In my independent InvestEngine review, I’ve had a look at exactly what the platform has to offer, and how they stack up against their competition in both the DIY and fully managed category, to ascertain whether they have spread themselves too thin, or whether they represent an excellent option for everybody.
With the knowledge that substantial fees can eat away at investment gains, I’ve also taken an in-depth look at their pricing structure and how competitive they are across the board.
InvestEngine presents a new type of investment platform that has focused its efforts on providing comprehensive investment opportunities for all types of investors, including experienced investors and newbies.
In order to achieve this, InvestEngine have turned away from the typical robo advisor / DIY platform categories, and combined the two, to facilitate a one-stop-shop for ALL investors – regardless of their experience.
Given the Vanguard funds that they offer investors, it seemed only appropriate to compare the pricing structure with that of Vanguard themselves. It was my finding that InvestEngine represents excellent value, however, I recommend that you read my full review in order to identify the areas where they excel as well as the areas where they fall short.
InvestEngine is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Who is InvestEngine?
InvestEngine opened its doors to online investors as recently as 2019 with the aim to outperform the platforms currently available to UK investors. In order to achieve this, they have shunned the traditional model of a DIY investment platform such as you would find at Hargreaves Lansdown, and turned away from the crowded Robo Advisory services such as you would find at Nutmeg, in order to cater to all investors, regardless of their investment style.
InvestEngine have as such built an all in one platform where investors can build their own portfolio from a range of investment funds, or they can choose to let InvestEngine match them with one of 13 low-cost, fully managed ETF portfolios.
Who Owns InvestEngine?
InvestEngine was co-founded by siblings Simon and Joanna Crookall. You may recognise the name Simon Crookall, as he is the successful co-founder of Gumtree whilst Joanna Crookall is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Ramsey Crookall, the independent investment management firm.
InvestEngine Product Range
InvestEngine concentrate their efforts in two main areas, the DIY portfolios, and the managed for you portfolios, both of which I have given a dedicated section to below so you can go into more detail in the areas that are relevant to you. There is nothing to stop you from investing in both areas, should you wish to test your own investment style against that of the professionals at InvestEngine.
InvestEngine Fully Managed Portfolios
The managed for you investment portfolios at InvestEngine act much like a robo advisory service whereby an ETF portfolio is created and managed for you by a team of experts according to your risk profile, goals, investment amount and whether you are investing for income or growth.
These managed portfolios consist of a heavily diversified mix of stocks, bonds and alternatives, ensuring that should one asset underperform, your investment is still protected by the performance of the other assets included in your portfolio.
InvestEngine believe this diversification to be a vital element in ensuring consistent growth and will conduct portfolio rebalancing of the assets within your managed portfolios on a regular basis in accordance with changes to the market, as well as changes to your own personal circumstances. This portfolio rebalancing ensures that your investments remain optimised throughout your investment journey.
At this time InvestEngine are falling short of offering a managed ethical portfolio.
There are 10 growth portfolios, with different risk levels, which are aimed at those investing for the long term. Upon registering and identifying your intention to invest for growth, you will be matched to one of these 10 growth portfolios within minutes whereby you will have full access to the funds within the growth portfolio. InvestEngine also provide future growth projections in chart format on their site, which is intended to make up for the lack of past performance due to the fact that InvestEngine is a newcomer to the market.
I was impressed to see the option of selecting a portfolio for income as this option is often overlooked in the Robo Advisor space. There are a total of three income portfolios available which InvestEngine predict could generate 1.5%, 2.7% or 4% a year, depending on various factors such as your risk attitude and investment amount. However, these predictions rely heavily on market conditions.
The asset mix within the three income portfolios have a strong focus on bonds with the highest yielding portfolio consisting of a 75% allocation of bonds and only 25% equities.
All income that you earn from your income portfolio will automatically be paid into your nominated bank account on a monthly basis and InvestEngine provide you with an estimate of what you can expect to earn each month. Remember that whilst your first £2,000 are completely tax-free, beyond that, you will be liable for a 7.5% tax bill which will increase to 8.75 from 2022-23 onwards for basic rate taxpayers, however, this can be mitigated by running your income portfolio out of InvestEngine’s newly launched ISA.
Whilst there are a small handful of other platforms that offer income portfolios, you would be hard-pressed to find them at the price offered by InvestEngine so this was a real standout feature for me whilst conducting this review.
The other advantage is that investors can access these portfolios for as little as £100 with the option to top up with as little as £1 or set up a direct debit with as little as £50.
For the more experienced investor, there is also the option to build your own DIY portfolios with a range of assets to suit you from over 150 ETFs. This is all done from a fully operational and easy to navigate interface with no account fee, no dealing charges, zero commissions and no setup fee.
The DIY portfolio service puts you in complete control, allowing you to personalise your investment strategy by setting the target weights for the ETFs your have picked as part of your DIY portfolio. InvestEngine also offer one-click rebalancing so you can make adjustments to your DIY portfolios easily in line with fluctuations to the marketplace and changing personal goals.
Again InvestEngine have come in as one of the lowest cost options available although the ETFs available may feel a little limited to more seasoned investors.
Whilst this is no doubt an excellent proposition, it is worth noting that as of yet there is no access to direct share dealing when building your own portfolio, although it would be worth watching this space as InvestEngine are still growing their services. Still, for investors looking to build their own DIY portfolios from a wider range of investments, it may still be best to consider an investment platform like Interactive Investor.
If investors are wanting to try their hand at creating a portfolio, without risking any money, then it is possible to do so at InvestEngine, without the need to invest.
The InvestEngine Stocks and Shares ISA is a new addition to the platform and certainly doesn’t disappoint, with tax-free access to the low-cost investment portfolios available at InvestEngine.
Given the recent increase in dividend tax, this is a welcome addition to InvestEngine’s offering and allows you to start investing up to £20,000 a year free from tax.
Within the Stocks and Shares ISA, you can access all the InvestEngine portfolios as well as the DIY option. It is also free to transfer any existing ISAs into the InvestEngine ISA and you will pay zero account fees and there are no exit fees, although you may want to check if there are any exit fees with your current provider.
InvestEngine Personal Account
The personal account at InvestEngine is a great option for investors who have already reached their ISA allowance. It provides access to all the low-cost features, managed portfolios and DIY options and investors can still take advantage of the £2,000 dividend allowance as well as the £12,300 capital gains tax allowance in order to reduce their liabilities.
InvestEngine Business Account
Again, InvestEngine have impressed with the scope of their offering by providing a business account from where companies can invest any surplus cash they have in their business account. This provides companies with the means to increase the meagre returns they may be earning on interest within their business savings account. There are not many platforms that provide a business account so this is a fairly unique offering.
Research Services & Tools
This level of information would only be relevant for DIY investors who were building their own portfolios. For all the ETFs provided there is access to past performance in graph form, full descriptions of what the EFT is and the companies, indexes it holds as well as key investor information, documents, and fact sheets.
This can all be accessed from within the InvestEngine app by simply viewing the securities list and selecting the ETFs of interest.
InvestEngine have some of the best promotions I have come across thus far, including their welcome bonus which I have gone into in more detail below. By taking advantage of both these offers you can receive £75 of bonus money for a £100 deposit. This can really help your money go further when you are starting your investment journey.
£25 Refer a Friend Bonus – Available to all existing customers who refer a friend who subsequently opens and funds any InvestEngine account. Both you and your friend must remain invested for 12 months.
The fees at InvestEngine are worthy of your attention because in this space, they are highly competitive and you will find them hard to beat. The fact that InvestEngine don’t have any sort of platform charge really puts them ahead of some of their main competitors.
In order to get an accurate picture of the fees involved, I have split them into the fully managed portfolios and the DIY portfolio.
Managed Portfolio Fees
- Platform Fee: 0.25% per year
- EFT Charge Growth Portfolio: 0.15% average per year
- EFT Charge Income Portfolio: 0.25% average per year
- Market Spread: 0.07%
- Average total fee for InvestEngine Growth Portfolio: 0.46%
- Average total fee for InvestEngine Income Portfolio: 0.61%
DIY Portfolio Fees
- Platform Fee: FREE
- Cost Per Trade: FREE
Of course for DIY investors you will need to consider the usual ETF charges and market spread costs, however, these are unavoidable, regardless of platform.
In addition to this, InvestEngine does not charge any set-up fees, dealing fees, or withdrawal fees, making them one of the lowest cost providers available.
Opening an Account with InvestEngine
Again, InvestEngine were impressive with their streamlined service as opening an account took minutes. The entire process can be completed in the following steps:
- Select whether you are a business or individual
- Create an account with an email address and password
- Choose between the DIY portfolio or managed portfolios
- Select an ISA or general investment account
DIY investors will then be taken to a tool to select their ETFs.
Those choosing to engage in managed portfolios will be asked if they are investing for growth or income after which you can expect to be asked to complete the following risk questionnaire in order to determine which of the EFT portfolios is the best match for your unique circumstances:
- Age and starting investment amount
- What proportion of your total investable assets this portfolio will represent
- Annual income before tax
- Investing timeframe (short, medium, long term)
- Whether you prefer to minimise losses or maximise profits
- Your actions in the event of a market downturn
- How much you can afford to lose
- Whether you prefer guaranteed returns
- Whether you are able to leave the money invested for five years
- Whether you are comfortable with the risk of capital losses for a higher income
- The amount of income this portfolio will be required to provide
- Previous investment experience
InvestEngine Platform Review
Whilst they won’t be winning any awards for their basic platform design, it does have all the functionality it needs, and its simplicity makes it easy to navigate.
The dashboard allows you to view the performance of your investments 24/7 as well as top up your account, and buy and sell assets for DIY investors, withdraw, view investment projections, and add funds at any time.
The platform also offers smart top-ups and one-click rebalancing so DIY investors can stick to their investment strategy.
InvestEngine App Review
InvestEngine have scored 5 out of 5 on the App Store, which is difficult to achieve as most people will review when they have a complaint to make. That being said, there are only 13 reviews, perhaps because the company are so new off the starting blocks, or because they aren’t giving people anything to complain about.
“A really solid concept and beginning – Really liking IE so far. Excited for some more funds to drop, but a strong start I think. Would love to see some features like Touch/Face ID just to speed up the login process/security.”
The app is functional follows the same format as the web-based platform which is helpful for people who like to use both formats.
Transferring Your Investments to InvestEngine
InvestEngine have made this process as quick and easy as possible with a simple transfer form that takes moments to complete. InvestEngine will then take care of the rest, all completely free of charge.
InvestEngine Customer Service
I found the support team at InvestEngine to be excellent – possibly the best that I have tested to date.
Support is available via email, phone and live chat Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00 am and 5.00 pm.
When I tested the live chat my query was responded to instantly and dealt with in an informative and professional manner. I could not have asked for a better service and it certainly put some of the long waiting times that I have experienced at other platforms to shame. For a low-cost platform, you would be hard-pressed to find a better service.
I did check Trustpilot to see if I had simply got lucky, but InvestEngine had scored 4.6 out of 5 with reviews that mentioned customer support all very positive and including reviews such as:
“Excellent customer service quick efficient and friendly. Can’t ask for more”
“Always prompt efficient friendly service, genuinely a very good company.”
“I’m not even a customer..yet..and I had only posed some speculative questions to their support team however a chap called Connor was truly excellent, polite and fast in response to all of my questions about IE’s services.”
“Very impressed and I feel that as a customer that you will be looked after very well and I am now giving serious consideration to subscribing to their platform.”
“Well done and thank you InvestEngine!”
“Being very new to this type of investment, I needed a lot of support and advice when I attempted to transfer some money from an existing ISA. Denise was so patient and helpful, as was Lizzie on the few occasions I spoke to her. My portfolio is now up and running and I look forward to seeing the results.”
How do I close my account at InvestEngine?
Closing your account is easy at InvestEngine. You simply need to contact customer support and request the closure. You will be asked the reason for closing your account which you are under no obligation to reveal.
How do I withdraw money from InvestEngine?
To facilitate a withdrawal you would need to select ‘More’ from within your dashboard followed by ‘Withdraw. Your funds will arrive within 1 to 4 working days.
How to contact InvestEngine
InvestEngine have a highly responsive live chat facility that can be accessed in the left-hand corner of the web pages or alternatively from within the App. In addition to this you can contact them using the following:
- Mail: InvestEngine (UK) Limited, Office 327, The Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford Street, London, SE1 0HS
- Phone: 0800 808 5771 or +44 (0) 208 051 9 501
- Email: email@example.com
Is InvestEngine expensive?
No, InvestEngine is exceptionally low-cost, however, they seem to have achieved this without sacrificing any functionality, service or options.
InvestEngine Review Summary
This is an exciting new proposition to the investment platform market and InvestEngine have successfully managed to stand out from the crowd with the option of both a DIY investment portfolio and a fully managed investment portfolio. In terms of online wealth management, InvestEngine are successfully competing with the other robo advisors available, whilst keeping their fee structure one of the most economical online.
Is InvestEngine safe?
Yes, InvestEngine is safe to use and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and all client investments are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to the value of £85,000 should the company go bust for any reason. In addition to this, all client funds are held in segregated accounts with NatWest Bank Plc.
Is InvestEngine any good?
Yes, InvestEngine is very good in my opinion. This is worthy of consideration for both passive and experienced investors with its managed and DIY options. In terms of fees, these are the lowest you will find anywhere, with all the functionality included that we have come to expect from an online investment platform.
It is worth considering that although the risk questionnaire will match you with the best fit out of the ETF portfolios on offer, this is not the same as investment advice from an independent financial advisor.