Platforms  

Vantage still best platform: Platforum study

In a 104-page report, Guide to Direct Platforms and Investors – A Market Turned on its Head, the managing director of platform specialist Platforum said that Hargreaves Lansdown had topped the league of platforms after scoring well in seven different categories set by Platforum.

Fidelity Personal Investing, however, is snapping at the fund supermarket’s heels, coming second in the direct platform leaderboard, having revealed lower administration fees and cheaper negotiated fund charges on average shortly after Hargreaves.

Bestinvest, Barclays and Charles Stanley Direct were all tied in third place.

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The report stated that Hargreaves was still a “strong contender” in the industry due to high-quality all-round service and competitive pricing for portfolios worth at least £50,000.

It added that the industry giant had scored well in every category it measured, bar cost, where it featured at the “top end of the scale” for larger portfolios.

The report stated: “The phone is answered by a typically knowledgeable human being within 10 seconds, we get personalised emails and communications and it’s just easy to engage with them.”

Ms Mackay admitted that consumers had been left confused by reworked pricing on numerous platforms, and those with a mid-sized investment pot should go to Bestinvest or Fidelity if they were “looking for guidance”.

Last week, Hargreaves was forced to backtrack over new charges it had introduced for investment trusts as part of its post-RDR pricing policy.

In a statement issued on 5 February, the listed firm revealed it had scrapped plans to introduce top-up charges of £45 for Isas and Fund & Share accounts and £200 for Sipps, citing “unpopularity” with clients.

Commenting on the cost competition hotting up between providers, Neil Shillito, director of Norfolk-based SG Wealth Management, said: “The big problem with a price war is that down is the only direction.”