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AJ Bell Youinvest Review

AJ Bell’s Youinvest platform began operating in 1995, and it’s one of the best known brokers in the UK in part because of its groundbreaking nature.

AJ Bell offered the first online SIPP back in 2000, and today, it boasts nearly 295,000 customers and manages assets worth over £56.5 billion.

As we show in our AJ Bell Youinvest review, the Youinvest platform is simple to use and well-recognised within the industry as a top performer.

In 2020 alone AJ Bell has won 9 awards, including “Recommended Provider – Self-Invest Personal Pensions” and “Recommended Provider Investment Platforms” from Which?

AJ Bell Youinvest Rating Summary

Overall Rating: 9/10
80%
Fees: 8.5/10
85%
Account opening: 10/10
100%
Deposit and withdrawal: 10/10
100%
Trading platform: 9/10
90%
Markets and products: 9/10
90%
Research: 7/10
70%
Customer service: 10/10
100%
Education: 10/10
100%

Pros

Easy to use platform which is clear on phone, ipad and laptop
One of the cheapest options for small and medium portfolios
No account set up fees, inactivity fees, holding fees or withdrawal fees.

Cons

A fixed fee broker would be better value for larger portfolios
Cheaper investment platform fees are available.

AJ Bell Youinvest Review

One of the standout features is the integration of the desktop platform into the mobile app. Although most platforms offer an app at this stage, the Youinvest app is more than just functional: it’s also appealing and offers enough features that new investors may find they can manage their investments and take care of all online mobile trading needs. However, functionality does slow if you have several different holdings.

AJ Bell Youinvest Product Range

AJ Bell Youinvest as an online broker offers four primary products:

  • SIPP (Self-invested personal pension)
  • Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Lifetime ISA
  • Dealing accounts

The platform also offers Junior SIPPs and Junior ISAs for parents interested in saving for their children.

The star of the show is the SIPP personal pension option, which is both award-winning and AJ Bell’s most popular product.

When you open your account, you can build a portfolio based on the list of funds provided through the investment tools (see the next section). In addition, AJ Bell provides investment ideas to help you make choices about your investments based on your personal circumstances, including:

  • AJ Bell Funds – choose a fund and leave the day-to-day investing decisions to their investment specialists
  • AJ Bell Ready-made portfolios – choose a pre-built portfolio and manage it on your own
  • AJ Bell Favourite Funds list – build your own portfolio from a rigorously researched list of funds put together by their investment specialists

Research Services & Tools

The research tools available could be useful for new investors and those who want to take control of their retirement funds or trading accounts for the first time. Like most platforms, the research data comes from Morningstar. You’ll also enjoy several industry standard tools like:

  • Quickrank
  • Financial Market Diary
  • Dividend Dashboard
  • Portfolio Manager
  • X-Ray Vision

Account holders also have complete access to in-house content, which includes regular blog posts, videos, and a weekly podcast. AJ Bell Youinvest customers can also read the Shares magazine when maintaining a balance of £4,000 across their accounts. The magazine is more than company marketing material. It offers useful information and it’s intelligently written, which is a welcome surprise. Indeed, most of the research compiled internally is helpful and applicable to investors with various backgrounds, so it is worth diving into their blog posts and videos if you are in the process of acquainting yourself with trading for the first time.

If you consider yourself to be a regular or savvy investor, then you may find the tools and charts middling at best. You have 10 technical analysis indicators and the option to add dividends and news events to your charts. However, you can’t set stock alerts nor can you create and save individual charts or templates.

It’s not hard to see why the firm offers its hands-off and pre-packaged portfolios as doing the research to put together a comprehensive package would be cumbersome with the research tools on offer.

Remember, the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested.

AJ Bell Youinvest Trading Fees & Account Charges

AJ Bell Youinvest offers competitive pricing that could be attractive to customers who are still in the early days of saving for retirement. To keep their products low cost, AJ Bell got rid of the vast majority of the fees including:

  • Account set up fees
  • Inactivity fees (the bane of all buy & hold investors)
  • Cash holding fees
  • Cash withdrawal fees
  • Additionally, the charge for their regular investment service is £1.50 per deal which is good value for investors

The trading fees cater more to people who only want to make a few deals per month. Expect to pay a steep fee of £9.95 per share deal for the first 0-9 trades each month. If you intend to use the account for regular trading, you may be better suited to a platform that bundles the trades, which lowers the cost of each transaction substantially.

It’s also important to note that Youinvest does still assess an exit fee if you choose to leave. It hasn’t taken the lead from competitor providers like Hargreaves Lansdown and done away with them entirely, which we think merits a substantial black mark on their record. Expect to pay a £25 transfer-out fee for each fund (reduced to £9.95 per holding from 01 January 2021). Essentially, if you grow your portfolio to a point where it makes sense to go somewhere that caters to midsize to large accounts, then AJ Bell will make sure it costs you dearly.

Finally, you’ll pay a hefty £29.95 fee for any deals you do via telephone rather than online. So, if you’re the type who rings customer service regularly, you might find this platform doesn’t cater to your needs.

AJ Bell Youinvest ISA Fees

The ISA charges come with a shares custody fee of 0.25% of the value of the shares in your account with a maximum charge of £7.50 per quarter (Maximum £3.50 per month from January 2021)

AJ Bell Youinvest ISA Review

There is also a funds custody charge that scales as follows:

  • 0.25% on the first £250,000
  • 0.10% on the next £250,000 to £1 million
  • 0.05% on the next £1 million to £2 million
  • No charge on funds valued over £2 million
  • No charge on cash

To buy and sell investments in an AJ Bell Youinvest Stocks and Shares ISA, per deal you’ll pay:

  • £1.50 for funds online
  • £9.95 for shares online
  • £4.95 for shares when you made 10 or more shares deals the previous month

AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP Fees

The SIPP fee includes a 0.25% shares custody charge with a maximum of £25 per quarter (maximum of £10 per month from 1st January 2021). There is also a funds custody charge that scales as follows:

  • 0.25% on the first £250,000
  • 0.10% on £250,000 to £1 million
  • 0.05% on £1 million and £2 million
  • No charge on funds valued over £2 million

There are also no charges for cash holding.

Buying and selling investments is a bit steep:

  • £1.50 for funds online
  • £9.95 for shares online
  • £4.95 for shares when you made 10 or more share deals the previous month

Opening a AJ Bell Youinvest Account

Opening a AJ Bell Youinvest platform account is simple and takes under 10 minutes.

Before starting the application for an ISA, you’ll need your National Insurance number and a way to fund your account, either a debit card or the details of the existing account that you want to transfer to Youinvest.

To apply for a SIPP, you’ll need your NI number, employers details, and either a debit card or existing pension to fund the account.

Remember, the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested.

 

Junior accounts require your NI number and your child’s name and ideally their NI number, as well. One thing you may find is that you can only open one Junior ISA and that the software blocks you from opening a second one for a second child. It’s unclear why this happens, but if you are interested in opening multiple investments, then you may want to call customer service and ask them to talk you through the process.

How to Transfer Investments to AJ Bell Youinvest

You can transfer most existing SIPPs (or pensions) as well as ISAs to Youinvest.

To get started, you need to open the relevant account with Youinvest. You then have the option to enter the details of your existing account to initiate the transfer. Like most platforms, Youinvest then gets in touch with your current provider to initiate and finish the transfer.

Although Youinvest doesn’t have an account origination fee, your current provider may charge you exit fees. However, you may be able to avail of offers from Youinvest to cover those costs. Youinvest’s transfer offer is worth up to £500 per customer and to be eligible the account being transferred must be valued at £20,000 or more. Make sure you check the offers terms and conditions.

The transfer time takes 2 to 12 weeks depending on the type of investment involved. Cash only investments wrap up in around two weeks, but shares take four to six weeks. Anything held internationally takes up to 12 weeks.

AJ Bell Youinvest ISA Review

The Youinvest service offers three ISAs:

  • Stocks and shares ISA
  • Lifetime ISA
  • Junior ISA

AJ Bell focuses on ensuring its platform is cheaper than its competitors, but it does remain cost effective as your portfolio grows from the ground up. If you are desperate to find something cheaper, like Vanguard, you need to be prepared to lose some control: for example, Vanguard only allows account holders to invest in its funds.

The Stocks and shares ISA is easy to use and you can choose your investments from a wide range including stocks, shares, 2,000 funds, investment trusts, and ETFs.

Buying and selling investments (per deal) as at 3rd December 2020 fees as follows:

AJ Bell ISA Fees
The Lifetime ISA is available to UK residents aged 18 to 39 who want to save for retirement or enjoy tax-free savings for a mortgage deposit on their first home. Youinvest offers the same proposition to these customers as to Stocks and shares ISAs, but you will adhere to the HMRC rules that apply to this type of ISA.

AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP Review

The Youinvest SIPP is the company’s flagship product, and if you wanted to transfer your accounts away from another provider, then the SIPP could be the product to migrate your account for.

The Youinvest SIPP product offers access to a wide range of investments, including shares, ETFs, investment trusts, and unit trusts. You’ll enjoy features like:

  • Low annual custody charges
  • Low cost dealing
  • Invest as little as £25 per month
  • Tax relief
  • Great customer service

AJ Bell Youinvest Customer Service

AJ Bell Youinvest provides excellent customer service and offers two UK-based customer service teams, so you can phone, chat online, or send an email and get an answer within hours. They operate between 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm Saturday, which means you don’t need to phone in from work.

The customer service experience is an important component of Youinvest because it’s where the fees begin to shine. Often, ultra-low cost services have appalling service, but AJ Bell Youinvest has an A+ level of customer service, which is worth considering when you compare them with other platforms.

Who is AJ Bell Youinvest Suitable For?

So who should invest with AJ Bell Youinvest? We believe they cater to a specific demographic: people who want to save money on the costs of keeping a modest portfolio but who aren’t finance professionals or who don’t have an interest in more extensive trading.

The focus on AJ Bell funds and AJ Bell ready-made portfolios combined with the low fees make the accounts an attractive option. It’s unfortunate that the provider charges an exit fee because it can be expensive for people with larger portfolios, who generally fare better with fixed fee brokers, like Interactive Investor.

If you’re interested in comparing this AJ Bell Youinvest review with its closest competition, read our Interactive Investor and Hargreaves Lansdown reviews.

Note: AJ Bell Youinvest does not provide advice. Tax treatment depends on your personal circumstances and rules may change. LISA, ISA and pension rules apply.

AJ Bell Youinvest FAQs

Who Owns AJ Bell Youinvest?

Founded by Andy Bell (still the current CEO) and Nicholas Littlefair in 1995, AJ Bell is now a publicly listed company on the FTSE250 (LSE:AJB)

How Safe is AJ Bell Youinvest?

Yes it is very safe. If we look at the facts, AJ Bell is regulated by the UK FCA and has over 295k customers and over £56.5 billion in client assets.

How do I Close my Account at AJ Bell Youinvest?

The process is simple where all you need to do is contact customer support and they will walk you through the process

How to Withdraw Money from AJ Bell Youinvest?

If you want to withdraw cash from your Stocks and Shares ISA or your share dealing account, you can log in to your account and click on “Withdrawals” and your money should arrive within five working days to your nominated and registered bank account.

How to Contact AJ Bell Youinvest?

You can call them on 0345 54 32 600 or email them on enquiry@youinvest.co.uk for customer service and dealingservices@youinvest.co.uk for dealing queries.

Is AJ Bell Youinvest any Good?

AJ Bell Youinvest is worth considering for investors with small portfolios who are cost conscious.

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Antonia Medlicott

Antonia Medlicott - Financial Editor

Antonia uses her many years of experience to oversee the reviews, guides and news published on InvestingReviews.co.uk. When not writing or editing, Antonia is usually out walking her Great Danes.

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