The advice gap is on the mind of the new City Minister, according to his comments at yesterday’s TISA conference. This is welcome news to online investing services that say they can do more to help the over 16m UK adults who have investible assets of £10,000 but tend to hold it in cash.

In fact, improvements to online investment services have been substantial over recent years, but they are often overlooked as we focus on the latest episode of consumer harm, like the FTX collapse.

The majority of UK D2C assets are with the more established services, and we would like to celebrate the best services that we found in our UK D2C: Investor Experience research published this week. The Platforum Online Investing Stars of 2022 are: AJ Bell, Fidelity Personal Investing, Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor, Nutmeg and Vanguard. These companies deliver an excellent proposition overall and are exceptional in at least one of the six specific categories that we assess: content (including guidance), user experience, investment choice, service, mobile offering and pricing.

Looking at how these services have evolved in recent years; we see much more engaging content with better navigation to show relevant information at the right time. Guidance is much more user friendly, with well-thought-out journeys and in some cases cash savings offered alongside risk-based investing. And while mobile propositions enable effective portfolio monitoring, trading and account administration, they don’t currently go as far as delivering the entire service through a small-screen handset.

While improving the D2C investor experience won’t close the advice gap on its own, shifting or clarifying the advice boundary should make these services more accessible to a broader market. Releasing the power of mass personalisation can make today’s online investing stars even better.

Platforum has recently published UK D2C: Investor Experience, our annual assessment of online investing services from the end-investor’s perspective. Using live accounts, we benchmark the largest of these – including direct platforms and non-platform services – against industry best practices. Please get in touch for more information.