How our ratings work
Investors have a huge number of options when choosing where to invest and which products to buy. Here are some details on how we rate providers.
Our Boring Money Best Buys are awarded to reputable firms, with decent products which are sensibly priced and are well-rated by their customers.
For novice investors, that means they must have a small range of easily understandable investments – a sort of pre-packaged investment 'ready-meal' which does lots of the heavy lifting for you. For experienced investors, they must either provide access to a wide range of investments from different investment managers or assume a higher level of knowledge about investments.
There are four overall "Best Buys" and ten "Best for" categories, which are as follows: Best Buy ISA, Best Buy Pension, Best Buy LISA, Best Buy JISA, Best for Sustainable Investing, Best for Beginners, Best for low cost ISA<£50K, Best for low cost ISA>£50K, Best for low cost SIPP<£50K, Best for low cost SIPP>£50K, Best for Share Traders, Best for New Investment Platform, Best for Customer Service and Best App.
Winners of a Best Buy award - ISA, Pensions, LISA, and JISA - all gained a “We Say” score of 3.8 or more out of 5 based on the cited criteria, and have more than 40 customer reviews to ensure an adequate customer voice.
These independent awards are compiled using customer reviews (30% of the score, for ISAs), Boring Money’s rigorous behind the scenes testing using our live accounts, charges (25% of the score, for ISAs) and customer service including call centres and support. These awards take our research team of 6 analysts over 2 months to research and collate, and recognise all round excellence.
Additional notes on our ratings for different categories:
Pension score – Incorporates pension specific features like drawdown and whether providers administer it independently
Cost scenarios are based on larger portfolios as average SIPP pots are larger than ISAs
Increased weighting on guidance
JISA score which captures features like ease of family and friends' contributions to JISA
25% Guidance score weighting
Providers with NO drawdown were not included
50% weighting on the service element of customer reviews
25% weighting on call centre answer times
Best for Share Traders
Multiple regular trading scenarios considered
Must have access to a wide range of global shares
Our 'We Say' scores
Our scores are based on a range of criteria:
Each provider is rated by the Boring Money team, based on their website, ease of use, service and the quality of their communications and content. In particular, we use live accounts to look at what it is like to be a real customer. This is currently 32% of the final rating and includes Holly's view as CEO and account holder.
We gather reviews from platform users. These reviews currently make up 30% of the score, with a weighting applied that favours more recent reviews.
Cost is scored based on the type of proposition offered and makes 25% of the final score. The cost score is based on several different scenarios, each with different sums of money and amounts of trading activity, split across 2 broad categories:
Ready made solutions, where we include investment charges.
Platforms, where we just look at the platform fee, and don't make any assumptions on which investments users choose to hold.
We also rate providers on phone customer service, focusing on both call centre opening hours and the time taken to answer the phone. This accounts for 6% of the final score.
Providers are scored according to ‘future stability’ based on the size of their platform and their longevity in the market, which makes up the final 7% of the score.
Our ratings criteria illustrated: