Hargreaves Lansdown Review
Richard Montana | August 2, 2022
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) have a wide range of investment options for you to build your own customised portfolio according to your financial goals. You can invest in and trade stocks, ETFs, funds and bonds with reasonable fees. I didn’t find them to be the cheapest but as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. In this case, that is an excellent service with an established and regulated company. They make buying and selling very straightforward with an array of research tools to help you drill down to look in more detail at the financial information on offer. I think it is great how you can find everything you need under one umbrella from ISAs, investments, pensions, and savings. For the purpose of this review, we will focus on the HL investing service that they provide to see if they can help you to make more of your money. Keep in mind that service is designed for people who want to make their own investment decisions.
Pros & Cons
- All of your investments in one place
- Check your investments anytime online or with the HL app
- Choose from thousands of shares and funds
- Fantastic range of market research tools
- Get investment ideas from expert analysts
- FTSE 100 company, trusted by millions of clients
- Winner of numerous awards including Best Investment Platform
- More shares dealt through HL for investors than any other UK broker
- Excellent support via UK-based helpdesk
- Not the cheapest stock and ETF fees you will find
- Funding options are limited
- Do not provide CFD trading
- Currently no online live chat support
- Primarily for UK investors
Hargreaves Lansdown is a UK brokerage that was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom. They employ thousands of people and have millions of clients and billions of assets under their management. They give you convenient access to a diverse range of investment products alongside top quality market research and a user-friendly mobile trading application to keep track of your portfolio 24/7. Despite the fees not being the cheapest you can find at (£5.95 – £11.95 per UK share deal online), the investment options are very impressive, with access to trade shares across twenty international exchanges. You can take control of your money and choose from thousands of shares and funds, or take inspiration from HL investment ideas. The HL Fund and Share Account is a low-cost, flexible account that allows you to buy, sell and hold your investments in one place.
Hargreaves Lansdown have been helping clients choose and manage investments since way back in 1981. With billions of assets under management, the safety of your assets is their top priority. Hargreaves Lansdown Plc is a constituent of the FTSE 100, an index of the biggest listed companies in the UK. I have absolutely no problem entrusting them with my funds as they are established and regulated by the relevant authorities. I would always prefer to use a regulated brokerage firm as there should be some protection in place should something go wrong.
Hargreaves Lansdown is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is bound by their rules and regulations in the conduct of their investment business. Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management Limited is authorised by the FCA to hold client money and client assets. Hargreaves Lansdown Fund Managers Limited is authorised by the FCA to manage authorised investment funds (AIFs) and Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS). I consider this top-tier regulation that ensures the broker must operate in an honest and transparent manner at all times.
If Hargreaves Lansdown cannot fulfil their financial obligations, eligible investors can claim under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Whilst this certainly does help to give additional peace of mind, I suggest you go to their terms and conditions which are very specific. Each claim is treated on a case by case basis.
Hargreaves Lansdown provides accounts for residents of the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA). If your country is not accepted, please feel free to browse our broker reviews for an alternative option.
The Hargreaves Lansdown platform is very easy to use, with an intuitive interface for a responsive investing experience. The platform has the most features I have seen on any UK based investment platform. It contains a great collection of market research tools for identifying opportunities. You log in online or with the HL app to see your investments anytime, anywhere. I like how you can access and manage your account quickly and easily via the HL app. I often like to check up on my positions and see what is happening in the markets and if I need to change anything. The HL app uses the same 128-bit encryption as the HL website, ensuring your details and transactions are safe.
I think it is great how they have made the HL app free for everyone. Even if you don’t have an account with the broker, you can use the app to view markets, factsheets, guides and research. This lets you get a feel for how it works to see if it meets your expectations before you open an account. However, you won’t be able to view live share prices, trade shares or use any share dealing tools.
Some of the prominent features of the HL App are as follows:
- Keep track of your portfolio from anywhere at anytime
- Manage your investments and view your history
- Link accounts to manage all from one place
- Deposit and withdraw whilst on the go
- Trade UK shares, bonds and funds as well as overseas shares from Europe, the US and Canada
- Free live share prices for HL clients
- Create watchlists to keep an eye on your favourite investments
- Access detailed fund and share factsheets
- Track markets on the FTSE 100 and other UK and global indices
- Read the latest research from HL experts and global market reports
- Fast and secure login with fingerprint, or Face ID
- Free to download for iPhone and Android
The broker has a wide range of thorough market analysis and research tools to help you choose investments and plan for the future. You can build customised watchlists and get the latest share prices, market reports, news and expert insight from the HL analysts. The powerful tools to help you make more of your shares include:
- Turn on live share prices to stay up to date
- Use detailed factsheets and interactive share charts to help spot opportunities and trends
- Discover new investment ideas with expert insight and share research
- Set stop loss and limit orders to easily manage your trades
If you are new to investing, HL have plenty of content to help you get started. This includes videos so that you can get to grips with the basics and a downloadable guide to investing. There is also a great selection of FAQs where you can find out a lot more about the products and service on offer. I did find the website to be slightly overwhelming, with content scattered throughout. Whilst all of the information is valuable, you may find it slightly hard to navigate. I often got lost trying to find my way around although I was able to get answers to all of my questions eventually.
The Hargreaves Lansdown investment platform gives you the freedom to choose the investments that suit you. There is a great choice of financial instruments which includes more than 2,500 funds, UK, US, Canadian and European shares, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), investment trusts, bonds and gilts. If you don’t fancy choosing investments yourself, an adviser could save you time and effort by building an investment portfolio for you. If you’re looking to trade CFDs, then you might want to consider IG as a viable alternative. They have a great selection of CFD instruments including forex, stocks and commodities.
- UK and International Shares
- Investment Trusts
- Exchange-Traded Funds
- Venture Capital Trusts
- Bonds & Gilts
Whilst there is no minimum investment into shares, you should consider the dealing charges before placing your trade. Dealing charges depend on how many trades you make each month. There are no charges for opening an account, holding cash or inactivity, and it’s free to hold shares in an HL Fund and Share Account. The online share dealing charge is determined by the number of deals you placed in the previous calendar month. The tariff you pay in August, for example, will depend on the number of share deals you place in July, and they count deals placed across all the HL accounts held under the same client number. Charges will be calculated based on the value of your chargeable holdings on the last day of the month, and then collected in the following month.
Fees start at £5.95 which is reasonable and there is a maximum charge of £11.95 per UK share deal online. There’s no dealing charge for buying or selling funds and a maximum annual charge of 0.45%. If you want to invest in funds, you’ll need a minimum lump sum of £100. Or you can set up a monthly Direct Debit from £25 per investment. Your annual charge depends on whether you hold funds or shares. Other charges may apply in specific circumstances so make sure you read all of the terms on the HL website.
Whether you’d prefer to pick your own investments or choose a ready-made option, the first step is to choose an account. You can choose to hold your investments in any of the flexible accounts, which includes the low-cost dealing account where you can buy, sell and hold your investments in one, safe place. The account you opt for will depend on your individual goals. Whether you’re saving for retirement, just saving for the future or just want to trade, I like how there is an account to suit each individuals’ personal requirements. There is also a handy filter to find the one which suits you best.
- Stocks and Shares ISA – Invest up to £20,000 (min £100). UK residents
- Fund and Share Account – An easy to manage, low-cost dealing account for anytime trading (min £1). UK and EAA Residents. Individuals, companies, investment clubs, trusts and charities.
- Savings and Trust Accounts – Variety of savings and trust accounts
To start investing, you’ll need to open an account which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. You will need to have your debit card and National Insurance number to hand as you need to provide your personal information and documents for verification. This is a normal part of the KYC procedures. The friendly customer support team will be happy assist you should you need help during the account opening process. Once you are up and running, you can use the HL app to view and deal your investments 24/7.
Hargreaves Lansdown has a well-regarded helpdesk located in Bristol who are always on-hand to answer your questions in a prompt and efficient manner. I like how the specialist helpdesk aims to simplify your financial life by making it easy and straightforward to manage your investments.
Support is offered via telephone and email. The investment helpdesk is available Monday – Thursday: 8am – 7pm, Friday: 8am – 6pm and Saturday: 9.30am – 12.30pm. The dealing desk is available Monday – Friday: 8am – 9pm. I would’ve liked to see them provide a live chat online help option that is available 24/7.
In addition to the expert customer support, I appreciate how there is also a collection of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the website that covers a good amount of commonly asked questions related to your account, platforms and more.
The quickest and easiest way to add money to your Hargreaves Lansdown account is online with a debit card. You can also use bank transfer or transfer your existing investments over to them without any charge. They can take care of contacting your provider and arranging your transfer but you might want to check if your provider charges exit fees.
Some fees may be charged when using certain payment methods. Withdrawal requests are processed within the same day or next if outside working hours. The withdrawal time can vary depending on the payment provider and method. Bank transfers may take a few business days to clear whilst some methods can be instant.
There are no online payment systems supported at the moment. I think they could improve and attract more modern investors by implemented digital wallets such as PayPal and Skrill. I personally find these very convenient for moving funds around quickly and easily. You can take a look at Trading 212 if you want some more funding methods.
Hargreaves Lansdown is by far one of the best brokers in the United Kingdom offering award-winning platforms with an excellent range of investment options and powerful tools that make it easier than ever to get started. You can choose from a variety of flexible account types with something for everyone. I think it is good that they offer a range of accounts as it means that you can keep your ISAs, pensions, savings and investments under one roof.
The HL web and mobile platforms are very easy to use. They have some high-quality educational content to help you learn more about investing and make informed decisions. The customer support team are very prompt, polite and knowledgeable. Whether you are buying your first share, building a portfolio or actively trading. You can get everything you need to deal, research and manage your shares. All in one secure place.
If you want to trade CFDs then you will need to look elsewhere. The stock and ETF fees are not the lowest I have seen. I did find the funding options to be limited but this isn’t really a deal breaker. The website navigation could also be simplified in my opinion but again, nothing that would stop me opening an account.
Overall, Hargreaves Lansdown provide a very comprehensive service. They have been helping people to invest since way back in 1981. I think they can be a good choice for anyone who is looking to enjoy hassle-free investing with access to the markets at your fingertips.