What we say
As a place to read up on ISAs, pensions, funds and shares, the website is nice. Information is clear and not overwhelming. Will suit those with a mix of investments who are happy with some degree of choice. Administration can be occasionally problematic and we do struggle to make the clear case for what it does better than others.
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Ease of use
The site is ‘chunked’ into lots of easy to digest content and it’s better thought through than many.
It’s a good place to read up on funds although those wanting detailed share information will want to look elsewhere.
Access to some basic tools, clear explanation of fees and some helpful articles - all useful things for beginners.
Mobile & Apps
No mobile app, however logged-in pages are mobile optimised. Not the slickest of experiences, there are a lot of different pages viewable once logged-in and it can take some searching at times to find what you want to do.
Long standing customers would perhaps find the experience ok, but mobile usability could definitely be improved. We like that the online chat feature follows you on mobile, making it easy to speak to someone at any point.
Behind the scenes
The administration is done on a smaller scale than many of the larger brands. The positive is that it will typically be more ‘human’ and personalised = good. The negative is that when things go wrong its slower to fix them and some of the processes can be slow or frustrating = bad.
We struggled with account set-up and met very unusually tight anti-money laundering requirements. Hard to tell if this was one-off bad luck or illustrative of a more general issue.
A recent site update has made the logged-in user experience smoother, enabling us to both trade and view our portfolio with minimum hassle.
Stocks and Shares ISA
The 'Geeky' Details
One of the long-standing mid-sized platforms. There's a wide choice of investments, including funds, shares and investment trusts. These can be held in either an ISA, Junior ISA, investment account or pension.
Costs are fair, starting at 0.4% for smaller portfolios.
Willis Owen have a flexible ISA - which allows you to replace any money you withdraw from your ISA within a tax-year, without it contributing towards your annual allowance.
The site navigation can be improved, with valuable information hard to find sometimes. Oddly, most of the links to useful content are at the bottom of the page - not the top. However, the depth of information, once located, is surprisingly thorough.
Bonus points for the easy access to ethical funds and the 'jargon explained' page, which defines financial terms that people may struggle with. Overall a good proposition - especially for a beginner looking to learn more about investing.
Important Facts & Figures
Mid-sized investment platform administering under £1bn
£25 minimum monthly amount
£0 minimum initial amount