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Dodl Review

Dodl by AJ Bell

Dodl is the latest offering from established investment platform AJ Bell, seeking to make investing accessible and simple for people stepping into the market for the first time.

Dodl is an excellent proposition for first time investors seeking a low cost investment app however, experienced investors will find their range of assets very limiting.

Dodl is an app only investment platform designed for novice investors making their first steps into the stock market. Their commission free trading and low pricing undercuts most of their competitors, giving the likes of Freetrade a run for their money.

Dodl are a brand new offering, only opening their virtual doors in the first half of 2022. Of course, coming under the umbrella of AJ Bell means that Dodl will feature AJ Bell funds as well as access to a limited number of stocks and ETFs.

The branding, investment range, and commission free trading, certainly seems to be aimed at young investors or people just entering the investment space for the first time.

Dodl Ratings

Overall


Overall Rating:
80%
Fees:
100%
Account opening:
90%
Deposit and withdrawal:
90%
Trading platform:
80%
Markets and products:
60%
Research:
70%
Customer service:
90%
Education:
70%

Pros

  • Very competitive in terms of cost
  • Simple, easy to use platform
  • Responsive Customer service

Cons

  • Limited choice of investments
Dodl Homepage

Who are Dodl?

Dodl are solely owned by AJ Bell Youinvest, a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange. AJ Bell are already established as one of the UK’s leading investment platforms for retail investors with 346,000 users holding over £65.2 billion in assets.

Who owns Dodl?

AJ Bell was originally founded in 1995 by Andy Bell and Nicholas Littlefair. During the time that AJ Bell floated on the London Stock Exchange, a significant stake in the company was awarded to Fergus Lyons who today still retains 3.8 per cent of the company.

Dodl product range overview

Dodl have launched with four different account types and a simplified range of funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and shares. The choice of funds and shares is purposefully restricted to just 80 in order to narrow down the choice for new investors.

AJ Bell Fund range

These are ready made investment portfolios that have been expertly put together by AJ Bell. There are just seven to choose from with the aim to make investing as easy as possible. Investors are simply required to select their risk level and they are away and running. These ready made portfolios come with six different risk levels and include the popular Responsible Growth Fund from AJ Bell.

Themed Investments

For those that prefer to invest in line with their values, Dodl are offering a selection of funds that invest in specific sectors and regions all provided by some of the most established names in the investment world. These are ideal for investors looking to build their own portfolio using funds focused on responsible investing however, it would still be your responsibility to ensure you were building a diversified investment portfolio.

Shares

There are only 50 shares to choose from here, narrowing down the choice significantly in an attempt to make investing in individual companies less daunting to novice investors. At the time of their launch Dodl are only offering shares to companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, however, I have been reliably informed that they plan to extend this to US shares in the near future.

Dodl investment ISA

This is sometimes referred to as a stocks and shares ISA and allows investors to invest up to £20,000 per annum in a tax free wrapper.

The major thing of note with the Dodl investment ISA is that it is a really cost effective solution to investing. The flat fee of 0.15% of the value of your investments will be hard to beat elsewhere. The minimum deposit into the Dodl investment ISA is £100 or you can set up a monthly direct debit of £25.

Dodl Lifetime ISA

This is the account designed to give people a helping hand buying their first home or saving for their retirement. It attracts a 25% government bonus on all deposits up to £4,000 per annum.

The lifetime ISA is the most efficient way to save for a first home. It can only be used to purchase a home, so you will need to be comfortable locking your money away until such a time. The 25% government bonus is paid on all deposits up to the value of £4,000 each year, meaning you can gain up to £1,000 in bonus money every year, returns you won’t find anywhere else.

You have to be aged between 18 and 39 to take advantage of this type of account and anything over the limit of £4,000 per annum can be paid into the investment ISA up to the value of £20,000 total.

Again, the annual charge of 0.15% makes the Dodl LISA excellent value.

Dodl App Monster

Dodl General Investment Account

At Dodl anything over the ISA limit of £20,000 per year, can be invested into a GIA or General Investment Account.

Whilst there is no tax wrapper with the GIA, it is a useful vehicle for anyone exceeding the ISA limit and still provides access to all Dodl’s investment opportunities at the low monthly cost of 0.15%.

Dodl Pension

Like any pension, saving into a pension with Dodl attracts a tax relief in the form of a 25% top-up from the government.

The Dodl pension certainly represents excellent value and novice investors will be grateful for the pared back investment options that put them in control of how their pension pot is invested. At the same excellent price this also represent good value for money.

Dodl customer service review

When I tested the Dodl customer service I found it to be excellent with immediate response times.

Dodl have a limited offering when it comes to means by which to contact them with only a chat function available. However, what they do have is extremely effective and enquiries are generally dealt with immediately. If there is a wait, Dodl will inform you by email when your query is answered so you can get on with your day.

Dodl opening an account

As you would expect, opening an account at Dodl really is a doddle! You can be up and running in moments.

Opening an account can be done easily by downloading the app and following the prompts. What I liked about Dodl is that they accept Apple and Google Pay which is an extra convenience.

Dodl safety

Being part of the AJ Bell group provides Dodl with significant financial backing. In addition they have employed all the safety measures to ensure client funds are adequately protected.

AJ Bell is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as well as being a member of the London Stock Exchange. All client funds are held in segregated FCA approved banks providing an additional layer of protection.

In addition client funds are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme meaning you could claim up to £85,000 in the unlikely event that AJ Bell goes bust.

Dodl fees

Dodl have placed themselves as a very low cost option with no commission for buying or selling investments and a low monthly cost of just 0.15%.

The annual charge of 0.15% of the value of your investments is about as low a cost as you can hope to find anywhere. There is a minimum charge of £1 per month however, not many low cost platforms of this nature will provide access to a LISA.

There are no trading fees for buying and selling UK stocks however, when you invest in funds there will be an annual fee of the underlying fund depending on the fund you select.

To give you an indication of how Dodle stack up against other platforms I have included the following table:

 

Investment ISA with… Monthly subscription Annual % charge How it works out for a £10,000 investment ISA
(monthly / annually)
Dodl Nope 0.15% (min £1 per month) £1.25 / £15
Freetrade £3 Nope £3 / £36
Moneybox £1 0.45% £4.75 / £57
Nutmeg Nope 0.45% – 0.75% £5 / £60
Vanguard Nope 0.15% £1.25 / £15
Wombat £1 0.10% £1.83 / £22

There are no withdrawal fees or deposit fees to contend with at Dodl making the Dodl platform a very competitive provider.

Who is Dodl suitable for?

Anyone who likes to buy and sell stocks regularly will definitely benefit from the commission free trading, however, you would need to be comfortable with the limited range of investments on offer. That being said, this really is a very low-cost proposition, even beating AJ Bell’s main investment platform in cost.

As one of the more established platforms, it’s easy to see where AJ Bell’s target audience lies with Dodl. They have successfully bridged the gap, providing a cheaper option for young investors.

Useful Information

This section contains useful information to make your experience at Dodl as seamless as possible.

How do I contact Dodl?

The best way to contact Dodl is by clicking on the live chat button on their website or from within the app. Alternatively you can email them at hello@dodl.co.uk

How do I withdraw money from my Dodl savings account?

Before you attempt to withdraw your money you should take a moment to consider that investing is recommended for a minimum term of 5 years. Should your investments be suffering a loss, this is only a permanent loss once you sell. It is always best to ride out any volatility in the market place before you attempt a withdrawal. However, if you would still like to withdraw then you simply neeed to log in and head to the section that reads ‘Withdraw Cash’

How do I close my account at Dodl?

Simply email the support team on hello@dodl.co.uk and explain that you would like to withdraw your money.

Do Dodl provide access to overseas shares?

No, at this time Dodl only provide access to UK shares, although they have expressed their intention to expand this offering. At this time there is no information available as to when new shares may be available.

Dodl FAQs

Is Dodl any good?

Yes, whilst there are other platforms that are similar to Dodl, I believe AJ Bell may have stumbled across the perfect mix of simplicity and cost effectiveness with the launch of their new app. The mix of assets may seem limiting for some however, I believe new customers will appreciate the simplistic range of investment opportunities and Dodl have already indicated that they will be adding more stocks shortly.

How long does it take to withdraw money from Dodl?

It can take up to five working days for your withdrawn funds to appear in your bank account which is fairly standard.

Is my money safe with Dodl?

Despite being a new platform, being owned by AJ Bell places Dodl in a very strong position in terms of financial backing. In the past year alone AJ Bell have reported an increase of 30% in customer numbers with net inflows up by 50% to £6.4bn. For this reason I can see no issue with safety where Dodl is concerned.

Customer reviews

Rated 3.4 out of 5
7 reviews
Overall rating:
5 star14%
4 star43%
3 star29%
2 star0%
1 star14%
Quality rating:
Rated 4 out of 5
Fees
Rated 4 out of 5
Account opening
Rated 3.6 out of 5
Deposit and withdrawal
Rated 3 out of 5
Customer service
Most recent reviews:
Rated 1 out of 5
14/07/2022
Nigel Cornall

please do not go anywhere near this platform. The customer service is appalling, as is the complaints handling team. Navigation around the app is clunky and not intuitive at all. Much better platforms out there with the same fee schedule, let’s not even mention the returns at the moment. Expected so much more from AJ Bell, please stay clear unless you are seduced by a silly furry animal waving at you. ( Clearly I was )
If I could I would give zero stars.

Dislikes
  • Account opening
  • Deposit and withdrawal
  • Customer service
Rated 3 out of 5
10/07/2022
Emma

It has been relatively easy to set up and use, so it has been quite fun to invest with. However, the returns haven’t been that great, but I plan to keep using it for the long term, so this might improve over time.

Rated 4 out of 5
10/07/2022
Aman

It’s easy enough to use and has investment options for my needs. I love that there aren’t any fees for buying or selling, this is key to why I use the app and otherwise would not. The annual fee is cheap too which is nice.

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