Frequently Asked Questions
You should consider opening an investment account if you’re sick of the rates you’re getting on your savings and have some longer-term financial goals for which you want to make a significantly better return. With currently high levels of inflation and interest rates that sit well below these levels, the value of your cash savings will be reducing over time. While investing comes with risks – necessary if we are to make a financial return – they can be managed and diversified by investing using collective funds.
We can help you find an investment account through our ‘Accounts’ pages – just click on the account type to find out more. There, you will find more information on each account, plus a list of the top 10 providers with review pages on each that contain rigorous and comparable analysis to help you make the best choice for your needs.
We look at the three types of accounts: the individual savings account (ISA), a government incentivised, tax-free account for stock market investments; the Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), another government incentivised, tax-free account for pension savings for retirement; and the general investment account (GIA), a vanilla account for everyday investing outside of your ISA or SIPP.
We have reviewed the top investment platforms and providers from across the UK using our extensive industry knowledge to evaluate what they offer. This includes analysis on the investment accounts available, the breath of investments on offer, their additional support services, and the all-important costs involved. Because we apply the same rigorous analysis across each of the services, these are comparable reviews and scores.
Yes, there are fees for using investment platforms, and different accounts from different providers come with differing costs. Broadly, fees fall into three groups: platform or custody fees, trading fees (which differ depending on the financial products you buy), and investment fees; but also, make sure you look out for potential exit fees if you’re transferring investments from other platforms and foreign exchange fees for oversees investments.
Fees may be structured as a percentage charge of your assets or as fixed fees, and may come with annual caps. We use a basket of £20,000 to assess the fees, but the devil is in the detail: how much you pay personally will depend on how much you want to invest and the type of financial products you want buy. It can be a headache but finding the lowest cost provider for your needs is worth it as high fees have an extremely corrosive effect on your returns over time.
You must be 18 to invest in shares or funds, but a parent or guardian may do it on a child’s behalf from the day they are born. There are even special accounts called Junior ISAs and Junior SIPPs which are designed for this purpose, each with allowances that are separate to an adults’.
There are no differences between accounts for beginners or experts, although the do-it-with-me (DIWM) platforms are well-suited to those who wish to be fairly hands-off with their investments and are wanting to get invested as soon as possible. These platforms tend to have simple processes with questionnaires to gauge your attitude to risk, with a small number of very diverse funds containing a wide selection of assets.
There’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ account in investing in terms of risk – you must take risks if you are to receive a return – but there is such a thing as regulation and all of the providers we have reviewed are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It means any funds or shares that you may buy at an investing platform are legally separated from it and held by a third party on your behalf. If something goes wrong and that platform goes bust, your assets will be ringfenced and transferred to another provider. These events are rare though.