Hargreaves Lansdown Review

Hargreaves Lansdown Review
Hargreaves Lansdown Review

Hargreaves Lansdown is one the most recognisable investment brokers in the UK and offer a wide range of investment solutions.

Summary

Welcome to our Hargreaves Lansdown Review. Also known as HL.co.uk, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the most popular ISA providers, fund supermarkets and investment platforms in the UK. Today, HL manages over one million client accounts worth over £86 billion.

Hargreaves Lansdown Review

HL’s mission is to offer a premium service to all customers. Unlike other online providers, any customer can book in for phone consultations or even an in-person consultation with one of HL’s financial advisors. (Fees do apply after the initial consultation.) These are services often restricted to those with both the funds and the confidence to approach a financial advisor, and it demonstrates HL’s commitment to helping every one of its customers reach their financial goals.

The platform’s popularity is also reflected in its long list of industry awards, which includes winning What Investments Best SIPP Provider for 10 consecutive years and Your Money’s Best Online SIPP Provider of 2017. The firm also won three Gold Standard Awards for Individual Pensions, Retirement and Group Pensions over three consecutive years.

There are so many investment providers available today, but could HL be the right choice for you? We analyse the data and share our answer below.

Hargreaves Lansdown Investment Products Range

HL provides a wide range of services for investors at most stages of both financial planning and life in general. The account options include:

  • Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Lifetime ISA
  • Junior ISA
  • SIPP
  • Junior SIPP
  • Annuities
  • Investment Trusts
  • Pension Drawdown
  • Active Savings
  • Share Dealing

For advanced investors, there are venture capital trusts (VCTs), Spread Betting, and CFD Trading accounts.

If you were to switch to HL from another investment provider, you would probably do so for the Stocks and Shares ISA, which is the company’s award-winning and best-loved product.

Research Services & Tools

The research tools available cater to investors of all knowledge levels with an emphasis on the beginners’ guides to investing with plenty of investment ideas and inspiration for everyone. You’ll enjoy items like the Guide to HL Vantage SIPP and the Investor’s guide to Cash ISA’s as well as a long list of calculators, which simplify the math for those who don’t enjoy or don’t know how to run the numbers on their own.

Hargreaves Lansdown Watchlist

Perhaps one of the better offerings from HL is the free introductory call available to all account holders. Before opening an account, you can use their trading platform demo account as well as calling the advisory helpdesk who can provide more details on taking financial advice from the company, including whether seeking advice (and paying the fees) is the right call for your finances and potential portfolio. They also provide a list of their 84 financial advisors, who also provide free initial consultations.

You can also book a space in one of HL’s regular seminars catered to both beginner and experienced investors. They run three different programs including:

  1. Gaining confidence in your investment approach
  2. Inheritance and passing wealth on to loved ones
  3. Preparing for retirement

Hargreaves Lansdown Mobile App Review

HL places the most emphasis on the above products (particularly on the calculators), but it does offer fund research and other tools as well. You can also register for free fund research from their professional team.

There are risk management tools, for example, the stop-loss and limit order function that protects investors in the event of a downturn. You’ll also find interactive charts and live share prices, which are free to use.

The HL mobile app (iOS and Android) is excellent and allows for easy account management, investment and mobile trading on the go

All in, HL’s approach to research tools is in line with its commitment to providing a premium service. It serves more as a way for those entering the market for the first time to gain access to financial advisors as well as a platform for the more experienced investor to tinker with their portfolio on their own (but who are not doing a lot of trades per week).

Hargreaves Lansdown Trading Fees & Account Charges

There is no charge for opening an HL account. Instead, charges depend on the products you choose (SIPP, ISA, Share Dealing etc).

Perhaps the biggest issue with HL.co.uk is that although it provides a helpful platform, it can be expensive compared to low-cost competitors. Although some accuse HL of lacking price transparency, the provider has improved the way it shares this data.

All fees and charges are provided on what we find a very easy to use website, and it also provides helpful examples.

One example transaction provided on the site includes account charges for a SIPP fund. According to HL, if you invest £15,000 in funds and a further £5,000 in shares, then you will pay £7.50 a month in account charges or £90 across the year. However, the exact monthly charge depends on the precise value of your account at the end of each month.

Depending on your account, you may also see charges that include:

  • Government tax and levies
  • Foreign exchange charges for overseas deals (depending on deal size)
  • Phone and post dealing charges
  • Equity regular savings
  • Reinvestment of income charges
  • Automatic reinvestment charges for share income (no charge for fund income)

Hargreaves Lansdown ISA Fees

Charges for the HL Stocks and Shares follow this tiered system:

Hargreaves Lansdown ISA Fee example

  • First £250,000 – 0.45%
  • £250,000-£1 million – 0.25%
  • £1-2 million – 0.1%
  • Over £2 million – No charge

HL doesn’t assess a dealing charge for buying and selling funds.

Share dealing comes with a rather steep charge according to the number of deals you completed in the previous month:

  • 0-9 deals in the previous month – £11.95 per deal current month
  • 10-19 deals at £8.95 per deal
  • 20+ deals at £5.95 per deal

SIPP Fees

Charges for the HL SIPP follow this tiered system:

  • First £250,000 – 0.45%
  • £250,000-£1 million – 0.25%
  • £1-2 million – 0.1%
  • Over £2 million – No charge

HL doesn’t assess charges for holding cash and also doesn’t have the dreaded inactivity fees.

The same share dealing prices above also apply.

Opening a HL Account

HL promises that new investors can open an account in as little as 10-15 minutes depending on the account chosen. There is no general account: you need to open a specific account for the program that best suits your financial needs.

To open an ISA, you need a minimum of:

Hargreaves Lansdown Registration Form

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your debit card details (if opening with cash)
  • Your bank details (if opening with monthly direct debits)

To open a SIPP, you need a minimum of:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your debit card details (if opening with cash)
  • Your bank details (if opening with monthly direct debits)

You also have the option to open an account by phone or by post, if you prefer.

How to Transfer Investments to Hargreaves Lansdown

HL is happy to accept transfers, and the company doesn’t charge any fees when you move your ISA (or another account) from another provider to HL, which we think is great. Though, you should always be aware of any exit fees associated with your current account.

Transferring is relatively easy. As with most investment platforms, you simply apply to transfer an existing account to the relevant HL account. HL then works with your current provider to complete the transfer and lets you know when it’s complete.

An ISA usually takes an average of just over 3 weeks to complete from the date of receipt until you can begin investing with your HL account.

Assuming the exit fees aren’t crippling, you can either break even or add value to your account by transferring to HL. For example, HL runs cashback offers that scale according to the size of the balance you transfer. In January 2020, HL ran a promotion offering £20 cashback into your loyalty bonus account when you transferred £5,000 to £24,999 and as much as £500 when you transferred an ISA worth £150,000 or more.

These offers change and may not always be available, but it is worth exploring the site and planning strategically.

However, it’s worth noting that customers say transferring out of HL tends to be much slower. At the same time, HL scrapped its exit fees in 2019, so leaving the platform behind is at least free.

HL Stocks and Shares ISA Review

HL’s Stocks and Shares ISA has won the ‘Best Stocks and Shares ISA provider’ award multiple times. Its many awards combined with its name recognition make it one of the most popular ISA products across the UK for both new and experienced investors.

With an HL Stocks and Shares ISA, you have access to 2,500 different funds, shares, and trust. You can also access shares in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The number of options is attractive to hands-on investors, but if you are new to the product or prefer to rely on HL’s advice, you can also select a ready-made portfolio.

What sets HL apart from other providers is the recently-revamped website that provides a wealth of information in an easily accessible format. If you are interested in an ISA provider willing to hold your hand every step of the way, then this ISA account could suit you well.

Lifetime ISA, Cash ISAs and Junior ISAs are also available and they follow the same path as the Stocks and Shares ISA in terms of fee structure and customer service.

HL.co.uk Self Invested Pension Plan (SIPP) Review

For ten years running, Hargreaves Lansdown Vantage SIPP has dominated the industry awards lineup, winning the ‘What Investment’ award for Best SIPP provider every year.

The popularity of the HL’s SIPP product relies on largely the same factors as the ISA: using the website and app makes account management easy and it offers access to a huge range of investments (ETFs, stocks and shares, investment trusts, and 2,500+ funds).

The annual 0.45% charge for £0 to £250,000 is expensive if you have a portfolio closer to the £250,000 limit but not quite in the lower 0.25% bracket for £250,000 to £1 million. The tiered transaction cost for shares can also be painful. On one hand, the fee encourages you to engage with the account every month, but the account also caters more to people who want a hands-off approach.

At the same time, HL also pays out 0.35% interest on the uninvested cash in the SIPP, which makes it attractive even if the share dealing charges are higher, particularly compared to 0% interest on cash at your bank. Apart from the fees, the normal SIPP tax benefits apply.

HL Customer Service

HL has a strong customer service system that is very hands-on with customers of all account types.

Although there are the usual gripes from customers concerning fees, it is generally recgonised that HL’s customer service team is the most responsive out of almost all investment platforms in the UK.

Who is Hargreaves Lansdown Suitable For?

Before signing up for any investment platform, you should also check your own suitability for the product you’re interested in. Only you know enough about your current finances and future goals to choose the right platform and investment type for you.

That said, Hargreaves Lansdown provides excellent customer service, an easy-to-use digital platform available on the web and as an app, and wide range of investment choice. It’s suitable for clients who are just starting out in managing their investment and retirement products and who benefit from both introductory guides to their products and a simple, clean layout that makes setting up an account so easy that you can do it in 10 minutes.

The access to live financial advisors is also a benefit. Although you will pay more in fees compared to competing providers, it does open up an opportunity to access services previously restricted to those with larger accounts.

Despite fee slashing over the past five years, both the HL ISA and SIPP are expensive for those with larger portfolios because of the tiered structure. However, it can be a helpful place to get started. Plus, the lack of exit fees means you can transfer your account to provider such as Interactive Investor (ii.co.uk) Review with more satisfactory fees as both your fund and knowledge investing and trading mature.

Hargreaves Lansdown Review FAQ

📈 Is Your Money Safe With Hargreaves Lansdown?

As per FCA requirements all client cash is held in trust in segregated accounts. All stocks are held in nominee accounts with the you as the client listed as the beneficial owner

📈 Can Hargreaves Lansdown Go Bust?

Yes of course it’s technically possible that Hargreaves Lansdown could go bust, however you are protected if the worst happens. All client cash is held in segregated accounts and stocks are held in nominee accounts with the client listed as the beneficial owner.

📈 What is Hargreaves Lansdown?

Publicly listed and part of the FTSE100 and over £85 billion assets under management and over 1 million customers, Hargreaves Lansdown is regarded as the number 1 “investment supermarket” in the UK. Similar companies would include Interactive Investor

📈 How to Close a Hargreaves Lansdown Account?

The easiest way to close your account is to login to your account and contact customer support. They will help you with the technicalities of closing your positions and/or transferring your assets to another provider such as Interactive Investor. As we discuss in our review there is no fees for closing your account but there will be transaction costs for closing positions.

📈 How to Withdraw Money from Hargreaves Lansdown?

Within the account that you want to withdraw money from, click “Action” button and then choose “Withdraw Money”, then just follow the instructions (amount, account details etc). Always remember, customer support are on hand to help you if needed.

Peter Field - CFA

Peter Field – CFA

Editor in Chief

Peter uses his many years of experience to oversee the reviews and guides published on InvestingReviews.co.uk

When not at his desk, Peter is training for his next triathlon and trying to be a great dad and husband.

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