Share Investment Platforms

So whats the deal?

Think of a platform like an online financial supermarket. It’s one online account where you can hold your shares, funds, ISAs and even a pension under a single roof. Platforms are a really good idea when it comes to managing your finances because they let you buy and hold the best investment choices through one single account. Less paperwork. One password. Less hassle.

Lets get down to business...

In the old days, people used to use either a stockbroker (to buy shares, obvs) or go to a fund manager to buy funds or an ISA, and/or use an adviser to get a personal pension.

This took a lot of time, was often managed on the phone or via snail mail, and it could mean people had several different accounts for different bits of their savings and investment affairs. Which is all deeply Boring.

Cue the advent of the platform. These things started about 20 years ago in Australia and the US and first hit the UK back in about 2002. Now you can go to one single source for most of your investment needs and it makes life a lot easier. They’re also decently priced and not mired in the opaque murky charging structures of the past. If you hold an ISA, a Junior ISA, shares, funds or a SIPP (self invested personal pension) then we really recommend you have a look at moving it all onto a single platform.

What Will I Pay?

Most platforms will charge you between 0.3% and 0.45% on your investments – that’s their administration fee for all the paperwork, account opening, buying, selling, sending you statements, giving you online access and taking your calls.

Expect to also pay about 0.65% – 0.85% for any funds you hold there – this is the fund manager fee and goes to the Maths nerds who manage your basket of investments.

So expect to pay around 1% – 1.3% all in. That’s £10 – £13 a year on every £1,000. If you hold a SIPP ( a DIY pension) there as well, look out for any extra £ charges too – this could bump things up by another £100 odd quid a year.

If you can’t be bothered to pore through the fine print, our table below gives you a heads-up on who is a good deal at any given amount.

What are my options?

Here are the biggest platforms in the UK which we like. We have reviewed them all (we hold accounts with each of the below, with our own personal money) based on cost, service and reliability. The cheapest options are shown for any given portfolio size by £.  ££££ shows it’s a relatively pricey option at that level. The ratings are given by us, based on a combination of service, choice, ease of use and price.

Finally we try and help you find the best option for you based on your investment experience and comfort levels. Newcomers should avoid the Warren Buffet options which might fry your brain.

We get asked (a lot!) who we rate the most. Our independent opinion is that Fidelity is good for balances of less than £100,000 for people who are less confident investors; Hargreaves is still the best on service and price-wise is best for accounts of less than £75,000, or for busy people who value a service which “just works”; Charles Stanley is very well-priced for most accounts but will suit the more confident and AJ Bell have some good options for larger accounts who want a low-cost investment ‘ready meal’. For accounts of more than about £75,000 which don’t trade much, it’s hard to beat Interactive Investor on price but the website can be a bit clunky.

Platform
Price
Our Rating
Good For
£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets & Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets & Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets & Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Warren Buffets & Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

£10,000
£ £ £ £
£50,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000
£ £ £ £
£100,000+
£ £ £ £
Novices
Visit site
Charges

Additional Information:

Content correct as of October 2016

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Important stuff!

Holly and the team have worked in the finance industry for many years but we are not regulated to give you personal financial advice, nor are we regulated by the industry watchdog (although we do talk to them a lot). For every story on this site about a good investment, or something which went up by 10% or made someone £200, we could share a story about a bad investment, something which fell by 10% or lost someone £200. Nothing’s certain when investing so if you’re really unsure, or dealing with complicated stuff like working out what to do with a pension when you retire, we’d really suggest you get some financial advice. Here are some tips on  how to pick a good financial adviser. Or check out Unbiased or VouchedFor. Just remember, commission has been banned now so advisers need to be very clear with you about what you are paying them and when.