Boring Money's best buys

Stocks and Shares ISAs

Our independent team of experts review the market for what we think are the best products. Our criteria are listed below. And we don’t take any money from providers for any links, click throughs, ratings or reviews. You can read about how we do make money here.


  • Reputable brands/established brands unless otherwise noted
  • Decent costs/value. Less than 1.3% all-in for an investment portfolio.
  • Good online journey
  • Decent customer service
  • Supporting help and research with the investments/ready-made portfolios available

Gold Best Buy 2017: AJ Bell Youinvest Stocks and Shares ISA

AJ Bell Youinvest is a fairly priced good option for people with some levels of comfort around investing. Will confuse the less confident. Website a bit less slick than some. Very strong on pensions. Decent research and updates.  Helpful DIY portfolios for those who want someone else to do the heavy lifting and who have more than £5k to get going with.

Suits investors with £50k+ and those who know an ETF from a fund. Good drawdown pension option.

Expect to pay about £140 a year in admin fees for a £50,000 ISA portfolio – or about 1% – 1.1% all-in for an all-in option.

Best for: those who are confident and wanting a low cost option

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Gold Best Buy 2017: Fidelity Stocks and Shares ISA

A safe, solid global player which has recently improved its online journey for investors. It’s still really a funds-only option. Don’t bother if you have shares. With an ISA and pension admin fee of 0.35% a year, you’ll probably pay about 1.1% a year all-in. Which is fair value. Google their Pathfinder range if you need help in picking the investments to sit inside your ISA or DIY SIPP.

A good all-rounder option with a recently improved online experience. Feels secure and reliable.

Best for: those who are confident and wanting a mid range cost option

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Gold Best Buy 2017: Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks and Shares ISA

The biggest and most established of them all, Hargreaves looks after about £60bn of investors’ money. Providing a one-stop shop for shares, funds, Junior ISAs, ISAs, pensions and (coming soon) cash, these guys know their stuff. It can baffle newer investors and feels a bit old-school and stuffy. At 0.45% for min, plus investment charges, expect to pay about 1.2% all-in.  If you’re happy to pay for good service, it’s still fair value. Just not the cheapest.

Best for: those who are confident and happy to pay for mid range cost option with excellent customer service

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Gold Best Buy 2017: Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA

Really nice easy-to-use website which is intuitive and to the point. Not as cheap as they like to make out by the time you add in the underlying cost of all investments, but at about 0.94% all-in it’s OK value given that you’re getting ongoing monitoring and tweaking too.

You can choose between 10 different ready-made portfolios and it is pretty straightforward. A nice digital option which will suit busy people on-the-go. See more about Nutmeg here.

Best for: beginners wanting a low cost option

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Silver Best Buy 2017: Aegon Retiready

A simple solution with four different funds to choose. The focus of the site is more around pensions, but you can have an ISA too. The charges are around 0.88% a year all-in, so £8.80 on £1,000.

Best for: beginners wanting a low cost option

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Silver Best Buy 2017: Aviva

A big household name, Aviva offers easy entry with £50 per month minimum. The website is nice and simple and offers a shortlist of 4 ‘ready-made’ ISA funds which spread your money around lots of different shares and investments. Ballpark costs for an ISA are 0.75% which is £7.50 a year on £1,000.

Best for: beginners wanting a low cost option

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Silver Best Buy 2017: Barclays

Barclays new investing website, Barclays Smart Investor is currently only open to those who already have accounts with the bank. The site doesn’t help with building a portfolio, so is better suited to investors who are confident enough to do this on their own.

Best for: those who are confident; happy to pay for a mid-range cost option for ‘active management’ and choice

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Silver Best Buy 2017: MoneyFarm

After a quick questionnaire about your existing finances, financial goals and ambitions, MoneyFarm gives you one of 12 portfolios made up of ‘passive’ investments.

It’s nice and simple to use, with MoneyFarm then managing the portfolio for you.

See more about MoneyFarm here.

Best for: beginners wanting a low cost option

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Silver Best Buy 2017: TD Direct Investing

A comprehensive service, giving investors access to shares funds, ISAs, Junior ISAs and pensions. For novice investors, TD highlights three low-cost ‘Quick Start’ funds that work as all-in-one portfolios.

Charges can be a bit confusing, but for most investors it’s pretty low cost – expect to pay around 0.52% if you use one of the Quick Start funds.

Best for: those who are confident and want some choice along with a single, easy low-cost foundation

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Silver Best Buy 2017: Wealthify

Wealthify lets you invest with as little as £1. Investors are asked about their goal (they can select from a list, or choose freely), how much they want to invest upfront, how long for and whether they want to invest monthly. The system gives you one of five risk profiles and a portfolio to match.

See more about Wealthify here.

Best for: beginners wanting a low cost option

Visit their site

Bronze Best Buy 2017: Standard Life

Standard Life is a BIG name brand with a low entry point. Standard Life offers an Easy Option with ready-made portfolios, plus a DIY service. The Easy Option has five ‘MyFolio’ funds with different levels of risk. Costs are about 1.3-1.5% all-in.

Best for: beginners looking for some choice, flexibility and OK with a mid-range cost option for ‘active management’ and choice

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Bronze Best Buy 2017: True Potential

You’re asked a few questions to determine you risk profile and help you choose one of ten managed portfolios. There is also an app, which 14% of users have downloaded. We really like this. Nice and simple, it pushes out a valuation one a month.

Best for: beginners wanting a mid range cost option, some choice and ‘active management’

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2016 Best Buy: Virgin Money Stocks and Shares ISA

This is as easy as investing gets in 2016. There are 5 ready-made solutions and you pick the one which sounds like it maps your ‘risk profile’ the most.

The charges are OK – 1% a year all-in for these simple ‘passive’ portfolios. This is the vanilla ice cream option for the stocks and shares ISA world. Read on if you’re after double choc chip with sprinkles.

Best for: beginners wanting a low cost option

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2016 Best Buy: Charles Stanley Direct Stocks and Shares ISA

Charles Stanley Direct is the new-ish online offer from the posh boys. And it’s the cheapest way of investing for those with less than £50,000 to invest. Could be a bit overwhelming for less confident investors. There is lots of choice and research available. Just could make some people’s heads spin.

Suits investors who know their way around the markets and are prepared to lose the slicker, more established DIY investor service of Hargreaves for a much keener price. Our research suggests their ready-made portfolios are strong performers.  Expect to pay about 1% all-in for an ‘active’ portfolio – this is great value.

Best for: those who are confident and wanting a low cost option

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2016 Best Buy: James Hay Modular iPlan ISA

This is a bit of a strange inclusion. This service is built for and mostly used by IFAs for their clients – it’s a well-known credible brand in the industry and was owned by Abbey/Santander ages ago. Online investors can access it directly. Don’t expect bells or whistles or a fancy digital experience or ready-made portfolios. But at 0.18% for the admin fee this is a very cheap and functional way to manage your ISA.

Best for people who know their way around the world of investments who want to pay rock bottom.

Best for: those who are confident and wanting a low cost option

Visit their site

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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.