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Free DIY platform comparison site launches: can it save you £100s in fees?

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
04/11/2016
The comparetheplatform site officially launched this week giving consumers the chance to check out the price of a host of DIY investing sites, potentially saving them £100s in annual fees. But how does it rate?

Comparetheplatform is a free to use site which allows investors to compare the price of around 30 DIY platforms, without having to trawl through each individually to find out the cost.

Founded by Bella Caridade-Ferreira, who is also the CEO of Fundscape which researches and analyses the UK fund industry, the new site includes a calculator to show the cheapest platform whether you have a modest or healthy amount to invest.

As an example, a novice investor wants to save £10,000 into a stocks and shares ISA. The calculator shows that the cheapest DIY platform is run by Halifax which costs £12.50 per year. In comparison, the most expensive is iWeb which charges an annual fee of £200. By choosing one over the other, the investor could save themselves £187.50.

And with a larger investment, the savings can soon add up. An individual with £100,000 who decides to put £10,000 into a stocks and shares ISA and plans to trade 12 times a year could pay an annual fee of £250 with Cavendish Online, whereas they would pay £814 with Selftrade – a difference of £564.

Caridade-Ferreira, says: “Investors wrongly assume that platform costs are broadly the same, but fees can vary by a huge amount. Of course, price isn’t the only factor, but we help to clarify costs, leaving investors to focus on what they want in terms of products and services.”

The pros and cons of comparetheplatform

Comparetheplatform lists the platform fee only of each site, and it currently doesn’t include fund costs as these will vary depending on the specific funds you hold or choose to hold. It’s calculator also doesn’t currently include an advice charge.

However, once you input your details, including how much money you have to invest and where you’d like to invest the amount, you can view three different time periods of cost: based on investments today, the total cost over a set number of years or at a set point in the future.

Currently, the platform lists the platform in a default ascending order of price, so you can’t set it to view the platforms based on service. But comparetheplatform does include its own platform rating looking at products and wrappers, investments, research and guidance, charges and overall service.

Caridade-Ferreira explains these ratings are based on their own research, where the team members opened an account with each platform to check ease of use, products and service.

A major benefit is that the platform comparison site is completely free to use for both consumers and platforms and the founder says it will never plan to charge users. While it’s not currently generating money, it hopes to gain a large enough following to be attractive to advertisers and sponsorships.

Have you used comparetheplatform? How much could you save? Let us know what you think in the discussion forum below.

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