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Fidelity UK Review – the best UK investment platform?

16–19 minutes to read

Fidelity UK has been around for over 40 years. With over one million clients, it’s one of the largest investment platform providers around. In this independent Fidelity UK review, we take a look at Fidelity’s ISA and SIPP, the platform overall and its suitability for UK investors. And of course, we check out how it stacks up against the competition such as arch-rival Hargreaves Lansdown. Let’s take a look to see how easy (and cheap) it really is to get started.

Who is Fidelity UK?

Fidelity UK is the social media handle of Fidelity International (the official company name) which has had a UK presence since 1979. In addition to boasting over one million clients, it also has nearly £300 billion under investment in the UK alone. That’s more than three times that of Hargreaves Lansdown. So, if you are looking for the comfort and assurance that comes with a large provider, Fidelity UK is right up there.

In essence, Fidelity provides a platform which acts as an investment supermarket just like Hargreaves Lansdown. But it also runs its own funds in a similar way to Vanguard. Sounds like a nice mix of the two, right?

Furthermore, Fidelity UK also provides company pensions and a platform for Independent Financial Advisors to manage your money on your behalf.

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

Fidelity UK account types

For the purpose of this review, we’re going to focus on the Fidelity International investment platform, which is open to Fidelity UK investors.

The products on offer include:

Let’s take a look at each of these products in more detail.

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Fidelity UK ISA review

Fidelity UK’s stocks and shares ISA is subject to the normal ISA rules. That means you can invest a maximum of £20,000 per tax year.

Let’s take a closer look.

If you would like more information on how Stocks and Shares ISAs work, check out this handy free guide.

Easy to get started

Essentially, the Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to invest your money in Funds, Shares, ETFs and Investment Trusts within a tax-free wrapper. 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 payment.

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 away 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 £50k

With a tiered fee structure, the costs are competitive, particularly for portfolios under £50,000. Above this and it’s worth looking at fixed-fee platforms.

There are other cheaper platforms out there, but they often come with restrictions. This could include only being able to access a limited range of funds (we’re looking at you Vanguard).

User-friendly

In order to provide a more mobile-friendly experience, the website underwent a major redesign in 2018.

Fidelity Mobile App

The mobile app makes things easy and intuitive to use. Its functionally compares favourably to its competitors and comes with a range of functions, features and tools to help you with your investing experience.

Fidelity UK SIPP review

Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) can provide you with total control over your own pension. It’s not for everyone though, so do your research or get some advice before starting a SIPP. If you are employed, then a work-based pension scheme typically beats a SIPP, due to the top-up contributions employers typically make.

Remember, 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. This means that the Government contributes automatically each time you invest.

For example, to invest a total of £100, you only need to put in £80 and the Government tops it up to £100.

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.  Essentially, 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).

This is typical with most platforms.

Later in this article, we’ll look at how to choose what to invest in and the fees Fidelity charges.

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Fidelity UK Investment Account

Fidelity offers a traditional investment account that sits outside of 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 has the same interface, tools and investment options as the ISA wrap, you just won’t get the tax-free benefits. Therefore, any gains you make will be subject to income or capital gains tax. If you’re unsure, seek professional advice.

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 of £20,000 (2020/21 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. You may find these two articles helpful: Junior ISA: Do you trust your teen? and How to save for your children’s future. They detail some of the challenges faced by parents and 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 just a few minutes and start from as little as £50 per month. There are two main considerations when comparing a Junior and SIPP with the adult variant:

  • A Junior SIPP will turn into a regular SIPP when your child is 18. Your child can’t access this money until retirement age.
  • You can put in a maximum of £2,880 per year. The government would then top this up to £3,600.
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 UK’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%.

Plus, Vanguard also offers some of the lowest platform fees at 0.15%. Remember though, it limits your investment choice to Vanguard funds only, not individual companies, which some people may find limiting.

Investments Total ValueAnnual 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 – £250,0000.35%
£250,000 – £1 Million0.20%
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 many 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 may be 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. On that basis, 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 UK offers a service that can help. Fidelity’s Retirement Service is based on your individual circumstances and can be accessed either over the phone or face to face (though this may be subject to COVID restrictions).

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 is 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.

Fidelity investment platform

The Fidelity UK 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.

Crucially, the primary reason for the redesign was to make the platform more mobile-friendly. That’s generally a good thing in today’s world (although constantly checking the performance of your investments is generally a bad idea, given this a long-game). However, Fidelity has been criticised for poor execution.

That said, new users should find the Fidelity platform relatively simple to use with functions comparable to other investment platforms. Plus, tools such as ‘Pathfinder’ can be useful to help you choose an investment fund. But be warned; you will be pushed towards Fidelity’s own funds which may not be the cheapest – especially the actively managed funds.

Fidelity mobile app

A nifty tool is the Fidelity mobile app, allowing you to access your account on the go. For security, you can log in with your fingerprint (subject to your mobile phone) making mobile access quick, secure and easy. From here, you can buy, sell and switch your investments and even link other family members’ accounts.

The functionality of the mobile app is comparable to that of Hargreaves Lansdown, which probably has the best app out there at the moment. By comparison, Vanguard doesn’t even 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

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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 and/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.

For a step-by-step of investing and how to get started, 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 a single fund. However, that’s just me and as always, do your own research and make your own decisions.

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 good 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.

Fidelity Pathfinder

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 and 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.

Fidelity Review Pathfinder Tool
Fidelity Review Pathfinder-2

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 showing 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 their ‘favourites’. However, you can expect higher fees for holding these funds as they are actively managed. Fidelity has negotiated with most of these funds, which has 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 is to create a balanced fund from specific Select 50 funds that is all under one roof for simplicity.

Investment Finder

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. This tool is designed for investors looking to build their own portfolio.

Fidelity alternatives

The UK investment platform market is pretty crowded at the moment. Competition is feirce 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. The percentage-based platform fee is currently one of the most competitive in the market.

For investors who have £7,500 up front 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 there is access to a broad range of investments. Meanwhile, the Vanguard Investor platform offers access to Vanguard funds only.

Crucially, Vanguard does not currently provide a mobile app for UK investors. It’s up to you whether you care about this. Whilst some discourage regular checking in on investments, preferring a ‘set and forget’ approach, others value the handiness of a mobile app.

If you want to invest in more than Vanguard funds, then Fidelity provides a very cost-effective platform. But, if it’s only Vanguard funds you’re interested in, then perhaps Vanguard Investor is a better fit for you.

For example, a £50,000 portfolio invested in Vanguard funds with Fidelity would incur £175 in platform fees per year. By comparison, it’s just £75 with Vanguard directly.

PlatformAnnual Platform Charge
Fidelity International0.35%*
Vanguard Investor0.15% (capped at £375)

*Humanity Disclaimer: charges correct at time of writing and are subject to change.

Want to know more? Check out our full Vanguard review.

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. Plus, they both have decent websites and 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 fees £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.

A £50,000 portfolio, on the other hand, would incur a platform charge of £225 with Hargreaves Lansdown vs just £175 with Fidelity. 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 to you, then you may consider paying slightly more for this experience.

Fidelity vs Interactive Investor

By way of contrast, Interactive Investor is a fixed fee broker. This means you pay a fixed annual fee no matter how large your portfolio is. For investors with over £50,000, Interactive Investor can work out cheaper if you include your trading costs as well.

The Interactive Investor platform and app are of a similar quality to Fidelity and their trading costs are lower. This means that some investors with under £50,000 who trade regularly, may find Interactive Investor good value.

Fidelity UK Review - final thoughts

Fidelity offers a broad range of products with a functional website and mobile app. Combine that with some of the most competitive rates out there, and you could have a winner.

Yes, Hargreaves Lansdown may have a slightly slicker app and yes, Vanguard is certainly cheaper if you are only investing in Vanguard funds.

But if you want a platform that is flexible, functional and particularly good value for investment portfolios under £50k, then Fidelity seems a sound choice. Beware investors with under £7,500 and not setting up a regular savings plan, as you will be hit with the minimum £45 annual fee.

Here’s to Financial Fitness

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. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.