By: Harvey Jones | Updated: 29th March, 2019.
Good for: Long-term investing in shares
On secure website.
Our Bottom Line
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK’s market leading share dealing broker, providing easy access to an extensive range of funds, ETFS, UK and overseas shares. HL offers a robust service with an easy-to-use website and plenty of free information to help make your investment decisions. In our view, the ‘Fund and Share’ account is great choice for long-term share investors looking to manage their portfolio online.
Share dealing fee:
Monthly account fee:
The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks.
I have a dealing account with Hargreaves myself, and I like it. It is clear and functional and easy to-use. Hargreaves hasn’t felt the need to plague customers with regular fancy upgrades either – for which I give thanks. Plus it has a wealth of investor data and exclusive investor analysis and opinion. It may not be the cheapest for everyone, though.
Top features of a Hargreaves Lansdown share-dealing account
The Hargreaves Lansdown Share Dealing account does exactly what you would expect it to do, allowing you to trade stocks and funds in real time, in a clear and straightforward way.
You can choose from thousands of UK and overseas shares, investment funds and trusts, exchange traded funds (ETFs), venture capital trusts (VCTs), gilts and bonds, with no limit to the amount you invest. It also offers access to more complex instruments such as spread betting and contracts for difference (CFDs).
You can open your account online in minutes and fund it either with a debit card or by setting up a monthly direct debit.
The site also offers a sheer wealth of investment information and expert opinion, to help guide your choice, plus handy extras such as stop loss and limit orders.
Hargreaves Lansdown commission prices
£10 per trade is the benchmark for online share dealing charges and Hargreaves Lansdown peppers this target, depending on how many trades you made in the previous calendar month. If you made nine trades or less, you pay £11.95 per trade. That falls to £8.95 if you made between 10 and 19 deals, then just £5.95 for 20 deals or more. Hargreaves Lansdown counts deals placed across all its accounts, provided they are under the same client number.
Whether this is good value depends on how active a trader you are. You will have to do a fair amount of buying and selling to get its lower dealing fees and most ordinary investors should therefore expect to pay £11.95 a pop.
Other sites may offer lower dealing fees but compare the overall cost carefully, because they may impose standing quarterly fees, while Hargreaves Lansdown has no annual management charges for UK and overseas shares, investment trusts, ETFs, VCTs, gilts or bonds. It doesn’t have any activity charges either, or fees for opening an account or holding cash.
This charging structure reverses when investing in funds, as you do not pay any dealing charges, but you do pay an annual management fee. This is set at 0.45% on the first £250,000, then falls to 0.25% on total fund values up to £1 million, then 0.1% to £2 million with no charges for holdings above that level.
Why you can trust me
I’ve been a personal financial journalist for 30 years, writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites. I reported on the technology boom in the 1990s, and the subsequent bust. I covered the financial crisis, and the tentative recovery. Decades of writing about the big banks has taught me to be sceptical, to examine every pledge and promise, and look closely at the small print of their product offerings. I’m on the side of the consumer, alert to rip-offs but also to good deals. There are plenty out there, if you know where to look.
Fees you should know about
If you want to automatically reinvest the dividends you receive from stocks or funds, Hargreaves Lansdown will charge 1% of the trade, with a minimum fee of £1 and maximum £10. It will reinvest your income once it reaches £10 per holding, although you can set your own amount.
If you trade overseas stocks you will pay an added foreign exchange charge, which falls the more you trade. This is set at 1% of the first £5,000 of any trade, 0.75% on the next £5,000, then falls to 0.5% above £10,000 and 0.25% from £20,000 and above.
There is also an account closure fee of £25 plus VAT.
Buying shares, ETFs and funds with a Hargreaves Lansdown account
This platform gives you a comprehensive choice of UK-listed stocks, funds and ETFs, as wide as any on the market. You can also buy and sell thousands of shares listed on US, Canadian and European exchanges. That should be enough to satisfy pretty much anybody, unless they want to directly trade, say, Chinese or Japanese companies.
You can open your account with just £1 although the minimum initial stock trade amount is £100 (top-up start from just £1). The minimum investment per fund is £100 or £25 per month. If the value of any investment falls below £100 then Hargreaves may ask you to sell it. There are no upper investment limits.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform
Hargreaves Lansdown keeps things simple. While some sites are overly complicated and burden users with tricksy upgrades, Hargreaves’ platform has clear, bold graphics that have barely changed since I started using it more than a decade ago (that is not a complaint). I know where I am with this site.
Users can customise the way they display their holdings, in the order they want.
You can also create your own watchlist to keep tags on the stocks you are thinking of buying or run a virtual portfolio. The platform is easy to navigate, helping you find your way around its wide range of investment extras.
Hargreaves Lansdown research offerings
Hargreaves Lansdown has the size and scale to produce heaps of its own original research, particularly on FTSE 100 stocks and its Wealth 150+ portfolio of top fund recommendations.
What I also like is that it gives you access to third-party analyst views, including broker tips from ShareCast, to help with your stock selection. Users get a free weekly email containing latest views and opinion on shares and the market.
Customers can also opt in to three daily stock market updates, plus a weekly summary of its latest share insight and investment trust research updates. You can select which stock updates interest you most, to avoid being bombarded.
There’s a huge amount of other information including press round-up, company news, directors’ dealings, sector review, small cap news, IPOs and bond launches, and a financial diary. For most investors, it should be more than enough to keep you busy.
Service and support
You can open an account online in minutes with your debit card and National Insurance number. After that, you can then view and deal your investments 24/7 online or with the Hargreaves app at www.hl.co.uk/app.
If you’d prefer to speak to a person, then you can call its Bristol-based help desk, which has a range of numbers depending on your query. In my experience, this helpline has been professional and helpful.
Is a Hargreaves Lansdown share dealing account right for you?
This is a good mainstream stocks-and-shares provider that is hard to fault. I’ve seen analysis that suggests it isn’t the cheapest, but that doesn’t seem to put people off, because of the wealth of research and quality of support Hargreaves Lansdown offers. Always compare for your own trading patterns, though. You might get cheaper dealing costs but remember to compare all fees, including quarterly or inactivity charges.
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