January 9 2024

The 9 Best Investment Platforms in The UK for February 2024

George FakorellisJanuary 9 2024

I've delved into the nitty-gritty to simplify to help you find the best investment platform in the UK. I've weighed them against crucial elements such as the variety of investment opportunities they offer, their fee structures, the efficacy of their tools and how safe they are. Moreover, we are going to explore what are the best platforms for ETFs and which of them are the best for beginners. 

Key Takeaways as of February 2024 and Best Investment Platforms Ranked:

  1. AJ Bell - Best Investing Platform in the UK

  2. Nutmeg - Best Robo Advisor Platform

  3. eToro - Best for Social Trading

  4. Vanguard - Best Platform for Share Dealing

  5. Invest Engine - Best ETF Investing Platform

  6. Hargreaves Lansdown - Best Stocks and Shares ISA Platform

  7. Trading 212 - Best Trading Platform in the UK

  8. Interactive Investor - Best For Experienced Investors

  9. Wealthyhood - Best Investing Platform for Beginners and Long-Term Investors

Disclosure To compile the list presented in this article, I personally signed up for each of the platforms discussed. The purpose of this blog post is to offer informative and impartial reviews of every platform featured. While I have no affiliate ties to the brands mentioned, I am a member of the Wealthyhood team.

Best Investment Platforms Comparison Table

Platform Name

Fees

Minimum Deposit

Best For

Rating

AJ Bell

£9.95 per share No fees for account opening/transfer/closing; 0.25% annual platform fee;

£0 for share dealing; £500 for SIPPs and ISAs

Comprehensive investment products, easy-to-use interface. Good for serious investors

9/10

Nutmeg

0.45-0.75% based on portfolio size

£500, or £50 with a monthly plan

Hands-off investors seeking fully managed portfolios

8/10

eToro

Zero commission on stocks/ETFs; small spread on other assets; $5/month inactivity fee; $5 withdrawal fee

$10

Social trading, diverse asset range, and beginners

8/10

Vanguard

0.15% Annual Fee

£500 for most accounts; some funds from £100

Long-term, cost-effective index fund investing

8/10

Invest Engine

Zero platform/account fees; 0.25% for managed portfolios

£100

Low-cost, diversified ETF investing with DIY or managed options

7/10

Hargreaves Lansdown

0.45% annual custody charge for funds; £11.95 per transaction for shares/ETFs

£1 for Fund and Share account; £25-50 per month for individual funds

Extensive investment options, powerful tools, and education

8/10

Trading 212

Commission-free; small bid-ask spreads; no minimum charges or monthly fees

£1

Low-cost trading, diverse instruments, and beginners

7/10

Interactive Investor

From £3.99/month; additional dealing fees for ETFs/commodities

£0 to open; £25-£100 for regular investing

Self-directed investors, comprehensive tools, and fixed pricing

7/10

Wealthyhood

Free Plan,

Commission free

£1 for fractional shares

Beginners, fractional investing, and guided education

8/10

How to Choose an Investment Platform?

With the breadth of investment platforms available, it’s important to assess which aligns with your investing strategy and preferences. Key factors to evaluate include:

Investment Goals and available assets– Platforms vary considerably in available assets classes, products and services. Outlining your goals helps narrow suitable options. Those seeking broad market exposure may opt for a robo-advisor, while peer-to-peer lending targets fixed income.

Account Minimums & Fees – Platforms have differing minimum deposits to open accounts. Fees also vary, with charges for trading commissions, account maintenance, fund dealing, withdrawals and advice services. Comparing overall costs is crucial

Ease of Use – The user experience can significantly impact your investing journey. Evaluating each platform’s website and mobile app for intuitive design, navigation and functionality is advised. Consider needs like trading on the go.

Customer Support – From questions to issues, access to reliable support is vital. Review response times and communication channels like live chat, telephone and online knowledge centres.

Regulation and Safety - In my article I’ve always stated the importance of choosing brokers or platforms that are compliant and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

Doing thorough due diligence allows finding an investment platform aligned with your financial situation and preferences. Ultimately, the right option comes down to your goals, desired involvement and budget. Evaluating multiple choices using the criteria above can lead you to the best fit.

The list provided below was created after testing each of those platforms with my personal accounts to provide you with an honest and unbiased review of the best investment platforms in the UK.

Best Investing Platforms in the UK for 2024 Tested and Rated

1. AJ Bell- Best Investing Platform in the UK

aj

As one of the UK’s largest investment platforms, AJ Bell is one of my favorites. It has earned a reputation for its comprehensive offerings, cost-effective pricing, and easy-to-use interface. Founded in 1995, it now manages over £72 billion in assets. Its intuitive online and mobile apps allow both beginners and experienced investors to conveniently manage a diversified portfolio.

Platform Overview

From its early beginnings providing self-invested pensions, AJ Bell has grown into a one-stop shop for investments and retirement planning. Its platform provides access to over 3,000 funds from leading managers, as well as shares, ETFs, investment trusts and more.

AJ Bell caters to a wide demographic, including first-time investors getting started, hands-on traders, and retirement savers. Its retirement solutions like SIPPs and ISAs help users plan for the future while investing tax efficiently today. Useful tools and calculators assist customers at every stage of their investment journey.

AJ Bell regularly earns industry recognition. In 2022, it won Online Personal Wealth Award’s “Best Investment Platform” and the Recommended Provider by Which in 2023, reflecting its trusted position in the market. As of 2022, AJ Bell has over 300,000 customers with an average account size of £240,000.

Regulation and Safety

As an FCA-regulated company, AJ Bell upholds strict standards to ensure customer investments and assets remain protected. It segregates all retail client money from its own funds and follows comprehensive reporting and auditing processes.

Additional oversight comes through membership in the London Stock Exchange and adherence to UK Anti Money Laundering regulations. These requirements contribute to a safe and regulated trading environment for AJ Bell’s customers.

Fees

One of AJ Bell’s biggest advantages is its transparent, competitive pricing. It charges no fees for opening, transferring or closing investor accounts. Ongoing platform fees start at just 0.25% annually on top of any dealing, account or fund charges.

For investors with larger portfolios exceeding £250,000, platform charges decrease to a capped rate of £375 per year. When comparing costs, AJ Bell consistently ranks as one of the most affordable full-service options. This cost efficiency enhances long-term returns.

Ease of Use

AJ Bell prioritizes user experience through its online portal and mobile apps. Customers benefit from an intuitive interface to monitor positions, execute trades, and manage their portfolio. Useful tools like portfolio X-Ray, investment ideas generator and quick-search funds simplify investment decisions.

The availability of webinars, video tutorials and online articles also make it easy for beginners to grow their investing knowledge. AJ Bell users consistently rate customer support as responsive and knowledgeable when questions arise.

Pros

  • Comprehensive investment products including shares, funds, ETFs and managed portfolios

  • Tax-efficient accounts like ISAs and SIPPs for retirement

  • Easy-to-use online and mobile interfaces

  • Low platform fees, especially for larger portfolios

  • Award-winning customer support and resources

Cons

  • Limited access to direct international share dealing

  • Higher fees for some supplementary services

  • Less customization options compared to other trading platforms

Minimum Deposit

The minimum to open a share dealing account is £0, enabling you to invest affordably. Most funds have minimum investments starting at £25, making it easy to build a diversified portfolio.

To open other account types like SIPPs and ISAs, AJ Bell typically requires a minimum deposit of £500 which is the reason that I wouldn’t recommend it to beginners. But with no transfer fees, it’s easy to consolidate existing pensions and ISAs into their leading platforms.

Go to AJBell

2. Nutmeg - Best Investment Platform for Beginners

Nutmeg/

As an industry leader in the managed portfolio space, Nutmeg provides convenient access to professional investment management. Its technology-driven approach and simple onboarding has made it a top choice for hands-off investors since its founding in 2011.

Platform Overview

Nutmeg promotes intelligent investing for all, guided by five principles - intelligently simple, client first, fairer together, deeply responsible and continuously better. Its mission focuses on utilizing technology not just to simplify investing, but to help clients reach their financial goals.

During my registration the platform required to complete an investment questionnaire which bugged me since it added friction to the on-boarding process. This questionnaire determines an appropriate portfolio based on timeline, goals and risk tolerance (and this is why have also included them in our review list about the best Robo-Advisors in the UK.) Nutmeg then fully manages periodic rebalancing and optimization. With no trading or investment decisions required, clients can step back and let the platform do the heavy lifting.

As of January 2024, Nutmeg manages over £4.5 billion in assets for over 150,000 investors as stated on their official website and is rated as a best buy by Boring reviews. The majority of their users are first-time investors who appreciate the platform's guided approach to portfolio creation and management.

Regulation and Safety

As an FCA regulated firm, Nutmeg adheres to strict conduct and operational standards that safeguard client investments. It is also a member of the UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme, providing up to £85,000 of protections per eligible investor should Nutmeg cease operations.

Additional oversight includes the Tax Incentivised Savings Association and Pensions Life Assurance & Income Scheme. These regulatory bodies work to ensure investments held within tax-advantaged accounts follow guidelines protecting client tax relief.

Fees

Nutmeg charges an annual management fee based on investment amount rather than trading activity. Its fixed fee structure provides reliable projections regardless of market conditions.

Fees range from 0.45-0.75% based on your portfolio size. An investment of £100k or more qualifies for Nutmeg's lowest advertised rate. While fees are slightly above self-directed investing platforms, they remain competitive for access to fully managed portfolios.

Ease of Use

Opening and managing an account with Nutmeg is designed to be simple for investing novices. Their intuitive website and mobile app enable seamless onboarding and ongoing access.

Useful features like Path - Nutmeg's financial planning tool and approved Lists highlighting suitable investments, and article libraries cater towards educating clients at every stage. For those wanting to take a more hands-on role, Nutmeg Partner accounts allow clients to be more directly involved in investment selection while still benefiting from technology-enabled portfolio management.

Pros

  • Fully managed portfolios constructed and optimized using cutting-edge technology

  • Socially responsible and Sharia-compliant portfolios available

  • Intuitive online interface and mobile app for ease of use

  • Path financial planning tool provides projections and recommendations

  • Low 0.45% fee for portfolios over £100k

Cons

  • Limited customization compared to traditional brokerages

  • Higher management fees than self-directed investing

  • Less tax efficiency than stocks and shares ISAs

Minimum Deposit

The minimum investment is £500, or £50 with a monthly contribution plan. This low buy-in makes Nutmeg accessible even for those just starting their investment journey. Portfolios under £100k pay slightly higher annual fees, but costs become competitively priced as investments grow.

Go to Nutmeg

3. eToro- Best for Social Investing

etoro/

As a pioneer of social trading, eToro has carved out a unique position in the investing world since its founding in 2007. Its platform allows users to interact with peers, follow influential investors, and replicate trading strategies - opening up investing to a more collaborative approach.

With over 27 million users worldwide, eToro offers an extensive range of assets for both copying others or self-directed trading. Its intuitive interface supports needs ranging from entry-level education to seasoned trading.

Platform Overview

Back when I started investing e-Toro was one of the few investing platforms that offered copy-trading which is why I chose to give it a try. And this is what to this day distinguishes them from their competitors. Its social investment network and copy trading functionality. Investors can connect with peers, share insights, and discover top-performing portfolios for potential replication. Copy trading then allows mirroring these strategies based on preferences like risk tolerance and investment amount. 

At this point I’d like to mention that copy trading that involves various risks and it’s definitely a feature that should be used with caution.

For those wanting more independence, eToro still facilitates learning from experienced investors through profiles, commentary and stats on performance history. Social interaction comes through engaging communication features like posts, feeds and live chat rooms.

The platform also provides access to multi-asset trading with thousands of instruments. Offerings span stocks, cryptocurrencies, commodities, currencies, ETFs and CFDs. Useful tools like virtual portfolios, research reports and proprietary market analysis cater towards both new and experienced traders.

Regulation & Safety

eToro holds licenses from top-tier authorities like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Australia’s ASIC to ensure regulatory standards for investor protections.

As a registered financial service provider, client assets are kept securely segregated from company funds through encrypted technology, multi-signature protocols and independent audits. These measures work to safeguard investments against potential company insolvency.

Fees

A standout feature of eToro is its zero commission model on mainstream stock and ETF trades. Costs only come from the small spread between ask and bid prices. Other assets like cryptocurrencies carry explicit percentage-based fees for trades under certain sizes to cover blockchain charges.

Non-trading fees include $5/month for account inactivity and a $5 minimum charge for withdrawal requests. So keeping accounts active and minimizing withdrawals help contain overall costs. Compared to traditional brokerages, eToro offers a competitively priced model, especially for frequent traders.

Ease of Use

Opening an eToro account can be done in minutes fully online. Users are then met with an intuitive interface available both on mobile and web. Investing courses feature short videos explaining key concepts, while the social feed surfaces commentary from investors worldwide to jumpstart education.

Useful tools like the Virtual Portfolio and demo accounts further support low-risk learning. For more research, eToro provides proprietary ratings, graphs and analysis on stocks, crypto and beyond. Combined with a responsive customer service team, eToro ensures a transparent and supportive user experience.

Pros

  • Innovative copy trading and social investment network options

  • Commission-free trading on mainstream assets like stocks

  • Wide variety of assets including cryptocurrencies

  • Educational resources and virtual trading capabilities

  • Strong security and regulation

Cons

  • Potential fees for some actions like withdrawals

  • Less research resources compared to traditional brokerages

  • Copy trading performance not guaranteed

Minimum Deposit

The minimum needed to open an account is just £7.50. This low buy-in makes eToro accessible to beginner investors ready to explore social trading.

Go to eToro

4.Vanguard - Best Share Dealing Platform in the UK

Vanguard/

At this point everyone should know Vanguard which is why it makes it to this list. 

As one of the world's largest investment managers, Vanguard has become synonymous with low-cost indexing and a long-term approach to investing. Founded in 1975, its ownership structure and not-for-profit model has enabled it to consistently drive down fees across the industry.

Vanguard entered the UK market in 2009 and now manages over £65 billion for UK investors. With a transparent, no-frills experience focused on market returns over the long run, Vanguard appeals to buy-and-hold investors who value simplicity and minimising costs.

Platform Overview

At the core of Vanguard's platform lies indexed funds and ETFs that track different market segments rather than trying to outperform. This passive approach removes manager speculation, resulting in lower expenses and competitive returns aligned to broader markets.

Flagship offerings like Vanguard's LifeStrategy funds provide instant diversified exposure tuned to different risk appetites. Alternatively, low-cost ETFs from Vanguard and other providers enable more targeted control if desired. An innovative dual-share structure also grants investors the lowest possible ownership costs.

Vanguard clients tend to be committed long-term investors rather than short-term traders. They understand fluctuating returns are expected in achieving sustainable growth over decades. An investor's goals, time horizon and risk tolerance determine if Vanguard's straightforward approach suits their strategy.

Regulation & Safety

Like every UK financial firm, Vanguard Europe is regulated by top European authorities like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to ensure adherence to strict conduct and operational standards for investor protections.

Further safety comes from segregated custody arrangements independent of Vanguard and daily oversight controls monitoring end-to-end processes. These governance structures work to safeguard assets and provide the oversight expected from one of the world’s largest investment firms.

Fees

As a mutually owned firm, Vanguard is uniquely structured to operate at cost rather than for profit. It is able to lower expenses across administration, advisory and product costs through an aligned shareholder and client focus. This keeps its fees amongst the lowest in the industry.

For example, Vanguard's FTSE UK All Share Index Unit Trust charges just 0.06% annually. Such low expense ratios mean less drag on the inherent market returns achieved over time. Maintaining these lean costs year after year provides UK investors continual savings.

Ease of Use

Vanguard positions itself as an easy way to start investing, not trading. Opening an account can be done online with simple identification procedures. Clean page layouts clearly guide investment selection and monitoring. Videos, articles and guides provide abundant educational support.

While not flashy, Vanguard's interface has the essentials self-directed investors need. Standard desktop and mobile apps enable seamless oversight for long-term portfolios. Dedicated customer support teams also readily assist with questions by phone, email or webchat.

Pros

  • Ultra-low expense ratios through at-cost structure

  • Globally diversified LifeStrategy funds

  • Abundant education for long-term investors

  • Strong security and regulation

  • Highly competitive pricing

Cons

  • Less tools for frequent traders

  • Limited investment selection beyond core offerings

  • Higher minimum investment than some neo-brokers

Minimum Deposit

The minimum to start investing is £500 for most account types which is a bummer. However investors benefit from Vanguard's low fees to adequately allocate across multiple funds for suitable diversification. Certain funds offer lower minimums from £100 for more flexibility.

Go to Vanguard

5. Invest Engine - Best Platform for ETFs

invest

Founded in 2019, Invest Engine has quickly become an industry leader catering to both DIY and hands-off investors looking for low-cost, diversified portfolios which is why it made it to the top of my top ETF platforms. Its intuitive digital platform and fractional investing capabilities have made ETF investing more accessible for all types of investors.

With over £300 million in assets under management, Invest Engine manages money for thousands of clients. Its commitment to unbeatable value and automated tools has struck a chord in the market.

Platform Overview

At the core of Invest Engine’s offerings sits access to over 600 ETFs covering markets across the globe. For hands-on investors, fractional shares enable easy diversification into multiple assets without high capital requirements.

Invest Engine also provides ready-made expert portfolios catering to objectives like income, growth, or responsible investing. These managed portfolios carry an annual fee of just 0.25% to automate maintenance for a hands-off approach.

Useful portfolio management tools allow customers to analyze asset allocation, risk attributes, and projected returns. Regular insights and market news keep users continuously engaged with their strategy.

With its low fees, diversified investments and intuitive technology, Invest Engine caters to both self-directed and hands-off investors looking to simplify ETF portfolio creation.

Regulation & Safety

As a UK-based platform regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Invest Engine adheres to strict conduct standards that protect and compensate investors in the rare case of insolvency.

Client assets are held with custodian banks, providing an extra layer of security independent from Invest Engine itself. Regular auditing and oversight ensure governance models align to industry best practices.

Fees

A standout feature of Invest Engine is zero platform or account fees. Unlike most investment platforms charging administrative fees, Invest Engine provides its technology and tools completely free.

The only costs for self-directed investors come from the embedded fund charges within each ETF, averaging around 0.15-0.50% annually. For managed portfolios, the 0.25% annual fee covers ongoing rebalancing and optimization by Invest Engine. This transparent, low-cost structure makes Invest Engine highly competitive.

Ease of Use

Invest Engine focuses heavily on technology to provide both easy access and functionality for investors. Creating an account can be done fully online within minutes.

The intuitive web platform and mobile app enable seamless oversight of holdings. Useful features like portfolio look-through, fund comparisons, savings plans, auto-rebalancing and performance analytics give investors full control or automation based on preferences.

Pros

  • Over 600 commission-free ETFs available

  • Powerful portfolio analysis tools

  • Fractional investing enables easy diversification

  • Zero account, platform and trading fees

  • Managed portfolios available from 0.25%

Cons

  • Limited functionality for stocks/shares trading

  • Less research resources compared to traditional brokerages

  • Narrower asset selection than wider investment platforms

Minimum Deposit

The minimum to start investing is £100 either self-directed or into Invest Engine’s managed portfolios. This low buy-in coupled with fractional investing makes ETF portfolio building accessible even for smaller account sizes.

Go to Invest Engine

6. Hargreaves Lansdown - Biggest in the UK

Hargreaves

As the UK’s largest investment platform based on assets under management I could not leave Hargreaves Lansdown out of this list. Its comprehensive services, extensive range of investments and intuitive tools have made it a trusted choice for over 1.7 million clients.

With over £135 billion in assets under administration and 35+ years of experience, Hargreaves Lansdown has cemented its place as a go-to investing platform for investors of all skill levels. Its capabilities cater seamlessly to hands-on stock pickers and hands-off managed fund investors alike.

Platform Overview

Hargreaves Lansdown provides access to over 5,000 funds, UK and international shares, investment trusts, ETFs, bonds and more. Supplementing assets is best-in-class screening tools, proprietary insights, fund manager interviews and industry-leading educational materials.

Additional services include share dealing, ISAs, SIPP pensions and Active Savings accounts provided by partner banks. Robust resources support needs from research to tax planning and retirement strategies.

The breadth of financial products and functionality attracts active traders, long-term investors and retirement planners alike. Simplified offerings also appeal to beginners just starting their investment journey. As of January 2024, Hargreaves Lansdown serves over 1.5 million clients from new investors to high-net-worth individuals.

Regulation & Safety

As an FCA regulated company, Hargreaves Lansdown provides rigorous oversight and transparency surrounding its operations and protections in safeguarding client assets.

Assets under administration are held separately from company funds, undergo regular auditing and reconcile through trusted third-party custodians. These governance measures work to mitigate risks as much as possible.

Fees

Hargreaves Lansdown offers a clear, tiered fee structure based on total assets held on the platform. Charges cover administration, custodian services and access to the platform tools.

For funds, the fee consists of an annual custody charge of 0.45% on top of any fund dealing charges and embedded fund fees. Share, ETF and investment trust trades incur a £11.95 fee per transaction. While fees are towards the higher end of the market, enhanced services and functionality come included.

Ease of Use

Delivering an exceptional user experience sits at the core of Hargreaves Lansdown's service model. Its web and mobile platforms provide intuitive design supporting needs from basic account management to detailed charting and stock research.

Educational materials like its Insights articles and Learn section allow both new and experienced investors to skill up through bitesized, engaging information. For those wanting more guidance, advisory services provide personalized recommendations and portfolio management based on goals.

Combined with strong customer support teams, Hargreaves aims to simplify investing across needs and comfort levels.

Pros

  • Extensive investment products from shares to funds

  • Powerful screeners and proprietary market insights

  • Award-winning customer support and education

  • Tax-efficient accounts and retirement planning

Cons

  • Higher trading and account fees

  • Can have complex or overlapping investment offerings

  • Potential lack of fractional share investing

Minimum Deposit

The minimum needed to open a Fund and Share account is just £1 for access to tools and research. Individual funds often have minimum investments starting around £25-50. Stocks trades have no minimum outside the £11.95 dealing fee.

Go to HL

7. Trading 212 - Best for Trading

trading

Since launching in 2011, Trading 212 has quickly risen to become an industry leader for low-cost trading and intuitive design. Its commission-free model across thousands of CFD and share products paired with powerful tools has attracted over 1.5 million users globally.

Trading 212 removes common barriers like high fees, complex interfaces and minimum deposits - opening up trading to all walks of life. The platform has struck a chord particularly amongst younger and first time investors appreciative of no-compromise access.

Platform Overview

At the core of Trading 212 sits access to over 10,000 global instruments across shares, crypto, forex, commodities and more. Offerings feature popular UK, US and European stocks alongside niche coins and emerging market currencies to short or go long.

Sophisticated charting, screening tools and risk management functions cater towards both casual and experienced traders. Practice and demo accounts enable rookie users to safely build skills with virtual funds. The availability of fractional share trading has also made diversification more achievable.

With its intuitively designed platform, minimal costs and extensive product range Trading 212 delivers a uniquely well-rounded experience fitting self-directed investors of all skill levels.

Regulation & Safety

Trading 212 works to uphold strict regulatory and operational standards for customer protection through licenses with top-tier authorities like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Segregated custodian arrangements ensure client funds are stored safely in isolated accounts with regular reconciliation. Advanced data encryption, infrastructure monitoring and multi-signature cold storage also protect information and assets around the clock.

Fees

Like etoro and Invest Engine, Trading 212 is commission-free trading across shares, ETFs and crypto. No minimum charges or monthly fees enable easy access for all account sizes.

The only costs are derived from small bid-ask spreads on currency conversions or trading asset CFDs. Compared to old-school brokers, these dynamic spreads provide greater transparency around true costs at the point of trade.

Ease of Use

Trading 212 focuses intently on technological innovation to empower users with control, automation and efficiency. Secure onboarding can be completed digitally in minutes with electronic verification.

Intuitive yet powerful platform then enables traders to monitor diverse positions, react to breaking insights, and fine tune approaches from anywhere. Advanced features like share scraping, price alerts, risk mitigation orders and one-click trading further heighten responsiveness.

For new users, thousands of trader chat posts and an investing academy offer dynamic support in building skills over time through community learning.

Pros

  • 10,000+ commission-free instruments

  • Intuitive and engaging mobile experience

  • Top tier security and regulation

  • Fractional shares and crypto supported

  • Practice accounts to safely build skills

Cons

  • Potential lack of phone customer service

  • Can have complicated offerings like CFDs

  • More limited advisory services

Minimum Deposit

The minimum needed to open an account is just £1 across account types. This low barrier makes trading accessible even to those with limited capital while they grow their strategies and confidence over time.

Go to Trading 212

8. Interactive Investor - Best for Experienced Investors

Interactive

As one of the largest investment platforms in the UK, Interactive Investor has established itself as a leader in enabling self-directed investors to cost-effectively manage global portfolios. Its intuitive technology, competitive pricing and abundance of tools have attracted over hundreds of thousands of customers.

First launched in 1995, Interactive Investor has continually evolved its offering from pensions and ISAs to share dealing, funds and a managed investment service. This comprehensive set of accounts and trading capabilities allows users to seamlessly consolidate investments under a single platform.

Platform Overview

At the core of Interactive Investor’s investing platform sits an extensive suite of products from UK, US and European markets. Offerings include stocks, ETFs, investment trusts, funds, bonds, options and exchange-traded commodities.

Useful functionality like screeners, portfolio analysis tools, fund shortlists and built-in market data empower investors to efficiently refine opportunities and manage investments tailored to goals. Additional resources such as market news, educational articles and webinars further knowledge.

For hands-off investors, Interactive Investor’s Quick Start Funds provides ready-made portfolios constructed and managed by its investment team. Socially responsible choices also exist catering to growing interest in ethical investing.

This combination of DIY control and managed offerings appeals to users across the spectrum of skills and involvement preferences. Overall, Interactive Investor delivers trading flexibility and resources for seasoned investors alongside guidance for novices.

Regulation & Safety

As an FCA regulated firm, Interactive Investor upholds strict conduct standards enforced through audits, controls and governance policies. These measures work to ensure operations align to investors’ best interest.

Client assets also remain protected in separately designated accounts monitored daily. The platform partners only with reputable global custodians and banks to maintain funds safely. And comprehensive employee background checks and trading surveillance monitors wrongdoing.

Fees

Interactive Investor employs fixed and transparent pricing through an easy-to-understand admin fee starting from just £3.99/month. This allows unlimited trading in stocks, funds and investment trusts without surprise charges.

ETFs and exchange traded commodities carry additional dealing fees of £7.99 and £1.99 respectively per trade. While slightly above discount brokers, Interactive Investor bundles powerful functionality and resources to enhance self-directed investing. International trading in 25+ overseas markets also avoids excessive forex fees.

Ease of Use

Delivering an excellent investor experience sits at Interactive Investor’s core. Its online platform and mobile app enable intuitive oversight across global holdings with tools to track performance, discover opportunities and portfolio assets in detail.

Useful supports like webinars, video tutorials and Quick Start Funds allow both new and experienced investors to skill up through bitesized, engaging information. For those wanting guidance, supplemental managed portfolio options provide outsourced investment selection and management based on goals.

Combined with strong customer support teams, Interactive aims to simplify investing across needs and comfort levels.

Pros

  • Extensive investment products from shares to funds

  • Comprehensive screening tools and market data

  • Managed Quick Start Funds available

  • Fixed pricing from just £3.99/month

  • Award-winning web and mobile app

Cons

  • Slightly higher trading fees than discount platforms

  • Less fractional share capabilities

  • Crypto offerings still maturing

Minimum Deposit

The minimum to open an account is £0, enabling you to access Interactive Investors’ insights and tools affordably. Regular investing starts from £25/month. Individual assets have varying minimums, typically £50-£100 making diversification into multiple picks accessible.

Go to Interactive Investor

9. Wealthyhood - Best for Long Term Investors

Wealthyhood/

As a newer investment platform catering to first-time, long-term investors, Wealthyhood aims to make investing straightforward for anyone to start building wealth. Its focus on an accessible, jargon-free experience has appealed to those seeking simple portfolio construction powered by fractional shares and regular top-ups

Founded in 2019, Wealthyhood sits among an emerging wave of next-gen investing platforms using technology to open financial markets to wider audiences. By orienting around beginner investors through guided education and simplified products, the platform lowers traditional barriers alongside more established players.

Platform Overview

At the core of Wealthyhood sits fractional share investing, allowing users to own slices of popular stocks and ETFs - starting from just £1. This makes building a diversified, personalized portfolio achievable even on limited budgets.

Intuitive tools like auto-rebalancing, dividend re-investment and recurring top-ups also simplify maintenance. Wealthyhood provides inspiration for picks based on goals or values, but ultimately enables full customization aligned to one's interests and risk tolerance.

While not catering to advanced traders, Wealthyhood focuses strongly on illuminating key concepts, managing risk and building knowledge over time through investing courses. Features like virtual portfolios further support exploratory learning.

With its accessible design and fractional share model, Wealthyhood continues attracting first-time investors appreciative of a clear path towards participation in financial markets.

Regulation & Safety

As an appointed representative of RiskSave Technologies Ltd, Wealthyhood operates under the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority authorization and oversight. This regulatory standing upholds strict standards around capital requirements, systems and controls that align to clients' best interests.

Wealthyhood further reassures customers through its partnerships with trusted global custodians for asset security. As a tech-centric platform, leading data encryption, infrastructure monitoring and log auditing provide additional protection against cyber threats.

Fees

Wealthyhood emphasizes its focus on maintaining minimal fees. As a fractional share and ETFs investing tool Wealthyhood is a subscription-based platform. It also offers a free plan with 0 commisions. Wealthyhood eliminates trade and currency conversion fees on it’s paid plans that sit at £2,99 and £12,99 respectively.

By keeping expenses low, the platform allows more new investor money to work actively towards returns in the market rather than get eroded by charges. Wealthyhood's messaging focuses on maximizing portfolio value for its customers above its own revenue.

As the platform continues evolving, greater pricing transparency will further strengthen its value proposition to serve first-time investors through their early wealth-building years.

Ease of Use

Delivering an excellent, jargon-free investor experience sits at Wealthyhood's core. Its web and mobile platforms enable simple oversight through intuitive design, helpful terminology guides and relevant examples.

Useful supports like investing courses, portfolio inspiration lists and automated investing all cater towards education and simplifying investing for beginners. Backed by responsive in-app customer service when questions arise, Wealthyhood aims to nurture self-directed investing habits over time.

While the platform continues maturing, its commitment to demystifying finance for novices has appeal amongst new investors looking for an accessible on-ramp even with limited capital.

Pros
  • Fractional investing enables portfolio building from £1

  • Intuitive tools automate maintenance over time

  • Tailored guides and courses for investing newcomers

  • Notifications and projections build financial literacy

  • Regulated firm with asset protection

Cons

  • Specific investment universe and details still limited

  • Less functionality for experienced active traders

  • Short company track record so far

Minimum Deposit

A key advantage to Wealthyhood is the ability to start investing in fractional shares from just £1. This low buy-in coupled with recurring auto top-ups makes achieving diversification realistic even when just beginning.

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Additional Noteworthy Platforms

While the platforms reviewed thus far make up some of the largest and most widely used options, the market continues expanding with competitive upstarts looking to carve out value propositions around unique offerings, next-gen experiences and differentiated pricing models.

Below we explore two such examples in Capital.com and Fidelity, that have made notable waves with UK investors through their transparent zero commission trades and multifaceted support across small and large portfolios respectively.

1. Capital.com

As one of the fastest growing investment platforms in Europe, Capital.com has captured attention for enabling commission-free trading on over 6,000 global markets. From popular stocks, commodities and indices to niche currency pairs and crypto, Capital.com opens affordable access to an extensive range of assets.

Useful tools like custom screeners, risk management suites and AI-based analytical insights further empower informed traders of all skill levels to discover and react to opportunities. Hands-on educational features like video tutorials, webinars and demo accounts also support continuous skill development in navigating different markets.

While the platform appeals to active traders appreciative of diverse markets and functionality, Capital.com equally services long-term investors through auto-investing in stocks, ETFs and CFDs based on customized criteria and risk metrics. This dual service offering provides growth pathways for portfolios of any size.

As a regulated broker authorized by top-tier European agencies, Capital.com maintains stringent policies surrounding investor protections like segregated accounts, investor compensation schemes and data privacy that one would expect from an established global platform.

2. Fidelity

As a privately owned investment giant managing over $11 trillion in assets, Fidelity International needs little introduction. But in recent years, Fidelity has captured attention for bringing institutional-grade portfolio management and trading capabilities directly to UK retail investors through its Personal Investing arm.

With an intuitive online investor experience reinforced through investor education, planning tools and market insights, Fidelity simplifies building diversified portfolios aligned to your strategy. Whether taking a hands-on stock picking approach or delegating through managed funds, Fidelity provides access to domestic and global opportunities backed by diligent research.

Useful supports like portfolio guidance, risk modelling and saving calculators aim to enlighten clients on maximizing returns for goals like retirement or buying a home. Supplemental investor courses and market commentary keep users continuously engaged with their wealth trajectory. For those wanting more tailored advice, Fidelity places trained professionals at your fingertips to evaluate your full financial picture and life aims.

As an established investment leader now servicing direct investor needs, Fidelity brings both scale and specialization that enables UK wealth builders historically reserved for institutional clients. This bodes well for investor empowerment this decade and beyond.

While not exhaustive, the growing number of specialized and competitive platforms profiled here reflects the expanding scope of investor preferences now being catered to locally. Sifting through standout options using the criteria detailed here can lead one to their best fit.

3 Best Investment Platforms for Beginners

Below we explore three highly recommended options for UK beginners based on core strengths around educational resources, intuitive tools and affordable account minimums.

1. Wealthyhood - For Beginners Who Want to Learn

Wealthyhood is by far the best investment platform for beginners on this list largely thanks to its approach that simplifies the investing process. It makes entering the world of investing straightforward, especially for first-time investors, by offering tools designed for easy portfolio construction.

With options like fractional share investing starting from just £1, it enables even those on limited budgets to build a diversified portfolio. Additionally, Wealthyhood places a, offering courses and tools that help beginners understand and manage investments effectively. The platform's user-friendly design, combined with its focus on minimal fees and strong regulatory compliance, ensures a secure and cost-effective environment for novice investors. This approach of blending accessibility, education, and affordability makes Wealthyhood particularly appealing to those starting their investment journey.

2. Nutmeg - For Beginners Who Like Passive Investing

Nutmeg stands out as one of the best investing platforms for beginners due to its straightforward and user-friendly approach to investment management. 

The platform offers a variety of managed portfolios, including socially responsible options, which are ideal for those who prefer a hands-off approach to investing. Its intuitive interface simplifies the investment process, making it accessible even to those with little to no financial background.

Furthermore, Nutmeg's educational resources provide valuable insights, helping beginners understand the basics of investing and make informed decisions. Combined with its competitive fee structure and robust regulatory compliance, Nutmeg presents a well-rounded, beginner-friendly option for entering the world of investing.

3. Freetrade - For Those Seeking Guidance

As a modern "neo-broker" focused on accessibility and affordability, Freetrade has appealed to new investors since launching in 2018 through its free share incentive scheme. Account minimums start at £3 for a limited General Investment Account (GIA) or £9 for an ISA enabling tax-efficiency.

Curated stock collections, bitesize FAQs and fractional investing into over 6,000 US stocks also simplify getting started. Dynamic charts and prices empower users to explore assets, while tracking dividends and performance history build know-how over time.

While functionality remains narrower than full-scale brokers, Freetrade delivers a transparent, low-friction foundation for investing rookies to progressively develop skills and returns under a trusted brand.

The platforms profiled above make starting investing more welcoming through unique combinations of education, guidance and incentives aimed at first-timers. Trying out multiple using available practice accounts allows determining the best initial fit aligned to your capital and motivations.

Beginners should also look into micro-investing applications that help you invest by rounding up your payments or gathering spare change.

3 Best Investment Platforms with an App

I’ve already written an in-depth comparison review on the best investment apps in the UK but I will list the 3 best here in case you are in a hurry.

1. Moneybox

Moneybox is an innovative investment app designed for both experienced and beginner investors. It offers a range of portfolios including stocks, ETFs, and cash savings, and is known for its user-friendly interface and "round-up" feature, which allows users to invest spare change from purchases. 

Regulated by the FCA, Moneybox ensures user funds' safety and uses bank-level security for data protection. It charges a £1 monthly subscription fee and a tiered annual platform fee, based on the investment amount. While it offers a convenient way to build an investment portfolio, it has a limited range of investment options and a subscription fee.

2. Trading 212

Trading 212 is not only a comprehensive trading and investing app offering a wide range of assets like stocks, ETFs, forex, and cryptocurrencies but it also has a great investing app. It's known for its intuitive interface, real-time market data, analysis tools, and extensive educational content. 

Since it’s regulated by the UK's FCA, it provides a secure trading environment it’s also safe. 

The app's standout feature is commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs, making it cost-effective, although it applies a small markup on forex and cryptocurrency trades. Its simplicity and user-friendly design cater to both novice and experienced investors, although its focus on trading might be overwhelming for new investors or those interested in long-term investments.

3. Wealthyhood

Wealthyhood's investing app stands out due to its unique combination of user-friendliness and innovative features.  Tailored for both novice and seasoned investors, it offers fractional share investing, allowing users to start with small amounts and gradually build a diverse portfolio. The app is designed with an intuitive interface, making it easy for beginners to navigate the world of investing. Furthermore, Wealthyhood offers educational resources and tools such as auto-rebalancing and dividend reinvestment, enhancing the investment experience. Its focus on low fees and a customizable investment approach makes it a great choice for those seeking a smart and accessible way to manage their investments.

Best Investing Platforms for ETFs

For investors interested only in ETFs I've created a dedicated list of the best ETF brokers in the UK. These were selected based on the available ETFs range, platforms' costs, features, platform UX and customer support.

1. InvestEngine

In my full ETFs platforms review InvestEngine impressed me with its expansive selection of over 600 ETFs, covering a wide range of sectors and geographies.

This platform is particularly appealing for investors aiming to diversify their portfolios across various markets. Its user-friendly interface and robust tools make it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned investors seeking to navigate the complexities of ETF investing with ease.

2. Wealthyhood

Wealthyhood is known for its smart investing approach, offering a DIY investment platform that combines the flexibility of investing on your own with the guidance typically associated with robo-advisors.

Wealthyhood's focus on low-cost investing and user education makes it a compelling choice for investors who prefer a hands-on approach to building their portfolios.

3. Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor stands out for its flat-fee subscription model, which can be particularly cost-effective for investors with larger portfolios.

The platform offers a comprehensive array of ETFs alongside extensive research tools and resources, making it suitable for investors who value a depth of information and a broad selection of investment options.

4. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is renowned for its global reach and depth of market access, providing investors with the ability to trade ETFs across international markets.

With competitive pricing and a powerful trading platform, Interactive Brokers is ideal for experienced investors looking for advanced trading capabilities and extensive market analysis tools.

5. Lightyear

Lightyear merges the appeal of commission-free trading with a focus on international investments, allowing UK investors to access a global selection of ETFs without worrying about high fees.

Its user-friendly platform and the absence of foreign exchange fees on trades make it an attractive option for those looking to invest abroad without incurring excessive costs.

6. Freetrade

Freetrade offers a straightforward, user-friendly platform that champions commission-free trades, making it an excellent entry point for novice investors.

While it may not boast the extensive market analysis tools of more advanced platforms, its simplicity and focus on cost-effective ETF investing are perfect for those just starting or looking to invest with minimal fuss.

7. Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank provides access to an impressive range of over 7,000 ETFs, catering to investors seeking a comprehensive selection of investment opportunities.

Though its platform may present a steep learning curve, the depth of available ETFs, competitive pricing, and advanced trading tools make Saxo Bank a top choice for serious investors committed to diversifying their portfolios.

How Should a Beginner Invest?

Getting started in investing can seem daunting, but sticking to core principles around financial planning, education and regularly contributing to the market provides emerging investors the best chances for sustainable wealth building.

As a beginner, the key starting point sits with clearly defining your investment goals and time horizon for needing the money. This determination then guides suitable asset types and portfolio risk levels. Those with longer runway focusing on retirement or property can sustain more equities exposure by investing in stocks given the decades ahead for riding market swings. In contrast, investors needing funds more immediately may allocate more to stable, income-producing bonds.

It also pays tremendously to self-educate on foundational topics like asset classes, risk metrics, compounding and financial concepts determining returns. Even grasping basics around stocks, ETFs and common terminology goes a long way over misperceptions. Useful resources like online courses, books, podcasts and demo trading platforms enable learning the ropes while developing your own risk tolerance and strategy. 

Once comfortable with the fundamentals, many beginners thoughtfully start participating in the market through low-cost, diversified index funds or ETFs. These vehicles provide broad exposure to asset classes like US stocks or global property rather than betting on individual picks. Small regular investments also harness the power of compounding over years by reinvesting market returns back into the principal amount. Platforms with fractional shares further democratize this approach.

The platforms you use in your investing journey also require due diligence as your gateway to financial markets. Parameters like fees, available assets, account minimums, tools and educational resources vary tremendously. Prioritizing needs around target markets, involvement preferences and costs leads to prudent choices. Don't be afraid to try multiple platforms using demo accounts in the process.

While self-directed investing may suit some newcomers, also remain open to seeking supplemental guidance from financial advisors equipped to evaluate your full situation and objectives. Their insights can pay dividends in your financial literacy and portfolio construction. In total, immersing yourself across knowledge, participation and access remains fundamental for investing rookies. There will always be volatile periods testing resolve along the path. But maintaining perspective by focusing on long-run personal growth empowers breaking through early barriers over time.

Types of Investment Platforms and Their Features

There are several types of investment platforms available in the UK, each catering to different investor needs:

Investment Apps are essentially investment platforms that are available on mobile through mobile IOS or Android apps. They are usually simpler to use and make investing an easy task which makes them perfect for beginners.

Robo-advisors use algorithms and automated processes to build and manage investment portfolios based on an investor's goals. They offer affordable access to professional management with minimal effort. Nutmeg and Wealthify are two popular robo-advisor options. Similarly to Robo Advisors, automatic investing apps can also help you invest in autopilot.

Online brokerages focus on efficient self-directed trading and research tools. Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell YouInvest exemplify full-service brokerages, offering everything from shares and funds to ISAs and retirement accounts. Discount platforms like Freetrade and Trading 212 offer low fees but less research and advice.

Investment supermarkets aggregate investment products from different providers on one platform. Bestinvest and Interactive Investor allow users to select from a wide range of assets and managers to customise their portfolio.

Peer-to-peer lending platforms like Funding Circle connect investors directly with small businesses and individuals needing loans. Investors earn interest while providing access to capital.

Each type of platform differs in services, asset choices, account minimums and fees. Considering factors like your investment objectives, desired involvement and account size can help determine the right option. Those wanting hands-off management may lean toward robo-advisors, while active traders need sophisticated brokerage capabilities.

Understanding Investment Platforms

Before closing this article and to avoid any confusion I'd like to make a distinction between Investment apps and Investment platforms. 

Investment Apps as we discussed in our previous article are primarily mobile-based applications designed for investing on the go while Investment Platforms, are more comprehensive and are often accessible via web browsers. 

Over the years I’ve found myself using online investment platforms more and more and they have become my go-to investing tools when it comes to managing my portfolios to gain access to a wide variety of assets. At their core, investment platforms serve as a gateway, allowing users to conveniently invest in stocks, funds, ETFs, bonds and other securities through a single access point.

F.A.Q.s

How Much Money do You need to Start Investing?

One of the most common questions from new investors centers around determining just how much money enables participating in financial markets. Great news abounds in this regard - platform innovation continues lowering capital requirements making investing more accessible at nearly any starting level.

Fractional share investing platforms now enable buying slices of popular stocks and ETFs for just £1-5 per trade. This means developing a diversified portfolio becomes achievable even on limited budgets by allocating in small chunks. Although some underlying assets carry minimums themselves, sticking to higher volume ones often provides enough runways for exploration.

For those able to allocate more upfront, most traditional brokers drop minimums to between £50-£100 needed to open basic investment accounts. This provides wider access to assets beyond fractional shares, like mutual funds or bonds requiring at least one whole unit purchase. The key advantage is then allowing adequate diversification to mitigate risk rather than concentrating capital in just a couple picks. In reality no definitive rule governs how much money makes sense to start investing. The amount depends significantly on your financial situation, income variability and obligations. Budgeting investing contributions should follow ensuring other critical needs get addressed first.

The biggest pitfall involves allocating so much that it compromises your emergency savings or ability to pay recurring bills. Finding balance through what you can afford to invest over the long-run matters most. Small sums contributed regularly also harness compounding to build account balances gradually.

Best Investment Platform for Trading

For self-directed investors focused specifically on active trading across global markets rather than passive index approaches, Technology, automation and affordability rise as pivotal platform differentiators. This leads me to recommend checking out Trading 212 for seamless market access and dynamic tools enabling informed participation.

The UK-based broker founded in 2011 surfaces deep price transparency and trade execution of thousands of instruments including equities, crypto and commodities. Highly precise charting, financial indicators, risk management suites and news analytics support both long term positions and intraday opportunity capturing for sophisticated traders.

Useful supports like virtual portfolios, investor community forums and demo accounts also guide newcomers in safely building market exposure through practice. Intuitive mobile apps synchronize Trader 212's offerings right to devices for nimble traders needing on-the-go flexibility. Most distinctively, Trading 212 pioneers commission-free trading across mainstream asset classes - a potential game changer lowering barriers for self-directed trading historically weighed down by transaction fees eroding returns. This cost efficiency paired with robust functionality places them as a top choice for investing motivated by active participation.

Best Investment Platform for ISA

For investors seeking to shelter returns from taxes while building long-term wealth, ISAs like the Stocks and Shares ISA provide formidable benefits through both capital gains and dividend exemptions after meeting annual contribution eligibility. This makes identifying platforms not only offering ISAs but efficiently catering to seamless management key.

On this front, I would recommend Invest Engine as a leader in constructed technology, educational resources and intuitive design specifically tailored to ISA investors whether taking traditional self-directed or hands-off ETF portfolio approaches.

The firm's generous ISA account offerings include access to over 580 top ETFs spanning market exposures at ultra competitive costs. With no platform fees and average fund charges of just 0.15%, more investment dollars go directly to compounding returns. Fractional shares also enable precise asset tuning and diversification.

For those less comfortable selecting assets themselves, Invest Engine's managed portfolios provide optimized, diversified ETF selections fully overseen by the investment team for just 0.25% yearly. This blend of affordability, customization and guided options make Invest Engine a formidable ISA wrapper choice for both casual and sophisticated investors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the UK's investment landscape in 2024 offers a diverse range of platforms catering to different investor needs. From the beginner-friendly interfaces of Nutmeg and Wealthyhood to the comprehensive trading options of Trading 212 and the innovative approach of Moneybox, each platform brings unique strengths. Whether you're a novice looking for educational resources and easy-to-use tools or a seasoned investor seeking advanced trading capabilities and a wide range of assets, there's a platform that fits your requirements. The key is to choose a platform that aligns with your investment goals, experience level, and preferred fee structure, ensuring a tailored and efficient investment journey.

As I always state in my articles, investing is my passion and I love connecting with folks who share the same passion with me. If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss investing and macroeconomy with me, don’t hesitate to reach me on Linkedin or send me an email at george@wealthyhood.com

Capital at risk. This article is for information purposes only and is not investment advice nor a recommendation. You should consider your own personal circumstances when making investment decisions. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Tax treatment depends on your personal circumstances and rules can change.

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