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Vanguard offers consumers direct access to ‘low cost’ funds

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Fund giant Vanguard has launched a ‘low-cost’ investment platform allowing UK consumers direct access to its range of index funds. 

The firm claims the service is “one of the best value for money offerings in the UK”, with fees less than half the average charged by rival platforms.

It says a consumer investing £10,000 in Vanguard’s FTSE UK All Share Index Unit Trust –  a UK equity fund – would pay £23 a year in total charges, while the average cost of investing in the same Vanguard product across a range of competing platforms would be £49.58.

However, unlike other platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown, Fidelity and Bestinvest, Vanguard’s platform will only offer its own funds.

Vanguard was set up in the US in 1975 and has become one of the world’s biggest fund groups, with £2.9trn of global assets under management. It is owned by its funds so instead of paying dividends to external shareholders, it redirects any profit back to its investors.

The majority of its funds are index trackers or ETFs, which track a particular index.

The new platform gives investors access to all Vanguard funds, which are available via an ISA, junior ISA or general account. A SIPP is to be added “in due course”.

Consumers can invest with a minimum lump sum of £500 or a monthly savings contribution of £100. They will be charged an account administration fee of 0.15% a year in addition to the cost of the individual fund. There is no account fee above the first £250,000 invested, meaning the maximum account fee payable is £375 a year.

Traditionally, fund groups have preferred to sell funds via financial advisers or platforms rather than direct to consumers.

Sean Hagerty, head of Vanguard’s European business, said: “Only recently, the FCA’s [Financial Conduct Authority’s] interim asset management market study report stressed asset managers’ obligation to act in the best interests of investors, including requiring the industry to show how it delivers value for money. It also highlighted that fees have not decreased enough based on the economies of scale achieved by the industry. Vanguard agrees with these conclusions.

“This is why we are launching our new service – we want to offer investors the value for money they deserve. We aim to offer investors the highest value investment products and services available with an unwavering commitment to lowering the cost of investing in the UK.”

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