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Hargreaves Lansdown Review – the best value platform for your ISA & LISA?

14–17 minutes to read

Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK’s biggest investment platform for private investors, with offerings including ISAsLISAs and SIPPs. However, as we all know, size isn’t everything, right? In this review, we unpick Hargreaves Lansdown to see if bigger really is better and, ultimately, does it provide value for money?

There are cheaper options in the marketplace, but Hargreaves Lansdown has done a great job of making access to your investments easier in an intuitive app that’s a pleasure to use.

As you might expect, it’s available for both Apple and Android devices.

We’ve added some handy links to free guides and calculators below to help you to decide if the Hargreaves Lansdown platform is right for you.

Before we get started, if you are new to investing, it’s worth reading our Beginners Guide to Investing – how to bankroll your financial freedom. It explains the jargon and walks you through the basics. It could even help you save thousands of pounds by learning from the mistakes we’ve made over the years, so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

What is an "Investment Supermarket?"

Put simply, Hargreaves Lansdown offers private investors access to the broadest range of stocks and funds available. By comparison, the Vanguard Investor platform only offers Vanguard funds.

What products can Hargreaves Lansdown offer?

Hargreaves Lansdown offers a wide range of products to meet your investment needs, giving you access to the most comprehensive ranges of funds and investment vehicles on the market.

Opening your Hargreaves Lansdown account will allow you to invest in funds, investment trusts, bonds, gilts and companies, depending on the account type you’ve chosen.

Hargreaves Lansdown is one of only a few providers to provide a Stocks & Shares LISA (most LISA products are cash only). This gives the investor a choice of funds or stocks as an investment and an alternative to traditional fixed percentage returns.

Be aware, though, that investing in this way carries some risk.

We need to let you know that...

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.

Hargreaves Lansdown platform

The platform has been designed to be simple and easy to use.

Firstly, the account section shows all of your accounts on one page, with a nice summary of each account. It lets you examine each one in more detail, so you can see how each one is performing in as much (or as little) detail as you like

Within each account, you can perform various actions such as buying or selling stocks and shares, setting up monthly investments, or adding additional money.

Also, you can link other family members accounts to your login so that you can see how they are performing as well.

In summary, the platform is one of the easiest to use and deals with most admin functions with just a few clicks. We think that it’s one of the nicer looking platforms to use, too!

Hargreaves Lansdown mobile app and desktop site


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Hargreaves Lansdown mobile app

The mobile app allows you to see all your accounts in one place and buy and sell stocks and shares whenever you wish, wherever you are.

Hargreaves Lansdown has spent time making their app simple and easy to use, with attention paid to the little details to give a polished look and feel. Your fingerprint or Face ID can be used to login (providing your phone supports it), and you can jump into the detail for any of your accounts quickly.

Having the app on your phone and looking to see your investments’ performance can be addictive. It’s not really helpful for developing the ‘set and forget mentality’ that you will need for your investments to flourish in the longer term.

Hargreaves Lansdown Mobile App

Investing research tools

Suppose you’re new to the investment world or are looking for inspiration. In that case, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a range of newstools and calculators.

This also includes a free ISA calculator.

Seeing the value and savings made by investing in an ISA or the impact increasing your monthly investment would make is a great way to motivate yourself.

Hargreaves Lansdown ISA Calculator

You will, however, need to research your investment choices, and Hargreaves Lansdown produces some really helpful guides to get you on the right path.

We’ve linked to some of them here:

They can also provide email updates with industry insight and some other helpful information, as well as regularly updated content on their website.

Hargreaves Lansdown customer service

Hargreaves Lansdown has one of the best reputations for customer service in the game, with consistently excellent reviews on feefo.

At the time of writing (March 30th, 2021), they scored 4.3/5 based on 587 reviews – see for yourself on their feefo page.

The platform itself is easy to use with tons of information.

If you need to call, you’ll get through to the team based in Bristol, and they really pride themselves on their customer service.

I’m an account holder with Hargreaves Lansdown, and I’ve personally only had to call once or twice over the past few years. My call has always been answered quickly and dealt with efficiently.

Hargreaves Lansdown also holds a plethora of impressive awards, including:

  • Best Customer Service from Boring Money Consumer Investment Awards.
  • Best Investment ISA from The Personal Finance Awards
  • Best Platform for D2C – Professional Adviser Awards
  • Best New Product (Active Savings) – Money Age Retail Asset Management Awards

Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks & Shares ISA

The Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to invest in individual companies or funds, all within a tax-free wrapper. Hargreaves Lansdown compares this to a shopping basket (the ISA) where you get to choose the investments you put in your basket (the stocks & funds).

Investing can seem complex and daunting, but it’s actually easier than you think, and anyone can do it. If you want to learn more, we have written a free Beginners Guide to Investing that will walk you through the basics.

Investing is not a get rich quick scheme. Be patient, invest consistently over time and your wealth will soon grow.

The ISA can be opened in a matter of minutes and you can start investing straight away. Consider setting up a direct debit to automatically invest in your chosen funds each month.

Open your Hargreaves Lansdown ISA here.

Hargreaves Lansdown Lifetime ISA (LISA)

Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the few providers to offer a Stocks & Shares LISA.

Other providers only offer a Cash LISA, where your money gets a fixed percentage, usually pretty low. A Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks & Shares LISA, on the other hand, allows you to invest in companies, stocks and funds as you see fit.

Every pound you put into your LISA is topped up by 25%. The maximum you can put in is £4,000 meaning a maximum government top-up of £1,000 – not a bad return. Top-ups are paid around the 25th of the month after your deposit. This happens automatically.

You can use your LISA to buy your first house or keep it until 60 and use it as a pension.

To learn more about how LISAs work, check out Lifetime ISA – there IS such a thing as free money and Lifetime ISA – better than an ISA or pension?

Withdrawing from a LISA before 60 will incur a 25% penalty.

Open your Hargreaves Lansdown Lifetime ISA here, alternatively, you can get a free LISA Guide here.

Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension)

A SIPP allows you to control your pensions investments. It’s a tax-efficient way to save money for your retirement. You can use a SIPP as well as your employer’s pension or you can transfer some money from your pension to a SIPP.

There are no set up fees or costs to transfer to Hargreave Lansdown however your current SIPP or pension provider may charge to move.

I have a SIPP with Hargreaves Lansdown. I open the account as I was disappointed with my companies pension provider and platform. Further to this, I  wanted to choose the companies I invested in.

Now, I have a SIPP plus a company pension. This gives me the freedom to make my own investment choices in the SIPP combined with the reassurance that someone else is managing my company pension.

In addition, Hargreaves Lansdown also offers a Junior SIPP, if you want to give your child a turbo-headstart on their pension.

You can open a Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP here. There are also handy free tools such as a SIPP Guide and Pension Calculator.

Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings

Active Savings from Hargreaves Lansdown allows you to choose the best savings rates from a wide range of providers, all from your one account.

You can deposit money with Hargreaves Lansdown and scan the available rates and terms. Then you place your money with 3rd party savings providers who’ll offer you great savings rates.

You can have this product without any other services from Hargreaves Lansdown. If you’d like to learn more, we’ve written a whole article on how you can stop chasing the best savings rates and get on with more exciting things in your life.

Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings Review.

Hargreaves Lansdown platform charges

Hargreaves Lansdown has a tiered charging system based on the amount invested in each account. For most investors, a charge of 0.45% is applied to each account with a value under £250,000. The more you invest, the less the fees become.

Value Of Funds£0-250k£250k-1 million1-2 Million2 million +
Charge0.45%0.25%0.1%no charge

They are not the cheapest fees on the market. Fidelity, for example, has a typical charge of 0.35%. However, if you are just starting out then platform fees only have a minor impact. If you had £10,000 invested, Hargreaves Lansdown would charge £45 per year, whereas Fidelity would be £10 cheaper, not a huge difference. As your investments grow the impact becomes larger.

Both Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity are percentage-based brokers. If you have more than £50,000 to invest then it is worth considering a fixed fee broker like Interactive Investor.

Rates are correct at the time of writing (April 2021)

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Hargreaves Lansdown charges and fees

Working out how much your ISA & SIPP will cost in fees can be complex, depending on what you plan to purchase. We’ve summarised the main charges below but we recommend reading the Hargreaves Lansdown website for yourself.

Hargreaves Lansdown charges an account fee that is levied for using their service. Charges are deducted monthly from your account. This is based on the value of your investments at the end of the month.

The rate varies depending on how much you have invested and there are different rates for funds and shares:

If you have invested in any funds, the value of the funds will be charged as below:

Value of Funds£0-250k£250k- 1 million1-2 million2 million +
Charge0.45%0.25%0.1%no charge

If you have invested in any shares, the value of the shares will be charged as below:

Value of sharesless than £10kgreater than £10k
Charge0.45%capped @ £45 per year

Shares include UK and overseas shares, investment trusts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), gilts and bonds.

If you have invested in funds and shares, the two figures will need to be added together to get your annual charge. We are not finished yet!

There are no charges for buying and selling funds. However, there is a charge for buying and selling shares, which varies depending on how many deals you make within the month:

Number of deals in the previous monthCharge Per Deal

The Government also charges stamp duty when buying shares, which is excluded from the table above but for UK shares the rate is currently 0.5%.

Additional charges also apply if you deal via the phone and not on the mobile app or website.

More info can be found on Hargreaves Lansdown’s website here

Are there cheaper alternatives?

AJ Bell offers a Lifetime ISA with an annual charge of 0.25% per share or fund. That’s almost 50% lower than Hargreaves Lansdown.

However, when you look a little closer, they have a dealing fee of £1.50 per fund and a similar charge as Hargreaves Lansdown for buying and selling shares. So, while the headline rate looks better, it actually depends on how many funds you plan to buy each month.

For example, if you invest monthly and purchase one fund per month, you would rack up £18 worth of dealing fees. Buy 2 funds per month for diversification and those charges go up to £36. If you were investing £50 into two separate funds you would be incurring 3% of charges straight off the bat! You wouldn’t have with Hargreaves Lansdown. But, then there is a higher platform fee.

You should therefore work out what you plan to invest in and how frequently, so you can work out which platform is suitable for you. By its very nature, personal finance is very specific to you.

You can download a PDF of AJ Bell’s charges here.

Hargreaves Lansdown vs AJ Bell vs Nutmeg

£10,000 Portfolio example buying 12 funds per year:

LISA ProviderHargreaves Lansdown AJ BellNutmeg
Platform Charge£45£25£75
Dealing Fees£0£18£0
Total cost£45£43£75

£50,000 Portfolio example buying 12 funds per year:

LISA ProviderHLAJ BellNutmeg
Platform Charge£225£125£375
Dealing Fees£0£18£0
Total cost£225£143£375

(These examples use Nutmeg’s fully managed portfolio charges. There is a fixed allocation portfolio that offers a platform fee of 0.45%, which would look the same as Hargreaves Lansdown).

In these examples, Hargreaves Lansdown is competitive at the smaller end of the portfolio value (depending on your definition of ‘smaller’) but come in around the middle of the pack as this increases.

And that’s worth bearing in mind because as soon as your portfolio starts growing, a lower platform fee can make a significant difference.

Struggling to choose a platform? – educate yourself with our free investment platform guide.

Set up a Hargreaves Lansdown account

If you’ve decided Hargreaves Lansdown is for you, you can set up a new Hargreaves Lansdown account using the links below. It doesn’t cost you any extra but makes a small contribution to keeping this site running without pesky ads.

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown ISA

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown LISA

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown Junior SIPP

ISA, LISA & SIPP Transfers

You can transfer your existing Cash ISA, Stocks & Shares ISA or SIPP to Hargreaves Lansdown for free. Hargreaves Lansdown only offers a Stocks & Shares ISA, however, so Cash ISA transfers get converted.

There are two options when transferring a Stocks & Shares ISA:

  1. Transfer as is – keep your chosen investments as long as they are available on Hargreaves Lansdown. This is usually slower.
  2. Transfer as cash – sell the investments on your old platform and transfer your cash. This is usually quicker

It is now free to transfer out of Hargreaves Lansdown (there used to be a fee of £25 plus £25 per stock). This makes HL a great starter platform to get you in the habit of investing. Once your portfolio reaches the tens of thousands then it’s worth reviewing platform providers.

Hargreaves Lansdown Review – The best value platform for your ISA & LISA?

Hargreaves Lansdown is the largest platform in the UK for good reason – it takes the faff out of investing and makes it easy. But, this convenience comes at a price the bigger your investment becomes.

If you want a simple, easy to use platform with a great app to get you started, then it’s worth checking Hargreaves Lansdown out. If you don’t mind putting in a bit more research, time and effort then there are cheaper alternatives out there, which could just make all the difference as your wealth grows.

If you’re unsure about platforms providers or how to start investing then come join our free UK Personal Finance Club on Facebook. You can join other like-minded individuals and ask questions that could save you time and money. We’d love to see you there.

Join the Eat Sleep Money UK Personal Finance Club here

Here’s to Financial Fitness 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.