If you are trying to decide which investment platform to invest your money with, you may be considering either AJ Bell* or Hargreaves Lansdown*. In this article, we walk you through the features of each option, focusing on their products and services, costs and customer reviews.
AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown - which is better?
|AJ Bell||Hargreaves Lansdown|
|Services||AJ Bell funds
Favourite funds list
Investing guides, videos and podcast
Dodl investing app (coming soon)
|HL Select funds
Foreign currency exchange
Spread betting and CFDs
ISA, GIA, LISA, SIPP, JISA, Junior SIPP
Fund and share account
ISA, GIA, LISA, JISA, SIPP, Junior SIPP
|Minimum investment||£1 (or £25 per month)||£1 for a fund and share account
£100 for an ISA or SIPP (or a regular £25 per month)
£1,000 for HL Portfolio+
|Fees||£0-£250,000 - 0.25%
£250,000-£1m - 0.10%
£1m-£2m - 0.05%
Over £2m - 0%
Additional underlying fund charges
Investments in shares, investment trusts and ETFs - 0.25% (capped at £42 per year)
Buying and selling investments:
Funds - £1.50 per deal
Shares - £9.95 per deal
Shares (10 or more deals in previous month) - £4.95 per deal
|£0-£250,000 - 0.45%
£250,000-£1m - 0.25%
£1m-£2m - 0.10%
Over £2m - 0%
Additional underlying fund charges
No charges for holding shares
Dealing charges (based on deals completed in previous month):
0-9 deals - £11.95
10-19 deals - £8.95
20+ deals - £5.95
|Customer reviews (Trustpilot)||4.4/5.0||4.2/5.0|
AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown - services
Both AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown have their own ranges of in-house funds, as well as model portfolios and ready-made portfolios, which are useful for beginners. In addition, they have a range of guides, which help explain the fundamentals and, again, are good for those who are new to investing and need some extra support. In terms of what's on offer for more advanced customers, Hargreaves Lansdown also offers spread betting and CFDs, which are far riskier but are growing in popularity, particularly with younger investors.
AJ Bell is due to launch its investment-app, Dodl later this year, which it hopes will broaden its audience and provide a low-cost and easy-to-use format for investors.
AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown - products
In terms of the products each platform offers, they are broadly the same, with savings accounts, dealing accounts that allow you to trade in shares, as well as ISAs, GIAs, LISAs, JISAs, SIPPs and Junior SIPPs. In addition, AJ Bell also offers premium versions of its SIPP, as well as a SSAS, which are more sophisticated versions of their main products, allowing for different investments and management.
AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown - minimum investment
While both AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown have the option of opening an account with just £1 (or a £25 minimum for a regular monthly investment) if you want to set up an ISA or SIPP with Hargreaves Lansdown, you will need a minimum initial investment of £100 (or £25 per month). Moreover, if you want to invest in a HL Portfolio+, you will need to put in at least £1,000.
AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown - fees
As with all investment platforms, there are different fees attached to different aspects of both AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown's propositions. The main charge is the platform fee, for which AJ Bell is cheaper than its rival. However, Hargreaves Lansdown doesn't charge for holding shares, unlike AJ Bell, although its charge is capped at £42 per year. The other key difference is that, while both have dealing charges for shares, AJ Bell also charges £1.50 for each fund switch, which should be factored in if you think you are likely to make a lot of changes to your portfolio. It is also worth noting there will be a fund charge for the underlying holdings with each platform.
AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown - customer reviews
Both AJ Bell* and Hargreaves Lansdown* are well received by their customers, with review site Trustpilot showing them scoring just over 4 out of 5 stars. Of AJ Bell's 2,000 reviews, 66% rated it "excellent", with its customer service particularly praised. Hargreaves Lansdown, meanwhile, was rated "excellent" by 55% of its almost 5,500 reviewers, again based largely on its customer service and the tools and services it offers.
Summary: AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown
Although Hargreaves Lansdown works out to be generally slightly more expensive than AJ Bell, it does have a strong track record for offering good customer service and offering support to users through its range of research tools and more general guides. It'll be interesting to see how the upcoming launch of AJ Bell's app Dodl affects its overall reputation and whether it will succeed in opening it up to a younger audience. Whether Hargreaves Lansdown intends to develop a similar strategy also remains to be seen.
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