Always remember that investments can go down as well as up in value, so you could get back less than you put in. A rule of thumb is to hang on to your investments for at least five years to give them the best chance of providing the returns you want.
We’ve compiled a list of the best investment platforms for Stocks and Shares ISAs in the UK. These are our top investment ISAs for buying, selling, and managing a wide variety of instruments, including stocks, bonds, funds, ETFs, investment trusts, and other investment products.
To make it easy for you to compare the platforms, we’ve divided them into two categories:
We have also included a column which tells you if a Stocks and Shares ISA is flexible. If your Stocks and Shares ISA is flexible, you can withdraw money and deposit it back in the same tax year without losing your ISA allowance. For example, if you pay £20,000 into a flexible ISA, you can take it all out and pay it back in again within the same tax year. You cannot do this with a non-flexible ISA.
If you withdraw money from a non-flexible ISA, you will lose that portion of your allowance for the tax year. On the bright side, if you’ve cultivated the bad habit of constantly dipping into your savings, non-flexible ISAs can help you become more disciplined. This tax year, the ISA allowance is £20,000.
Here are the best investment platforms for Stocks and Shares ISAs in the UK:
Self-Select ISAs give you the freedom to select the specific investments that make up your portfolio. Depending on the provider you choose, you can either select individual shares, bonds, funds, ETFs, and other investment products and build your portfolio yourself or choose from a range of managed and ready-made portfolios.
Please remember that when you invest, your capital is at risk. ISA and tax rules also apply.
The ISA providers listed below are authorised and regulated by the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Here are the best Self-Select ISAs in the UK:
InvestEngine is a low-cost ETF-only investment platform that provides a choice of managed portfolios tailored to you and commission-free DIY investing to help you build long-term wealth. Users can invest in over 500 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from leading global asset managers.
With InvestEngine, you can invest in two ways depending on your tolerance for risk and savviness as an investor: beginner investors or those who prefer a ready-made investment portfolio can select from one of the Managed Portfolios on offer, where the team of experts at InvestEngine will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. These portfolios are a selection of ETFs based on your preferences and risk tolerance. Once you’ve selected one, you do not have to do anything else besides monitor the performance of your investments. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from 500+ commission-free ETFs and build their portfolios themselves. InvestEngine also offers fractional investing, which allows you to buy bits and pieces of an ETF with as little as £1. This enhances your ability to build a diversified portfolio even if you have a small amount of money to invest. With the DIY Portfolio, there are no platform fees. All InvestEngine portfolios are free of set-up fees, dealing fees, ISA fees or withdrawal fees.
InvestEngine stands out amongst its competitors as one of the cheapest Stocks and Shares ISAs in the UK because it charges no platform or management fees on its DIY Portfolio and just 0.25% a year on its Managed Portfolio. You can also start investing with as little as £100. InvestEngine’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, SIPP, Personal Account and Business Account. The InvestEngine Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor is a subsidiary of wealth management giant Abrdn and the second-largest investment platform in the UK. It is well known for its fixed charges (as opposed to percentage-based fees like most other investment platforms) and has been providing investment services and financial information since 1995.
If you choose to invest with Interactive Investor, you’ll gain access to over 40,000 investment options, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. This is the second-widest choice of UK and international investments offered by an investment platform in the UK. You will also be able to access 17 global exchanges, including exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. These include markets such as the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE All-Share, NASDAQ, Dow Jones and more. In addition to the exchanges above, Interactive Investor offers Japanese, Indian and Chinese shares in the form of ADRs (American Depositary Receipts).
Interactive Investor gives you a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. After that, trades usually cost £3.99. Interactive Investor also offers a free regular investing service that allows you to invest regularly without paying a trading fee each time. The site also has a lot of expert ideas, research and insights, which can be helpful when choosing investments. Interactive Investor’s services include a Trading Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, SIPP and Junior ISA. The Interactive Investor Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk.
Moneybox is a UK investment app that allows you to invest in a range of tracker funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) and US stocks. Moneybox offers two forms of investing depending on your investing savviness, investing strategy and attitude to risk. Beginner investors or those who prefer a ready-made portfolio can choose from the three ready-made portfolios on offer - Cautious (lower risk), Balanced (medium risk) and Adventurous (higher risk). Advanced or more confident investors can pick from the range of tracker funds, ETFs, ETCs and US stocks available and build their portfolios themselves.
The Moneybox app also empowers you to invest your spare change by rounding up your card transactions to the nearest pound and investing the difference on your behalf. For example, if you spend £2.30 on a snack, Moneybox will invest 70p for you. You can also instruct the app to make weekly or one-off deposits into your investment portfolio as it rounds up your spare change.
You can start investing with Moneybox with as little as £1. Moneybox offers commission-free trading on US stocks. However, fund management fees apply to other types of investments, ranging from 0.12% to 0.61% per annum. A currency conversion fee of 0.45% also applies to US stocks. Moneybox’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, Personal Pension, and General Investment Account. The Moneybox Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk.
AJ Bell is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and its mission is to make investing as easy as possible for anyone. The platform offers thousands of investment options for the DIY investor, including shares, funds, bonds, investment trusts, ETFs, ETCs, and warrants.
There are multiple ways to get started with AJ Bell, depending on your risk tolerance and investing savviness. Beginner investors or those who prefer a ready-made investment portfolio can get a little, or a lot, of help from AJ Bell’s specialists by selecting one of the investment ideas on offer. Investment ideas are diversified ready-made baskets of investments that you can select based on your personal preference and attitude to risk. There are eight total investment ideas, each built by a specialist team, and you can pick the right one for you depending on whether you are seeking to simply grow your money over time or receive an income whilst still growing your money. Expert investors can take advantage of the stock and fund screeners and complex instruments available on AJ Bell and build their portfolios themselves.
AJ Bell charges an annual platform fee ranging from 0.25% to 0%, depending on the size of your portfolio. Dealing fees for buying and selling investments online are £1.50 for funds and £9.95 for shares (reducing to £4.95 if there were 10 or more online share deals in the previous month). AJ Bell’s products include a Share Dealing Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, SIPP and Junior SIPP. The AJ Bell Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company and the largest investment platform in the UK. Its core mission is to build long-term client relationships by becoming a trusted partner and financial champion, ultimately helping you increase your financial security for the future.
If you choose to invest with Hargreaves Lansdown, you will gain access to over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, ETFs, ETCs, investment trusts and more. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your investment portfolio in one of two ways, depending on your investing savviness. Beginner investors or those who prefer a ready-made investment portfolio can build their portfolios by choosing from a range of ready-made options where the team of experts at Hargreaves Lansdown will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares and other investments and build their portfolios themselves.
Hargreaves Lansdown does not charge a platform fee on its Fund and Share Account but charges 0.45% (capped at £45) a year on its ISA and 0.45% (capped at £200) a year on its SIPP. It offers most products, including a Fund and Share Account (GIA), Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, and SIPP. These services are intended for investors who are happy making their own decisions. The Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk. The fees quoted here are not exhaustive. Other charges apply.
Freetrade is a UK mobile trading app that gives you access to thousands of UK and overseas stocks, ETFs, REITs, and investment trusts covering different sectors and markets worldwide. The Freetrade app can be accessed on iOS, Android and desktop devices and offers a slick and easy-to-use user interface and experience. The app is a great choice for both beginners and experienced investors.
With Freetrade, you can invest in fractional shares of even the most expensive US shares with as little as £2. Depositing, trading and withdrawing on Freetrade are commission-free (other charges may apply). FX rates apply to US stocks at the spot rate + 0.99%. To get the most out of Freetrade, you can choose from three subscription plans. The Basic Plan costs £0.00 per month and allows you to open a General Investment Account (GIA) and trade commission-free. The Standard Plan costs £5.99 per month and allows you to open a Stocks and Shares ISA in addition to your GIA. With the Plus Plan at £11.99 a month, you get a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and a Stocks and Shares ISA in addition to your GIA. Dealing on Freetrade is commission-free, irrespective of the subscription plan you choose. Freetrade’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account (GIA) and SIPP. The Freetrade Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Special offer: Get a free share worth up to £100 when you open a Freetrade ISA. Terms apply.
Please note: Capital at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. ISA rules apply. SIPP eligibility and tax rules apply. Free share terms and conditions apply.
Bestinvest is a UK low-cost investment platform that allows you to trade or invest in over 3,000 instruments, including shares, funds, ETFs, and investment trusts. With Bestinvest, you can build an investment portfolio in two ways depending on your personal preferences, goals and attitude to risk.
Beginners or those who prefer a ready-made investment can build their portfolio by selecting one of Bestinvest’s ready-made investment portfolios. These off-the-shelf style portfolios are created and managed by the team at Bestinvest and come with a carefully selected and diversified collection of investments. Once you have picked one, you do not need to do anything else. There are three ranges to choose from: Expert, Smart and Direct, depending on whether you want to maximise the returns for the risk you take, focus on cost-efficiency or focus on individual investments. The team at Bestinvest will walk you through the process of selecting a ready-made portfolio. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares, ETFs and ITs and build their portfolios themselves.
To start building your portfolio with Bestinvest, you can deposit a lump sum or set up a monthly savings plan which allows you to automatically save or invest a set amount into your investment account every month. There are no set-up fees or fund dealing charges with Bestinvest. Bestinvest charges an annual platform fee ranging from 0.40% to 0% for DIY investing and 0.20% to 0% for ready-made investing. The dealing fee for buying and selling shares online is £4.95 per deal. Bestinvest’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account, SIPP and Junior SIPP. The Bestinvest Stocks and Shares ISA is flexible.
Capital at risk.
Vanguard is a low-cost investment platform with over 75 own-brand funds, including ETFs, active funds and index funds. Vanguard does not offer stocks and shares but provides a variety of ETFs for those interested in exchange-traded securities.
The Vanguard Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to build an investment portfolio in two ways depending on your investing savviness. If you are a beginner investor or someone who prefers ready-made investments, you can build your portfolio by selecting one of Vanguard’s ready-made investments, which give you access to thousands of bonds and shares in a single investment. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from over 75 individual Vanguard funds and ETFs and build their portfolios themselves.
To open a Vanguard Stocks and Shares ISA, you need at least £100 a month or a lump sum of £500. There is a yearly management fee of 0.15% (capped at £375) per year. Some of the funds on offer have separate charges, so please check these before investing. Vanguard’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA, General Account and SIPP. The Vanguard Stocks and Shares ISA is flexible.
Capital at risk.
Robo advisors are technology companies that provide automated financial planning with little or no human supervision. Their products include ready-made investments, fully-managed portfolios, financial advice, and micro-investing services.
Robo advisors are excellent for beginner investors or those who want to avoid the hassle of choosing individual stocks, bonds, ETFs, and other assets and would rather outsource this task to money managers and financial experts.
Please remember that when you invest, your capital is at risk. ISA and tax rules also apply. The Stocks and Shares ISAs listed below are authorised and regulated by the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Here are the best robo advisors for Stocks and Shares ISAs in the UK:
Moneyfarm is a UK robo advisor that provides you with a personalised investment plan based on your risk preferences and goals. It also offers one of the best fully-managed stocks and shares ISAs in the UK. With Moneyfarm, you can invest in one of seven risk-rated portfolios recommended to you based on the result of an online assessment. Each portfolio comprises a mix of cost-efficient exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other passive index trackers. Moneyfarm also offers ethical or ESG investment options for those who want to invest in line with their values.
Moneyfarm’s customers benefit from free and personalised digital financial advice from Moneyfarm’s investment consultants, and you can chat, phone, email, or meet your consultant in person. To get started, you will be asked to complete a short survey so that Moneyfarm can better understand how you approach your finances before matching you to your investment portfolio and consultant.
You can start investing with Moneyfarm with as little as £500. Moneyfarm charges an annual management fee depending on how you choose to invest, ranging from 0.75% to 0.35% on the total value of your portfolio. An annual fund management fee of 0.20% (average) also applies to all portfolios. This is built into the cost of the ETF or tracker fund on any given day, so you will not see fund charges being deducted from your portfolio directly. Moneyfarm’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA, General Investment Account, and Personal Pension. The Moneyfarm Stocks and Shares ISA is flexible.
Capital at risk.
Wealthify is a UK robo advisor that allows you to choose from five investment plans based on your attitude to risk. These investment plans are named Cautious, Tentative, Confident, Ambitious and Adventurous and allow you to choose a risk level that best suits your needs. If you are conscious about the environment or would simply like to invest in line with your values, Wealthify’s five portfolios are also available as ethical investment plans, so you can stay true to your values while potentially growing your money.
With Wealthify, the minimum investment is £1, and you can withdraw your money anytime. There is an annual platform fee of 0.60%, and fund management fees range from 0.16% to 0.70% per year, depending on your chosen investment theme. Once you complete the signup process, you can start investing with a lump sum of £1, which you can top up as frequently as you want.
Wealthify’s suite of products includes a General Investment Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA and SIPP in both Original and Ethical themes. The Wealthify Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk.
Plum is a UK money management and investment app that helps you manage your money and build an investment portfolio. With Plum, you can invest in up to 21 funds and over 3,000 UK and overseas stocks. Plum also offers ethical or ESG investment options for those who want to invest in line with their values.
The Plum app empowers you to invest your spare change by rounding up your card transactions to the nearest pound and investing the difference on your behalf. For example, if you spend £1.20 on a snack, Plum will invest 80p for you. The app also calculates how much you can afford to set aside and invests it automatically once a week.
You can start investing with Plum with as little as £1. Plum charges a monthly subscription fee ranging from £2.99 to £9.99 per month; you get the first month free. Stock trading on Plum is commission-free (other charges may apply). FX rates also apply to US stocks at the spot rate + 0.45%. The average annual fund management fee across all funds offered is 0.39%. Plum’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account and Personal Pension. The Plum Stocks and Shares ISA is not flexible.
Capital at risk.
To make sense of the fees and charges above, use our robo advisor price comparison table below.
The tables below aim to show representative examples of your annual investment fees for funds, shares, and ready-made investment portfolios held in a Stocks and Shares ISA.
To make the best use of the tables, click the column headers to sort from the most expensive to the cheapest investment platform and vice versa.
For example, if you want to see the cheapest platforms for regular investments of £100 per month, click once on the £100 per month header. To see the most expensive platform for a lump sum investment of £20k, click twice on the £20,000 lump sum header.
Continue this exercise on all the headers until you find what you are looking for.
The calculations below are based on the following scenarios:
For regular investments, we assume you’ll make 12 deals each year or one deal every month.
For lump sums, we assume you’ll make four deals a year.
A deal is either one of buying or selling an investment. It is also called a trade.
The table below aims to show a representative example of your annual investment fees (platform and dealing fees only) for funds held in a Stocks and Shares ISA.
Capital at risk. ISA rules apply. Other charges apply.
The table below aims to show a representative example of your annual investment fees (platform and dealing fees only) for individual stocks and shares held in a Stocks and Shares ISA.
Capital at risk. ISA rules apply. Other charges apply.
The table below compares the annual charges (all inclusive) of some of the best robo advisors for Stocks and Shares ISAs in the UK. Our goal is to help you visualise your investment fees before committing to a robo advisor.
Capital at risk. ISA rules apply. Other charges apply.
A Stocks and Shares ISA is a tax-free investment account in the UK that adults aged 18 and above can use to buy, sell, and hold investments such as shares, bonds, and funds. This tax year, you can invest up to £20,000 in one Stocks and Shares ISA or split it between a Stocks and Shares ISA and other ISAs.
A Stocks and Shares ISA is also called an Investment ISA.
You can open a Stocks and Shares ISA with investment platforms such as banks, building societies, stockbrokers, fund supermarkets, robo advisors, and other financial institutions.
Once your ISA is open, you can invest up to £20,000 in a wide variety of assets, including individual stocks and shares, corporate and government bonds, and funds.
Depending on the Stocks and Shares ISA platform you choose, you will have the option to either select and manage the individual assets that make up your portfolio (Self-Select ISAs) or choose from a range of ready-made portfolios (robo advisors and managed ISAs).
You get a new ISA allowance at the beginning of each tax year. The tax year starts on the 6th of April and ends on the 5th of April the following year. Any unused allowance expires at the end of the tax year, and you cannot carry it forward. This tax year, the ISA allowance is £20,000.
When you are ready to invest, you can choose between making a lump sum investment and/or making regular or ad hoc contributions throughout the tax year.
Here are a few examples of the types of assets you can have in a Stocks and Shares ISA:
To become an ISA millionaire, you need to contribute the maximum ISA allowance of £20,000 annually for at least 25 years and achieve a 5% average growth rate that compounds yearly.
To reach ISA millionaire status in 10 years, you must contribute the maximum allowance each year and achieve a 30% average growth rate that compounds yearly.
At a 10% growth rate compounded annually, you’ll become an ISA millionaire in 18 years, while a 20% growth rate will get you there in 13 years.
It follows from the above that to achieve ISA millionaire status, one must start contributing to an ISA as early as possible and identify sound savings and investment opportunities, such as investing in the stock market via a Stocks and Shares ISA to help you reach your goals faster.
You should also invest often to take advantage of pound-cost averaging, reinvest your dividends to benefit from compound interest and stay consistent, patient and disciplined even when the market takes a hit.
Here are the best investment platforms in the UK:
The best Stocks and Shares ISAs for beginners in the UK are Moneybox, InvestEngine, and Wealthify. All three platforms are designed with beginners in mind and offer a slick and easy-to-use mobile experience available on Android and iOS devices.
They also provide ready-made portfolios, which are diverse baskets of investments prepared by money managers and financial experts tailored to your personal preferences and attitude to risk. Ready-made portfolios are especially good for beginners or those who need help putting together an investment portfolio.
In addition to the above, Moneybox and InvestEngine offer fractional investing into a Stocks and Shares ISA, which allows you to buy and sell bits and pieces of a stock or ETF. With fractional investing, you can invest in expensive stocks like Apple ($AAPL), which typically costs over £150, with as little as £2 because you are buying a fraction of the stock instead of the whole.
For beginners, it is often advisable to start with simple and diversified investment products, such as index funds or ETFs. These funds invest in a wide range of assets (like stocks or bonds) which follow a specific market index. They offer an easy way to spread your money across multiple investments, reducing the risk compared to investing in individual stocks.
A popular choice among beginners is a low-cost global index fund such as the Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap Index Fund, which provides broad exposure to thousands of companies around the world. Additionally, funds that track large indices, such as the S&P 500 (America’s largest companies) or the FTSE 100 (the UK’s largest companies), are also popular choices for beginners due to their wide diversification and simplicity.
The choice between stocks, index funds, and ETFs largely depends on your risk tolerance, investment knowledge, and time commitment. Investing in individual stocks can yield high returns if you pick the right ones, but it also involves higher risk and requires a considerable amount of research. On the other hand, index funds and ETFs are typically more diversified, thus reducing risk. They also require less time and knowledge to manage, making them a preferable choice for beginners and those with a more passive investment strategy.
You can only open one Stocks and Shares ISA in a tax year, but you can open a new Stocks and Shares ISA with a different provider each tax year if you want to. The tax year starts on the 6th of April and ends on the 5th of April the following year.
Yes, you can pay into two different ISAs in the same tax year. There are four types of ISAs that you can put money into each tax year: Cash ISA, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA and Innovative Finance ISA. There is also an ISA for children called a Junior ISA.
For example, using your £20,000 ISA allowance, you could save £8,000 in a Cash ISA, £5,000 in a Stocks and Shares ISA, £3,000 in an Innovative Finance ISA and £4,000 in a Lifetime ISA in one tax year.
Yes, It is most certainly worth getting a Stocks and Shares ISA if you live in the UK and are looking to invest your money in the stock market.
A Stocks and Shares ISA is an excellent way to shield the gains from your investments from the tax collector. When you invest with a Stocks and Shares ISA, any profits you make from selling your investments are free of Capital Gains Tax. Similarly, dividends received on shares within an ISA are also tax-free.
Since you do not pay taxes and all your gains are yours to keep, you also stand to benefit more from compound interest than if you had simply invested via a general investment account or any other non-ISA investment account. This means your investments grow quickly, and you can reach your goals faster.
It also means that you can take on more risks when you are younger. For example, if you went for a high-risk product that had a bad year and significantly reduced the size of your portfolio, you can rest knowing that you might be able to make that money back faster in future investments because you will not have to pay tax. If you had to pay tax, it might take longer to recoup those losses and get your portfolio back to the desired level.
If you are worried about losing money from your investments or think the stock market is too risky, consider opening a Cash ISA, which is also tax-free. Unlike a Stocks and Shares ISA, a Cash ISA is a standard savings account without any exposure to the stock markets. You will also enjoy the benefits of compound interest, although it might be slower than if you invested in the stock market.
Yes, you can split your ISA allowance between two providers. For example, you can have a Stocks and Shares ISA with one provider and a Cash ISA with a different provider. You cannot split your Stocks and Shares ISA allowance between two providers.
Yes, you can withdraw money from a Stocks and Shares ISA at any time by simply selling your investments and withdrawing the cash. There is no minimum length of time you need to hold your Stocks and Shares ISA for.
However, if you withdraw money from your ISA and reinvest it later in the same tax year, it will count towards your annual ISA allowance, except if your ISA is flexible. With a flexible Stocks and Shares ISA, you can withdraw money and deposit it back in the same tax year without losing your ISA allowance.
If you have exhausted your £20,000 ISA allowance for the current tax year, you can invest the rest of your money using a general investment account (GIA). You should be able to open a GIA with most ISA providers. GIAs are not entirely tax-free like ISAs, but they come with some generous tax benefits:
The best investments that generate regular income in the UK include dividend-paying stocks, bonds, or real estate investment trusts (REITs). Dividend stocks distribute a portion of the company’s earnings to shareholders, while bonds pay regular interest. REITs, which invest in commercial properties, pay out a portion of their rental income to investors.
Bonds, such as UK government bonds (also known as gilts), offer regular interest payments, providing a steady income.
In terms of REITs, Tritax Big Box REIT PLC, a UK REIT that focuses on large-scale logistics real estate, is an example that distributes a portion of its rental income to investors.
Finally, an income-focused fund like the iShares UK Dividend UCITS ETF (IUKD) could be a good option as it combines these income-producing investments. Always remember that investments can go down as well as up, and you may not get back the original amount invested.
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