Investments  

Axa Self Investor scraps Isa admin fees

Axa Self Investor has announced a zero per cent account administration fee on all new stocks and shares ISA accounts until May 2016.

The offer is applicable to new customers setting up stock and shares Isas between January 5 and April 5.

Investors can transfer previous years’ Isas from existing providers and benefit from the deal. The date the account is applied for, not the date funds are received by Axa Self Investor, is used to qualify for the offer.

The nil account fee also applies to any money placed into the Isa account until April 5, so investors can get their existing Isa portfolio and 2014/15 Isas free of any Isa account charge until the cut-off date, although fund manager charges still apply.

From May 1 2016, customers will be required to pay an annual account fee of 0.35 per cent if they have up to £250,000 invested across all their Axa Self Investor accounts, or 0.20 per cent for sums of over this value.

Provider view

Gordon Hull, director of Axa Self Investor, said: “Isas can be the first port of call for savers and investors alike, but complex and hidden charges have been putting off new investors and preventing existing investors from switching to a better deal. Too many providers have demonstrated they are not willing to address high or hidden charges.

“Whether you are taking out your first Isa or looking to reduce costs by transferring an existing Isa portfolio, the Axa Self Investor offer is a no-brainer. We are confident investors will want to stay with us – so confident that there are no exit fees whatsoever. Any investor is free to leave without any charge or penalty.

“It is a straightforward proposition aimed at making investing affordable and simple, especially for those who have no previous experience of investing.”

Adviser view

Paul Holiday, IFA at Norwich-based GreenSky Wealth Ltd, said: “They are trying to buy business, essentially. It is uncommon for existing stocks and shares Isa account holders to change their provider unless something major happens. This offering is, however, pretty competitive in the current market, but whether it stays competitive 18 months down the line remains to be seen.”

Charges

Axa Self Investor account charge (0.35 per cent excluding any offers)

Ongoing fund manager charges

Fund entry and exit charges where imposed by the fund manager

Verdict

Both cash and stocks and shares Isa accounts have become a popular topic of conversation following George Osborne’s 2014 Budget, which increased Isa allowance from £11,880 to £15,000 and allowed individuals to split the revised allowance as they wish between cash and investments Isas. A low admin fee for stocks and shares Isas might look great on the surface but it is important for investors to take other costs, such as fund entry and exit fees, into consideration. The offering presented by Axa Self Investor appears to be reasonable and competitive in the current market.