The best investment platform
When you are looking to invest in funds or stocks and shares you need to decide which investment platform to use. There are a number of leading investment fund platforms to choose from, all offering something different in the way of costs and services provided. If you are simply looking for the cheapest investment platform then read my article - The cheapest fund platform. In the article below I tell you the best investment platform (also known as a fund supermarket or fund platform) for different groups of investors looking to invest directly or within a Stocks and Shares ISA. If instead, you are looking for the best investment platform for a SIPP or pension then read my article The best & cheapest SIPPs (Self Invested Personal Pension) – low cost DIY pensions. Click on the links below to jump to the relevant section:
- Best investment platform for range of investments
- Best investment platform for monthly savers
- Best investment platform for low dealing charges
- Best investment platform for tools and research
- Best investment platform for model portfolios
What is an investment platform?
A DIY investment platform is an online administration hub where you can buy and sell a range of investments within the wider investment markets. Investment platforms are often referred to as fund supermarkets because they allow you to buy from a range of different products (such as investment funds and shares) much like a traditional supermarket sells a range of goods. The range of investments available and the costs will vary from platform to platform. Also, some investment platforms offer a range of tools to help you create model portfolios to manage your investment more easily.
How do I choose the best investment platform for me?
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you choose the best investment platform for your particular circumstances. Below I run through the various things you need to consider when choosing an investment platform before showing you the best for each type of investor.
What are you planning to invest in?
Make sure the investment platform offers the range of investments that you want to invest in. Some investment platforms only offer a fairly small range of funds and investments, so make sure you fully research the range of investments available on each investment platform before committing.
Will you want to invest on a regular monthly basis?
The great thing about investing is that you can start from scratch and invest on a monthly basis. Even if you do have a sizeable sum waiting to invest you might want to do so gradually over time using a regular monthly savings plan. This can help smooth out the ups and downs of the stock market. Some investment platforms are better suited to regular monthly investing than others, particularly from the perspective of cost.
Best investment platform for monthly savers - AJ Bell Youinvest*
Will you need help creating an investment portfolio?
Some investment platforms create model portfolios to suit your risk profile. Instead of spending hours researching and selecting your own funds or shares, you can just choose a suitable 'off the shelf' model portfolio that best suits your needs.
Best investment platform for model portfolios - Moneyfarm* (offers no management fees for up to 12 months), Nutmeg (offers no management fees for the first 12 months), Wealthify*, Hargreaves Lansdown* or Fidelity*
What investment tools do you think you will need?
The best investment platforms offer a range of clever tools that can help you create portfolios in line with your investment risk as well as tools such as smartphone apps to monitor your investments on the go.
Will you want to deal or switch funds regularly?
If you are going to actively manage your investments (i.e. make regular changes) then it makes sense to choose an investment platform with low dealing charges. There is a variety of charging structures used by investment platforms so make sure you read the small print and choose the one that suits your investment strategy.
Best investment platform for low dealing charges - Charles Stanley Direct
How much are you going to invest?
Some investment platforms, mainly due to their charging structure, are better suited to small investors (with under £50,000) while others favour investors with much larger sums. So if you are investing a smaller sum of money then choose the investment platform that fits with your investment amount. Equally, if you have a significant sum of money you need to opt for an investment platform that charges fixed fees rather than a charge based on a percentage of your portfolio size. it is also worth reading my full analysis of the cheapest fund platform for portfolio sizes ranging from £10,000 to £1million.
Roundup - The best investment platform (fund supermarket)
As you can see from the above, choosing the best investment platform depends on your requirements. I provide a roundup of the best investment platforms below. However, If you are still undecided which is the best investment platform then you may be interested to know that from my experience the majority of investors who work in the City use Hargreaves Lansdown*. The range of investment options, tools and research together with an easy to use platform (they also have a great app!) are the reasons why it is the most popular investment platform in the UK.
Best investment platform for a range of investments
Best investment platform for monthly savers
Best investment platform for low dealing charges
Best investment platform for tools and research
Best investment platform for model portfolios
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following links can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses or take advantage of any exclusive offers - Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor, AJ Bell, Wealthify, Moneyfarm, Fidelity
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