How we review

The issue of how our reviews are written is kind of a big deal for us, because it goes to the very heart of why we created Investing Insiders.

We’re not here to massage brands’ egos. We’re here to give consumers answers. That means we’re very clear about where our priorities lie and how we work.

Step 1

Our editorial policy

Our editorial policy is simple: we cannot be paid to change our opinion.

Our reviews are written independently and without influence from platform providers. They are based on our own experiences as investors and traders, and an impartial data-driven appraisal of how a provider performs in relation to their peers in areas such as fees, asset choice, research tools, ready-made portfolio performance (where applicable), and customer service. The verdicts we reach are based entirely on what we believe readers need to know in order to make fully informed, money-smart decisions.

Step 2

How we get paid

Of course, we do need to get paid for our work. (Sadly, we still have bills to pay.)

So this is the model we use…

Once our reviews are written, we approach top-rated providers to see if they’d like to add an affiliate link to that review. That allows readers who are interested in their products to click through and visit their site. Although we may receive a commission in exchange for adding these links, we do not change our reviews at the request of providers. Nor do we manipulate results to match up with the companies who offer us the best deal, or recommend products or providers that we don’t believe deserve a top spot.

We do give providers the opportunity to identify any factual errors we may have made (for example, a change in the cost of a service or product) so that we can correct them before publication. That’s essential, because presenting incorrect information could disadvantage our readers (as well as land us in a whole heap of trouble) so allowing providers that opportunity is just common sense.

Step 3

So, how do we come to our verdicts?

It’s a lengthy process! Which is just how it should be. We don’t bash out reviews without taking the time to really get to know these platforms, or rehash what we’ve seen written elsewhere. That’s why you’ll find that, although lots of other platform reviews seem to present the same information, ours often read very differently.

Our process runs something like this:

  • If we aren’t an existing customer of the provider we’re reviewing, we open an account with them. We become customers of every single provider we review. If we like them, we often stay customers, otherwise we close our account when we’ve finished the review. (Yes, the number of apps on our phones are out of control.)
  • Crucially, we then invest real money with the provider, either by depositing lump sums, setting up Direct Debit mandates, or transferring accounts across from one provider to another. Practicalities mean we can’t always do all three with each provider (each of us is subject to the same rules you are on ISA allowances, for example), but we try and personally experience as many account opening actions as possible.
  • We take note of every journey and transaction and report back on what we discover. We buy assets to experiment with research tools, and test trade execution tools and different order types. We monitor our investments/trades and note how clear and easy-to-use the interfaces are. We use the educational materials and Help Centres to figure out how to make the most of the platforms. This bit can take some time.
  • We ask questions and put requests to customer services using the different available channels, to test whether our experiences match those reported by other users. We drop into community forums and see what other users are saying about their experiences. Our own experience gives us insider insights but we know we can’t test everything by ourselves. Other users’ insights can be very valuable.
  • We deliberately invest in stocks that are due to payout dividends in the near future so we can check how quickly dividend payments are made, and how helpful platforms are when it comes to participating in corporate actions.
  • In most cases, we then close accounts down, or transfer out to see how that process works too. We report on lengthy processes and unnecessary delays and, again, how helpful customer services are in sorting things out when all doesn’t go to plan.
Step 4

Comprehensive, thorough reviews

Our goal is to make sure we don’t miss a thing. To help ensure we don’t miss something important, and that we judge providers fairly, we use a standardised scorecard system.

Scorecards run to scores of different features and data points. The small sample below gives you a flavour of how thorough we are.

Research tools/features

Stock fundamentals

Live pricing

Open price

Previous close

Day’s range

Year low

Year high



Market cap

5Y performance

P/E ratio

P/B ratio

P/S ratio


Debt-to-equity data



Analyst ratings

Social sentiment scores


Ex-dividend date

Dividend payment date

Dividend record date

Dividend history

Company ownership information

Top shareholders

Company financials

Company news

Live news feed from reputable sources

ESG exposure data

Amount of short interest shown

Step 5

Errors and Corrections

We make every effort to ensure the information we publish is completely accurate and fairly represented, and that when information changes, we update our reviews, guides and recommendation pages as soon as we’re notified.

We perform regular checks of platforms’ key information pages, and use software to help us pick up on anything we might have otherwise missed. However, it is inevitable that, in an industry where figures fluctuate often, we may not always have the most up-to-date information on the website. It is our policy to correct significant errors as soon as possible after we’re made aware of them.