The overall score is calculated as the sum of the individual section scores and then rebased to be out of 5.

Overall Score

Our view

AJ Bell have been the leader in the world of self-managed pensions pretty much since they launched in 1995. Set up by Andy Bell to bring pensions to the masses, this service majors on investing for the long term. They..

What accounts are available?

As you might expect from a leader on pensions, the AJ Bell YouInvest Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is the cornerstone offering, and you can get a Junior SIPP for your offspring or your offspring’s offsprings. They both allow the accumulation of investments up until retirement, and then the drawing down of investments once you retire. As you would expect from a well-established player, there’s an ISA and Junior ISA, although bear in mind these aren’t flexible ISAs so you can’t take out money and pay it back in during the same tax year, without it counting twice against your annual ISA limit.

Junior ISA
Lifetime ISA
Junior SIPP
We upweighted scores for providers who had the basic accounts available - ISA, SIPP and GIA.


What kind of investments can I make?

Full marks for AJ Bell YouInvest here – they offer everything. Whether it is company shares in the UK or abroad, open-ended investment funds, investment trusts or bonds, you can buy, hold and sell them on the platform. This makes it ideal as a one-stop-shop for keeping all your differing investments in one place. To help navigate this enormous choice AJ Bell offer select lists (chosen by their experts), screening and ranking tools, plus they make available their favourite funds. Customers with over £4,000 on the platform also get free access to Shares magazine.

Investment Trusts
Exchange Traded Funds
UK Shares
International Shares
We upweighted scores for providers who made funds, investment trusts, exchange traded funds and UK shares available. Bonds and international shares were less important.


What services do they offer?

Much like Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell has been in the platform game a long time, which means that over the years they have developed a long list of services to support their customers. You can set up instructions to buy investments automatically each month, and also to use the money you receive from dividends to buy more investments of the same type when the dividend is paid. There’s also quite a bit of help for inexperienced investors with free guides available on range of topics including investing for children.

Monthly Investing
Dividend Reinvestment
Online Community
Buy Lists
Research Tools
Market News
Ready-made portfolios
Telephone support
App/Mobile Access
The most important services were monthly investing, and dividend reinvestment, so we upweighted scores for platforms who provided these services.


How much does it cost?

Quality usually comes at a price, but in this case AJ Bell YouInvest is firmly mid-table in the cost stakes. If you own investments listed on a stock exchange like company shares or investment trusts, the platform fee is capped. But for funds there’s no limit, so the more you hold the more you will pay until you get to a multi-million pound holding. Dealing charges are slightly higher than others, but not as expensive as Hargreaves Lansdown.

Custody (Funds Only ISA at 20k)
Custody (Listed Investments Only ISA at 20k)
Buy/Sell Shares
Buy/Sell Funds
Buy/Sell Investment trusts
Buy/Sell Exchange traded funds
For custody we looked at the costs for an ISA with a value of £20,000 - either with just funds or just listed investments. Scores were highest if the annual charge was below £50, and lowest if they were over £100/year. For trading costs, the most points were awarded where a platform did not charge, and the least where the charge was over £10.