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How I conduct my reviews

Antonia Medlicott – Finance Editor

People often enquire as to the method I use when writing reviews for investment platforms that you read on Investingreviews.co.uk.

My main aim is always to supply you with unbiased, factual information that can be used effectively to make an informed decision as to whether a platform is best suited for your unique requirements.

Whilst this is a constantly moving landscape that myself and the team at Investing Reviews endeavour to remain up to date with, there is a standard procedure that I employ in order to effectively review each platform and conduct a relevant comparison to similar offerings.

We also work with the companies in question to ensure that any changes to their structure or service are reflected in our reviews.

The 9 principle ratings

Each of these key areas are meticulously researched and tested and then scored out of 5.

1. Fees

Fees can quickly start to eat away at your investment gains and pricing structures vary wildly from one platform to another. This is why I take the time to understand how the pricing structure works, and whether it is best suited to a small investment pot or a large one.

I also look for any ‘hidden fees’ during this process. These are the fees that can take you by surprise, such as withdrawal fees. I personally make contact with the platform in question to confirm these fees before publishing them in my review.

2. Account opening

I take the time to open an account with each of the brokers that I review in order to assess how easy the process is and the length of time it takes. Some of the platforms require a KYC (Know Your Customer) which can hinder the process but all this is detailed as part of the review so you can know what to expect.

3. Deposit and withdrawal

Only by depositing and withdrawing actual funds can I gain a true picture of how this process works with each platform. There are often discrepancies in what is published on their own websites in terms of times, methods, and charges for depositing and withdrawing. All this is then detailed in the review.

4. Trading platform

This is in relation to the overall experience and usability of the platform itself. I detail whether you should expect a mobile trading experience, a desktop-based platform, a web-based platform, or all three. Within this section, I take a detailed look at the tools and features on offer and how they affect your trading experience.

5. Markets and products

It’s important that the platform you choose provides access to the sort of investment opportunities that will suit you best. To this end, I take the time to detail the investment products and markets that each platform provides access to and whether they might be suited to inexperienced or advanced investors.

6. Research

The level of research you need and the amount provided can vary significantly between platforms. A platform with ready-made portfolios won’t benefit from pages of research tools, however, platforms designed to help you make your own investment decisions should supply a healthy amount of tools to help you build a diversified portfolio.

7. Customer service

Poor customer service can be frustrating and time-consuming which is why I personally make contact with each platform on the channels provided. I always make contact a number of times on a variety of issues and in addition, I read countless reviews from other customers in order to take their accounts into consideration.

8. Education

A platform with robust education content can help develop your trading and investment skills which is why I take a detailed look at what is provided and the channels available be it webinars, articles, blogs, videos, or podcasts.

This section is also scored according to what I believe is required for the type of platform that I am reviewing.

9. Safety

Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to your finances and therefore I will only review platforms that I deem to meet minimum safety requirements, such as being authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

In addition, I take a look at any additional safety measures employed by the platform such as how they store your funds and whether they are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. If there is any cause for concern, I ensure this is highlighted in my review.

How I remain impartial

You may be wondering if Investing Reviews receive a fee for the platforms we recommend. Whilst it is true that some (not all) of the platforms I review will pay a small amount for each new client referred to them, it does not influence how I rate the platform in question.

I will only make changes requested by the platforms if I consider them to be fair and representative of the service they offer.