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Best Investment Platform – including exclusive analysis of fully managed portfolio performance

By Antonia Medlicott

  • Published: June 11, 2024
  • Edited by: Clare West
  • Last Update: 1 week ago
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With a level of analysis and detail you won’t find elsewhere, my independent list of the best investment platforms and apps in the UK will help you find your perfect platform regardless of your level of experience.

My quick list

*These are my totally impartial views that I think represent the best value for money.

4.5
Moneybox

Let the experts do it for you with the best-performing ISA for the last 5 years

Capital at risk.

4.5
InvestEngine

Keep more of your gains with the lowest-cost investment platform available

With investments, your capital is at risk. This could mean the value of your investments goes down as well as up.

4.5
Trading 212

Own the most expensive stocks at an exceptional price

Capital at risk.

5.0
AJ Bell

Enjoy outstanding customer service on a well-established platform with a great choice of assets

Capital at risk.

4.5
eToro

Tap into the best-performing ready-made portfolios available

Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 51% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with eToro. Consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.


4.5

Moneybox

Let the experts do it for you with the best-performing ISA for the last 5 years

Capital at risk.

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Reasons to use

  • One of the easiest options for beginners without sacrificing returns
  • Great tools for regular saving into your investments
  • Good range of account types
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Reasons to avoid

  • Can work out costly for small investment pots
  • No desktop platform, app-only
  • Onus on you to choose your investments

Antonia says

This isn’t the lowest cost option, however, our analysis of portfolio performance has revealed that your investments would historically have still done well here.

The range of account options is brilliant, with the best performing ISA and Lifetime ISA, one of the best interest rates on a Cash ISA, and a personal pension that has performed well against its peers, all available via the £1 monthly subscription fee.

If you historically have found it difficult to save enough to invest then the round-up feature will build a tidy pot for you without you really noticing. It’s also a cinch to use, and my endorsement lies in the fact that I have retained my own account on this app.

MoneyBox Review Global Technology Shares

Use this if

  • You are seeking a Lifetime ISA to save for your first home
  • You historically find it difficult to save and would benefit from round-ups and payday boosts
  • You like the additional option of being able to choose your own investments
  • You are looking for the best returns on a ready-made portfolio in an ISA or pension

Fees

  • £1 subscription fee after the first 3 months
  • 0.45% platform fee
  • Annual fund provider costs 0.09% – 0.88%
  • 0.45% FX fee for US stocks
  • Investments

    • Ready-made portfolios
    • US Stocks
    • Fractional shares
    • Tracker funds
    • ETFs

    Scores

    Fees:

    3.5

    Trading platform:

    4.0

    Account opening:

    5.0

    Research:

    3.5

    Education:

    3.5

    Customer service:

    3.5

    Read full review

    Read full review >
    4.5

    InvestEngine

    Keep more of your gains with the lowest-cost investment platform available

    With investments, your capital is at risk. This could mean the value of your investments goes down as well as up.

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    Reasons to use

    • Lowest cost way to invest
    • Good range of ETFs
    • Easy to use
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    Reasons to avoid

    • No historical data on the performance of their managed portfolios
    • Only ETFs – no direct access to stocks

    Antonia says:

    This is the most cost-effective way to invest. The only fee you have to deal with here is the fund fee and there is simply no getting away from that. But, by eliminating the account fees, commissions, FX fees, inactivity fees, and any other hidden fees platforms like to slap on, you really are getting the most bang for your buck.

    InvestEngine portfolio

    So what’s the catch? Firstly, you need to invest in ETFs because that’s all they have here. I’m a fan of ETFs so no issue there. Secondly, in order to avoid portfolio fees, you need to choose your own ETFs to invest in. So, this can be the sticking point for a lot of people who don’t have the experience or confidence to pick.

    Cost, past performance, and risk level are some of the factors that you should consider. At InvestEngine you get access to the key investor information document which should help you decide.

    Use this if

    • You are looking for a low-cost, simple way to invest
    • You are happy to invest in ETFs

    Fees

    • No account fees
    • No trading fees
    • 0.25% for managed portfolios
    • ETF fees starting at 0.05% per year
    • Average ETF charge for managed portfolios: 0.15% per year
    • Market spreads average: 0.07% per year

    ETF Investments

    • ESG
    • Thematics
    • Dividend focused funds
    • Emerging markets
    • Small cap

    Scores

    Fees:

    5.0

    Trading platform:

    4.0

    Account opening:

    4.5

    Research:

    4.0

    Education:

    3.0

    Customer service:

    4.0

    For a detailed analysis of InvestEngine services, check out our review for 2024

    Read full review >
    4.5

    Trading 212

    Own the most expensive stocks at an exceptional price

    Capital at risk.

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    Reasons to use

    • 0% commission and the lowest FX fees
    • Fractional shares
    • Best interest rate on uninvested cash
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    Reasons to avoid

    • No ready-made portfolios – you need to choose your own investments
    • Variable customer service

    Antonia Says

    I use this app myself, partly for its exceptional value and partly because they have managed to keep it uncomplicated while still providing good access to research.

    If you want to gain access to big ticket shares such as Alphabet or Nividia, then this is the place to come to as the low fees and fractional shares make this very affordable.

    At the time of writing, interest at Trading 212 was at 5.2% which is more than I’ve encountered at any other platform.

    Trading 212 Portfolio Screen 1

    This is a nice little step up for fairly new investors who want to start taking more control over what they are investing in.

    Use this if

    • You would like to choose your own investments or would like access to fractional shares of high-value stocks
    • You are looking for a cost-effective way to invest

    Fees

    • 0.7% – 1.15% for portfolios ranging from fully managed to fixed allocation.

    Investments

    • Ready-made portfolios
    • Socially responsible investing
    • Thematic Investing

    Scores

    Fees:

    5.0

    Trading platform:

    4.0

    Account opening:

    4.0

    Research:

    4.0

    Education:

    2.0

    Customer service:

    2.5

    5.0

    AJ Bell

    Enjoy outstanding customer service on a well-established platform with a great choice of assets

    Capital at risk.

    check

    Reasons to use

    • Very low fees
    • Excellent range of assets
    • Excellent customer service
    • Listed on the FTSE 250
    • Above-average returns on ready-made portfolios
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    Reasons to avoid

    • Dealing fees may affect investors who like to buy and sell regularly
    • Interest on uninvested cash is fairly low compared to Trading 212

    Antonia Says

    AJ Bell successfully bridges the gap between new investors and experienced investors, making this a great choice for anyone who is just starting out with investing but would like to learn more about it.

    In fact, the ready-made portfolios, that have delivered above-average returns, could be a good starting point for new investors while they get to grips with the market. Then once comfortable, investors could take more of an active role in choosing which assets to include in their portfolios.

    AJ Bell Tesco plc

    Use this if

    • You want low fees that won’t eat into your investment gains
    • You lack the confidence to pick your own investments and would benefit from access to ready-made portfolios that have outperformed the industry average.

    Fees

    Custody charges

    • 0.25% (max £10 per month) for shares/ETFs
    • 0.25% – 0.10% for funds (0% for funds over £500k)

    Annual ongoing charges

    • 0.31% for Growth funds
    • 0.45% for Responsible Growth fund
    • 0.65% for Income funds

    Share dealing fees

    • 0.31% for Growth funds
    • 0.45% for Responsible Growth fund
    • 0.65% for Income funds
    • Standard share dealing charge: £5.00
    • Frequent shares dealing charge (10 or more trades in the previous month): £3.50
    • Funds dealing charge: £1.50
    • AJ Bell fund: no dealing charge

    Investments

    • Stocks
    • Bonds and gilts
    • Commodities
    • ETFs
    • Ready-made portfolios

    Scores

    Fees:

    4.5

    Trading platform:

    4.5

    Account opening:

    5.0

    Research:

    4.5

    Education:

    5.0

    Customer service:

    5.0

    For a detailed analysis of AJ Bell, check out our review for 2024

    Read full review >
    4.5

    eToro

    Tap into the best-performing ready-made portfolios available

    Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 51% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with eToro. Consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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    Reasons to use

    • Commission-free for stocks
    • Excellent demo account available
    • Number 1 copy trading platform
    • Listed on the FTSE 250
    • Above-average returns on ready-made portfolios
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    Reasons to avoid

    • High performing portfolios are very risky
    • Very high FX fees

    Antonia says:

    This is a somewhat controversial choice of platform for this list. Firstly because eToro can not be considered low-cost. Yes, they market themselves as being commission-free, but the base currency is USD here which means you are going to get stung by some really hefty FX fees (although if you open an eToro Money account you can avoid those fees). Also, they are considered more of a trading platform than an investment platform.

    However, I’ve put them in, as they have one feature, that could really benefit those looking for a higher-risk investment with the potential of greater returns. And the best part is that you need zero investment experience. But you do need to understand the risks involved here.

    eToro has a range of ready-made portfolios, which have outperformed the industry average across the past 5 years by a substantial margin. There is one portfolio in particular that has provided returns of 230.2% across the past 5 years which none of the other industry portfolios are coming close to achieving. In fact the industry average is 26.4%.

    It’s called Four Largest Tech Giants – @Four-Horsemen and before I go any further, I am not advising you to invest in this portfolio. There are only 4 equities held here, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple which is how this portfolio has managed to achieve these returns. However, in no way can this be considered diversified and I would only suggest investing here as part of a wider, more strategic investment portfolio, or, if you don’t mind losing some, or all of your money. Remember, historical performance can never guarantee future returns.

    Etoro Review Portfolio

    eToro is also the number one platform for copy trading, where investors can choose to automatically copy the trades of experienced and successful investors.

    Use this if

    • You are happy to assume a high level of risk
    • You would like the chance to own some stock from the 4 tech giants at an affordable price
    • You are happy to take additional steps to avoid the FX fees at eToro

    Fees

    • 0% commission on stocks
    • Competitive spreads
    • £0 management fees on ready-made portfolios
    • 1.5% FX fee
    • $5 withdrawal fee
    • Inactivity fee after 12 months

    Assets

    • Stocks
    • Indices
    • ETFs
    • Currencies
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies

    Scores

    Fees:

    4.0

    Trading platform:

    3.5

    Account opening:

    3.5

    Research:

    3.5

    Education:

    4.0

    Customer service:

    3.5

    Cost Comparison


    Fees can substantially eat into your investment gains and are therefore worthy of careful consideration when selecting which platform to invest with. Below I have provided you with a visual aid of how these platforms would compare on cost.

    Remember, that fees should not be your only consideration. The main purpose of investing in an investment platform is to grow your money as much as possible. In this respect, the assets offered, and the performance of the ready-made portfolios on offer will also be relevant.

    Ready-made portfolio returns


    If you don’t have the confidence/time to choose your own investments or are simply seeking a more ‘hands-off’ approach, then you may want to consider the fully managed portfolios on offer.

    But how do you know that the portfolio you are considering will provide you with decent returns? The answer is… you don’t! However, we can look at how well these platforms have managed their portfolios in the past 5 years. As you can see, results have been variable, but try to remember that the eToro option is very undiversified and therefore presents a big risk to your capital.

    What are investment platforms?


    Investment platforms offer retail investors (people like you and I who are not professionals) the opportunity to avoid the fees associated with financial advice and take control of their investment portfolio.

    Now it’s important to understand that this does not mean you need prior knowledge of investing to use one. Different investment platforms are suitable for different levels of experience. Some cater to complete beginners and simply ask you a few basic questions in order to match you with your investments which they then monitor and manage on your behalf at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wealth manager. This would include Moneybox and InvestEngine.

    Other platforms focus on offering all the assets and choices that a more experienced investor could require so they have a decent range of securities and sectors from which to build a diversified portfolio. Trading 212 and AJ Bell would be a good fit for the purpose here.

    Then, there are trading platforms that use cutting-edge technology to allow for instant buying and selling of securities so users can make quick adjustments in response to changes in the marketplace. eToro has an extensive range of assets and commission-free trading for this purpose. Just beware of the FX fees.

    Investment platforms are sometimes referred to as fund supermarkets. They will usually offer funds, stocks, commodities, ETFs, investment trusts, forex, and bonds to name a few. There are also a range of account types that can be utilised including tax wrappers such as ISAs and Pension accounts.

    How do you choose the best platform for you?


    That’s actually pretty straightforward. First and foremost, think about your level of experience and knowledge when it comes to investing. We all need to start somewhere but are you happy to take risks with your money or would you rather leave the tough decisions to a professional? Moneybox and InvestEngine both offer the kind of service that a complete novice can happily sail through.

    Trading 212 and AJ Bell are more suited to investors with a little know-how and both are well-priced as well as offering a decent range of investment options and research.

    Cost is always a factor, but you won’t get recommended anything that is overcharging here. We factor in platform fees, management fees, FX fees, all the fees, before we even consider recommending a platform. The only platform on my list that has fees you should be aware of is eToro’s FX fee. It’s somewhat eye-watering so make sure you take steps to protect yourself from that if eToro is tickling your fancy.

    FAQs

    Yes! Because they cut out the ‘middle man’, these platforms are able to offer investment solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional wealth management.

    Firstly you must consider this a long-term endeavour. Once you have chosen your platform, a simple S&P 500 tracker fund is often the most lucrative investment.

    Note from the insiders:


    Opening and closing accounts at these platforms can usually be done in minutes. You are at liberty to change platforms at any time. When choosing an account, consider an ISA as this is the most tax effecient way to invest.