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Charles Stanley Direct forced to hike ultra-low fees

Charles Stanley Direct forced to hike ultra-low fees
Online stockbroker Charles Stanley Direct has raised its platform fee from 0.25% to 0.35% of client assets, hiking what had been one of the lowest charges on the market.

The increased charges will affect customers investing in both shares and funds and comes into effect on 10 September.

For fund assets, the higher charge will be levied on the first £250,000 of client assets. However, the lower charges for assets held above that threshold will stay the same. They are:

  • 0.2% on funds between £250,000 and £500,000;
  • 0.15% between £500,000 and £1 million;
  • 0.05% between £1 million and £2 million;
  • free above £2 million.

While the rise in the platform fee will also impact investors in shares, investment trusts, exchange-traded funds, gilts and bonds, the minimum charge of £24 and maximum of £240 has been kept the same. Dealing charges of £11.50 per trade have also remained.

Charles Stanley managing director Magnus Wheatley said the increased charges were need to maintain investment in the platform.

'Our industry faces increasingly complex and evolving changes. For more than five years we have striven to absorb the cost of these forces internally, and have maintained an extremely low fee for our services at just 0.25% per annum,' he said.

'[However] in order to continue to deliver the first-class services of an award-winning Helpdesk and continue to invest in our website interfaces (both the App and Website), from a commercial perspective we need to increase our charges.' 

He added: 'Whilst price increases are never a welcome or easy message to impart to loyal and long-standing clients, we hope that the necessity for the increase will be understood.'

Holly Mackay. managing director of financial website Boring Money, said the move meant Charles Stanley would no longer be among the cheapest platforms for some investors.

'Charles Stanley Direct remains broadly competitive but moves to the middle of the pack and loses its position as the platform which would predictably always be amongst the lowest three on price for most portfolios,' she said.

In light of Charles Stanley Direct's pricing change, Boring Money compared the costs of the major platforms for three sorts of investors:

  • Portfolio 1: someone contributing £200 per month into an ISA;
  • Portfolio 2: a £30,000 ISA invested in a mix of funds and shares;
  • Portfolio 3: an investors with £30,000 in an ISA and £50,000 in a Sipp holding a mix of funds and shares.
  Portfolio 1 Portfolio 2 Portfolio 3
AJ Bell Youinvest £21.25 £97.90 £245.80
Alliance Trust Savings £138 £120 £372
Barclays Smart Investor £60 £68 No Sipp
Bestinvest £5.20 £135 £300
Charles Stanley Direct £4.55 £113.83 £289.33
Hargreaves Lansdown £5.85 £158.90 £407.80
Interactive Investor £90 £90 £210
The Share Centre £69.60 £137.60 £470.40

Source: Boring Money

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