AJ Bell is to launch an app-only investment platform in the first half of next year, which will run alongside the firm’s existing consumer platform AJ Bell Youinvest.
Called ‘Dodl’, the app has been designed to appeal particularly to those new to investing and who want a simple way to manage their investments long-term.
AJ Bell said it intends to “compete” with the “lowest cost investment platforms” in the market.
With an annual portfolio charge of 0.15 per cent, retail customers will be able to open a Dodl account without having to pay commission on the investments they buy or sell, or pay tax wrapper charges.
But customers investing in funds will still need to pay the annual charge of the underlying fund. These themed investment funds will focus on technology, robotics, healthcare and responsible investing.
AJ Bell has invested in a series of “friendly monster” avatars to guide people through the investment process on the app, using the tagline ‘Investing needn’t be scary’.
“Dodl by AJ Bell is for anyone looking for a low-cost, easy-to-use investment app to help them meet their investment goals such as saving for a house deposit, holidays or retirement,” said Andy Bell, the firm’s chief executive.
“With a low annual charge of 0.15 per cent, no trading commissions and all the main tax efficient products, Dodl will be amongst the cheapest and best value investment platforms in the market.
“Our friendly monsters will guide people through the investment process with no jargon and introduce them to an investment range that is easy to choose from and caters for the investment needs of the majority of people.”
The three account types include an Individual Savings Account, Lifetime Isa, as well as Pension and General Investment Account.
Shares will initially be from UK-listed companies, with US companies “being added soon after launch”, while the app's fund range will consist of AJ Bell’s multi-asset funds which cater for six levels of risk, alongside AJ Bell’s Responsible Growth fund for those looking to take less risk.
Customers can set up regular investments, as well as consolidate existing Isas and pensions onto the platform.
They will be able to pay in their investments via Apple and Google pay, as well as by using a debit card - including direct debits.
The firm has opened its waiting list ahead of launch next year. It is also gearing up to launch an advised app-only platform called Touch sometime next year, alongside its existing advised platform Investcentre.
Holly Mackay, CEO of Boring Money, said: “Despite its positioning as an app for newer investors, I should think the majority of people Googling this today will be curious, affluent 40 and 50-somethings, with a relatively mainstream buy and hold portfolio.
"50 shares and 25 external funds will satisfy many people’s requirements – for 0.3 per cent less than Hargreaves Lansdown each year.
"Subject to availability, it will also enable someone to hold a mainstream passive multi-asset fund such as Vanguard’s LifeStrategy, for a total cost of 0.37 per cent a year. That’s half the price of your average robo, which arguably does a similar thing.