Attention UK investors! You know how we created that massive broker comparison table? Well we’ve gone back to the coalface once more to update it.
Cleaning a swimming pool with a toothbrush would have been more fun. But it would not have produced a quick and easy overview of all the main execution-only investment services.
Investment platforms, stock brokers, call ’em what you will – we’ve stripped ’em down to their undies for you to eyeball over a cup of tea and your favourite tranquillisers.
Who’s the best broker?
It’s impossible to say. There are too many subtle differences in the offers. The UK’s brokers occupy more niches than the mammal family. And while I know which one is best for me, I can’t know which one is right for you.
What we have done is laser focus the comparison onto the most important factor in play: cost.
An execution-only broker is not on this Earth to hold anyone’s hand. Yes, we want their website to work. We’d prefer them to not screw us over, go bust, or send us to the seventh circle of call-centre hell. These things we take for granted.
So customer service metrics are not included in this table. It’s purely a bare-knuckle contest of brute cost for services rendered.
Why should DIY investors flay costs as if they were the tattooed agents of darkness? Because the last thing you need is to leak 1% in management charges. Especially not in light of annual after-inflation expected returns of less than 3% on passive portfolios for the next decade.
This makes picking the best value broker a key battleground for all investors.
Using the table
We’ve decided the main UK brokers fall into three main camps:
- Fixed-fee brokers – charge one price for platform services regardless of the size of your assets. In other words, they might charge you £100 per year, whether your portfolio is worth £1,000 or £1 million. Generally, if you’ve got more than £25,000 stashed away then you definitely want to look here. Bear in mind that fixed fee doesn’t mean you won’t also be tapped up for dealing monies and a laundry list of other charges.
- Percentage-fee brokers – this is where the wealthy need to be careful. These guys charge a percentage of your assets, say 0.3% per year. For a portfolio of £1,000 that would amount to a fee of £3. On £1 million you’d be paying £3,000. Small investors should generally use percentage-fee brokers. However even surprisingly moderate rollers are better off with fixed fees. Many percentage-fee brokers offer fee caps and tiered charges to limit the damage. But the price advantage still favours the fixed-fee outfits in most cases.
- Trading platforms – brokerages that suit investors who want to deal mostly in shares and more exotic securities besides. Think of sites like Interactive Brokers, Degiro, and friends. Beware: don’t imagine zero-commission brokers are giving it away. Their services cost money so they’ll be making up the difference somewhere. Probably in less obvious fees such as spreads.
The table looks complex. But choosing the right broker needn’t be any more painful than ensuring it offers the investments you want and then running a few numbers on your portfolio.
Help us find the best online broker for all of you
The final point you need to know is that this table’s vitality relies on crowd-sourcing.
We review the whole thing every three months. But it can be permanently up-to-date if you contact us or leave a comment every time you find an inaccuracy, fresh information, or a platform you think should be added.
Thanks to your efforts as much as ours, our broker comparison table has become an invaluable resource for UK investors looking to find the best online broker.
Take it steady,
Hi All, 3 years ago after finding this site (a little late 52)i invested a lump sum in VLS 60 and also 40% with Iweb in an Isa, and both have done well. So we’ll I’ve have inadvertently gone way over the FSA compensation limit, I would like to do the same for my wife using the same fund so Q1. How do I reduce my own fund and transfer profits to my wife to be in line with FSA also Q2 is it best to remain with Iweb or invest directly with Vanguard, apologies for length but would appreciate help.
Hi David, you sell some of your units, withdraw the cash, then deposit same cash in your wife’s account and buy. To save faff, it would be worth checking with iweb if you can link your accounts and transfer the cash directly.
The answer to Q2 depends on how big your portfolio is and how often you trade. I’m purely thinking from a cost perspective. iWeb is hard to beat if your portfolio is worth mid five figures plus and you rarely trade.
Thanks The Accumulator, just a thought with the F.C.S. Compensation limit at 50k what do people with a few 100k do which these days doesn’t a great amount or do I worry too much
Apologies I should explain after toiling away in the same wearisome (especially last 5) employment for 37 years I am due to call it a day in the next 2. Hooray!! The public can be twits. Anyway I hope to be in the above category with approximately another 50k total 150k but what to do about those limits? As I only have one wife.
Apologies for my last text a12 hrs shift turned into nearly 16. Once you have maxed out on compensation limits for my wife and myself (Isa) is it a matter of finding a different platform and fund to continue investing, I imagine there must be many people with more to invest than the compensation limits. I wonder if I worry a little to much. Thanks.
@ The Accumulator
Thanks for the link! I guess I fall under Young Buck, so I’ll look into Vanguard’s All-World tracker. That said, my gut is telling me to stick to Lifestrategy as I’m not confident in my ability to rebalance so maybe I’ll think about going up to from LS60% to LS80 or 100%
AJ Bell Youinvest are a percentage broker but have a cap of £30 (on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds). That makes them cheaper than the majority of fixed fee brokers! Best of both worlds (unless you want funds)?
Not sure about the dealing costs entry for Fidelity or Cavendish online. I went through Cavendish to set up a Fidelity Fundsnetwork pension, and there were no charges for regular investment. I set up my investment wishes – proportions into each of three funds, and the money went in there each month, with no charges other than the already mentiond 0.2% platform fee.
Hi Pete, the £1.50 refers to regular investing in ETFs, but thank you for pointing that out. I need to make that clearer on the table.
I am trying to transfer my ISA from Interactive Investor to Vanguard dues to the fees difference but II claim it does not exist! Hope they can sort it as it’s nearly £5,000!
Just a thought
In the Comparison site for Platforms-would it be possible to include the number of clients and financial size of the business
In these time when safety or viability of platforms is starting to precede cheapness of operation -it would help us to better determine the Quality of the Platform
Just saw a sneaky advert for vitality’s isa which apparently gives a bonus of up to 15% over 25 years, of which there is a bonus every 5 years and the first of which is 2%
The catch – you have to be invested in vitality’s funds to get it – many of which have charged around 1% despite vitality saying they are in partnership with vanguard
The cost of the isa itself was i think 0.31% if you use their expensive vitality funds, 0.6% for other funds, and apparently zero if you somehow gain platinum status with vitality points, if that’s realistic, so overall not really a competitive product even among % brokers
Hi folks, Does anyone know if there are any brokers out there which will allow a single view of multiple accounts eg the 2x ISAs and 2x SIPPs of a married couple viewed as a single consolidated work . I can of course do this myself or using an online portfolio tool but having this facility which take away some of the work and also allow meaningful use of any portfolio analysis tools. Thanks, Neil
I am new to the investment world and planning to make my first investment. I have read a lot on this site but still have a few questions. I would highly appreciate if someone can shed the light.
-I am not planning to make frequent transactions, but I intend to invest significant (for me) amounts in ISA. I am interested in using low cost brokers and wanted to know how reliable are Iweb and X-O?
-what are the chances of low cost brokers going bust and what happens to my investments in this case?
Thanks for answer
Hi Andy, I’ve used iweb for several years and not had a problem. My needs are pretty basic though – the occasional trade once in the blue moon. iweb are part of the Halifax group. See the forum links on the broker table if you want to ask these questions of a wider crowd. No-one can tell you the chances of a broker going bust. Here’s the facts on the compensation scheme: https://monevator.com/investor-compensation-scheme/
Thank you for maintaining these tables, nowhere else that you can easily find on tinternet does it well, ie not telling you details until you click through
Would it be possible to know which ones allow in specie transfers so im not out of the market? As that alone puts me off switching current % fee broker to vanguard and then later from vanguard to a fixed fee
The halifax one could be a good place to park lump sums, ie one year build up with a % broker and the next year transfer to halifax, rinse and repeat
Interactive Investor just announced that they are upping there fees a bit:
Actually the ii fees are going up quite a lot – from £22.50 a quarter to £39.96 (and some other charges are changing – e.g. non UK residents will now have to pay an additional £3.99 a month).
Works out OK for active investing as they are reducing their trade fees, but much more expensive for passive.
AFAIK (I have all their other emails), we were not notified about this (I have to assume I must have accidentally deleted two emails – one for me and one to my wife) as I cannot believe that they would not tell customers.
Really frustrating having only opened the SIPPs last year – fortunately they don’t have exit fees so it’s off we go.
And ii’s web-site still shows the existing fees with no mention on the page that this is changing from June. Seriously underhand.
Sorry – maths wrong – new quaterly fee is £29.97 not £39.96 – couldn’t edit.
Great to see the table updated again.
What’s happened to the comparison tool? Is that still going?
@Fremantle — Unfortunately Broker Compare (the guys behind the tool) have shut it down.
Inspired by Ermine’s recent posts could I propose a ‘Flexible’ column or note for the ISA related rows?
heres my tuppence (if there’s a ball that needs to get rolling):
Share Centre yes
Charles Stanley yes
@The Rhino — Another: Selftrade stocks and shares ISA is now Flexible.
A really useful table. HSBC GIC actually offers almost 400 funds from 20+ fund managers.
Unfortunately it doesn’t offer the full range of HSBC index trackers.
One feature that I have found important is whether the platform offers a dividend re-investment facility. HSBC doesn’t, so unless you use accumulation units where available (a good move) you can finish up with relatively small amounts of cash that you need to top up to the £100 min. I moved from HSBC GIC to HL – initially more expensive but now I that I use only ITs and ETFs the monthly fee is capped. Obviously you still ge the dealing charge but regular saving is pretty cost effective.
Keep up the good work.
We’re shifting from funds to investment trusts because we’re with Hargreaves Lansdown and they have a cap on charges for ITs but not for funds.
It’s not simple even within brokers.
Any reason the Lloyds annual platform fee has jumped from £40 to £120 ? As far as I can see it is still £20 every six months and the standard trading account admin fee waived if you have also have an ISA account so still £40 pa for most.
Thanks TA for all your rusty water eating(?)
I also find this comparison site is useful: http://www.comparefundplatforms.com/home
@ Maximus – many thanks for that link! Even with TA’s excellent table I struggle to feel 100% confident I’m making the right selection – but that comparison tool has confirmed that my calculations are correct. Finally feeling confident I’ll be jumping in the right direction I can wave a (not terribly fond) farewell to the fees at HL.
@MM – funnily enough I’m on my way back to HL after a few years hiatus. HL is pretty attractive on a cost/service basis but (strictly) only for a share/ETF/IT portfolio..
@ The Rhino – I’m a strictly passive, ISA-based, low dealing, trickle-in accumulation phase, self-balancing funds kinda guy – climbing my money mountain (okay, currently a hillock) one step at a time – and recently passed the £35K threshold, so time to switch to a flat fee platform. And that now looks like it will be with Interactive Investor.
HL were great while I was taking my first tentative steps into investing, and with a small portfolio, but now feels like the right time to chase low costs as the top priority. Sound’s like you have a slightly different style, for which the HL platform brings benefits.
@MM – I use a few different brokers for different things, was 6 but now pared down to 4. They’ve all got their pros and cons to match against what you’re trying to achieve, but a bit of variety is also good from a diversification perspective in case one of them falls over in a heap.
Sad to see ATS (Alliance) disappear now they are being absorbed into ii. Have had a pep/ISA with them since the 80s. I use/ have used ATS, ii, Halifax share dealing and HL and haven’t had a moment’s problem with any of them. Biggest whinge is the investments offered. This can be surprisingly limited though HL and ii are the best. ATS made me sign as a sophisticated investor to buy a gold ETC: they all seem to take a different view.
@MoMo – Glad you found the link useful and well done for escaping the clutches of HL; I did the same after they massively hiked fees for passive funds several years ago. I’m with Interactive Investor now, but may soon jump ship to iWeb.
Yes it seems the choice for large fund portfolios grows ever smaller. I was with iWeb, ATS and Youinvest (had to switch my funds to ETFs on the latter some years back). I don’t really want to be transferred to II as I previously moved away from them due to poor customer service. I’ve concluded that it is time to try out the legendary HL, although this will mean switching another large tranche out of funds to ETFs.
Anyone else found a trouble free alternative for fund portfolios? If only we could clone iWeb (oh, wait….)
That compare funds site looks like it’s the comparison tool which was previously sited here. Ah well, it’s still useful….
It tells me to look into x-o – as long as I switch to ETFs. Any feedback from users here? For a SIPP with infrequent trading.
@ McFishcake – love the name. Reason Lloyds jumped is cos I misread the charges. Must drink less while updating the table 😉
My apologies for the confusion. The table has been corrected now.
For info wrt ATS, I have been given a date of 14 October for transition to the ii platform.
I have a SIPP with AJ Bell and a trading account and ISA with Interactive Investor. I would say that Interactive Investor is a low quality budget option whereas AJ Bell is far better quality.
– when you log in to ii it only asks for an id and password (which can be very simple) whereas AJ Bell asks for id, password and a security question. Very poor security with ii considering people may have much of their wealth administered from the platform.
– the user interface on AJ Bell is vastly superior. ii looks like a student project gone wrong and glitches out a lot of the time.
– worst of all from my perspective is that ii does not show you all the investment options you actually have when you research funds, etfs etc while showing options you actually cannot access. A good recent example is when I decided to invest in a FTSE 250 index. I wanted to choose an accumulation option as I don’t want to have to pay to reinvest the dividends every quarter. The cheapest option was shown as the HSBC FTSE 250 Index S Acc fund @ 0.08%. However when I tried to buy this fund ii told me I couldn’t. So I moved on to the next cheapest which was Vanguard FTSE 250 UCITS ETF VMID @0.1%. However this is a distribution ETF. When I actually got to the buy screen on ii I noticed another Vanguard ETF was listed – VMIG. This is the same as VMID but an accumulation fund. I bought this as it saves me having to pay to reinvest the dividends through a DRIP. Why is this ETF not listed with all the other Vanguard ETFs when you search for FTSE 250 ETFs? My cynical side tells me it is because ii likes to hide the accumulation fund and try and bamboozle customers into buying the distribution fund so they can collect the DRIP charges. It is either that or the ii website is rubbish. My confidence in ii has been undermined by these glitches. AJ Bell had none of these problems (and it was researching on AJ Bell that revealed VMIG to me). Anyone else had issues like this?
> when you log in to ii it only asks for an id and password (which can be very simple) whereas AJ Bell asks for id, password and a security question. Very poor security with ii considering people may have much of their wealth administered from the platform.
Asking for two different passwords isn’t any more secure than asking for one password. It is disappointing that brokers aren’t supporting 2 factor authentication via TOTP, app, or SMS.
Interactive Investor have introduced an offer for those opening a new SIPP by 3rd April 2020, to waive their additional £120pa SIPP fee until April 2021. So you pay the main platform charge of £119.88pa (£9.99pm) but not the additional SIPP charge until April 2021.
Vanguard still potentially cheaper during the period to April 2021 for SIPPs below about 80K in value, but interesting development all the same.
@Andy. Not sure who else does, but AJ Bell does support app-based 2 factor auth:
I probably missed it, or am being dim, but what does ‘ unrestricted’ mean as in ‘ unrestricted fund portfolio’?
Also, doesn’t the II sipp qualify for such a statement?
Thanks for the work.
Whilst I very much appreciate all the hard work that has gone in here I don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about. Maybe I am missing something? I and my wife are with HL and both have SIPPs and ISAs. We don’t invest in funds as there is plenty of choice in the ETF space for passives. Consequently we are charged 200 each pa for our SIPPs and 45 each pa for our ISAs 490 pa in all. That represents charges of between 3 and 4 bps I.e. 0.03% p.a. There are no additional fees for drawdown. I think my time is better spent worrying about asset allocation (and the lifetime allowance) but would be good if someone could put me straight.
@Merlotman — I don’t think you’re missing anything. Rather, you’re in a good spot. You’re even using the right vehicles for that platform, and with an evidently large portfolio your ongoing fees are indeed very small.
However this website isn’t called Merlotman-evator. 😉 Not everyone is in the same position as you.
If you were transitioning from years with a high fee wealth advisor and a clutch of opaque active funds and you were moving towards a self-managed passive portfolio, then choosing the right broker (and monitoring your choice over time as your portfolio grows) is an important part of the picture.
Also we only do 2-3 table updates a year, which is approximately 1% of the annual output of Monevator, so your definition of “all the fuss” may be different from mine! 🙂
I hope I didn’t sound pompous – I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing any hidden charges. And I can assure you that where I am today has been very much down to luck with my active investing, hence my increasing interest in passive on the basis I am soon to mean revert!
@Merlotman — Haha, no worries at all. Sometimes some people forget that we have to write for a huge range of people (including first/one-time visitors to the site) so it’s a bit of a nightmare pleasing everyone. Just wanted to restate that I suppose, instead of looking at my portfolio shrinking by the hour… 😉
Hi, I what would be the best broker for a £20k stocks and shares ISA holding the Index funds mentioned on this site and £20k holding various other funds.
Hi. w.r.t the Vanguard SIPP, I received a mail from them this week that they would accept in-speccie transfers (of Vanguard funds of course) by the end of July this year.
@ Mr Optimistic – Unrestricted means the platform doesn’t limit your product choice in the way that, say, Vanguard and HSBC does. I see I haven’t updated the notes underneath the table so I need to do that. Also, Unrestricted may not be the best choice of words as every platform has its limitations somewhere along the line. Any feedback on this would be great. I need a word that alerts people to platforms that limit your choice to:
a) their products only e.g. Vanguard
b) a quite limited list of products e.g. HSBC, Fidelity / Freetrade / Trading 212 ETFs.
Yes, ii are unrestricted but they currently don’t get the nod in terms of ‘best buy’ platform so I don’t mention it. Same with all other platforms that don’t fit my ‘best buy’ criteria.
@ Snowman and Algernond – thank you for the tip offs!
@ Merlotman – you can do better! Especially if you trade a fair bit. But I’m sure you have bigger fish to fry given your cost base.
@ Andy and Ken – HL don’t support two-factor authentication which is surprising.
@ Ince – take a look at Vanguard and Cavendish and others near the top of the percentage fee table.
@TA. Thanks for that. For a sipp portfolio above £50k ii still looks ok compared to say iweb.
Disappointed to discover Fidelity don’t offer a stop loss on SIPP investments. I assume the same in other accounts.
AJ Bell Youinvest exit charges look VERY out of step with the market now. £25 per holding, and NO cap.
I wonder if a useful addition might be to also take into account the interest rate that the platform pays on uninvested cash. It might complicate matters too much, but I have quite a large cash allocation (relatively risk averse and haven’t decided on a suitable bond strategy) and my current platform pays 0% (maybe they all do).
I wonder if a new flat fee provider will ever turn up. I have a lot with II, owing to them hovering up ATS, near enough 7 figures. I am not overly concerned about security but it’s a strong factor against putting any more in. More concern is the potential for increased fees if competition is restricted. Their service has been fine though.
@MrO, probably not, would be my guess.
Flat fees on fund holdings now more or less down to II and the IWeb/Halifax/Lloyds label, of which iWeb is the cheapest.
The other way to get kind of flat fees is to avoid funds, and use YouInvest or Hargreaves Lansdown. The only one of these I haven’t tried yet is HL. I have three brokers and more or less happy with them. Was uneasy about the II transfer due to previous bad experience, but so far so ok.
This table would be great as a spreadsheet, where you input the amount you’ve got in funds, ETF’s/ITs/shares and cash and it shows you how much each platform would cost.
I agree with Gizzard. I feel as though I have a straight yes or no answer, given my holding amount, type and regularity of new investments, but… man it’s fiddly to work out which is definitely the best for me.
@Cliffo @Gizzard — We have had such a tool in the past, and have also explored spreadsheets. The tool was pretty good — it was provided by a third-party called Broker Compare who we worked in conjunction with. Ultimately they had to close down because they couldn’t make any (/enough) money to cover the costs etc.
Anyway, the tools/sheets come with their own issues, such as assumptions built-in but hard to surface (or not disclosed at all) or certain factors that are relevant for some platforms not being featured because they’re not a factor at all with the others.
Ultimately nothing beats doing the sums for yourself! This article is not going to frighten the horses, but it might be useful if you’ve not read it:
Won’t http://www.comparefundplatforms.com/ do what Gizzard and Cliffo have suggested?
My Dad recently passed away leaving everything to my Mum and we’re in the process of making things more simple. Dad had a good amount invested in many different funds on multiple platforms through his IFA but I do not sip from the well of active management and am considering moving some of the ISA accounts to Vanguard. In a perfect world everything (even the SIPPs) would be transferred to Vanguard and split between VWRL and the Global Bond Fund but I’m now having to think of the FCA protection limit (something I’ve not had to consider thus far). There are a few products that I’m happy for the IFA to continue to deal with but I can’t think of any reason the active funds shouldn’t be moved. Am I missing anything? I’d be grateful to hear of other posters’ experiences if they’ve been through anything similar. Similarly, has anyone used an IFA to provide anything that a retail investor cannot access that has proven useful? Thanks in advance
@ LALILULELO – I recently moved my elderly parents to a two fund portfolio + deposit account arrangement. They draw a fixed amount from the deposit account each month, it gets topped up with dividends as and when they’re paid and then, every year or so I’ll top up the deposit account from capital, and re balance at the same time. I partly did it for convenience but also because it meant I could stop thinking about yield.I went for VWRL and the ishares aggregate bond – AGBP and both are held at Hargreaves Lansdown in ISA’s – £45 per year each. I don’t really like HL, and think they were/are immensely greedy with their best buy lists and Woodford promoting malarkey, not to mention the platform charge on funds, but the service is very good and the platform excellent. As for IFA’s, I suspect you’ll learn most of what you need to know by ferreting around on this fine site.
Thanks Ruby, I haven’t looked into AGBP so I’ll put it on the list. If you don’t mind me asking, did you have any qualms only using HL (vis a vis the FCA protection) and only the 2 funds or is the perceived wisdom that the collapse of Vanguard, iShares and HL is far too remote to worry about such things? And you’re right about this fine site, I might have to dig through the fantastic Mark Meldon articles again in particular!
I don’t know whether it takes account of interest payments (if any) on any cash held. But I’ll take a closer look.
I use HL. I believe you only need to concern yourself with any cash you hold with them. But even then I believe (check for yourself though) that they split the money between 5 different banks so in theory, you would be covered by the FCA for up to five times £85,000 (£425,000). Any funds you hold on the platform are ringfenced in your name and would be unaffected if either/both HL and Vanguard went bust. Although you’d have trouble accessing them for a while.
@ LALILULELO – I haven’t given it much thought and the amounts exceed the compo anyway. As far as cash is concerned I believe it is as @ Gizzard says; as far as investments are concerned, I think the likelihood of HL, Vanguard, iShares going bust having trousered investor money to be slim enough not to really have to worry about it. I’d be more bothered about an IT melt down but suspect/hope that would just affect accessibility for a while. I imagine @ The Investor or @ The Accumulator have written about this somewhere and both are much better informed than me.
Not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere but a decent discount in platform fees applies if you land a job with HL, however minor. The big win is that this discount applies for perpetuity even if only employed for a six month contract, and applies to all “connected” family members with an account. I estimate this discount will be worth in excess of £150,000 over our collective predicted lifetimes, which is nice. It certainly helps if you live near Bristol though…
Trading 212 have a really great new feature (albeit shamelessly copied from M1 finance in the US). This is their investment ‘pie’. You set up your pie by choosing your instruments, setting the desired % allocation and can then automate regular investments into the pie. You can then rebalance at the click of a button at whatever frequency you choose. you can also set up multiple pies for different financial goals and objectives. It’s something I’ve been waiting for in the UK ever since I first saw the functionality in the Us broker M1 Finance (why are our UK brokers so slow to innovate??). Alongside zero commission trading, this makes Trading 212 a compelling option. I’m just a bit concerned about investing too much money with them initially as, even though they are FCA authorised, their parent company is registered in Bulgaria.
I currently use IG’s smart portfolio – the fee is capped at £250/year so it is worthwhile for large investments…They offer a number of portfolios based on your risk appetite and do the re-balancing for you (so not 100% passive)…They’ve partnered with Blackrock so all the investments within the portfolios are ishares ETFs. I’ve only been with them for 6 months but I’m very happy with them overall…
Don’t suppose anyone here knows of other brokers who offer corporate/company brokerage accounts?
I know of ii, HL (though they’ve temporarily suspended new accounts due to the ‘vid) and IG. I’m also aware that Vanguard offer an institutional service for higher rollers than my little company. Thanks in advance.
Would really appreciate a specific deeper comparison on SIPPs and in particular differences between the accumulate and decumulate phases. There seems to be a whole world of opacity on the precise charges during drawdowns for instance e.g. is drawdown cost all-in or are there trading costs to layer on top for each individual drawdown?
@Bobbins What, like AJ Bell charge of £30 for any ad hoc drawdown?
Incidently, I am finding the fact that AJ Bell actually provide the SIPP capability to iWeb is adding an additional level of complexity/delay when trying to transfer my SIPP out.
Hi guys,is it possible to calculate an approximate break even point where an EFT platform (e.g. freetrade) costs would start to be cheaper than a funds platform (e.g. fidelity or Vanguard).
Reason is I like Vanguard LS in general but don’t like the bias element and would prefer a 79/30 eq/bd split. Also wondered how much a diversification difference adding Property, small cap, gold (EFT / funds) makes against just having a simple global tracker / bond portfolio.
Did wonder about looking at having two fund of funds (VLS80 & fidelity multi asset allocator adv.) to get as many asset allocations as possible but wondered if it could be done cheaper with half a dozen funds.
I dread the day I have to move to iWeb – don’t like a cheap looking website when it’s all my savings. Might just sacrifice the fees and use Halifax.
Be careful with Halifax, contact options are very limited: no internal messaging service (like CSD or Vanguard), no support email, and waiting time for their phone support is 30-40 minutes. I inititiated a share ISA transfer at the beginning of February and have another 10 weeks to wait – more than 6 months!
6 months! I thought Vanguard’s 30 day transfer time was slow.
@adt Iweb is Halifax.
Cheap website is good, it means they’re not spending your money on flashy bells and whistles, that are more distraction than useful.
I’ve been using Iweb for years, the only time I’ve had any problem was just after ‘planned maintenance’ when everything ran slow and eventually timed out. It was working normally within an hour, when I tried again.
I use HL for one of my two SIPPS. I find it the most cost effective platform for my particular needs. I hold a diversified portfolio of about 20 IT’s yielding just over 4%/year. The platform max cost is £200/year. There is no charge for withdrawing money on a monthly basis. There is of course an £11 trading charge. However, I now only need to trade once a month on average which costs me a further £100/year. So in total the cost is approx. £300/year. The service and platform are excellent and so for me I find it’s a very cost effective option.
My other SIPP is on the LifeSight platform and made up of index tracker funds at a total charge (including fund AMC) of 0.26%/year. No cost for trading or withdrawing money. However, the fund choice is very limited.
All ISA’s are on ii and are a mix of funds and ETF’s.
What are people’s recent experiences with in specie transfers from Vanguard to iWeb? I’ve seen some horror stories on Reddit etc. about transfers taking months to complete; or not being done in specie even when requested.
The actual table says updated MAY 24, 2021 ?
@BerkshirePat – Shhhh! @TA will hear you! (Fixed now, mea culpa. Thanks for flagging.)
I use A J Bell and Vanguard for most of my stuff.
Customer service is important to me, in addition to costs.
I’ve always found customer service at Vanguard to be very good, and almost always receive a response, that evening, to questions that I raise. The quality of the responses have almost always been excellent, insofar as they properly address, and respond to the issue being raised.
A J Bell, somewhat less so. Both in the timeliness of their replies, and the quality of the responses, whether in terms of vagueness, or something that looks rather like a fob off. A recent question of mine asked why it seemed that when I wanted to review my transaction history, there seemed to be no way that I could go back any more than 1 year, or the previous tax year. The response just reiterated what I said, as a fact.
The reason I asked, is that I currently print out each monthly transactions, and am considering whether to leave them up there ‘in the cloud’ at the broker/investment platform. Would appreciate advice/other views on this.
@trufflehunt (283) I am also mistrustful of relying on being able to access my information for sufficient time from any provider when I just leave it on their platform. An alternative to physically printing it off is to ‘print to PDF’ and store on your own computer or cloud service (e.g. Dropbox).
I strongly recommend that you keep PDF copies of all your contract notes and statements. I also keep a financial diary with entries like:
04/10/21 Bought 58 VEVE for £3,756.07 SIPP
I store these in a separate directory for each year, and keep physical backups and a backup on the cloud.
Thank you, appreciated.
Hi all, 37 years on the NHS front line it’s been difficult. But I’m about to say goodbye at 59, thanks to this resource things will be a little easier. So thanks to the Accumulator and all. Regards.
@ Flying Moonwards – I recently completed an in specie transfer between Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell. It took months and they managed to cock it up into the bargain. I had a similar experience overseeing a transfer for my mum a couple of years ago. Taking months to do it badly seems to be an industry (bog) standard.
@ trufflehunt – agree that AJ Bell customer service is vague and smacks of ticking a box rather than going the extra mile. My needs are simple so I put up with it. HL on the other hand are great for customer service but I resent the fees. There’s probably a connection 🙂 Interesting to know that Vanguard are excellent.
Can anyone comment on what Fidelity are like?
@ BerkshirePat – thank you! Clearly you have more leverage with TI than I do 😉
@ David – thank you so much for taking the time. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been on the frontline but I’m pleased as punch you’re able to leave it all behind. Best of luck in your new life!
Thanks for the update, I always point my friends and others to this article when they ask me questions about which broker and if per trade fee based or platform yearly percentage fees are better. Many people have made choices based of this .
iWeb certainly still is the best choice for myself and I will continue to use unless things substantially change.
As an iWeb and Vanguard user, I have been considering using Freetrade to spread the load nearer the £85k protection limits. Has anyone here any idea how the price spreads on Freetrade compare with market prices?
“Bump” for all the good things said about iWeb.
I moved SIPP from Vanguard to Freetrade. Primarily as fixed monthly charge made economic sense. Also both distributing and accumulating Vanguard etf’s were available with Freetrade. Option also exists for non Vanguard etf’s, investment trusts and individual shares. In specie transfer took longer than I would have wished but went through OK.
Would welcome a Monevator article on investengine.
Hi you might want to update this section:
“Zero commission and share dealing platforms – Brokerages that suit investors who want to deal mostly in shares, ETFs and more exotic securities besides. Sites like Freetrade, Interactive Brokers, Degiro and friends fill this brief. Beware: don’t think zero commission platforms are giving it away. Their services cost money so they’ll be making up the difference somewhere. Probably in less obvious fees such as spreads.”
On the spreads part, its illegal in the UK to use payment for order flow, basically the act of directing deals through a certain broker to take a commission on the trading spread.
Just a heads up that the link to the comparison table looks broken to me.
1. The links to the comparison table are not working for me.
2. I see a few comments about people spreading their investments because of reaching the £85k protection limit. I thought that limit was related to cash and not for investments?
@Garrie @Phil — Thanks for the heads up but I’m a bit mystified, as the links are definitely working for me. (The one at the top and the one at the bottom).
If anyone else is seeing this problem could you please report here exactly what ‘not working’ means? (E.g. 404 not found, bad gateway, link doesn’t do anything, etc) — thanks in advance!
Well both links are now working.
@Garrie (#297), @TI(#296):
FYI, this happened to me too – links originally not working, but now are?!?
@Garrie @Al Cam — Thanks. Sounds like it was a server error. If someone could say as I mentioned exactly what “not working” meant it’d be good to know for the record. 🙂
(There’s a lot of way links can ‘not work’ on the Internet, pointing to do different things you see.)
Effectively a 404 error – but with a tailored message about first love/crush if I remember correctly.
@ Garrie – the £85K limit now applies to investments too
@Al Cam — Thanks, that’s an internal link error which is really bizarre as the links didn’t change. Hmm.
I recently switched my S&S ISA from HL to ii. All very smooth, painless (other than the recent price drops) and quick, certainly compared to when I moved a SIPP from HL to AJ Bell a while back.
No major criticism of HL, other than the slightly higher costs, but the service, website and app are excellent. First impressions of the ii app are a bit mixed/different, but as I plan to trade occasionally and regularity invest, mainly in Vanguard LS80, it agurbley makes me less likely to log in to look and therefore be tempted to tinker. It certainly lacks the immediate functionability and availability of information available on the excellent HL website/app, but For example, if researching funds or trusts, I can’t see a way on ii to find out the underlying % of holdings or KID easily, certainly compared to HL. (they are there, just takes a bit more digging).
Thanks again for the update.
Just to note that ii are probably about to be bought by abdn. This introduces some uncertainty about their future charging model.
@everyone — Afternoon all 🙂 As mentioned by my comment on the updated broker comparison table, we’ve moved to a new method to display all this data.
More evolution than revolution for sure, but hopefully easier for you to read and easier for us to update!
If you spot anything lost in translation, then please do drop a note in the comments to the table. Thanks!
I think I like the new look and the additional info it provides.
I have been considering using X-O as an alternate ISA platform with, at least initially, limited trading of funds and/or ETF’s.
Could you therefore please say a bit more about why you decided to place X-O into Trading Platform as opposed to Flat Fee?
P.S. I should have said I already use iWEB.
Choosing a broker is like having a favorite cheese. so many factors to consider, each holding a small niche, and your tastes changing as you develop a palette. This is as close a comparison in the UK as there is.
Hi all, just considering the balance/trade off between cheap platform fees and the FSCS 85K limit – in that is it worth risking breaching it for cheaper fees (and poorer service probably) or sticking with the belt & braces FSCS limit or as near as possible to it?
I have transferred some DC pensions with poor service to SIPPs and also some ISA’s, and with these savings over many years you can soon reach the FSCS limit which seems quite low. I only invest in passive funds and have accounts with IWeb – cheap/average service but not tried transfers into them because of poor reviews in this regard, Vanguard – cheap but terrible service when it comes to transfers – they completely messed up mine and then did not attempt to resolve it for months and had to complain numerous times – so has put me off having too much with them although I do like Vanguards funds to be honest, AJ Bell – pretty run of the mill/average I found with everything from cost to service (not the best or worst) and Hargreaves Lansdown – excellent service including telephone but at fairly high cost for a platform. Transferred a smaller pension around 45K into their SIPP but as all in Vanguard LS funds feel it could be cheaper elsewhere. However having had a couple of banks of mine go bust during the financial crash I feel it is not safe to breach the 85K FSCS protection limit by much and also read the reviews/horror stories about ISA/SIPP transfers to/from Interactive Investor and others which puts me off them.
At the moment I have nowhere near the limit in any platform but if I did consolidate some into cheaper ones and transferred some of my cash ISA’s in time to stocks/shares ISA’s I then could do. At the moment I would consider maybe going to 100K max but is this being too over conservative for the actual risk of a platform going bust?
It’s just you don’t want to risk your pensions or see them eaten away in fees either (especially in the current market climate with inflation and no real returns and risk of recession) as I am now in forced (not intended or planned for) early retirement in early 50’s due to health conditions and so have to entirely use my pensions/savings to live on.
So do you favour more towards cheaper fees or safety? I know it also depends on a lot of variables like how much of a pot you have as you can likely take more risk if you have a larger pot. (I don’t have a very large pot and it could have to last myself and other half more years now and no other sources of income except will get state pension at 67.)
Any thoughts, wise words and musings most welcome. Thanks.
I can’t see it on my browser (Chrome on OS) but I’ll have a fiddle about.
Also, in the new Convertkit emails (fancy!), the title of the blog post is missed out, so a person needs to go to the post via search engine/url instead of clicking on a link in the email.
@The Hare — I believe the heading was a one-off SNAFU with this email. 🙂 I had to create the email manually because for some reason it didn’t get transmitted to Convertkit automatically (perhaps because it was updated, not sure). And I forgot to repeat the clickable title when I did so.
I can see the table on Chrome on iOS. Note you have to click through to the table — this is just an ‘alert’ post. 🙂
Just received an email from Freetrade. The £10/mo account offers a SIPP and an ISA, has free trades (duh) but also pays 3% on uninvested cash up to £4000… which is enough to cover the fee.
@ Al Cam – Re: XO – back in the day XO was one of the few platforms in the table that didn’t offer funds and majored on share trading.
It didn’t quite belong with the other quieter, flat fee offerings available at the time.
Meanwhile, as the market and the broker table have developed there are many more high turnover trading platforms available e.g. degiro and Interactive Brokers.
These don’t really belong with newer entrants like InvestEngine and Freetrade in my view.
You raise a really good point because I’ve finally separated those quite different propositions but without updating my view on XO.
I think XO is probably closer to a Freetrade than an Interactive Broker in the current market, so I’ll probably move XO to the flat fee table now you’ve prompted me to think about it more deeply. Thank you!
Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
Your reply has prompted me to double-check that I can hold what I want to in X-O.
Their website does say:
You can invest in a wide range of products including UK listed shares, Gilts, Bonds, Exchange Traded Funds and Investment Trusts. Please note that you cannot buy or hold overseas shares or unit trusts in an X-O account.” at
So certainly something to bear in mind.
Thanks for the useful table. I just realized I’m potentially paying 300 pounds/yr more than I should have, e.g. because I ‘m using percentage broker rather than flat fee broker and have more than 20,000 invested. Just want to be sure though, the only difference is the account fee, the fund management fee is the same regardless which platform I use? e.g. if I buy vanguard lifestrategy either directly or through Lloyds, the only difference is the account management fee? Thanks.
@ Mei – that’s right.
There is the occasional exception when a deal is cut between a broker and a fund manager that gives the platform a slightly cheaper version of the fund. I don’t worry about those because I’ve never seen one that makes it worth my while to stay at a high-cost broker.
Moreover, Vanguard don’t cut those deals so that slight nuance doesn’t apply to LifeStrategy funds.
Re “so I’ll probably move XO to the flat fee table now you’ve prompted me to think about it more deeply. Thank you!”
In the latest update XO still seems to be categorised as a “Trading platform”. What did we miss last time out?
Good to see you have updated this given the Guardian sent its readers to you for this guidance over the weekend.
A minor point that may concern some: the various platforms also have very different charges for drawing down SIPPs. It can change the choice, for example Hargreaves Lansdown with a relatively high percentage fee has no drawdown fee at all which in our case (transferring a work DC fund prior to drawdown) gave it the edge.
It may be nice to also cover Junior type of accounts. I have recently spent some time looking for cheap JISA and found that I can have one for free (no platform fee) with Fidelity and if I invest in funds and not ETF there is also no dealing fee so it is completely free.
@ zemanlx – really good point. I’ll have a think about how I can incorporate that info. I fight a running battle against overloading it with even more complexity than it features now, but there must be a way!
@ Jonathan B – absolutely! That was a nice surprise that kicked me into gear 🙂
@ Al Cam – you have an eye for detail #4052 😉 On reflection I still feel X-O is heavily tilted towards share dealing and so belongs in the trading table. Do pushback though if you disagree.
Whilst it was noted above that within an X-O ISA:
a) “You can invest in a wide range of products including UK listed shares, Gilts, Bonds, Exchange Traded Funds and Investment Trusts. Please note that you cannot buy or hold overseas shares or unit trusts in an X-O account.”
b) Their SIPP seems to be limited to just shares and uses a third party for SIPP administration services, namely Gaudi Regulated Services Limited.
c) And their home page tag line is still “Would you like a simple, low cost, no fuss way to buy and sell shares online?”
So, I agree on balance it seems X-O is probably “heavily tilted towards share dealing”. The only real exception being their ISA offer – which incidentally was what I was researching last time out.
In any case, your guide, your rules.
@zemanix – good spot, does it require an associated adult account to qualify?
@TA yes, growing complexity is as issue here and you have my respect to keeping it for so long. Maybe having it more interactive would help with reading it. Something like users select what type of account they are interested and how much money they have to keep there which would show them only relevant subset of brokers or something. However, I understand that keeping all data updated is pain as solving riddles in fees and T&C of brokers sites is probably the most time consuming and boring task I can think of. Therefore Thank you for doing it for us.
@the rhino not that I am aware of. But I have a SIPP with them where I have parked it for £45 a year which is also great deal if you do not trade and just waiting for your pension age.
pondering moving some of my ETFs in my isa over to AJ bell for platform diversifcation..
but in 2 weeks its the ex dividened date for the ETFs , if my funds are being moved across providers im concerned they might be in’ no mans land’ on the ex div date [ mid dec] and miss the dividends!
can anyone reasure me ?