As the UK D2C market approaches £500bn, the incumbents are still dominant but the shape of the market is changing. Direct platforms still manage the lion’s share of assets, according to Platforum’s UK D2C: Market Overview, published this week. Hargreaves Lansdown remains far and away the largest player. Together with Interactive Investor, Fidelity Personal Investing and AJ Bell, the big four comprise over half of total D2C assets.

The landscape is changing, however, leaving no room for complacency. Vanguard’s relatively new D2C service continues its exceptional growth. There is even stronger growth from digital wealth managers, whose assets are up 35% this year, such as robo-advisers like Nutmeg and services with distinct positioning like Moneybox, which helps younger investors to build a house deposit in a LISA and then supports them though the mortgage process.

Then there are the neo-brokers. Trading 212 and Freetrade are taking a mobile-first approach and successfully attracting younger investors. Their strategies are shifting to target long-term investors with slick UX and pricing built around free trading. The established players are taking note.

Attractive cash rates and low investor confidence have conspired to induce inertia into the D2C investing environment, but there are some strong tailwinds on the horizon. The industry is positive about the FCA’s Advice Guidance Boundary Review and the sustained investment in branding should be noticed by consumers over time.

Platforum has recently published UK D2C: Market Overview, an annual report providing a comprehensive picture of direct investment services in the UK. For more information, please get in touch.