By: Harvey Jones | Updated: 18th January 2021.
Hargreaves Lansdown hails itself “the UK’s No.1 investment platform for private investors” and with more than a million clients it’s hard to dispute that. Its online share-dealing account offers a wealth of services, including share dealing, tax-free ISAs and self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).
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.
The HL website offers a wealth of investor data and exclusive investor analysis and opinion too. Keep in mind though that this is not personal advice and the information is designed for investors who are happy making their own investment decisions. If you’re ever unsure about the suitability of an investment for your own circumstances, please seek independent financial advice.
HL’s Fund and Share account may not be the cheapest for everyone, though.
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).
The HL website 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. Do be mindful that any investment information and expert opinion provided on HL’s website is not personal advice and is designed for investors who are happy making their own investment decisions. If you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, you’ll want to seek out your own independent financial advice.
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 while also keen to highlight top deals. There are plenty out there, if you know where to look.
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.
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. While that should be enough to satisfy many investors, it will not satisfy those who want to directly trade, say, in 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 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 customize 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 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 the latest views and opinion on shares and the market.
Customers can also opt into 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, but remember, these resources are not intended to be used as an alternative to obtaining independent financial advice if you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances.
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.
This is a good mainstream stocks-and-shares provider that is hard to fault. I’ve seen an 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.
Remember, whenever you invest — be it directly in shares, ETFs, bonds, tracker funds or managed funds, your capital is put at risk and you may not get back all the money you originally invested. So if you’re ever unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, please consider obtaining appropriate independent financial advice prior to investing.
The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. The Motley Fool has recommended Hargreaves Lansdown shares.