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Hargreaves Lansdown named best platform despite ‘top-end’ pricing

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06/02/2014
Hargreaves Lansdown has topped the list of Britain's best investment platforms, according to a study conducted by The Platforum.

The platform comparison site set up accounts with 12 direct-to-consumer fund supermarkets and tested them over six months on factors such as service, ease of use and responsiveness as well as price.

Hargreaves – which recently unveiled a new pricing structure – received top scores in every category other than cost, where it was “at the top end of the scale for larger portfolios”, the report found.

Fidelity Personal Investing claimed second place with “consistently” high scores across all categories and particular strength in guidance.

Three platforms tied for third place – Barclays Stockbrokers, Bestinvest and Charles Stanley Direct.

The report said Barclays Stockbrokers offered a “wide breadth” of investment choice and was referred to as “a solid proposition for all round investors”. It scored particularly highly on brand strength and ticked ‘the comfort box’ for many, The Platforum said.

Bestinvest was rated highly for content, usability and guidance on their website as well as strong customer service which can handle the more technical investment queries.

Charles Stanley Direct represented a low-cost proposition for many consumers with good usability and a wide breadth of investment choice.

The report follows a flurry of platform pricing changes in January, which has utlimately left many investors confused, The Platforum said.

Holly Mackay, managing director of The Platforum, said the response has been for market commentators to come up with tables comparing platforms solely on price but she argued these were “limited” in helping investors make a final decision.

Mackay said: “The devil is in the detail. Where should an investor go if they have £50,000 in a portfolio? It depends if that’s in ISA or SIPP, in funds or equities, and how often you trade.

“The average account size on a direct platform is £28,700 – at that level there’s often not that much in it and we think investors need more help in wading through their options and understanding how each service differs.”

PLATFORM FINAL SCORE RANKING
Hargreaves Lansdown 27 1
Fidelity Personal Investing 25 2
Bestinvest 23 3
Barclays Stockbrokers 23 3
Charles Stanley Direct 23 3
Interactive Investor 22 6
The Share Centre 20 7
AJ Bell Youinvest 19 8
TD Direct Investing 19 8
Alliance Trust Savings 19 8
J.P. Morgan WealthManager+ 18 11
Willis Owen 15 12

Source: The Platforum

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