Frequently Asked Questions
I've already received a lot of helpful feedback and questions about this site - thank you. Here are the most common questions that seem to be cropping up:
Why do you include platforms AND discount brokers?
Because the distinction between the two is becoming increasingly blurred. Some platforms offer a direct to public service with either commission rebates or reduced charge funds, which is a similar end
result to investing on other platforms through some discount brokers. And some discount brokers also now offer their own bespoke platforms.
As the purpose of this site is to help you find the best value options for buying/owning funds ( including within ISAs and SIPPs) I've included both routes.
Why is platform X not featured?
There are several reasons why a particular platform might not currently feature, as follows:
They don't allow the public to invest directly
Some platforms, e.g. Cofunds, Skandia & Nucleus only sell via financial advisers and discount brokers. If there's a good deal via a discount broker I'll try to feature them this way (e.g. Cofunds )
otherwise there's no point including them - as can't compare on a level playing field.
They won't supply data
To power the comparison system I require a spreadsheet containing fund charges/rebate data. If a platform refuses to provide this I can't obviously include them. Hargreaves Lansdown is the only platform
to refuse so far - being cynical, perhaps they're worried this site will show they're not always as cheap as they'd like their customers to think.
I haven't yet asked them for data
This is a new site and it wasn't practical to include everyone at the outset. While I think the most competitive platforms/discount brokers are well represented, I certainly plan to add more in due
I'm waiting for data
The platform may have agreed to send data, but I'm still waiting for it. They don't always move as quickly as you might think, but once received it should appear on the site within a week or so.
Why is fund X not featured?
Most likely because it doesn't feature on any of the platforms compared on this site. If you think it does then please get in touch, as there might be a glitch that needs fixing. Please note that
Alliance Trust Savings and Interactive Investor still have to supply data for their complete fund range (should be rectified soon I hope), so there are funds missing for both platforms at present.
Why do the fund charges you list vary between platforms?
Platforms may use different versions (or 'classes') of the same fund, with each class having different charges. When the same class is used you might notice a very small difference (around 0.01%) in the
annual total expense ratio (TER) charge - these are supplied by platforms and might be calculated to different time periods or obtained from different sources. Unfortunately there's no practical
solution to this, I have to trust the data I receive.
Could platform charges change in future?
Yes, in fact it's practically a certainty. However, there's no way of reflecting this in comparisons (I don't have a crystal ball!). This site is intended to help you make informed decisions based on
information available today. If charges change in future you can use this site again to check the impact. Fortunately it's quite straightforward to transfer between platforms, albeit there may be
Can I run a comparison for shares only?
No, not at the moment. I considered this when building the site and took the view that without funds you'd effectively end up with a second rate stockbroker comparison. However, I've already had some
requests for this so will re-visit. One option might be to add more non-funds stockbrokers (ensuring a better comparison), but I'm wary of over-confusing the site.
Can I move from one platform/discount broker to another?
Yes, you can. However, you might face fees to close an account and more fees for each investment you want to transfer across. Please refer to the 'more info' popup box for each platform on the results
screen, this contains full details of these costs.
Why don't I get any results on the Compare results screen?
Because no platforms offer the combination of funds you want to compare. I'll look into some way of flagging up who couldn't offer what, but it's rather tricky (and risks slowing things down), which is why
I haven't included to date.
How does this site make money?
My motivation for creating this site was the belief there's a real need for this type of tool - no-one else seemed to be building one. However, it takes quite a lot of work to maintain, so I've recently introduced
'pay per click' on the results page of this site. That means some platforms have agreed to pay a small sum when a user clicks through to their websites.
It doesn't affect the results in any way nor what you pay if you subsequently use that platform, but I hope it will generate some revenue to help keep this site going. .
Why do I need to register to permanently save my comparisons?
Mainly security. Unregistered users save with their choice of word (the only practical way to do it), which really isn't very secure. I appreciate the data concerned isn't particularly sensitive, but
it's bad practice nevertheless - hence only storing temporarily for 14 days. It also saves my database from becoming clogged up with comparisons users have long forgotten about.
Can you add feature X?
Maybe. Get in touch with your suggestions, provided they're useful and viable I'll certainly look into including on the site. In any case, I'll do my best to reply.