Overall Score 4

Overall Score

Our View

There’s a reason why Hargreaves Lansdown are the market leader in the DIY platform world – they have been around a long time and, generally speaking, do things very well. Steps to Investing Co-founder, Simon, uses them for his pension..

What accounts are available?

Pretty much every type of account is available from Hargreaves Lansdown. Two reasons – they are the market leader and have been around pretty much since the start of DIY platforms. This means they have had the time to develop a full suite of products with all the bells and whistles. You can even save cash with them. One minor ommision is the fact their ISA isn’t flexible, meaning you can’t take out money and pay it back in during the same tax year, without it counting against your annual ISA limit twice.

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?

A full 5 marks here for Hargreaves Lansdown. They literally offer all the types of investment any inexperienced (and the experienced ones too) would want. That means they also allow investments in bonds (IOUs issued by companies and governments) and companies listed on stock exchanges outside London. Great if you’re looking to invest directly in things like American technology companies. Funds, also known as OEICs or Unit Trusts, are the firm’s bread and butter and they offer literally thousands of them. A wide choice does mean there’s a fair bit to navigate through, but they have built filters, lists and tools to help.

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?

Again one of the benefits of being around since the beginning of time (1981 in this context!) is that Hargreaves have had time to build out their service offering. This means they have pretty much everything you need whether it’s a brilliant call centre with real humans who know their onions, or extensive research tools to help you find the right investment for your needs.

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?

Hargreaves Lansdown has something of a repuation as being ‘reassuringly expensive’. Yes, you generally do get what you pay for when it comes to investment platforms, but in truth given the service and account offering, Hargreaves is not that expensive. In fact, if you invest only in investments listed on a stock exchange like investment trusts or shares, their platform fee is capped at a very reasonable rate. Watch out with funds though – the bigger the value of your funds portfolio, the more you will pay, and there’s no cap.

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.