Overall Score 3

Overall Score

Our View

Vanguard is unusual in the sense that it only allows its customers to buy funds that it manages. So maybe it’s not a fair comparison with some of the other ‘full service’ models. What the numbers hide is the fact..

What accounts are available?

Given their relatively recent arrival in the UK, Vanguard have a pretty good range of accounts on offer, and all the key ones are there. The Self Invested Personal Pension allows you to add money before retirement, and stay with Vanguard there after retirement whilst you take money out. There’s no Lifetime ISA or Junior SIPP, but these aren’t for everyone and only appeal to a minority of investors. You can still invest for your children in a tax efficient fashion, though, with the Junior ISA on offer. Pretty good overall.

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


What kind of investments can I make?

This is where the Vanguard platform differs significantly from the other big DIY players as you can only buy Vanguard funds. They come in two flavours: funds and exchange traded funds. The funds they offer can be simple trackers, or can be actively managed by a human being. All the exchange traded funds track markets or baskets of shares and also known as passive funds. All in all, there are 76 options to choose from which include some clever ones that target a specific retirement year and others that offer blended investment portfolios for given Life Strategies, such as income for retirement.

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?

There’s no getting away from the fact this is a simple, straightforward platform which means that the bells and whistles you see elsewhere are not available here. For example there’s no need for market news and research tools. That being said the Target Retirement and Life Strategy Funds essentially provide customers with simple ready made portfolios. And there’s telephone support and apps for those of us who like to look at our investments on the go.

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?

Our cost score here isn’t perhaps as fair as it might be – as Vanguard don’t offer investments in shares or investment trusts we can’t give them any credit for that. But you can’t argue with free dealing in their funds. The custody or platform charges are also at the lower end; in other words, a fair price for what’s on offer.

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.