This Stocks & Shares ISA comparison breaks down the key points including charges, services and available products of a range of ISAs to help you conduct your own ISA review and decide which ISA to invest in.
Investors and savers are able to allocate a maximum of £20,000 in the 2017/2018 tax year as well as the 2018/2019, making it easier than ever to protect your investment gains from tax.
Hargreaves Vantage Stocks & Shares ISA
Arguably the best-known investment manager, Hargreaves Lansdown is the self-proclaimed UK number 1 ‘investment supermarket’ for private investors. In business for over 35 years, the group now manages over £82 billion for 983,000 clients.
In terms of ISAs, one of Hargreaves’ biggest draws is their ‘ready made ISAs’, already loaded with a variety of funds and stocks based on your risk appetite. This is perfect for investors who don’t have the time or interest in searching out individual funds and stocks to invest in.
However, if you are looking to choose yourself, the Hargreaves Lansdown website is full of useful ideas and research tools. The minimum account opening balance for a Vantage ISA or SIPP is £100.
Charges range from 0.45% to 0.1% for funds held in an ISA with HL and 0.45%, capped at £45, for shares, ETFs, VCTs and bonds.
Nutmeg Stocks & Shares ISA
Nutmeg is one of the robo-advisors that has taken the industry by storm, meaning their focus on technology is one of their key assets and integral in the investment process. An easy online process takes you through the setup, which can be done with no paperwork in just 10 minutes. A favourite with millennials and experienced investors, it offers transparent fees and relatively easy access to the investment world.
Its performance also stacks up – Nutmeg now boasts five year performance ranging from 5.9% for conservative portfolios to a whopping 65% for their higher risk portfolios. You can open a Nutmeg ISA with £500 and a £100 monthly contribution, or a £5,000 lump sum.
In addition to their 0.25 per cent-0.45 per cent automated service that earns them their Robo-Advisor title, Nutmeg offer a fully managed portfolios built by their investment team for 0.35 per cent-0.75 per cent.
Moneyfarm Stocks & Shares ISA
Moneyfarm is a robo-advisor founded in 2011, offering with easy online-access alongside personal customer service.
The digital investment platform offering six levels of risk to choose from which will dictate the allocation of your assets between equites, a range of bonds and cash.
Moneyfarm’s riskiest portfolio has returned 30% since January 2016 and least risky 6.9%.
In October 2017, the digital wealth manager acquired the technology behind personal finance chatbot Ernest, with the group taking on Ernest’s CTO Lorenzo Sicilia to oversee technology integration.
Ernest is a personal finance manager powered by artificial intelligence and designed to run on top of Facebook Messenger, with Moneyfarm planning to use it to offer more financial advice and a better solution for their customers.
The minimum account opening is £1, but the company suggest £1,500 to take full advantage of the service.
Interactive Investor Stocks & Shares ISA
In business since 1995, Interactive Investor say that over 40 per cent of new customers are referred by friends and family, which is ‘testament to II’s competitive pricing, systems and service.’
Interactive Investor merged with rival TD Direct in 2017, in a deal that made it the second largest execution-only broker in the UK. Under the deal, Interactive Investor acquired the shares of TD Wealth Holdings and TD Bank International, which make up TD Direct Investing, creating a group with £18 billion of assets and 300,000 customers.
III is an execution-only broker, so does not offer advice – however, for DIY investors, it does offer a comprehensive range of financial services.
The group’s fees actually increased in the wake of the TD deal as of December 2017, with charges going from £20 to £22.50 per quarter and the trading fee rose from £5 to £6.
The minimum account opening is £100.
Barclays Investment ISA
One of the biggest institutions in the financial world, Barclays needs no introduction. The bank offers a variety of different ISAs, including several types of flexible cash ISA alongside their stocks and share investment ISA.
Barclays ISAs are more attainable for smaller investors than several other companies listed here, due to their minimum account opening of £1, however they do charge a minimum of £4 per month based on a 0.1% pa fee.
X-O.co.uk are a no-frills online broker offering some of the cheapest no strings attached sharedealing. The online broker is a trading name of Jarvis Investment Management, who have been in the business for 30 years.
It is easily one of the cheapest platforms out there, charging a flat rate of just £5.95 per trade. The focus is very much on an unbeatable price rather than customer service – the basic platform is perhaps more suited to seasoned investors, who are looking for better deals rather than the support of research tools and investment ideas.
Fidelity Stocks & Shares ISA
Fidelity is another one of the UK’s largest investment managers, who have been a household name for the last 45 years. The company boasts over 273,000 people investing with them directly, 435,000 through their financial adviser, and another 480,000 through their employer pension plans.
If good online access to your account is what you look for in an investment manager, Fidelity could be a good choice – its site and app allows you to trade 24/7 from your computer, smartphone or tablet for £10. Phone trades are more expensive, charged at £30.
Offering investment in a wide range of Funds, ETFs and Investment Trusts, Fidelity charge a minimum fee of £45 or 0.35 per cent which falls to 0.2 per cent for assets over £250,000 and free for assets over £1m.
Scalable Capital ISA
Scalable Capital was one of the first online investment managers to hit the market, founded in 2014 and backed by some of the biggest VCs including Holtzbrinck Ventures, Monk’s Hill Ventures and German Startups Group.
At one point it attracted 4 million euros in assets a week, making it one of the fastest-growing online platforms. However, due to its minimum investment requirement of £10,000, investment with Scalable requires a more substantial starting balance than some of its robo-advisor rivals.
AJ Bell Stocks & Shares ISA
AJ Bell was founded in 1995, with over £39 billion under management. Before the Interactive Investor takeover last year, AJ Bell administered TD Direct products. The company has a more complex payment structure than others, and offers both a stocks and shares ISA or a lifetime ISA, which is designed to encourage savings over a longer period of time.
Dealing online with AJ Bell seems to be the best option – the group charge £29.95 per trade over the phone, and 1 per cent for dividend reinvestment. The foreign exchange charge on international dealing and foreign currency funds is 1 per cent. The minimum account opening for a lifetime ISA is £25.
The Orbis Group started in 1989, when founder Allan Gray established Orbis Investment Management Limited. Today Orbis manages around £25 billion for some of the world’s largest companies and pension funds. Orbis Access, its sister initiative, was created to make investment services more accessible to individual investors. Orbis Access changed its name to simply Orbis and rebranded its website at the beginning of March 2018.
Orbis hit the headlines for their fund charges, taking a “no performance, no fee approach”. Fees are paid on a performance-based basis – if the fund outperforms the benchmark, the fee will be half the outperformance.
Orbis is the only ISA provider to refund investors in times of underperformance in the same manner as it charges; investors will receive 50% of any underperformance of the benchmark as a fee refund.
There is no administration or custody fees on top – and you can invest either monthly or in lump sums, both from a minimum of £1.
This article was originally published in the print edition of the UK Investor Magazine. For free delivery of our print edition, please click here to register your address.
This review and comparison contains many, but not all, of the stocks & shares ISA available to UK investors. UK Investor Magazine may receive a form of compensation if you open an account by clicking some of the links in this article.