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Hargreaves Lansdown Review – the best value platform for your ISA & LISA?

Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK’s biggest investment platform for private investors, with offerings including ISAsLISAs and SIPPs. However, as we all know, size isn’t everything, right? In this review, we unpick Hargreaves Lansdown to see if bigger really is better and, ultimately, does it provide value for money?

There are cheaper options in the marketplace. That said, Hargreaves Lansdown has done a great job of making access to your investments easy through an intuitive app.

So, we’ve added some handy links to free guides and calculators below to help you to decide if the Hargreaves Lansdown platform is right for you.

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

What is an “investment supermarket?”

Put simply, Hargreaves Lansdown offers private investors access to the broadest range of stocks and funds available. By comparison, the Vanguard Investor platform only offers Vanguard funds.

What products can Hargreaves Lansdown offer?

Hargreaves Lansdown offers access to a comprehensive range of funds through a variety of investment products.

Opening your Hargreaves Lansdown account will allow you to invest in funds, investment trusts, bonds, gilts and companies. Of course, this will depend on the account type you’ve chosen.

In fact, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of only a few providers to provide a Stocks & Shares LISA. By comparison, most LISA products are cash only.  As a result, you can invest in a choice of funds or stocks within your LISA with potentially better returns.

Remember though, investing carries much greater potential risk, so do your research.

Hargreaves Lansdown platform

Overall, the platform has been designed to be simple and easy to use.

Firstly, the account section shows all of your accounts on one page, with a nice summary of each one. You can then look at each one in more detail, so you can see how it is performing in as much (or as little) detail as you like.

Plus, within each account, you can perform various actions. This includes buying or selling stocks and shares, setting up monthly investments or adding additional money.

Handily, you can link other family members accounts to your login. This way, you can also see and manage their account from your login. Very handy if you’re investing together.

In summary, the platform is one of the easiest out there to use and deals with most admin functions with just a few clicks. We think that it’s one of the nicer looking platforms to use, too.

Hargreaves Lansdown mobile app and desktop site
Hargreaves Lansdown mobile app and desktop site


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Hargreaves Lansdown mobile app

The mobile app allows you to see all your accounts in one place. Plus, you can buy and sell stocks and shares whenever you wish, wherever you are. So, next time you hear about that once-in-a-lifetime stock pick recommendation, you can scratch that itch.

Crucially, Hargreaves Lansdown has spent time making the app simple and easy to use. In fact, you can tell attention has been paid to the little details to give a polished look and feel. For example, your biometric details such as fingerprint or Face ID can be used to log in (providing your phone supports it).

There is a downside, though. Having the app on your phone and regularly checking up on your investments’ performance can be addictive. In fact, it’s not really helpful for developing the ‘set and forget mentality’ needed for your investments to flourish in the long run.

Hargreaves Lansdown Mobile App
Hargreaves Lansdown Mobile App

Investing research tools

OK, suppose you’re new to the investment world or are looking for inspiration. In that case, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a range of news articlestools and calculators to help.

We particularly like the free ISA calculator which can calculate:

  • how much you need to invest to reach your financial goals
  • what you ISA could be worth
  • how much tax you could save

Using this tool to forecast and visualise the benefits of investing in an ISA or the impact of increasing your monthly investment is a great way to motivate yourself.

Hargreaves Lansdown ISA Calculator

Free guides

Researching which investment vehicle, stocks or funds is right for you is crucial. So to help, Hargreaves Lansdown produces some really useful free guides to set you on the right path:

You can also subscribe to email updates with industry insights and regularly updated content on their website.

Hargreaves Lansdown customer service

Hargreaves Lansdown has one of the best reputations for customer service in the game, with consistently excellent reviews on feefo.

In fact, they currently score 4.4/5 based on 753 reviews – see for yourself on their feefo page.

Information wise, there’s tons on the website. If you do need to call, you’ll get through to the team based in Bristol and speak to actual people.

For example, I’ve had a Hargreaves Lansdown account for years. Personally, I’ve only had to call once or twice during that time. My call has always been answered quickly and dealt with efficiently.

Plus, Hargreaves Lansdown also holds a plethora of impressive awards, including:

  • Best Customer Service – Boring Money Consumer Investment Awards.
  • Best Investment ISA – The Personal Finance Awards
  • Best Platform for D2C – Professional Adviser Awards
  • Best New Product (Active Savings) – Money Age Retail Asset Management Awards

Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks & Shares ISA

The Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to invest in individual companies or funds, all within a tax-free wrapper. Hargreaves Lansdown compares this to a shopping basket (the ISA). You then choose the individual investments you put in your basket (the stocks & funds).

Investing can seem complex and daunting, but it’s actually easier than you think, and anyone can do it. If you want to learn more, we have written a free Beginners Guide to Investing that will walk you through the basics.

Of course, investing is not a get rich quick scheme. Be patient, invest consistently over time and your wealth should soon grow.

The Stocks & Shares ISA can be opened in a matter of minutes and you can start investing straight away. Consider setting up a direct debit to automatically invest in your chosen funds each month.

Open your Hargreaves Lansdown ISA here.

Hargreaves Lansdown Lifetime ISA (LISA)

Interestingly, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the few providers to offer a Stocks & Shares LISA.

Other providers only offer a Cash LISA. This is where your money gets a fixed percentage which is usually pretty low. A Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks & Shares LISA, on the other hand, allows you to invest in companies, stocks and funds as you see fit. Over time, this should yield better results, though remember, investing always carries risk.

With a LISA, every pound you put in is topped up by 25% by the government. The maximum you can put in is £4,000 a year. In this case, the maximum top-up is £1,000 – not a bad return! Top-ups are paid around the 25th of the month after your deposit and happens automatically.

LISAs can be used for two purposes; buying your first house or keeping it until 60 and use as a pension. Crucially, withdrawing from a LISA before age 60 will incur a 25% penalty.

To learn more about how LISAs work, check out Lifetime ISA – there IS such a thing as free money and Lifetime ISA – better than an ISA or pension?

Open your Hargreaves Lansdown Lifetime ISA here. Alternatively, you can get their free LISA Guide here.

Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension)

Fundamentally, a SIPP allows you to control your pensions investments. Like a pension, it’s a tax-efficient way to save money for your retirement. You can use a SIPP as well as your employer’s pension or you can transfer some money from your pension to a SIPP.

There are no set-up fees or costs to transfer to Hargreaves Lansdown. However, your current SIPP or pension provider may charge to move.

Personally, I have a SIPP with Hargreaves Lansdown. I opened the account because I was disappointed with my company’s pension provider and platform. Further to this, I  wanted to choose the companies I invested in.

Now, I have a SIPP plus a company pension. This gives me the freedom to make my own investment choices in the SIPP. Plus, it’s combined with the reassurance that someone else is managing my company pension.

In addition, Hargreaves Lansdown also offers a Junior SIPP. Ideal if you want to give your child a turbo-headstart on their pension. Though remember, under current pension rules, they can’t access it until they are 55.

You can open a Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP here. There are also handy free tools such as a SIPP Guide and Pension Calculator.

If you’d like to learn more about pensions and SIPPs, check out the articles below:

Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings

Active Savings from Hargreaves Lansdown allows you to choose the best savings rates from a wide range of providers, all from one account.

Essentially, you can deposit money with Hargreaves Lansdown and scan all the available rates and terms. Then you place your money with 3rd party savings providers who’ll offer you great savings rates.

In fact, you can have this product without any other services from Hargreaves Lansdown. If you’d like to learn more, we’ve written a whole article on how you can stop chasing the best savings rates and get on with more exciting things in your life: Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings Review.

Hargreaves Lansdown platform charges

Hargreaves Lansdown has a tiered charging system based on the amount invested in each account. For most investors, a charge of 0.45% is applied to each account with a value under £250,000. And the more you invest, the less the fees become.

Value Of Funds £0-250k £250k-1 million 1-2 Million 2 million +
Charge 0.45% 0.25% 0.1% no charge

They are not the cheapest fees on the market. Fidelity, for example, has a charge of 0.35%. However, if you are just starting out, then platform fees only have a minor impact. For example, if you had £10,000 invested, Hargreaves Lansdown would charge £45 per year. Whereas Fidelity would be £10 cheaper. Not a huge difference. As your investments grow, the impact of fees becomes larger.

Importantly, both Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity are percentage-based brokers. So, if you have more than £50,000 to invest, it’s worth considering a fixed fee broker such as Interactive Investor.

If you’d like some help choosing the right provider then check out How to choose the best investment platform for you.

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Hargreaves Lansdown charges and fees

Working out how much your ISA & SIPP will cost in fees can be complex, depending on what you plan to purchase. The main charges are summarised below but we recommend reading the Hargreaves Lansdown website for yourself.

Hargreaves Lansdown charges an account fee that is levied for using their service which is deducted monthly from your account. This fee is based on the value of your investments at the end of the month.

Plus, the rate varies depending on how much you have invested and there are different rates for funds and shares.

If you have invested in any funds, the value will be charged as below:

Value of Funds £0-250k £250k- 1 million 1-2 million 2 million +
Charge 0.45% 0.25% 0.1% no charge

If you are invested in any shares, the value will be charged as below:

Value of shares less than £10k greater than £10k
Charge 0.45% capped @ £45 per year

Shares include UK and overseas shares, investment trusts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), gilts and bonds.

Crucially, if you have invested in both funds and shares, the two figures will need to be added together to get your annual charge. And we are not finished yet!

Correct, there are no charges for buying and selling funds. However, there is a charge for buying and selling shares. Furthermore, this varies depending on how many deals you make within the month:

Number of deals in the previous month Charge Per Deal
0-9 £11.95
10-19 £8.95
20+ £5.95

The Government also charges stamp duty when buying shares, which is excluded from the table above but for UK shares the rate is currently 0.5%.

Additional charges also apply if you deal via the phone and not on the mobile app or website.

More info can be found on Hargreaves Lansdown’s website here

Are there cheaper alternatives?

On the surface at least, yes.

For example, AJ Bell offers a Lifetime ISA with an annual charge of 0.25% per share or fund. That’s almost 50% lower than Hargreaves Lansdown.

However, when you look a little closer, they have a dealing fee of £1.50 per fund and a similar charge as Hargreaves Lansdown for buying and selling shares. So, while the headline rate looks better, it actually depends on how many funds you plan to buy each month.

As another example; if you invest monthly and purchase one fund per month, you would rack up £18 worth of dealing fees. Buy two funds per month for diversification and those charges go up to £36. If you were investing £50 into two separate funds you would be incurring 3% of charges straight off the bat! You wouldn’t have with Hargreaves Lansdown. But, then there is a higher platform fee.

You should therefore work out what you plan to invest in and how frequently, so you can work out which platform is suitable for you. By its very nature, personal finance is very specific to you.

You can download a PDF of AJ Bell’s charges here.

Hargreaves Lansdown vs AJ Bell vs Nutmeg

£10,000 Portfolio example buying 12 funds per year:

LISA Provider Hargreaves Lansdown  AJ Bell Nutmeg
Platform Charge £45 £25 £75
Dealing Fees £0 £18 £0
Total cost £45 £43 £75

£50,000 Portfolio example buying 12 funds per year:

LISA Provider HL AJ Bell Nutmeg
Platform Charge £225 £125 £375
Dealing Fees £0 £18 £0
Total cost £225 £143 £375

(These examples use Nutmeg’s fully managed portfolio charges. There is a fixed allocation portfolio that offers a platform fee of 0.45%, which would look the same as Hargreaves Lansdown).

In these examples, Hargreaves Lansdown is competitive at the smaller end of the portfolio value (depending on your definition of ‘smaller’). However, as the value increase this position reduces to the middle of the pack.

And that’s worth remembering. As soon as your portfolio starts growing, a lower platform fee can make a significant difference.

Struggling to choose a platform? – educate yourself with our free investment platform guide.

Set up a Hargreaves Lansdown account

If you’ve decided Hargreaves Lansdown is for you, you can set up a new Hargreaves Lansdown account using the links below. It doesn’t cost you any extra but makes a small contribution to keeping this site running without pesky ads.

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown ISA

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown LISA

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP

Open a Hargreaves Lansdown Junior SIPP

ISA, LISA & SIPP Transfers

You can transfer your existing Cash ISA, Stocks & Shares ISA or SIPP to Hargreaves Lansdown for free. Hargreaves Lansdown only offers a Stocks & Shares ISA, however, so Cash ISA transfers get converted.

There are two options when transferring a Stocks & Shares ISA:

  1. Transfer as is – keep your chosen investments as long as they are available on Hargreaves Lansdown. This is usually slower.
  2. Transfer as cash – sell the investments on your old platform and transfer your cash. These transfer are usually quicker.

It is now free to transfer out of Hargreaves Lansdown (there used to be a fee of £25 plus £25 per stock). This can make HL a great starter platform to get you in the habit of investing. But remember, once your portfolio reaches the tens of thousands, then it’s worth reviewing platform providers to reduce fees.

Hargreaves Lansdown Review – The best value platform for your ISA & LISA?

Hargreaves Lansdown is the largest platform in the UK for good reason – it takes the faff out of investing and makes it easy. But, this convenience comes at a price the bigger your investment becomes.

So, if you want a simple, easy to use platform with a great app to get you started, then it’s worth checking Hargreaves Lansdown out. If you don’t mind putting in a bit more research, time and effort then there are cheaper alternatives out there, which could just make all the difference as your wealth grows.

And if you’re unsure about platforms providers, how to start investing or simply have questions, then come join our free UK Personal Finance Club on Facebook. You can join other like-minded individuals and ask questions that could save you time and money. We’d love to see you there.

Join the Eat Sleep Money UK Personal Finance Club here

Here’s to Financial Fitness does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.