Coolly Comparing Investment Platform charges - SnowMan's spreadsheet

edited 12 May 2020 at 7:29AM in Savings & investments
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edited 12 May 2020 at 7:29AM in Savings & investments
It isn't any longer possible to edit the post linking to my investment platform comparison spreadsheet, so I thought I'd set up a new thread.

The thread is set up to provide a link to a spreadsheet enabling annual platform charges to be calculated and compared between platforms. This includes both custody charges for holding funds and/or shares/ETFs, and for dealing costs based on the number of annual sales and purchases of funds or shares/ETFs.

The spreadsheet (version 35 currently) can be downloaded by going to this link and downloading the file.

The basic idea is that platform charges and fund manager charges are now separated. So the starting point in looking at costs, in choosing an investment platform, is to compare platform costs for your own particular mix of ISAs, dealing account and SIPPs and based on your mix of funds and shares/ETFs.

The principle is that fund manager costs can be ignored as they cancel out, that is they are the same for each platform. This ignores any 'super clean' funds offered by some platforms, certain 'dirty' funds which have higher charges, and ignores the lack of availability of some funds or ETFs on some platforms.

The answers are shown as £ figures and percentages (so you can use the latter to add in your average percentage fund manager cost to estimate your total cost).

Most of the other comparisons I have seen only compare ISA only or SIPP only or dealing account only portfolios. This does not allow for the considerable discounts on SOME platforms for holding ISAs and SIPPs and dealing accounts on the same platform.

That is why the spreadsheet allows you to add in all the different accounts so these discounts can be considered.

It is also a good idea to look at options of keeping funds and shares separately. This is why the spreadsheet works out an everything together cost, a shares and ETFs only cost (based on the shares and ETF element only) and a funds only cost (based on the funds element only)

There is also a column that calculates exit charges by way of re-registration. High exit cost platforms should other things being equal be avoided, because it will be difficult to switch to other platforms following a price increase, without significant cost.

Some of these platforms (in particular AJ Bell Youinvest) have form for putting up charges without allowing customers the temporary option of a free exit through re-registration (past OFT guidance seems to suggest they can't do this but not everyone will want to take a case through the county courts, and the legal position remains unclear). The Financial Ombudsman Service, in my view, are causing significant customer detriment by not properly assessing fairness in relation to applying unfair terms legislation, and this is compounded by the inaction of the Financial Conduct Authority to deal with this issue.

The spreadsheet is a continual work in progress but it is just about getting there. Because of the incredible complexity of charging structures and the complicated interactions between accounts there are bound to be a few errors in there.

I will update the spreadsheet and link when a new version of the spreadsheet is produced.
I came, I saw, I melted


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