Choose the best (and cheapest) Isa investment platform

Free investment guides

The increase in DIY investment has revolutionized the way investors buy stocks, mutual funds and funds, offering great savings and a big boost to their returns through online brokers.

Not long ago, investing normally required a broker or financial advisor and the willingness to hand over a large part of the commission.

Now armed with a computer, or in some cases even with just a smartphone, investors can use a DIY investment platform or an online broker and the wealth of research at their fingertips to build their fortune.

But choosing the right DIY platform is crucial and the variety of different options has left many investors scratching their heads.

We explain how to decide on a DIY investment platform to invest in a wide range of options: from stocks, funds and investment trusts, to ETFs and direct retail corporate bonds.

See the table for brief details and read our full summary of the characteristics of each platform and for who might be useful next.

Administrative charge Notes on charges Fund management Standard participation, trust and ETF Regular investment Reinvestment of dividends
AJ Bell YouInvest 0.25% Max. £ 7.50 per quarter for stocks, trusts, ETF. £ 1.50 £ 9.95 £ 1.50 1% (minimum £ 1.50, maximum £ 9.95) More details
Alliance Trust £ 120 (£ 10 per month) Includes four free exchanges per year £ 9.99 £ 9.99 £ 1.50 £ 5 More details
Barclays Direct Investing* 0.2% in funds, 0.1% in other investments Minimum monthly fee £ 4, maximum £ 125 £ 3 £ 6 £ 1 Free More details
I G £ 96 (£ 24 per quarter, exempt if three transactions in the period or £ 15,000-plus in the Smart Portfolio) Only shares, ETFs and trusts (Without funds) n / A £ 8 n / A n / A More details
Charles Stanley Direct ** 0.25% Charge of the platform exempted from the shares if an operation in that month. Minimum annual £ 24 and maximum of £ 240 in shares. Free £ 11.50 n / A n / A More details
Fidelity 0.35% in funds Flat rate from £ 45 up to £ 7,500. Max. £ 45 per year for trusts and ETF (Some shares) Free £ 10 or 0.1% on a Sipp (this will change) Free funds £ 1.50 shares, trust ETFs £ 1.50 More details
Hargreaves Lansdown 0.45% Limited to £ 45 for shares, trusts, ETF Free £ 11.95 £ 1.50 1% (£ 1 min, £ 10 maximum) More details
Interactive inverter £ 90 Administration rate in commercial credits accumulated up to a maximum of £ 90 £ 10 £ 10 £ 1 including funds £ 1 More details
iWeb £ 25 for the one time £ 5 £ 5 n / A 2%, maximum £ 5 More details
Shared center £ 57.60 1% £ 7.50 min 1%
£ 7.50 min
0.5%, minimum £ 1 0.5%, minimum £ 1 More details
Tilney Bestinvest 0.40% n / A Free £ 7.50 n / A n / A More details
Vanguard 0.15% No charge above £ 250k (£ 365 maximum)
Only Vanguard funds
Free Free only Vanguard ETF Free n / A More details
Only funds
Cavendish 0.25% Free Only funds Free n / A More details
(Source:, March 2018, the administrative charges that are quoted annually, can be charged monthly or quarterly)

Why is an Isa or an investment platform important?

The correct envelope of Isa or the investment account has the power to increase your investments, which helps you create a portfolio and limit the their hard earned returns are consumed by the rates.

The DIY investment platforms act as a place to buy, sell and hold all your investments and an efficient fiscal envelope around you if you decide to invest in an Isa.

When evaluating the right one for you, it is important to look at the Service offered, together with administrative charges Y negotiating rates, plus any other additional cost.

We highlight Loads Isa and not Isa, but do not forget that investing in an Isa makes sense, since you must protect your investments, which are expected to grow, from as many taxes as possible.

The good news is that costs are constantly cut and made more transparent.

Something that complicates the choice of a platform is that DIY investors can have a variety of assets in their Isa, not just a fund or a handful of them.

The charges vary for Isa investors who choose to hold investment trusts, ETFs, shares and corporate bonds traded directly, along with traditional managed funds in the form of OEICs and unit trusts.

Taking all this into account, we have denied the charges of what we consider some of the best (and most economical) DIY investment platforms. We would advise to consider the points below first.

Flat rate versus percentage charge

The prices of the DIY investment platform can be divided mainly into two fields. Some charge a fixed administration fee, while others charge a percentage of the investors' holdings.

The former tend to always charge for the purchase and sale of investment funds, while the latter may group this cost and offer free fund operations.

They all charge for buying and selling stocks, mutual funds and other products that are not funds, but trading fees vary from just £ 5 to around £ 12.

If you are an investor who buys and holds a large amount of money, then you can benefit from a fixed fee instead of a rate based on the percentage, which can be accrued up to a considerable amount.

But if you plan to buy and sell regularly, look at our trading charges, as these can also substantially add up and easily erode the profit from a flat rate. The lower charges for the regular monthly investment can substantially reduce costs.

Five things to consider when choosing a platform

1. The cheapest is not always the best: You should think about a combination of price and service: it pays to pay for quality, but be sure to get it.

2. In what will you invest? The different rates of stock trading, investment trusts and funds mean that you need to think about how you are going to invest and adapt your choice accordingly.

3. Tools and information: What level of useful portfolio building tools does a platform offer?

4. Global charges: Do not just look at the administrative fee or negotiation fees. You must combine both to obtain a real cost, along with costs such as the reinvestment of dividends and the usual negotiating charges. A low administration fee may seem good, but if you are an active investor that buys and sells a lot, the operating charges will soon accumulate and the costs will increase.

5. Additional charges: Verify regular monthly investment discounts, dividend reinvestment rates, transfer charges and other elements

Compare the best DIY investment platform for you

Next, we publish our opinion on the best DIY investment platforms and explain to who they are good and why we have chosen them.

We have also created a new tool to help you compare the best DIY investment platforms and online brokers with our partner BrokerCompare.

You can select how you want to invest, whether in a general account, Isa, Sipp or a combination of these, and how much you will invest and how often you can buy and sell funds and stocks.

Next, he will do the calculations to show you what DIY investment platforms and online brokers look like the best business for you. Try it now and if you have any comments about it, send an email to

How we choose the best DIY investment platforms

We have focused on two vital aspects, cost and quality. This is not a collection of all absolutely economic platforms, these are some of the ones that we believe stand out and that also compete strongly on the price.

All discounted initial fund charges drop to zero in most cases. However, some funds may still have an initial charge: the platforms must provide a checklist.

We have chosen DIY Isa platforms to satisfy different investors and we focus on those that offer a selection of investments, not just funds. Each one will be better for some investors than others and you should choose according to your needs. Remember that there are many others available as well.

This list is not in a particular order.

Hargreaves Lansdown is the great weapon of DIY investment. The website is full of information from its advisors and analysts, the actions and data of the funds are exhaustive and there is a very useful application.

Investors pay a 0.45 percent fee on their total fund investments of up to £ 250,000; 0.25 percent at £ 1m, 0.1 percent at £ 2m and nothing above that. Shares and investment trusts also incur a charge of 0.45 percent on the entire holding, with a limit of £ 45.

Hargreaves has negotiated some reduced annual management fees from fund managers.

The handling of funds is free. Shares, investment trusts, corporate bonds and ETFs cost £ 11.95 per transaction. If you operate more than 10 times a month, the negotiation costs are reduced. The regular monthly participation and the investment in an investment trust is £ 1.50, the reinvestment of dividends is 1 percent, with a minimum charge of £ 1 and a maximum of £ 10.

Hargreaves has his very influential Wealth 150, a range of Master Portfolios, and his Portfolio + service to make the investment easier and more practical.

Standard treatment not Isa: The Hargreaves account, which is not owned by Isa Vantage, has the same charges, except for the elimination of the commission for holding shares and trusts.

Who is good for? Those looking for a service rich in advice that is competitive in terms of prices but not the cheapest. It comes with many bells and whistles, including a very good application and portfolios for easy investment.

Our tests found that the Hargreaves platform is easy and intuitive to use and its recently revised application is good.

It offers a popular service that is proven and weighted towards funds, but with access to investment funds, ETFs, stocks and the corporate bond market under one roof. [[[[More details on Hargeaves Lansdown]

Interactive Investor customers have slightly changed their prices and investors must pay an administration fee of £ 22.50 per quarter, which is an increase of £ 90 per year, BUT can recover it in free operations.

Standard charges are £ 10 to buy or sell funds, stocks, mutual funds or ETF, or £ 1 for regular monthly investment.

The reimbursed administration fee works in little more than two free operations, or a regular investment of up to that value of £ 1 each time. So invest in five funds or trusts per month, at £ 1 each = £ 5 x 12 months = £ 60 and you are within your allowance of £ 90.

The reinvestment of dividends is now also £ 1. Interactive has a selection of model portfolios for easy investment that costs only £ 10 to set up.

For who is good? Interactive Investor's pricing structure is good if you play well and get back all the administration fees in the free operations. Definitely worth looking for those with larger sums to invest.

It has annoyed some customers with the switch to a new platform, but our tests found that the platform is easy to read and use.

It is easy to use and offers a wide range of investments along with solid research and is good for those who invest regularly. The model portfolios that are offered are well researched and are an economical and easy way to invest. [More details on Interactive Investor]


Fidelity is one of the big investment names and has a platform full of useful information, guides, market commentary and videos.

A change in their accounts a few years ago eliminated the exchange of shares, but kept a list of investment trusts and ETFs. The distribution of shares is now in the process of reintroduction.

Unfortunately, however, this has meant eliminating the possibility of buying investment funds and ETFs within an Isa account or a trading account and paying only 0.1% of commissions. Instead, a flat rate of £ 10 applies.

0.1% confidence and dealing with ETF remain for Sipps.

Investing in funds carries a charge of 0.35 percent on investments of up to £ 250,000 and 0.20 percent above that and 0 percent above £ 1 million.

However, if you are investing small amounts, the load structure is slightly different. Fidelity charges a fixed amount of £ 45 in amounts of up to £ 7,500 before the 0.35 percent rate begins.

There are no funds negotiation charges to buy and sell.

Who is good for? Fidelity offers a very useful service. It is one of the most important weapons, it has model portfolios, tools to help you decide how to invest and a large amount of information on offer.

Our tests found that the main site is easy to read and navigate, but the investment platform itself is more difficult to use.

The limited ability to buy funds and stocks in the same Isa will be a great inconvenience for many DIY investors.

One of the main attractions was the 0.1% cheap rate paid by ETFs and mutual funds, but for all accounts other than Sipps, it has now been replaced with a £ 10 fee. [More details on Fidelity]


The IG brokerage platform offers an affordable option for those who leave funds and focus on shares and exchange-traded funds, or who wish to use their Smart Portfolio service to build their investments.

The provider offers a range of complex products, such as open or forex bets, but you can also create a portfolio of stocks or exchanges and put it in an Isa.

The distribution of shares is £ 8 per transaction, but frequent operators pay only £ 5 by placing ten stock transactions.

He now charges £ 96 per year, or £ 24 per quarter, which does not apply if three transactions are made in that period or £ 15,000 or more is kept in his Smart Portfolio.

There are no fees for the annual management platform, so your only costs would be management fees and management fees in ETFs.

Who is good for? This is a low cost way to create an ETF and share a portfolio whenever you do not want to buy funds.

If you perform three operations per quarter or have more than £ 15,000 in the Smart Portfolio service, IG does not charge any administration fee or charge to have an Isa.

The distribution of shares has a fair value of £ 8. [[[[More details about IG]

Alliance Trust investors pay £ 10 per month, which runs at £ 120 per year.

Investors receive four online exchanges per year included. It charges a floor of £ 9.99 per transaction for the purchase of funds, stocks, ETFs and investment funds. However, doing this as a monthly direct debit investment online reduces the charge to £ 1.50 per offer, while the reinvestment of dividends costs £ 5.

It offers access to all the investment funds, stocks, ETFs and available direct bonds. Investors who use it can access Morningstar's research and tools with their portfolio.

Standard treatment not Isa: The charges are the same for the distribution of standard shares, including the administration fee.

Who is good for? Buy and sell investors with large amounts invested could succeed here, since there is a flat fee instead of a percentage charge, however, they must weigh the negotiation costs, since Alliance Trust charges £ 9.99 to buy and sell money.

Investors can buy trusts, stocks, corporate bonds and ETFs and it is also good for regular monthly investors in these, although the reinvestment of dividends is expensive. [More details on Alliance Trust Savings].

The Share Center – Self-Select Isa

The Action Center offers investors a complete DIY option in their own shares and shares of Isa. It allows investors to have funds, investment trusts, stocks, ETFs and corporate bonds, but charges a monthly fee of £ 4.80 (£ 4 + VAT) for £ 57.60 per year.

The fund, the stock, the ETF, the investment trust and the negotiation of corporate bonds cost 1 percent (£ 7.50 min). Alternatively, if you pay £ 24 per quarter, there is a fixed purchase and sale charge of £ 7.50 with your merchant option.

Only one Isa live at a time

Remember, you can only pay new money in an Isa container each year, but you can keep the Isa envelope open from a previous fiscal year (without new payments) and open a new fiscal year, or transfer all your holdings to the same platform. Be careful with the exit charges that normally apply.

The monthly regular investment in shares of funds, ETFs, trusts and bonds costs 0.5 percent (minimum of £ 1).

The Stock Center offers a reinvestment of profitable stock dividends in individual shares, trusts and exchange-traded funds (ETF) at 0.5 percent (minimum of £ 1).

Standard treatment not Isa: The complete DIY Self Select trading account outside of an Isa has an administrative fee of £ 1.80 per month (£ 1.50 plus VAT) for £ 21.60 per year and the same negotiation fees.

Who is good for? The fixed rate of administration of the Center of actions makes it a good option for those with more than modest sums: anyone with a little more than £ 12,500 invested will pay less annually here than in Hargreaves Lansdown. That must be weighed against the charges for managing funds, however, these could accumulate quickly if you make many purchases and sales.

For those with large amounts invested it could be a good option compared to charges based on percentages, even when negotiating fees are taken into account.

It's good for stock pickers who reinvest dividend stocks, trusts or ETFs and investors looking for a variety of investments, with some good analysis, suggestions and advice. [More details on Share Centre]

iWeb managed by Halifax sharedealing offers a competitive price service. Your shares and holdings Isa offers the possibility of investing in stocks, mutual funds, funds and quoted funds (ETF), with a large single configuration fee, but then there are no annual or quarterly administrative charges beyond that.

That installation fee was £ 200, but it has been reduced to £ 25. It costs only £ 5 to buy or sell funds, stocks, mutual funds or ETFs. The reinvestment of dividends is 2% with a maximum charge of £ 5.

Standard treatment not Isa: The charges are the same

For who is good? iWeb has a high price for those looking to regularly buy investment trusts, stocks or ETFs thanks to its low trading cost of £ 5 and the new installation fee of only £ 25 is a good value. Keep in mind that you do not have to pay for the funds here. [[[[More details in iWeb]

Bestinvest Isa and standard investors pay an annual charge of 0.40 percent on their portfolios up to £ 250,000, and 0.2 percent above that to £ 1 million. No additional charges are added above £ 1m.

Bestinvest has no fees for trading funds and the standard operation of investment trust and shares has a decent value of £ 7.50.

Unfortunately, however, there are no regular monthly investment charges for shares and trusts, nor is there any reinvestment of cheap dividends.

In an unusual step, those who invest through a SIPP, as self-invested personal pensions are known, see that their charges are reduced to 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

BestInvest offers a selection of model portfolio funds, rated in an investment risk style.

Standard treatment not Isa: The charges are the same.

Who is good for? BestInvest is a good option for fund investors looking to take advantage of their research and the lack of negotiation fees.

Those who buy stocks, mutual funds and ETFs benefit from a negotiation fee of £ 7.50, which is lower than most. Ready-made portfolios offer an easy non-intervention route to invest at a reasonable cost.

It is also an interesting offer if you have a small Sipp and want to manage all your investments under one roof, since Sipp's position is competitive. [More details on BestInvest].

AJ Bell Youinvest has an annual management fee of 0.25 percent. However, for holdings not related to funds in Isas, such as mutual funds, stocks and ETFs, this is capped at £ 7.50 per quarter. In a SIPP, the limit is £ 25 per quarter.

For fund holdings it falls to 0.1% from £ 250,000 to £ 1million, 0.05% to £ 2million and then nothing above that.

The funds negotiation costs have been reduced and will now return you £ 1.50, previously £ 4.95. The distribution of shares, ETFs and investment trusts is £ 9.95 – or £ 4.95 if you have traded ten times in the previous month.

Regular investment costs £ 1.50 in funds, FTSE 350 shares and a limited range of investment trusts.

Who is good for? Youinvest scores with a low percentage administrator position are also limited for stocks, trusts and ETFs. He has fund negotiation fees, but a cut of £ 1.50 makes them considerably more competitive than before.

There is a regular and economic monthly investment in selected funds, stocks and investment trusts. There is no reinvestment of dividends at a low price. [More details on Youinvest]

The online platform of the Charles Stanley Direct platform agent has a low annual charge of 0.25 percent on fund holdings.

Changes that arrive on November 1, 2016 will see this cut in 0.2 percent between £ 250,000 and £ 500,000, 0.15 percent to £ 1million and 0.05% to £ 2million.

There is also a 0.25 percent charge in the investment trust or stock holdings, with a minimum of £ 24 and a maximum of £ 240 per year. This is eliminated monthly if you make business transactions at least once in that month.

A Sipp costs £ 100 plus VAT per year, but this fee is eliminated if you have more than £ 30,000 on all the intermediary's online platform services.

The operation of funds is free, but the investment trust and the share allocation will cost £ 11.50 and there is no regular investment option for this.

Investors who hold individual bonds and shares abroad must pay £ 30 per year per holding.

Who is good for? Active fund investors get a good deal at Charles Stanley with a low annual fee and no purchase or sale charges. This is also a decent SIPP option for those with more than £ 30,000, who can avoid the extra fee for pensions.

Those who buy and hold investment trusts and shares can also do well if they change each month and lose the platform fee, but that has to be weighed against £ 11.50 which adds the charges and the lack of a regular monthly investment option.[More details on Charles Stanley Direct]


The US giant Vanguard has established an investment platform in the United Kingdom, but can only buy its funds.

It is cheap with a rate of 0.15% per year and has no purchase and sale costs. You can use this to buy Vanguard's simple and cheap passive funds, your active range or your LifeStrategy all-in-one funds that invest in stocks and bonds around the world.

Who is good for? If you are looking for a simple and low-cost investment platform, Vanguard is a good option. You only get your funds, but the company's trackers and ETFs are among the best in the business; This is a particularly good option for those looking to start with LifeStrategy funds.

Cavendish online

Cavendish Online is an exclusive DIY investment platform and stands out for its very low percentage charges.

Investors pay only 0.25 percent as a fee for using the platform and do not pay negotiation fees, initial charges or exit fees if they decide to leave.

Cavendish has long been a low-cost investment option without some of the riches of its rivals. It offers a selection of three model portfolios classified by risk.

Who is good for? This is a cheap investment, but just to buy funds, you can not add stocks, investment trusts or bonds as well. This is a low-cost option for those who want to carry the most loads and are happy to give up the tools, tips and content that others offer.

[More details on Cavendish]


Before making a final decision, think about the previous points on how to choose the best platform, what you want to invest in: funds, ETFs, investment funds, etc., and how you want to do it: lump sum, buy and hold, investment or trade regular.

Do not forget that there is a delicate balancing act between administration fees and negotiation fees.

Do your own research, sit down and discover how the DIY investment platforms you favor compare to each other. This task will be worth it in the long term.

  • If you think you have a better investment for the suggestion of DIY investment platform, please tell us in the comments of the readers below
Blocked: Beware of transfer fees and other fees from investment platforms, as well as administration and administration charges. "Class =" blkBorder img-share

Blocked: Beware of transfer fees and other fees from investment platforms, as well as administration and administration charges. "Class =" blkBorder img-share

Blocked: Beware of transfer charges and other fees from investment platforms, as well as administrative and administration charges.

Why invest through Isa

Investing in Isa is one of the few opportunities we have to earn tax-free money.

Each fiscal year, investors get an Isa subsidy, which currently amounts to £ 20,000.

The reason for investing in an Isa is its tax-favored nature, with the additional advantage that you do not need to worry about a tax return or declare profits.

Any gain within an Isa is free of Capital gains tax. Everyone has a CGT subsidy of £ 11,700 per year (2018 to 2019) and many may think that they are unlikely to get more than this in profits every year when selling their assets.

However, those who invest constantly in time may one day be surprised at how much those investments are worth and having them in a tax-free wrapper makes sense.

Investment income It is also a favorable way to taxes in an Isa. This year, the dividend allocation was reduced from £ 5,000 to £ 2,000, beyond the rates of 7.5 percent at the basic rate and 32.5 percent for higher rate taxpayers and 38.1 percent for additional rate taxpayers.

However, if you have shares, investment trusts or a fund in an Isa, there are no taxes to pay on dividend income.

While you may not be close to using the entire dividend payment of £ 2,000 now, you can get there some day, so putting your investments in a duty-free container is a sensible tactic.

Isa's investment also means that you do not have to complete dividend income on a self-assessment form and it eliminates the headache of Tax returns for any capital gain.

It used to be that investing in an Isa was not always worth it, since the charges were higher. In most cases cThe arcs are now exactly the same as for normal inversions, so using Isa for investment makes sense.


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