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Hargreaves Lansdown Review – UK Investment Giants Assessed

What is Hargreaves Lansdown?

Hargreaves Lansdown is a UK based and focused investment platform that offers the trading of stocks, shares and ETFs, along with ISAs, pensions and other types of assets. Founded in 1981, the company has been trading for over 40 years. They claim that over 1.6 million customers use their platform, with a combined £120 billion held by their customers.

Hargreaves Lansdown review
Hargreaves Lansdown Review – Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

Contents

How does Hargreaves Lansdown work?

Hargreaves Lansdown have a wide range of different products that allow you to invest:

Fund and Share Account

The place where you hold your shares and funds, and buy and sell from.

Stocks and Shares ISA

Flexible tax free investing.

Cash ISA

Use your cash ISA to make tax free savings of up to £20,000 per year using various savings offers from Hargreaves Lansdown.

Lifetime ISA

A flexible way to save for a property or for retirement.

Active Savings

Access many different savings offers from one account.

Personal Pension (SIPP):

Use the self invested pension scheme to control your pension.

Hargreaves Lansdown provide a wide range of information and advice on investment to help you make the best choices for you.

Once you have chosen which product to use, Hargreaves Lansdown then have a wide selection of shares, ETFs, funds and other assets that you can trade and invest in.

How much does Hargreaves Lansdown cost?

Hargreaves Lansdown has a more traditional charging structure than some of the newer fintech trading platforms like Freetrade or Trading 212. They also do not charge for opening an account, holding cash in your account or inactivity.

The main charges come in two types, and depend on whether you are holding shares or funds in your account.

Annual Account Charges:

For shares (including ETFs), there is no annual charge for holding these in your account. However, for holding funds, the charges are:

Value of FundsCharge
Up to £250,0000.45%
Between £250,000 and £1 million0.25%
Between £1 million and £2 million0.1%
Over £2 millionFree

Trading Charges:

There are no trading charges for funds. However trading shares (including ETFs and some other types) is charged at:

Amount of deals in previous monthsCharge per deal
0 to 9£11.95
10 to 19£8.95
over 20£5.95

In addition, if shares from overseas i.e. non UK, are traded, Hargreaves Lansdown will add a foreign exchange charge, which depends on the deal size.

How does Hargreaves Lansdown make money?

Hargreaves Lansdown has a very transparent charging structure, as detailed above, and this is how they make their money.

Some investment apps use Open Banking to take savings directly from your bank account. Check out our reviews of Plum, Chip and Moneybox.

Who is Hargreaves Lansdown for?

Whilst Hargreaves Lansdown do have an easy to use smartphone app, they are really not the same as the newer trading apps such as Freetrade, Trading 212 and Etoro. Rather than offer a ‘free’ trading platform, they charge set fees for holding cash in funds, and a fee per deal structure for trading shares.

Therefore, for smaller customers wishing to trade shares, Hargreaves Lansdown may not be the best choice, as the cost of the deals will be proportionately very high for smaller trades. However, if you are a relatively inexperienced trader, and have a slightly larger amount to invest, then Hargreaves Lansdown can be a great option, as they offer a large amount of information and support, along with a very wide range of assets to invest in.

In addition, customers looking for funds such as ISAs or SIPPs will find a large selection of options.

Is Hargreaves Lansdown safe?

Unlike some of the newer fintech trading platforms, Hargreaves Lansdown are a profitable company, and have been for many years. Therefore it is highly unlikely that they will go out of business any time soon. However, if they were to do so, they are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) so each customer is covered up to a maximum of £85,000 in the event of any company failure.

In addition, they adhere to all FCA regulations in keeping any client funds completely separate from the company funds.

Hargreaves Lansdown are an investment platform, and all investments, whether in stocks, shares and ETFs, or more complex financial instruments such as CFDs, have an element of risk. When investing, it is crucial that one understands that there is always a risk that you could lose your entire investment.

One example of investment risk was in 2019, when customers made losses when one of the funds recommended by Hargreaves Lansdown as a ‘Top Buy’ got into trouble. Whilst this was not the fault of Hargreaves Lansdown, it does demonstrate the risks of trading, as even a company this knowledgable and experienced can make investment mistakes.

Hargreaves Lansdown Reviews – what are people saying?

Hargreaves Lansdown has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot. 57% of the reviews rate them at the maximum of 5 out of 5. These satisfied customers often praise the customer service and the advice and information about investments. 16% of the reviews are rated at 1 out of 5, the lowest score. These unhappy customers are dissatisfied with difficulties in setting up or administering their account, and that the charges for trading are higher than with some other trading platforms.

Hargreaves Lansdown Alternatives

There are a wide variety of recent app based trading platforms such as Freetrade, Trading 212 and Etoro. These give you generally a way to trade that is ostensibly free, but will have other costs and ways that they make money.

Other more traditional trading competitors to Hargreaves Lansdown include Interactive Investor and Fidelity International.

Hargreaves Lansdown Pros & Cons

Pros

Extensive selection of stocks, shares and other assets to invest in.

Wide range of funds such as ISAs to choose from

Very good for information and advice on your investments.

Cons

Trading fees, especially on smaller trades, are higher than on some of the new fintech trading platforms, therefore not ideal for people wanting to trade smaller amounts.

Conclusions

Hargreaves Lansdown are a very well established trading platform with a long history and a huge amount of customers – and it is easy to see why. They have a clear and simple product set, with easy to understand and transparent pricing. Some may say that they are more of a conservative choice for trading – and they do appear to target more experienced investors who may have a slightly larger amount of invest. Indeed, if you wish to get caught up in the excitement of trading a lot of stocks then you may find it better to go to one of the new fintech trading platforms. In all however, Hargreaves Lansdown is definitely a good option for people looking to invest.