The U.K. ISA Market
Inspired by Conor's recent post and as someone who's used their fair share of different investing platforms, I wanted to summarise some of the S&S ISA options currently available to U.K. investors, particularly as the comparison sites out there are either nowhere near comprehensive enough or just plain out of date.

Given the impact of fees on investment returns over time, it's not an area that is wise to overlook for long-term investors.

The table below shows ISA options for investors that are interested in buying shares in specific businesses rather than 'robo-advisors'. If the brokerage offers tiered products, I'm using the bottom-tiered (basic) pricing structure. Any percentages shown in the share fee columns are a % of the total trade price.


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While Trading 212 might seem the best offer out there currently, it should be taken into account that their business model is at least somewhat reliant on the success of their CFD product. Their FX charge also increased in the recent past. If I were choosing an ISA based on ease of use, Freetrade would win out - to me, they seem to have managed to foster brand trust since launching in a way that T212 hasn't.

In terms of the more established players, Interactive Brokers are currently the stand-out provider (and my personal choice), with the lowest fees on the market. As their ISA product was only launched this year, it remains to be seen how the other brokerages will react.

Hopefully the level of competition will result in lower fees and more transparency over time!

Notes:
  1. Saxo charges a custody fee of 0.12% p.a. on open stock positions (£9 per month minimum). If you hold cash-only there's a platform fee of £50 per quarter.
  2. Minimum monthly fee of £3 a month, however any commission charged during the month is deducted from the fee.
  3. Interactive Investors have a 'regular investing' service whereby you choose an position to top-up monthly with a minimum of £25, however the choice of investment appears to be limited to UK shares/investment trusts/ETFs.
  4. A custody fee is charged if fewer than 3 trades are placed each quarter. With trading commissions, if you trade 3 or more times in the previous month, the lower price is applied per trade next month.
  5. Lower price applied when 10 or more share deals in previous month. FX charge decreases after first £10,000/next £10,000/value over £20,000.
Conor Mac's avatar
Nice way to introduce yourself to the community with your first post! Love that my post inspired some further analysis, I agree with your conclusion.
ATCB's avatar
@investmenttalk thanks Conor. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but your post spurred me into action!
Joey Hirendernath's avatar
This is such an insightful post. It is super helpful to have this appraisal of the current options. As a beginner investor in the UK, I opened an ISA in Trading 212 but can see that it might be worth moving to Free Trade. Could you elaborate on the point you made about their business model being reliant on the success of their CFD product?

Tagging fellow UK investor @reasonableyield I know from previous posts that he currently is with free trade and would be helpful to know about his experience with them.
Reasonable Yield's avatar
@joeyhirendernath Thanks for tagging me, great post.
ATCB's avatar
I've looked into my gripes with T212 a little more. This thread has a few details about their business model: https://community.trading212.com/t/how-does-will-trading212-invest-make-money/24922 but my comment on the CFDs subsidising the rest of the business wasn't accurate:

Have used both T212 and Freetrade and liked both but had a bad experience trying to withdraw cash from T212 which colours my judgement slightly.
Reasonable Yield's avatar
Are you another UK investor? Just followed.
ATCB's avatar
@reasonableyield yes 🙌 great to see there are a few of us about!

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