Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown

4 min Read Published: 27 Feb 2024

Charles Stanley Direct vs Hargreaves LansdownIf you are looking for the best investment platform to invest your money with, both Charles Stanley* and Hargreaves Lansdown* are large, well-established options. In this comparison, we break down the key features of both platforms, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each one to help you choose which is the best option for you.

Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown - which is better?

Charles Stanley Hargreaves Lansdown 
Services Wealth Management

Discretionary Management

Fund Lists

Multi-asset funds

"New to investing" guides

HL Select Funds

Wealth Shortlist

Ready-made portfolios

Foreign currency exchange

Spread betting and CFDs

Products Trading account

ISA, General Invest Account (GIA), Junior ISA, SIPP

Active Savings

Cash ISA

Fund and share account

ISA, General Investment Acount (GIA), Lifetime ISA (LISA), Junior ISA, SIPP, Junior SIPP

Minimum investment No minimum investment (£25 per month for direct debit payments) £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 Fund investment platform charge:

Up to £250,000 - 0.35%

£250,000 to £500,000 - 0.20%

£500,000 to £1million - 0.15%

£1,000,000 to £2,000,000 - 0.05%

Over £2,000,000 - 0%

Additional underlying fund charges

No charges for trading funds

Stocks and shares platform charge:

0.35% on value of stocks and shares held across all accounts (maximum £240 per annum. No charge if you place one or more chargeable trades per month)

Stocks and shares trading- £11.50 per trade

Fund investment platform charge:

Up to £250,000 - 0.45%

£250,000-£1m - 0.25%

£1m-£2m - 0.10%

Over £2m - 0%

Additional underlying fund charges

Dealing charges (based on deals completed in previous month):

0-9 deals - £11.95

10-19 deals - £8.95

20+ deals - £5.95

No charge for holding shares

No charge for Junior ISAs

Customer reviews (Trustpilot) 2.1/5.0 4.1/5.0


Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown - services

Both Charles Stanley and Hargreaves Lansdown offer services ranging from those aimed at people starting out in investments through to more sophisticated investors and those with more substantial amounts of money to invest. In this latter area, Charles Stanley has a range of wealth management, discretionary management and inheritance tax management services available. For Hargreaves Lansdown, meanwhile, it offers high quality independent research, a user-friendly interface and options including spread betting and CFDs for more experienced investors.

Both platforms have their own multi-asset funds, while Hargreaves Lansdown also offer ready-made portfolios. They also both have lists of their recommended funds.

Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown - products

While both Charles Stanley and Hargreaves Lansdown have a good range of products available, including trading accounts, Hargreaves Lansdown has both a Lifetime ISA and a Junior SIPP, which Charles Stanley doesn't. However, Charles Stanley does have a flexible ISA, which means investors can take out money from their ISA account and put it back in during a single tax year without it affecting their ISA allowance. This is quite rare among investment platforms and may be an attractive feature for some investors.

Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown - minimum investment

While Charles Stanley has a standard minimum investment of either a lump sum of £500 or a regular monthly payment of £50 per month, Hargreaves Lansdown has different requirements for different products. There is a £1 minimum investment for its fund and share account, while its ISAs and SIPPs require £100 as a lump sum or a regular monthly payment of £25 per month.

Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown - fees

Charles Stanley represents good value, specifically for those investing up to £500,000 in unit trusts, with its fund investment platform fees being significantly lower than for its rival. This doesn't include the underlying fund charges, which will alter depending on the underlying funds held in the portfolio. However, for those looking to invest in investment trusts, ETFs or shares - and trade regularly - Hargreaves Lansdown often works out cheaper. This is because, although its headline trading fee of £11.95 is more expensive than Charles Stanley's fee of £11.50, that cost drops the more trades you complete per month. Hargreaves Lansdown recently scrapped its charges for Junior ISAs and introduced reduced charges for its Lifetime ISA.

In order to understand which option will offer you better value, you need to assess what you are likely to invest in and how often you are likely to make changes if you opt to invest in investment trusts, ETFs or shares.

Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown - customer reviews

According to independent customer review site Trustpilot, Hargreaves Lansdown is rated more highly by its users than Charles Stanley does, getting 4.1 out of 5 stars. Charles Stanley, meanwhile, was awarded 2.1 out of 5, meaning it is categorised as "poor" compared with Hargreaves Lansdown's "Excellent". Overall, there was a clear division between those who thought Charles Stanley was "Excellent" (26%) and those who deemed it to be "bad" (47%). The negative reviews generally centred on issues with using the site or logging on to the mobile app. It is worth noting, however, that with fewer than 20 reviews, compared with more than 9,000 for Hargreaves Lansdown, there's a strong possibility this isn't representative of the average customer experience as a whole.

Summary: Charles Stanley vs Hargreaves Lansdown

The choice between Charles Stanley* and Hargreaves Lansdown* mainly comes down to what you are likely to invest in, how much you are looking to invest and whether you require a specific product or service. If you are only investing in funds, Charles Stanley is likely to work out cheaper than Hargreaves Lansdown for investments up to £500,000. However, if you want to trade investment trusts, ETFs or shares, it may end up cheaper to invest with Hargreaves Lansdown if you are likely to be undertaking multiple monthly trades.

A big appeal of Charles Stanley is its flexible ISA, although if you are looking specifically for a Lifetime ISA or Junior SIPP, you will only get those with Hargreaves Lansdown. Moreover, if you value an easy-to-use website, high-quality research and investment guides and the option to access spread betting or CFDs, Hargreaves Lansdown may be the better option.

For more detailed information, read our Hargreaves Lansdown review and Charles Stanley review.


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