 28, 2018, 1:58 am

    @old_eyes @John. @Jeff

    “Purchasing complete ISA allowance or saving monthly to invest quarterly if you must (as examples) and then considering how comfortably that level of exposure to equity investments fits within your overall finances and risk tolerance.”

    I have no intention trying to be smarter than the market etc. I do like the hands off approach though and wouldn’t like to have to log in every month to make a purchase/trade. I know how this sounds but the more ‘active’ I am, the more inclined I am to fiddle.

    Saving up yearly investment and then investing it all at once at the end of the hear sounds interesting but I like the idea of pound cost averaging and would be concerned about having £12k outside the market for such a long time, not earning much in a savings accounts. Then again, I could also consider that as more ‘diversification’ as I have a bit of cash/emergency fund etc until it’s invested at end of year. I’ve never thought about investing any other way (ie £1k monthly contribution automatically invested) so it’s made me think a bit. Still undecided on what to do or what is best. I feel like combining the different holdings into a global one might be good step in right direction in case I did ever want to switch to flat-free broker.

  • 2175 AndyP July 28, 2018, 2:12 pm

    For Cavendish online the table states a £1.50 fee for regular investing – how is this different to a dealing fee? Apologies if a very basic q from a newbie

  • 2176 John. July 28, 2018, 3:14 pm

    It is still a dealing fee, commission if you prefer.

    The reason ‘regular’ trade fees are cheaper than normal trade fees is simply because the platform (Cavendish) has one set day each month on which it purchases ‘regular investment’ stock and so it collates all the many individual ‘regular’ trade instructions in various stocks, made before a cutoff date, into one ‘normal’ trade per stock, executed on ‘regular investment’ day.

    There might, for example, be 50 people that month wanting to ‘regular’ purchase a collective total of 1000 shares in VWRL. Your agent (the platform) will instruct their custodian to make one purchase of the collective 1000 VWRL shares on the regular investment date, they then simply adjust, pro rata all the nominee accounts of the 50 people who requested the regular VWRL purchase to reflect their assigned share of those 1000 shares held by the custodian.

    It’s a win-win for both parties, you get a cheaper trade and they profit. Many (all?) platforms will restrict the list of stocks available for regular investing to those that are most traded and therefore lucrative.

    The only drawback with regular investing is that the stock you want to trade this way isn’t on the list and/or the day of purchase is fixed to one or sometimes two dates within that month, which doesn’t suit everyone.

  • 2177 Patrick August 2, 2018, 9:18 am

    idealing.com is worth a look. They’re a smaller operation compared with some, good value and easy to deal with. I’ve used them since 2002 for ISA and general investment holdings and haven’t had any problems

  • 2178 Jeff Beranek August 2, 2018, 12:04 pm

    I use iDealing also for my kids’ JISA accounts. The trading interface is rather intimidating. The portfolio listing is more like a spreadsheet and you need to calculate the limit price and share quantity for trades manually. However trade details are received quickly by email and dividends are paid promptly. Trades cost £10.03 (£9.90 + £0.13 ‘trade reporting’ fee) and the annual platform charge is £20. Listed securities only, including bonds and gilts. I notice that it (now?) charges £2 for a BACS withdrawal. Grrr. I prefer iWeb, but they offer JISAs (as far as I can tell).

  • 2179 The Accumulator August 4, 2018, 12:18 pm

    Bestinvest increasing cost of SIPP from Oct: £100 p.a. on top of everything else

  • 2180 eagleuk August 4, 2018, 7:58 pm

    @The Accumulator – Bestinvest has sent me a yearly sipp projection today but nowhere it says about change in fees from october.This £100 charge is not really viable for small saving pots.These companies always want to bury the bad news in terms and conditions.I hope they waive off transfer fees or allow transfers at a reduced cost.

    @Jeff Beranek – I am with smarterinvestment ( https://smarterinvestment.co.uk/ ) since 3 years.There is no dealing and platform fees for Junior ISA.However , you can only buy index trackers.

  • 2181 ivanopinion August 5, 2018, 8:13 am

    Is there anything on Bestinvest’s website about this new fee?

  • 2182 ivanopinion August 5, 2018, 8:25 am

    Do you know how this affects those who are still using grandfathered terms on BestInvest’s SIPP, whereby if they just have ETFs and shares they just pay a flat £100 annual custody fee and no 0.3% fee? These terms only apply to those who held ETFs/shares in Feb 2014 and onwards.

  • 2183 Snowman August 10, 2018, 8:20 pm

    Charles Stanley are increasing their platform charges from 10th September 2018, the 0.25% platform charge broadly speaking increases to 0.35%pa.


  • 2184 Snowman August 11, 2018, 10:39 am

    On page 3 of 24 of Charles Stanley’s general terms and conditions it says:


    “in the case of any other variation in these Terms or in the characteristics of our services (including a variation in our Rates and Charges Sheet) we shall give you not less than ten business days’ notice in advance. Where the variation is material in relation to the substance of these Terms (including a variation in our charges) and/or to a particular service which you are receiving, and you give notice of termination within 30 days of receiving our notice of the variation, we shall make no charge for transferring away on your instructions any securities which we may be holding for you.”

    I am not a customer of Charles Stanley and haven’t looked at in detail, but this appears to be the free route to leave Charles Stanley if affected by the price increase. They don’t obviously appear to be making customers aware of this route.

  • 2185 vanguardfan August 11, 2018, 4:57 pm

    I’m with Charles Stanley Direct but haven’t been notified of a change in charges…looks like I’ll be swapping out to a fixed fee broker a bit earlier…although I need one that provides a JISA which is somewhat limiting (rules out iWeb)

  • 2186 The Investor August 11, 2018, 8:04 pm

    @ivanopinion — @TI here. I have the following over email from @TA, who can’t comment on the site at the moment:

    This is what I have from Bestinvest:

    We are writing regarding changes to the charges associated with investing through the Best SIPP on our Online Investment Service. A quarterly account fee of £25 is being introduced to cover increased ongoing administrative costs associated with holding a pension. This account fee will be applied to each Best SIPP account held on the Online Investment Service. No VAT is applicable to this fee. This fee is in addition to the existing tiered ongoing service fee of:
    Up to £250,000 – 0.3% a year
    £250,000 – £1 million – 0.2% a year
    Over £1 million – Free
    The above change will take effect with the first £25 collection in October 2018 and quarterly thereafter. There is no further action required on your part. This change applies to assets held in our Best SIPP only.


  • 2187 Jam August 11, 2018, 9:04 pm

    Just trying to subscribe to the comments 🙂

  • 2188 Linda M August 11, 2018, 9:38 pm


    I received an email about this from CSD today. Have you checked your spam or junk folder?

  • 2189 Auberon August 12, 2018, 5:23 am


    Just wanted to point out that the Cavendish Online £1.50 regular investment fee only applies to ETFs & ITs (normal dealing fee is £10). It does not apply to other funds on the platform that are free to deal—these are also free in a monthly saving scheme. The table above gives the impression that they are not.

  • 2190 Stephen Watson August 12, 2018, 10:11 am

    I’m in the process of transferring my sipp from AJBell to Fidelity because of cheaper charges. I started in May and nearly 3 months later its not done yet – and that is with just 1 etf. If the government wants to promote competition they need to compel quicker transfers. By the time my transfer completes its quite possible Fidelity will have increased their very low etf platform fee and I’ll have wasted my time.

  • 2191 Rob August 12, 2018, 12:37 pm

    Is it me misunderstanding or is it really the case that bestinvest are the only platform to charge the full platform fee on a shares only portfolio? Other platforms either have no platform fees for shares only accounts, or have a reasonable cap such as £45 max per year. Or they pay it back in dealing commission offsets making it essentially zero fees in practice. A similar portfolio with bestinvest costs £100s in platform fees which seems like daylight robbery, unless I am mistaken?

  • 2192 ivanopinion August 12, 2018, 3:23 pm

    @TI & TA

    Thanks. It sounds like my grandfathered BestInvest deal is unlikely to be exempt from the new £100 pa charge. Though I won’t know for sure until they notify me.

    So, potentially I will be facing a doubling of my charges on my SIPP. £100 custody fee, plus £100 new platform fee. Looks like the cheapest option for my ETF-only SIPP would be to move to Fidelity, which caps the fee at £45 pa.

    I think you are right that most other platforms differentiate their fees on ETFs vs funds. I only kept my SIPP with BI in 2014 because they offered a special fixed fee if my SIPP was ETF/IT/shares, but this is not available to new investors. For any ETF portfolio of a decent size, BestInvest is one of the costliest platforms.

  • 2193 Rob August 12, 2018, 4:02 pm

    @ivanopinion I will be moving my shares only portfolio from Best(joke)Invest to another platform which will cost me nothing in platform fees. This will save me a few hundred pounds a year. I will also be moving my SIPP but have not decided where to yet. I believe Vanguard are launching a SIPP ( I think I read somewhere it would be around October) so might wait a couple of months and see what they have and move it to them, potentially saving me a further £200 a year. By moving everything away from BI I will save over £600 a year, which is a very significant saving. Wish I’d looked into this before.

  • 2194 Alan August 13, 2018, 8:58 am

    I don’t know whether this has already been posted or not (there are a lot of comments) but CSD has recently informed me that they are increasing their ISA platform charges are being increased in Spetember by 40% (from 0.25% to 0.35%).

  • 2195 Haphazard August 20, 2018, 11:45 am

    Snowman’s point above about getting out of CSD is helpful. I’m now feeling I really ought to move before it is too late…
    One of the many things that makes me nervous about switching is keeping control of what is going on. If I switch, whether it’s a taxable account or an ISA, I don’t want any selling of funds – not wanting to mess about with capital gains or lose ISA status. I’d want it to be simply a re-registration of the fund on another platform.
    What is the best way to ensure this happens? I know I need to check the funds are available on the new platform. But the language used around transfer, switch, re-registration, doesn’t always seem to make it clear
    It’s a shame about CSD. I’ve found their service to be good – nice clear statements and calculations of capital gains…and fixed fee brokers, with the exception of iWeb, seem to get poor write ups.

  • 2196 John. August 20, 2018, 12:27 pm

    All I have to say about iWeb is be careful. They’re ok until they’re not ok. They have an antiquated registration system which is why their offerings are limited, they can’t cope with any more than one ISIN and even though they claim to use SEDOL which is unique the one ISIN restriction bars a great many options that they really should offer.

    Although the public facing customer service is friendly I have doubts about the competence of those behind the screen.

    They’re cheap and ch… eap.

    I transferred a global small cap ETF in May to iWEB from IG, after three months of them trying and failing to get it over, with different excuses each time, they’ve now somehow managed to transfer the wrong version (how that’s even possible is still a mystery).
    So I now have what I believe is a Frankfurt listed ETF (ZPRS) sat in my iWeb account instead of the same London listed ETF (WOSC) they were supposed to be re-registering.

    The very worst part of this is that they were completely oblivious to the situation until I contacted them and started trying to do their job for them.

    Up until this happening I would have said iWeb are very good but it’s exposed a weakness in their competence, methods and systems that I wasn’t aware of beforehand.

    I’m now an unwilling participant in sorting this mess out and making a formal complaint which is likely to involve a technical letter to the FOS at some point. Hassle I can well do without.

  • 2197 Paul August 21, 2018, 2:42 pm

    Just re-checked Cavendish Online, and I can’t see any reference to a £1.50 charge for regular savings. I think it should be £0.

  • 2198 The Accumulator August 21, 2018, 7:26 pm

    The £1.50 is for regular savings with ETFs. Will update the table so it’s clear.

  • 2199 UXR August 22, 2018, 10:52 pm

    Haphazard – what you want is to tell the new provider you want the transfer to be “in specie”. Both the sending and receiving ISA provider have to support this, so make sure to check with whomever you pick for your new ISA that they are OK with accepting in specie transfer from CSD.

    CSD have been very helpful with an in specie transfer to iWeb a couple of months ago that took just 4 weeks start to finish in my case.

  • 2200 Haphazard August 25, 2018, 11:11 am

    Thanks UXR. I was worried about the one fund the new provider didn’t have, but it’s just been left where it is which was fine. CSD also very helpful on sending end of my transfer so far – about half of the funds have arrived within *days* – proves it doesn’t have to be such a faff.

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