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‘I have accounts with 28 pension firms – these six are the best’

Holly Mackay set up her business Boring Money with the sole purpose to scrutinise Britain’s investment platforms. As part of the process, she opened accounts with 28 of them in her own name so that she could assess their usability and reliability. We asked her to review six of the best.

Hargreaves Lansdown

“These guys dominate the field and are very good,” Holly says. “For busy people who just want things to work, the service is unbeatable. Good service costs, however: they are at the pricey end with an administration fee starting at 0.45% a year. But this FTSE 100 giant offers security, peace of mind and slick service. Very good.”

Boring Money customer ratings (out of 5; 209 reviews):

Value: 3.3

Website: 4.4

Service: 4.2

Barclays Smart Investor

“At the time of writing this service had just undergone a metamorphosis. The original service, Barclays Stockbrokers, was great for traders and those who wanted detailed research. But the revamped offering has been either simplified or dumbed down, according to who you listen to. Could be handy for those who bank with Barclays and want a simple solution that fits into other parts of their financial lives.”

Boring Money customer ratings (out of 5; 28 reviews):

Value: 2.3

Website: 2.2

Service: 2.2

Interactive Investor*

“This business acquired a rival, TD Direct, and the services were merged at the end of 2017, which led to some disruption. Interactive’s fixed-fee structure has been implemented for all former TD customers, which makes this platform a very good deal for those with £50,000 or more. Service and website usability have been patchy in the past, but developments on the pension front and general upgrades should improve things steadily.”

Boring Money customer ratings (out of 5; 39 reviews):

Value: 4.3

Website: 3.3

Service: 3.5

Interactive Investor is this website’s choice of investment platform. To read why, visit our page Choosing an investment platform. Method 1: using the one we have chosen.



“A decently priced big-brand offering, which has recently improved its website and ease of use. The service and staff on the phones are good. One problem has been the lack of well integrated share dealing, which would affect readers of this book because the three portfolios include investment trusts, which are a special type of share. We expect Fidelity to improve this aspect in the future. A smooth journey for those who want some help and signposting. On the up.”

Boring Money customer ratings (out of 5; 64 reviews):

Value: 3.5

Website: 3.5

Service: 3.6

AJ Bell Youinvest

“Consistently at the low-cost end, whether you have a large or small portfolio. It’s more suited to confident investors and can confuse beginners. These guys certainly know pensions and I think are ones to watch.”

Boring Money customer ratings (out of 5; 83 reviews):

Value: 3.8

Website: 3.8

Service: 3.9

Charles Stanley Direct

“A low-cost platform that might be a bit overwhelming for novice investors. But it’s getting better and is hard to beat on cost, especially for smaller portfolios.”

Boring Money customer ratings (out of 5; 22 reviews):

Value: 4.4

Website: 3.9

Service: 4.2 

<< Return to: step 2: choose the firm (‘platform’) where you will hold your amalgamated pension pot?

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