If you are looking for the best investment platform to invest your money with, both Charles Stanley Direct 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 Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown - which is better?
|Charles Stanley Direct||Hargreaves Lansdown|
"New to investing" guides
|HL Select funds
Foreign currency exchange
Spread betting and CFDs
ISA, General Invest Account (GIA), Junior ISA, SIPP
Fund and share account
ISA, General Investment Acount (GIA), Lifetime ISA (LISA), Junior ISA, SIPP, Junior SIPP
|Minimum investment||£500 (or a regular £50 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||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
No charges for trading funds
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)||3.6/5.0||4.2/5.0|
Charles Stanley Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown - services
Both Charles Stanley Direct 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 Direct 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 model portfolios. They also both have lists of their recommended funds.
Charles Stanley Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown - products
While both Charles Stanley Direct 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 Direct doesn't. However, it 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 Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown - minimum investment
While Charles Stanley Direct 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. While these options require a lower investment than for Charles Stanley Direct, there is a minimum investment of £1,000 for the HL Portfolio+ accounts.
Charles Stanley Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown - fees
Charles Stanley Direct represents very 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 Direct's fee of £11.50, that cost drops the more trades you complete per month.
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 Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown - customer reviews
According to independent customer review site Trustpilot, Hargreaves Lansdown is rated more highly by its users than Charles Stanley Direct does, getting 4.2 out of 5 stars. Charles Stanley Direct, meanwhile, was awarded 3.6 out of 5, meaning it is categorised as "average" compared with Hargreaves Lansdown's "excellent". Overall, there was a clear division between those who thought Charles Stanley Direct was "excellent" (43%) and those who deemed it to be "bad" (42%). 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 5,000 for Hargreaves Lansdown, there's a strong possibility this isn't representative of the average customer experience as a whole.
Summary: Charles Stanley Direct vs Hargreaves Lansdown
The choice between Charles Stanley Direct 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 Direct 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 investing with Hargreaves Lansdown if you are likely to be undertaking multiple monthly trades.
A big appeal of Charles Stanley Direct 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.
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