Providing good online experience for investors is challenging. Managing ongoing relationships is more complicated than providing transactional services.

Our annual investor experience research finds some areas of improvement and picks out the Platforum Online Investing Stars of 2023.

AJ Bell and Interactive Investor top the leaderboard with consistently strong scores. Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown, PensionBee and Vanguard are also star performers.

  • Content and guidance have improved in recent years, helping to engage a wider range of consumers but a personalised approach is still some way off. Select lists are presented less prominently and we see a shift in guidance towards investment solutions – a visible trend in so many parts of wealth management. The top services for content are Fidelity Personal Investing, Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor.
  • The integration of cash savings into online investing is quite pronounced and timely given the new interest rate environment. Self-directed investors are buying more gilts but they won’t get much meaningful guidance. Will fixed income guidance get more attention in the future?
  • We still question why it’s still so hard to view annualised portfolio performance. Only a small minority of services, like Fidelity Personal Investing (top for UX), show money-weighted rates of return.
  • Login procedures have improved and most now involve just a few clicks via a recognised browser. Banks are the exception with layers of authentication and personally, I find some border on being unusable. Security issues should be solved in the background. Login is automatic when landing on Trading212’s website, so that’s the competition benchmark from neo-brokers.
  • AI driven chatbots are already common although we don’t yet find them a lot of use. The best services complement with good telephone and email responses. This is the case for Vanguard, which scores top for ‘service’.
  • Some consumers do everything on their mobile although a complete investing service via a handset is still some way off. Hargreaves Lansdown and PensionBee have good apps for account monitoring and integrate some website content.

This is just a snapshot; a detailed analysis is available to our UK D2C research subscribers.

Platforum has recently published UK D2C: Investor Experience, assessing the experience of investors using the leading digital investing services including direct platforms and non-platform services. For more information, please get in touch