The UK market for digital investment platforms continues to grow and develop. New players are coming to market, existing players are launching new products, and established fund management firms continue to innovate in this sector. Investors – both institutional and personal – have responded positively to the growing range of new investment opportunities available through these platforms. This article takes a closer look at the current state of the investment platforms in the UK from the perspective of an individual investor.
Everyone needs something a little different from their investment strategy, and you should always bear that in mind when planning your investment location and platform.
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What is a stocks & shares ISA?
Before we look any further at the best investment platforms in the UK, let’s dip our toes in the waters of the stocks & shares ISA in general and your ISA allowance.
Cash ISAs are simply tax-free savings accounts. A stocks & shares ISA lets you invest in a broader range of financial instruments. This includes individual shares, investment funds and trusts, bonds, and gilts. This gives them the potential to earn you more money back- but also a higher risk of loss. Remember, investments can go down, as well as up!
You can currently invest up to £20,000 in an ISA vehicle. That’s aside from other ISAs you may already own. You can, however, only open once a year and can only pay into one per year, so you will need to choose which one you want to contribute to carefully.
When assessing the best investment platforms in the UK, consider their spectrum of investments, their customer service reputation, and your fees. Most of us do not have millions to pay annually, so paying heavy commissions or transaction fees can severely eat into what you are saving. There are- quite literally- thousands of platforms you could choose from offering the ISA vehicle. There are two levels of charges to consider. One will be set by the platform itself. The other can be set by the individual fund managers when you buy. Keep a careful eye on both sets of fees to make the most of your investment.
How to decide among the personal investment platforms in the UK?
So, we have touched on the most important aspects of an investment platform- as low fees as possible, and access to the financial products that interest you. There’s no point in taking a platform that’s rich in share options if you want to buy bonds, after all.
What other indicators of a solid financial product are there? You will need to do your research, of course- but that’s why you clicked on this article, after all!
- Reputation is a great place to start. Does this platform have a good reputation and a track record of happy customers?
- While the length of service is not an ironclad indicator of a reputable investment platform, knowing that your choice has been around for many years does add an extra layer of comfort and security.
- Make sure others have heard of the platform, too. You don’t want to commit your life savings to something your cousin’s brother mentioned as a ‘sure hit’, run from someone’s garage. These sorts of ‘get rich quick’ promises are attractive, but you will only lose.
- Usability matters too. You want to feel comfortable accessing the investment platform through the app or online service. The interface should be clean and intuitive.
- Transparency is important. From the fees charged to how to request your money paid out, make sure it’s easy to access help and you know what features do.
- Make sure you are choosing a legitimate investment platform that is correctly registered with the relevant financial authorities.
The best investment platform in the UK for you may only be someone else’s runner-up, depending on your exact needs and expectations. That said, however, our top 7 picks below represent platforms with a long track record of happy customers and few complaints, and any one of them would make a solid first choice for your personal investment platform. Let’s dive into learning about some UK investment platforms to consider.
The 7 best investment platforms in the UK right now
Now you know more about choosing a personal investment platform, let’s look at 5 all-star contenders.
1) Fineco Bank
We choose Fineco because it represents a low-cost option that offers lots of investment options for you. You can DIY an account or select ready-made ones. Costs are very low. There is a minimum ISA deposit amount of £25 to get started.
Fineco is a European bank with 20 years of history in the industry. Through it, you can access 26 key global markets and over 20,000 financial instruments, and you can also invest in other currencies than the GBP. Alongside their stocks and shares ISA, there’s also a trading account.
2) Invest Engine
Another low-cost, commission-free product. This is fully DIY through EFTs, and you can have a personal and business account alongside your ISA. Skip the setup fees, dealing dees, and withdrawal fees here. Their minimum ISA deposit is £100, and there’s a £50 welcome bonus to sweeten the deal.
Fidelity is a good choice if you’re looking for a full-service platform as a beginner, or someone who is not confident in the DIY route. This does mean you will pay higher fees than some of our other picks, but hopefully, the reward is worth the trade. With this platform, you can graduate to picking your own stocks when you feel confident. You have access to mutual funds alongside stocks, shares, bonds, and other assets. It will help you get a good sense of your risk level and give you some Robo-generated options to help you get started.
eToro is a commission-free broker available in the UK. It can be considered one of the RobinHood alternatives in the UK. It offers an all-in-one trading platform that provides investing in stocks and crypto assets, as well as trading CFDs.
All eToro users receive a free US$100,000 demo account to practice trading on, no matter whether you want to open an account or simply practice. You can select from over 40 investment portfolios at eToro, including BigTech, GoldWorldWide, Vaccine-Med, BitcoinWorldWide, and many more. These portfolios are a mixture of various assets, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs.
If you would like to work with a big firm offering low costs, consider this one. It’s an American fund management group that has built up a collection of EFTs that are globally renowned. Vanguard operate in the UK too. It’s probably one of the cheapest ways to invest at the moment.
However there isn’t too much support for the new investor. Their LifeStrategy portfolios come in 5 risk varieties to help you get going. Minimum investment amount for Vanguard is £500. However if you’d rather invest in monthly instalments it is £100 per month.
MoneyFarm is a mid-range price but does offer guided advice. It has a reasonable minimum investment amount. Just like the Vanguard, Moneyfarm‘s minimum investment requirement is only £500. Annual management fees are around 0.35% – 0.75%. If you’re feeling out of your depth, their personalized financial advice will be appealing, and there’s a range of ways to contact your consultant in person.
There are seven risk-rated portfolios to choose from.
7) Hargreaves Lansdown
Hargreaves Lansdown provides an award-winning ISA that can get you started investing. You can choose from thousands of investment options, including the UK and international shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs.
Besides, the platform gives the option to manage your investments via the internet, a mobile app, or a phone. You may also open a Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, Fund and Share Account, or a SIPP through Hargreaves Lansdown. Investors who desire to make their own choices can take advantage of these services.
There you have it. Our selection of the 7 best investment platforms in the UK showcases how a range of different needs can be met by picking the right investment partner. From low-cost DIY to a more guided strategy, each offers you the chance to find the right investment match.
The benefits of using a digital investment platform in the UK
– Investment control: Digital investment platforms allow you to invest in a wide range of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, and commodities. Investors can also use digital platforms to trade a wide range of securities, including stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.
– Better cost control: Because digital investment platforms enable you to select and manage your own investments, they can help you minimize costs by steering clear of expensive fund products.
– Lower risk: Digital investment platforms typically enable you to make your investment selections based on your own risk tolerance and objectives. As a result, you can generally diversify your portfolio more effectively—thereby reducing your overall risk.
– Broad investment choice: Many digital investment platforms enable you to select investments from a wide range of asset classes, including a variety of stocks and bonds. Some platforms also allow you to invest in alternative assets that may provide higher yields—but may also be higher risk.
The choice of investment platform is an important one, and every investor should carefully consider their investment objectives, investment experience, and available budget when selecting a digital platform.