Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK’s largest investment platform for private investors, with offerings including ISAs, LISAs and SIPPs. However, as we all know, size isn’t everything. In this review, we unpick Hargreaves Lansdown to see if bigger really is better and ultimately, does it provide value for money?
In a nutshell, whilst there are cheaper alternatives out there, the Hargreaves Lansdown platform does a great job of making things easy, including an intuitive app that lets you manage everything in one place. So read on to find out if this is the right platform for you.
Plus there are handy links to free SIPP guides, ISA calculators and opening up your Hargreaves Lansdown accounts.
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Who is Hargreaves Lansdown?
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is the biggest “investment supermarket” in the UK.
- £85 billion of investor’s money
- Over 1 million clients
- One of the most well-known investment platforms in the UK
- Established for 35 years
What is an “Investment Supermarket”? Put simply, Hargreaves Lansdown offers private investors access to the greatest range of stocks and funds available. By comparison, the Vanguard Investor platform only offers Vanguard funds.
What does Hargreaves Lansdown offer?
Hargreaves Lansdown offers a wide range of products for you to pick from, including:
- General Investment Account
- Stocks & Shares Individual Savings Account (ISA)
- Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA (LISA)
- Junior ISA (JISA)
- Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)
Hargreaves Lansdown offers clients access to one of the widest ranges of investment vehicles and funds on the market.
Once you’ve opened an account with Hargreaves Lansdown, you’ll be able to invest in companies, funds, investment trusts, bonds and gilts, depending on the account you have chosen.
Whilst most Lifetime ISAs on the market are cash only, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the few providers to offer a Stocks and Shares LISA. This gives investors the chance to choose funds or stocks to invest in rather than a fixed percentage based return. Of course, this also carries risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Platform
The platform has been designed to be simple and easy to use.
The account section shows all of your accounts on one page, with a nice summary of how each account is performing. It lets you drill into each account for more detail.
Within each account, you can perform various actions such as buy or sell stocks and shares, set up monthly investments or add additional money.
You can also link other family members accounts to your login so you can see how they are performing as well.
The platform is one of the easiest to use and deals with most admin functions within a few clicks.
Hargreaves Lansdown Mobile App
The mobile app allows you to see all your accounts in one place, as well as buy and sell stocks and shares.
Hargreaves Lansdown has invested time and money into making the app simple an easy to use. Fingerprint biometrics are used to login and you can jump into the detail for any of your accounts easily.
The downside, however, is the ease in which that ‘I’ll just check how my investments are doing‘ itch can be scratched from your phone. Constantly logging in is a bad habit to get in to and doesn’t really help the ‘set and forget’ mentality needed for successful long-term investing.
This includes a free ISA calculator which can be found here. It allows you to calculate the value and savings made by investing in an ISA. and will show you what impact increasing your monthly investment would make.
Hargreaves Lansdown also produces various free guides to help investors:
You can also subscribe to email updates with general industry insight.
Hargreaves Lansdown has one of the best reputations for customer service in the game. The platform itself is easy to use with tonnes of information, if you do need to call, you’ll get through to the team based in Bristol. Calls on average are answered within 21 seconds according to the website.
As an account holder with Hargreaves Lansdown, I have personally only had to call once or twice over the past few years and my call has always been answered quickly and dealt with efficiently.
Hargreaves Lansdown holds a plethora of impressive awards, including Best Direct SIPP Provider and Best Stocks & Shares LISA Provider in 2018.
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 coin you put their way, the less the fees become.
|Value of Funds||£0-250k||£250k-1 million||1-2 million||2 million +|
There 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 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 then £50,000 to invest then it is worth considering a fixed fee broker.
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 really easy and anyone can do it. If you want to learn more we have written a Beginners Guide to Investing that will give you everything you need to know.
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.
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. If you are unsure of what a LISA is and if it is suitable for you here is an article we wrote with all you need to know.
Again, the whole thing can be set up incredibly quickly (using this form).
Withdrawing from a LISA before 60 will incur a 25% penalty.
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 took it out as I wanted to invest in the companies I choose and I was getting disappointing returns on an overpriced company pension. 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.
Hargreaves Lansdown Charges
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 million||1-2 million||2 million +|
If you have invested in any shares, the value of the shares will be charged as below:
|Value of shares||less than £10k||Greater than 10k|
|Charge||0.45%||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 month||Charge 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 from can be found on Hargreaves Lansdown’s website here
Vanguard offers a lower-cost platform for Stocks & Shares ISAs. There is no LISA or SIPP option and if you use Vanguard you can ONLY buy Vanguard funds. This usually puts investors off. Our Vanguard review can be found 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 Landsdown 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 would not have with Hargreaves Lansdown. But, then there is a higher platform fee.
Our advice is to work out what you plan to invest in and how frequently so you can work out which platform is suitable for you. Personal finance is actually personal to you.
Hargreaves Lansdown vs AJ Bell vs Nutmeg
£10,000 Portfolio example buying 12 funds per year
|LISA Provider||HL||AJ Bell||Nutmeg|
£50,000 Portfolio example buying 12 funds per year
|LISA Provider||HL||AJ Bell||Nutmeg|
(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.
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:
- Transfer “as is”: Keep your current investments and migrate them. This is known as an “in specie” transfer. Crucially, this keeps you in the market. During the transfer, you will NOT be able to buy or sell investments. Hargreaves Lansdown advises this can take six weeks. However, in our experience, they can take longer – especially a SIPP.
- Sell Investments, then transfer: If you choose this option, HL will instruct your current provider to sell all your investments and transfer the cash. But you will be out of the market during the transfer. Once transferred though, you can invest how you choose.
Click here for the official page on transferring ISAs to HL.
Click here for the official page on transferring SIPP to HL.
It is now free to transfer out of Hargreaves Lansdown (there used to be a fee of £25 plus £25 per stock). This make HL a great starter platform to get you in the habit of investing. Once your portfolio reaches into the tens of thousands then it’s worth reviewing platform providers.
Set up an account
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.
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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.