Deciding between UK investment platforms too often requires a trade-off between cost and value. In many ways, Bestinvest is no exception to this rule.Bestinvest is a mid-sized investment platform with around £2.7 billion in assets under management. Because it’s a part of the Tilney Group, you enjoy access to products and services that you won’t otherwise get with budget investment platforms, such as three management options for your SIPP account.
At the same time, there are some core features of a standard investment platform that Bestinvest skips, which impact whether or not you should stay with Bestinvest long-term.
Without question, the Bestinvest SIPP is the platform’s most attractive product, particularly for new investors and those just getting started with retirement planning. But is it worth starting or transferring an ISA here, too? Our Bestinvest review answers these questions and more.
Their fees are a little higher than some stockbrokers but their pricing structure is simple and easy to understand. BestInvest may also not be the best option if you like to be in full control of where your investments are held. Nevertheless, it is the perfect choice for people who don’t have hours upon hours to spend researching tracker funds and instead just want to start putting some cash away for their future.
They have a wealth of blog posts and tutorials to familiarise users with all the lingo when it comes to investments and provides useful tools for calculating how much your money could be worth in the next decade.
BestInvest is available on both iOS and android and you can get signed up in just a few minutes.
A quick review of the website shows that Bestinvest offers a simple range of tax-efficient products including:
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- Junior ISA
- General Investment Accounts
Using a platform that offers both tax-wrapper products and a general investment account means you can maximise your tax-free investments and put the excess in the market without opening and learning multiple providers’ systems. It’s a valuable proposition if you don’t have a huge amount of time to dedicate to monitoring your investments. However, as you’ll see elsewhere, Bestinvest doesn’t have the kind of tools required to get knee-deep in share dealing through an investment account. As a result, the value proposition is a bit muddled in terms of execution.
Research Services & Tools
Even though Bestinvest focuses on providing an investment platform for easy-to-use tax-free accounts, it provides a decent range of education for investors, particularly those with basic financial literacy who want to grow their knowledge.
For example, their investment guide covers subjects like:
- How to find stocks poised to outperform
- How to find companies paying dividends
- How to find green and sustainable funds
Bestinvest also provides customer-facing documents that help you parse funds, portfolios, and even help you “Spot the Dog” (i.e, the worst-performing funds).
You aren’t going to get much in the way of charts and tools, which limits your ability to take advantage of the DIY options offered. Generally speaking, the technical side of the service is lacking. However, you do get easily-digestible and regularly updated guides and posts to help you become a more confident novice investor.
Keep in mind that none of the content the team produces constitutes formal financial advice. If you need help with retirement planning tailored to your financial history, then you need to seek financial advice from an independent financial adviser.
But if you would rather keep everything in one place, you don’t actually need to go far to find advice. Here’s where the relationship with Tilney becomes valuable: the connections allow you to choose the Bestinvest Plus service for expert advice from an adviser. Bestinvest Plus is a free service available to walk you through your finances and learn more about what’s available to you through the platform. The service offers recommendations on the Bestinvest ready-made portfolio products – not dealing. So, if you’re completely new to investing and have an interest in the ready-made products, you can get some initial help to get you started.
Fees & Charges
Bestinvest UK accounts come with tiered account fees.
If you want an ISA, Investment Account or Junior ISA, you’ll pay:
- 0.4% on up to £250,000
- 0.2% on £250,000 to £1 million
- Free over £1 million
The ISA fees are similar to those offered by competitors, which tend to hover between 3.5% and 5% Keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay fund fees, which vary by product. It’s worth noting that BestInvest’s fees are much cheaper than Nutmeg and Wealthify, who charge up to 0.75% and 0.6% respectively and depending on your portfolio choice.
The SIPP fees are slightly less than those associated with the ISA:
- 0.3% on up to £250,000
- 0.2% on £250,000 – £1 million
- Free over £1 million
You’ll also pay an administration fee of £120 (including VAT) on a quarterly basis.
If you choose the ready-made portfolio option, you’ll pay an annual management fee of 1.45% to 1.54% depending on the portfolio you choose.
If you’re interested in an Investment Account, then you’ll also pay share dealing fees on £7.50 per trade. The good news: buying and selling funds is free. You still need to pay fund charges, which is par for the course.
Keep in mind that you still need to consider Stamp Duty as well as potential ongoing fund charges.
It’s a bit disappointing that Bestinvest doesn’t make it simple to see how much your account will cost you before you get set up. Several of its competitors like Nutmeg use graphs and charts to help you actualise the true cost of the management fees. It’s a small quibble, but it demonstrates a lack of thoughtfulness around the user experience.
All in: the fees offered by Tilney Bestinvest won’t make or break you, but the SIPP fees are very competitive. We like the use of the tiered fee based on the value of your portfolio as they tend to be more cost-effective compared to fixed annual fees. However, you should always compare fees based on your investment strategy.
Bestinvest offers two non-leveraged products: ISAs and SIPPs.
Because of the tax-efficient nature of these investments, you can’t use leveraged funds within an ISA or SIPP portfolio.
You don’t have the option to invest in leveraged products with a Bestinvest account.
It’s unclear whether Bestinvest’s general investment account offers any access to leveraged products.
Bestinvest offers both a Stocks and Shares ISA and a Junior ISA. When you open an ISA account, you have access to over 2,500 funds, UK shares, ETFs, and investment trusts.
One of the ways Bestinvest differs from other low-cost platforms is that you have the option to choose between Bestinvest ready-made portfolios and the option to choose your own investments.
You can choose from one of seven ready-made portfolios on your own or ask Bestinvest for help through the Bestinvest Plus service. According to the provider, the Tilney Group investment team create Bestinvest’s portfolios as well as the portfolios for the Tilney wealth management services.
The ready-made portfolios include:
- Maximum Growth
Ready-made portfolios also enjoy management from the Bestinvest team. Yes, you do add on an additional fee that can bring your annual costs up towards 2%. However, you do get professional management in exchange for the fee.
The Bestinvest ISA product is competitive, even when you factor in the increased fund management fees should you choose to go that route. The annual management fee is only 0.4% for accounts under £250,000 compared to the 0.5-0.75% fee offered by the competition.
Overall, we like the number of investment portfolios, and the growth portfolio is a strong offering that does beat competitors like Hargreaves Lansdown in some respects.
If you’re not interested in the ready-made portfolios, then there are tools that make investing fairly straightforward. The Investment Selector allows you to compare funds without opening a dozen tabs, and the range of informal educational tools does cater well to fund investing.
Bestinvest’s SIPP product is an award-winning pension and probably the platform’s biggest draw.
Bestinvest promises value for money through tiered service fees, three investment strategies, and a plethora of customer service options in case you get stuck.
You’ll quickly find that the product is called the Best SIPP. It seems to be both a play-on-words and a very clever marketing tool.
The big standout feature is the option to choose a fully-managed portfolio, work with an investor, or do it all yourself. A DIY SIPP is achievable because while the fee is average, you can invest in funds without paying fund dealing charges, which could save you a great deal when compared with other providers.
It’s uncommon to find all three options within one low-cost investment provider. So, if you have a dream of one day controlling your own pension, then Tilney Best Invest makes it possible.
Be warned: you have to participate in lead generation to get further information about the SIPP product. The guides are available via email and providing your phone number is mandatory. So if you’re just shopping around, you’ll need to go back and update your marketing preferences afterwards.
The Bestinvest SIPP is considered by some to be the flagship product, and it’s not hard to see why. Many of the same rules and tools apply to both the ISA and SIPP accounts. But the SIPP product is known to be substantially cheaper than many other SIPPs on the market, particularly for those just getting started. Again, the free fund dealing is a huge bonus for new investors. And if you are interested in share dealing, then the prices are on par with other providers: £7.50 seems to be the standard charge.
Bestinvest also offers some pension options designed for new investors that aren’t part and parcel of the low-cost SIPP landscape. For example, you can schedule a free telephone pension review with Bestinvest advisors to review your pension and its growth, which is a great service. The free advice includes reviewing your fees, double-checking your investments, and ensuring you’re making the most of allowances. Again, it’s not free financial advice, but it does help you prevent simple mistakes that could damage your retirement goals. They’ll even help you fi you don’t have all your pension paperwork or it’s a mess.
All in, it’s not hard to see why the SIPP is so well-reviewed and continues to win awards. While it’s not designed for high net-worth individuals, you do get real value if you’re just starting out and you get it at a cost that’s substantially lower than other providers.
Opening an Account
You can open an account online with your email address, National Insurance number, and your debit card or bank details to fund the payment.
If you get stuck, you can phone Bestinvest on 020 7189 9999.
Transferring Your Investments to Bestinvest
Transferring your investments to BestInvest is straightforward. Once you create your BestInvest account, you can provide your current investment account details to initiate the transfer.
In most cases,BestInvest arranges an electronic ISA transfer with your current provider.
The process usually takes 5-30 days depending on your existing provider.
Unlike other providers, like Nutmeg, BestInvest doesn’t cover any transfer fees. If your existing provider charges you money to leave your account, you are responsible for eating the cost.
The ability to get in touch with your investment provider is always important, particularly in times of volatility.
Unlike other providers, Bestinvest has a complete FAQ section that covers not only the basics, like adding money and withdrawing from your account, but it also covers questions on jargon, investing, and dealing. You’ll also find information on transfers, transactions, and basic security measures.
If you have more questions and you can’t find the answers in the help section, you have multiple ways to get in touch:
- Phone Bestinvest on 020 7189 9999
- Request a call back from the team
- Send an email
- Chat to them via online support
The range of customer service options sets it apart from other providers because it allows you to be proactive. The call back feature is particularly helpful and means you avoid yet another half an hour on hold.
Who is Bestinvest Suitable for?
Bestinvest is suitable for new and intermediate investors who are still growing their portfolio. Because they cover exit fees from other providers, it’s also a suitable place to move any languishing or forgotten existing SIPP or ISA accounts.
Once you have a high-value ISA or SIPP, you no longer enjoy the value you need for the size of your account.
Who Owns Bestinvest?
Bestinvest is owned by the Tilney Group. Tilney has £20 billion in assets under management.
The company changed hands quite a few times between 1986 (the year Tilney was founded) and today. But the current iteration is the product of the merger of Bestinvest and Tilney, which created Tilney Bestinvest. Bestinvest is the arm focused on financial planning and investment management.
The Tilney Group has 55 UK offices and provides investment management and financial advice.
How Safe is Bestinvest?
It goes without saying – and we have to say it – that no investment is without risk. You always risk losing your funds when you trade assets on the markets.
While you can’t stop market downturn, Bestinvest is a safe choice for your funds because it is regulated by the financial authorities in the UK, including the Financial Conduct Authority.
In the event that Bestinvest should go bust, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FCSS) covers up to £85,000 of your investments in your Bestinvest account. Remember that the FCSC won’t cover for a loss in value or if you own shares in a company that folds.
Bestinvest even goes beyond market safety and provides tips for keeping your Bestinvest account safe from hackers, data breaches, or other types of cybercrime.
How Do I Close my Account at Bestinvest?
You can close your account within the Bestinvest online portal.
Keep in mind that closing your account is never immediate. It takes time to sell your investments. Bestinvest will also keep your details on file to provide you with tax documents and any earnings derived from your investments in the time before you sold your investments and close your account.
If you want to close your account to transfer, all you need to do is sign up with a new provider and initiate the transfer. Once the transfer completes, you can close your Bestinvest account within your profile.
How to Withdraw Money from Bestinvest?
Cash withdrawals are free whenever you choose to make them.
To withdraw, go into your Online Investment Service account and choose the ‘Cash’ tab. From there, click ‘Withdraw’ and choose the amount you want in cash. You will need to have your bank details registered with the system before it will allow the transaction.
Is Bestinvest any Good?
Bestinvest is a fully-regulated investment provider with ar reasonable online product that allows you to enjoy full management from the team or choose your own investments. Whether you see a return on your investments depends on the product you choose as well as the market itself. However, some of Bestinvest’s more aggressive portfolios (such as Adventurous) have been found to outperform their competition.
Beyond being regulated and trustworthy, the company continuously wins awards for its products. Investors Chronicle named it the Best Investment Platform for all three years of its operation.
Bestinvest has mixed reviews from current and former clients. A big concern for anyone interested in trading should be potential website glitches and IT errors.
How to Contact Bestinvest
You have several options for contacting Bestinvest.
You can call them on 020 7189 999, or request a callback via the website. Bestinvest’s phone lines are open from 7:45 AM to 6 PM Monday-Wednesday and Thursday from 7:45 AM to 8 PM. Bestinvest also offers Saturday hours from 9:30 to 1:30 PM.
You also have to option to email the team.
If you want to write, you can send post to :
Online Investment Service, Bestinvest, The Observatory, Western Road, Bracknell, RG12 1RF
Peter Field is a financial analyst and has written for InvestingReviews.co.uk covering topics from pensions, savings, investments and ISAs. His knowledge of the Investment market has proven invaluable, making his unbiased views and opinions open and honest for everyone. In 2021 Peter retired and is working towards enjoying more of the outdoors with his beloved labrador Millie.