Charles Stanley aims for second spot in platform market

New direct-to-consumer investment platform Charles Stanley Direct will be a success if it establishes itself as the number two player in the market, its head of investment has said.

Ahead of the service’s much-anticipated launch this week, Ben Yearsley, head of investment research at Charles Stanley Direct, said the new platform will compete against industry giant Hargreaves Lansdown, but he added he is under no illusion that his firm will be able to unseat the market leader.

Mr Yearsley, who formerly worked at Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown, said Charles Stanley’s new platform will be a success if it moves up to second position in the market in the next few years.

Article continues after advert

Investors on the platform will pay a fee of 0.25 per cent pa on commission-free funds for the first £500,000 invested and 0.15 per cent on balances in excess of that amount.

For stocks and shares there is no charge if six or more chargeable trades are placed every six months, otherwise the fee is 0.25 per cent pa, the minimum being £20, the maximum being £150.

The platform will charge £10 per trade.

At the outset, the platform will launch with 1,400 funds and there are plans to add more in the future. Mr Yearsley said the firm will also be transferring the 6,000 to 7,000 clients on its existing Fastrade online trading platform, which has roughly£350m to £400m in assets under management, to the new service.

Speaking on the basic fee structure, Mr Yearsley said, “We wanted to keep it as clean as possible. The fewest incentives you have, the simpler and more straightforward it is.” He added that he wanted to avoid discounted share-trading deals that other online trading platforms offer because they can confuse customers.

While at launch the platform is missing some functionality, such as a junior Isa and a family Sipp, Mr Yearsley said these will be introduced in phases throughout the year.