Fidelity Investments is one of the largest platform providers in the UK. In this independent Fidelity UK review, we assess Fidelity’s services, platform and their suitability for UK investors. We cover what you can get from Fidelity and how their charges stack up against the competition. We also review the Fidelity ISA and SIPP products and show you how to get started.
Fidelity has a wide range of investment options, a decent app and very competitive fees if you fit the right profile. Furthermore, what many people will really like are the tools that Fidelity UK offers to help you get started and make your investment decisions. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look.
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What is Fidelity UK?
Fidelity has been around for 50 years and is one of the largest investment companies in the world. Fidelity UK has around 1 million clients, slightly lower than a key competitor, Hargreaves Lansdown.
But it also has nearly £300 billion under investment in the UK, which is more than 3 times that of Hargreaves Lansdown. So, if you are looking for the comfort and assurance that comes with a large provider, Fidelity is right up there.
Furthermore, Fidelity also provides company pensions and a platform for Independent Financial Advisors to manage your money on your behalf.
Fidelity UK Account Types
For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the Fidelity International Investment platform which is open UK investors.
The products on offer include:
- Stocks and Shares ISA (ESMs S&S ISA Guide)
- Personal Pension (SIPP)
- Investment Account
- Junior ISA (ESMs Junior ISA Guide)
- Junior SIPP
Let’s take a look at each of these products in more detail.
Not sure about ISAs? Our Ultimate ISA Guide covers all you need to know about tax advantaged savings and investments.
Fidelity UK ISA Review
Fidelity’s Stocks and shares ISA is subject to normal ISA rules which means you can invest a maximum of £20,000 per tax year.
If you would like more information on how Stocks and Shares ISAs work we have written a detailed article here.
Easy to get started
Fidelity UK offers a Stocks and Shares ISA which allows you to invest your money in Funds, Shares, ETFs and Investment Trusts. You can open an account by putting in as little as £50 per month. Alternatively, you can stick in £1,000 upfront without a monthly amount.
You can also transfer an existing ISA to Fidelity by setting up an account and filling out the transfer form found on Fidelity’s website here.
Unlike most providers, Fidelity allows you to transfer your ISA to another provider at no cost. This makes the account particularly attractive to beginners looking to invest as there will be no transfer penalty if you don’t like your account or find a better/cheaper provider.
Good value under £100k
With a tiered fees structure, costs are competitive particularly for portfolios under £100,000. Above this and it’s worth looking at fixed-fee platforms
There are other cheaper platforms out there, but they often come with restrictions such as only being able to access a limited range of funds (Our Vanguard review highlights this as one of their shortcomings).
In order to provide a more mobile-friendly experience, the website underwent a major redesign in 2018.
The mobile app makes things easy and intuitive to use. It’s functionally comparable to its competitors and comes with a range of functions, features and tools to help you with your investing experience.
Setup a Fidelity Stocks and Shares ISA and get started now – It takes less then 10 minutes to setup a Stocks & Shares ISA with Fidelity.
Fidelity UK SIPP review
A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) can provide you with total control over your own pension. A SIPP is not for everyone and so do your research or get some advice before starting a SIPP. If you are employed then a SIPP usually doesn’t beat your employer’s work-based pension scheme due to the top-up contributions they have to make.
If a SIPP is suitable for you, then there are some other benefits to be had, such as giving you full control and freedom over your investments, which a lot of company pension plans don’t do.
Fidelity’s SIPP is subject to the standard pension rules, so you can only contribute a maximum of £40,000 per tax year.
Cheap to set up
A SIPP from Fidelity UK allows you to invest in Funds, Shares, ETFs and Investment Trusts and can be set up for as little as £50 per month.
Automated for basic-rate tax-payers
Tax relief is automatically applied at the basic taxpayer rate of 20% when investing money into a Fidelity SIPP. What this means is that your money gets added to by the government each time you invest.
For example, to invest £100 you only need to put in £80 yourself and the Government tops it up to £100.
But manual for higher / additional rate-payers
However, if you are in the higher tax brackets you will need to fill in a form to claim more back. This is free money, so make sure you do this.
To claim higher rate tax relief you will need to do one of the following:
- Fill in a self-assessment tax return
- Call or write to HM Revenue & Customs if you don’t fill in a tax return
Later on in this article, we’ll look at how to choose what to invest in and the fees Fidelity charge.
Fidelity UK Investment Account
Fidelity offers a traditional investment account that sits outside your ISA wrappers. If you have maxed out your Stocks and Shares ISA (currently £20,000 per tax year), then a traditional investment account could be for you.
The platform is the same interface and tools with the same investment options, you just won’t get the tax benefits of an ISA wrap. Therefore, any gains you make will be subject to income or capital gains tax.
Fidelity UK Junior ISA Review
The Fidelity Junior ISA allows parents to create a tax-efficient savings wrapper for their children. A Junior ISA works very similarly to the adult variant above, however, there a few key differences to be aware of:
- You can invest a maximum £4,368 (2019/20 tax year) per child per year.
- Once your child reaches 18, complete ownership of the account is passed over to them (though they can manage it from 16).
- Your child can withdraw the money at 18.
You can transfer an existing Junior ISA to Fidelity or you can start a new account with as little as £50 per month.
Setting up your finances for your children can be difficult. We cover this off in two articles that may be helpful: Junior ISA: Do you trust your teen? and How to save for your children’s future. These articles detail some of the challenges faced by parents and show what we do for our children.
Fidelity UK Junior SIPP Review
The Fidelity Junior SIPP works much like the adult version above. You can set up an account in a few minutes and start from as little as £50 per month. There are two main differences when comparing a Junior and SIPP with the adult variant:
- You can invest a maximum of £2,880 (2019/20 tax year). The government will top this up to £3,600.
- When the child turns 18, ownership of the account is passed to them. They won’t be able to access the money until pensionable age, however, they will have full control.
If you are not sure how to set up your finances to support your children check out our article that covers the subject in more detail.
Fidelity UK ISA / SIPP Fees and Costs
Fidelity’s Investment platform charges are currently some of the lowest out there. The fee most people will pay is 0.35%, which is lower than Hargreaves Lansdown which charges 0.45%.
Vanguard also offers some of the lowest platform fees at 0.15% but they limit your investment choices to Vanguard funds only, which some may find limiting.
|Investments Total Value||Annual Charge|
|Under £7,500||£45 or 0.35% with a regular savings plan|
|Junior accounts under £7,500||£25 or 0.35% with a regular savings plan|
|£7,500 – £250,000||0.35%|
|£250,000 – £1 million||0.20%|
|Over £1 million||£2,000 per year |
(capped at 0.2% on the first £1 million)
For investors who have accounts with balances under £7,500 and are not making regular monthly payments, the £45 per year minimum (equivalent to 0.60%) feels a bit steep. Hargreaves Lansdown, by comparison, charges a fixed 0.45% even for smaller balances.
Fidelity, like other platforms, doesn’t charge you for investing in Funds, however, there is a charge for purchasing stocks, ETFs and Investment Trusts. In addition, Fidelity charges a flat rate of £10.00 per trade which is likely OK if you’re not making that many trades per month.
By comparison, Hargreaves Lansdown charges a tiered dealing fee system, starting at £11.95 for the first nine trades. So actually, this means you would have to complete over 20 trades per month to make Hargreaves Lansdown’s trading costs lower and more suited to fairly active investors.
Fidelity UK’s Retirement Service
If you are looking for help and guidance with your pension, then Fidelity also offers a service that can help. Fidelity’s Retirement Service is based on your circumstances and can be accessed either over the phone or face to face, which may be valuable to some.
Services can include guidance on pension drawdown, creating pension income and all things tax.
This generally comes in two flavours: Guidance (which is free) for existing customers or Advice which is tailored to your personal circumstances and a chargeable service).
For more information and fee structures, check out Fidelity’s Retirement Service page.
Investing with Fidelity UK
The following sections cover off the overall Fidelity experience. We look at what the platform is like to use, how to set up an account and what other useful features Fidelity can offer you.
The Fidelity website and platform was refreshed in 2018 and received some rather direct customer feedback. This was mainly from existing customers who felt disorientated when things were moved around on the website.
The primary reason for the redesign was to make the platform more mobile-friendly, which is a good thing in today’s world (although constantly check the performance of your investments is generally a bad idea, given this a long game). However, Fidelity has been criticised for poor execution.
New users should find the Fidelity platform relatively simple to use and functionally comparable to other investment platforms. Tools like Pathfinder can be useful to help you choose an investment fund but be warned, you will be pushed to Fidelity’s own funds which may not be the cheapest – especially the actively managed funds.
Fidelity Mobile App
The Fidelity mobile app allows you to access your account on the go. You can log in with your fingerprint making mobile access quick and easy. You can buy, sell and switch your investments from the app and even link other family members accounts.
The functionality of the mobile app compares to that of Hargreaves Lansdown who probably have the best app out there at the moment. Vanguard, by comparison, doesn’t have a mobile app!
Unfortunately, the reviews for the mobile app aren’t great. Both Apple and Android app stores rate the Fidelity app around 2.5 stars (out of 5) so don’t expect to be blown away.
Apple Users: See the latest reviews or download the Fidelity App here
Android Users: See the latest reviews or download the Fidelity App here
How to set up an account
Setting up a Fidelity account takes less than 10 minutes. First, decide on the type of account you want to set up.
You can use the links below to jump straight to the Fidelity pages and get started.
You will need your:-
- National Insurance number
- Debit Card (to make the initial investment)
- Bank or Building Society details (to set up regular payments)
Once your account is set up, the next step is to choose what to invest in. You can invest lump sums or set up regular payments in the Investments you choose.
A common strategy is to set up a monthly investment into a low-cost fund.
If you are unsure about investing then check out our Beginners Guide to Investing
Personally, I use a monthly direct debit to invest in the Vanguard LifeStrategy 80 Accumulation fund. The reason I choose Vanguard is that I want a “set and forget” portfolio in one fund. However, that’s just me and as always, do your own research and make your own decisions as personal finance is specific to you.
As a side note. if you want to invest in Vanguard funds only, then the Vanguard Investor platform will have a lower annual platform cost.
Next up, let’s take a look at the tools Fidelity offers to help you choose an appropriate fund.
Fidelity tools for choosing your investments
Fidelity tries to make it as easy as possible to find the right investment to suit your needs. A great starting place is the “Choosing your Investments” section of the Fidelity website.
From here, you have the ability to search the whole of the market. Alternatively, you can use tools such as Pathfinder and Fidelity Select 50.
The Pathfinder tool provides assistance selecting an investment based on whether you require growth or income, your attitude to risk and the timeframe you plan to invest. It’s a really useful, easy to use tool that can be accessed by anyone here.
Once you have entered your personal criteria, you get presented with a ‘cost-focused’ or ‘expert-focused’ option. As you would expect, the ‘expert-focused’ options present funds with higher fees.
As Pathfinder is a Fidelity specific tool, it selects a suitable Fidelity fund that you can choose to invest in. This is not a replacement for an Independent Financial Advisor and it is only giving you funds from a single provider. However, it may help you ask the right questions and also visualise your investment goals.
Fidelity Select 50
The Select 50 is a range of 50 funds that Fidelity’s in-house experts have selected as favourites. Check out the list of 50 here. You can expect higher fees for holding these funds as they are actively managed. Fidelity has negotiated with most of these funds which have helped to drive the cost of these investments lower.
Fidelity Select 50 Balanced Fund
To make fund picking easier, Fidelity has launched the Select 50 Balanced Fund. The aim of this fund is to create a balanced fund chosen from a selection of Select 50 funds. Fidelity has curated the Select 50 Balanced Fund to provide a one-stop fund for simplicity.
The Fidelity Investment Finder allows you to search the whole market for Shares, Funds, ETFs and Investment Trusts. You can compare costs and previous performance to help you select a suitable investment. The tool is designed for investors looking to build their own portfolio.
The UK investment platform market is pretty crowded at the moment, with new mobile-first platforms and robo-advisors making land-grabs for market share. So it can be tricky to decide which platform is suitable for you.
At its core, Fidelity offers a low-cost investment platform. Fidelity’s percentage-based platform fee is currently one of the most competitive in the market.
For investors who have £7,500 or £50 per month to invest, Fidelity provides a cost-effective platform backed by a global player.
However, for those with larger investment accounts of £50,000 or over, there is an annual platform fee of £175 per year. Fixed fee brokers can be cheaper at around this level of annual cost.
Fidelity vs Vanguard
In a way, it’s an unfair comparison as they offer quite different types of platform. Fidelity provides an investment supermarket which means they have access to a broad range of investments. While the Vanguard Investor platform offers access to Vanguard funds only.
Vanguard does not currently provide a mobile app for UK investors. In our opinion, this should not alter your platform decision.
If you want to invest in more then Vanguard funds then Fidelity provides a very cost-effective platform. If it’s only Vanguard then Vanguard Investor is likely more for you.
For example, a £50,000 portfolio invested in Vanguard funds with Fidelity would incur £175 in platform fees per year. That’s in comparison to just £75 with Vanguard directly.
|Platform||Annual Platform Charge|
|Vanguard Investor||0.15% (capped at £375)|
*Please review the charges table above for more detail. Charges are subject to change.
Want to know more? Our Vanguard review can be found here
Fidelity vs Hargreaves Lansdown
Hargreaves Lansdown is probably Fidelity’s biggest platform competitor. Both offer an investment supermarket, allowing you to access the majority of investments available to UK investors. Both have a decent website and both offer a mobile app.
When it comes to platform costs, Fidelity inches past Hargreaves by 0.1%. Not a huge figure for those with ‘smaller’ portfolios necessarily. For example, a £10,000 portfolio would see platform fee £10 a year cheaper with Fidelity. At this level, it’s best to focus on putting more into your investments rather than worrying too much about 0.1% difference in fees.
On the other hand, a £50,000 portfolio with Hargreaves Lansdown would incur platform costs of £225 vs Fidelity at £175. So the larger the amount you have invested, the bigger the impact the platform charge has.
The feedback from users is that Hargreaves Lansdown has a more intuitive website and better mobile app. If these things are important then you may consider paying slightly more for this experience.
Our full Hargreaves Lansdown review can be found here.
Fidelity UK Overall Review
Fidelity offers a broad range of products with a functional website and mobile app combined with some of the most competitive rates out there.
Yes, Hargreaves Landsdown may have a slightly slicker app and yes, Vanguard is definitely cheaper if you are only investing in Vanguard funds.
But if you want a platform that is flexible, functional to use and particularly good value for investment portfolios under £100k, then Fidelity is a sound choice.
EatSleepMoney.co.uk does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.
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