Charles Stanley Direct Review

Richard Montana | August 2, 2022

Charles Stanley Direct is a UK broker that offers you a variety of investment products and services including online trading in multiple financial instruments, such as stocks, ETFs, indices, funds, and more. They are a regulated and established brand that give you access to the markets via a user-friendly platform with an excellent selection of professional trading tools and learning resources to help you make informed decisions. There are multiple trading account options with no minimum deposit requirement to open an account which is great. I think that Charles Stanley Direct can provide a relatively cheap way to access the markets for those with less than £50,000 to invest that are looking for a straight forward solution within a regulated environment. The company charges a very small platform fee of just 0.25% which is amongst the lowest in the industry.

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to use web and mobile-based investing platforms
  • Choose from self-directed investing or managed portfolios
  • Professional tools for market analysis
  • A good selection of educational resources
  • Excellent choice of financial instruments
  • No minimum required to open an account
  • Direct debit investing available
  • Rewarding loyalty programme
  • Support for telephone dealing
  • Fantastic customer service team always happy to help
  • Do not support CFDs or Cryptos
  • Limited account funding options
  • Primarily focused on the UK market
  • No FIX API connectivity
  • Perhaps not the best option for active day traders

Summary

Charles Stanley Direct is a UK investment management company and online financial services provider that offers a good range of financial products via a proprietary trading platform and also provide a professional client support team to aid you when needed. The company was established in 1792 and has been online since 2002. They are one of the oldest firms on the London Stock Exchange. They can provide wealth management services to private clients, charities and smaller institutions. If you are a first-time investor, they offer a range of Foundation Portfolios and a Foundation Fund list to get you started.

With Charles Stanley Direct, you can open your account in minutes and start to build your portfolio from a fantastic selection of over 8,500 Shares, Funds, ETFs and Investment Trusts that you can trade online, over the phone and via the App. I was impressed to see they are one of a few brokers I have come across who still support telephone dealing. This can give investors a quick and easy way to place larger, more difficult and overseas orders.

They have very competitive charges, with a low service fee that is a maximum 0.35% with no minimum investment. You can take advantage of savings through the brokers highly competitive loyalty programme, where fees decrease the more you invest. I think it is always great to see a broker that rewards clients for their loyalty.

If you are looking to invest on a regular basis, there is direct debit investing. This means you can select from a wide range of funds and automatically top-up your chosen investment from as little as £50 per month via direct debit. This is another unique feature that I haven’t seen many brokers offer.

On top of a great range of investment product and relatively inexpensive fees, they provide the highest levels of service and will support you in any way they can – from opening your account to detailed account queries. The execution-only service allows you to take control of your investments whilst their support and guidance can help you choose from a wide range of investments according to your own financial goals.

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Regulation

When it comes to choosing a broker, regulation is one of the first things that I look for. Therefore, I am pleased to see that Charles Stanley Direct is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is also a member of the London Stock Exchange. I consider this to be top-tier regulation which gives me the peace of mind that they are a broker who I can trust.

The broker has multiple levels of protection to ensure your assets and details stay secure. It is reassuring to see that they have specifically designed their processes to protect and nurture wealth in a safe environment, including strong cybersecurity measures.

Countries

Charles Stanley provides a range of products for UK investors, primarily focusing on ISAs and SIPPs as well as an option for a trading account. If you are not based in the UK, then you can always take a look at our broker comparison tool for some alternative options.

Platforms

Charles Stanley Direct Platform

You can make your trades via the Charles Stanley Direct Trading Platform, a proprietary mobile trading app available on the Android and iOS app stores. I like how it is designed to allow you to get access to their trading accounts even while on the move. The platform also allows you to view up-to-date valuations of all their accounts, send and receive secure messages, gain access to market data, as well as fund and share factsheets. You can easily manage all of your accounts from within your very own customisable dashboard. I find the platform features make investing with them as straight forward as possible.

Charles Stanley Direct Platform

Charles Stanley Direct Platform

Some of the prominent features of the platform include:

  • Price alerts. Receive an email alert when a stock reaches a particular price
  • Limit orders. Have your trade place automatically when the price reaches a preselected value or set up a trade outside of market hours
  • Streaming live prices. To the second live data for all stocks and shares
  • Share watchlists. Monitor stocks in a ‘fantasy’ portfolio
  • Income handling. Set your accounts to deal with any income received automatically
  • Monthly Investing. Set up automated monthly fund investing

Tools

You also get access to some standalone trading tools, such as Market Data, Charts, and others, which are designed to ensure a seamless trading process. They have a feature called the preferred List which is a curated list of preferred investments covering funds and investment trusts allows you to filter by investment type or sector and look at options for responsible investing. Alternatively, you can choose from one of the Charles Stanley Direct funds, ready-made investments managed by Charles Stanley’s Investment Professionals.

Education

The Direct Investment Service is suited to all levels of investors. Figuring out how to start investing might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. They seek to provide helpful guides and short videos to answer questions you may have about the basics of investing to help you on your way to building your wealth. I like how the broker’s website contains some relevant educational resources that helps to improve your trading skills and knowledge whilst keeping yourself up to date on the factors that control the financial markets. The resources include Market News, Glossary, trading guides and an FAQ section. I think it is great how you can read the latest commentary, in-depth guidance and stories to help educate yourself on key financial matters. You can even sign up to receive regular email updates with the latest insights free of charge.

Markets

I was really impressed with the wide range of investment choices​​ from over 3000 funds, UK and certain overseas shares, gilts, bonds, investment trusts and ETFs. I think there is more than enough for everyone to build a diversified portfolio, regardless of your interests. I don’t think anyone will have any issue investing with confidence using the first-class service to implement your investment decisions, through the secure platform and app.

  • Stocks and shares
  • Funds
  • Gilts
  • Bonds
  • ETFs

Accounts

I was pleased to see that the broker offers a range of accounts with the Direct Investment Service. This means they can cater to clients with differing needs which is important as we are all at different stages of our lives. The Direct Investment Service is a do-it-yourself (DIY) execution-only service; therefore, they are unable to offer advice on your investments. They do provide guidance through their Preferred List, Starter Portfolios and regular insights. Once you have opened your account, you can download the intuitive Charles Stanley Direct App to monitor your investments and trade on the go. The following trading account options are available for you to choose from:

  • Stocks & Shares ISA
  • Self-Invested Personal Pension
  • Investment Account
  • Junior Stocks & Shares ISA

If you are looking to take a more hands-off approach to investing, they also provide a wide range of professionally managed investment services suited to your different needs, offering flexibility and choice so you can be involved as much or as little as you like with your investments. There is a range of five actively managed funds, which then can help guide you to the one that most closely matches your investment objectives and risk appetite. I like how there is an annual review to ensure we’re managing your money in the most suitable investment strategy.

Support

The broker offers a knowledgeable client support team that is available during working hours — Mondays to Fridays (7:30 am 5:00 pm) — and can be reached via telephone, email, Live Chat, and social media. They have won awards for their excellent support who I have always found to be a pleasure to deal with. The friendly helpdesk is there to help you with any enquiry you might have, treating all clients with the utmost esteem, regardless of your investment size or experience level.

You will be able to confidently manage your investments with a highly experienced team, who are always on-hand to support you every step of the way. They will talk you through the process and take instructions directly over the phone. This service is ideal if you are not entirely comfortable managing your investments online or if you have specific needs that you would like to discuss with the knowledgeable team.

Funding

Charles Stanley Direct only allows you to deposit and withdraw funds, to and from your trading accounts, via credit/debit cards. They don’t offer a wide selection of funding methods compared to other brokers like IG for example. I think they could improve by perhaps adding some support for popular online payment processors as this may be more convenient for some users.

Conclusion

Overall, there are many aspects of Charles Stanley Direct that I am impressed with. I like how they are a regulated multi-asset brokerage firm with a great range of self-directed and managed investment services. The broker offers simple access to the global financial markets through their in-house-developed trading platform that is very user-friendly yet capable of conducting thorough market analysis. You also benefit from some educational resources, whilst there are multiple trading account options to choose from.

Despite the many positives, I did find the funding options to be limited and they do not offer complex instruments such as CFDs and cryptos. For that, you could consider another UK broker in City Index. If you plan on day trading, I think you would want a platform with more functionality for complex market analysis.

I do think that Charles Stanley Direct offers great value for those with smaller portfolios and is relatively cheap for share trading too. The share trading fees and platform charge are amongst the lowest in the market. You can invest with confidence using the brokers first-class service to implement your investment decisions, through the secure platform and app. It’s easy to get started and open your account in minutes, with excellent support on hand to guide you along the way.

Charles Stanley Direct Logo

Min £1 Deposit

Charles Stanley Direct have a fantastic range of trading products and investing services for clients of all backgrounds. You can access the markets via modern yet powerful platforms with the required tools and resources to help you make informed decisions according to your own financial goals.

The value of investments can fall as well as rise. Investors may get back less than invested.

About the Author

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Richard Montana
Richard has many years of experience in broker research, testing, analysis and reviews. He knows what to look for through years of trading himself with different brokers and listening to the feedback of others.

Review Methodology

For all of our broker reviews, we research, validate, analyse and compare what we deem to be the most important factors to consider when choosing a broker. This includes pros, cons and an overall rating based on our findings. We aim to help you find the best broker according to your own needs. You can read more about our review process.