Hargreaves Lansdown Review
Hargreaves Lansdown provides a thorough selection of investment options, high-quality research (some of which is in-house), alongside an excellent mobile app. Conversely, pricing is expensive, and charting tools, as well as educational resources, are just average.
Top Takeaways for 2019
After spending over 100 hours testing nine online stock brokers for UK share dealing, here are our top findings on Hargreaves Lansdown:
- Founded in 1981, Hargreaves Lansdown has £86 billion under management with over 1,000,000 clients.
- Thanks to a thorough, rich offering of market analysis, Hargreaves Lansdown finished No. 1 for Research.
- Hargreaves Lansdown also finished Best in Class (top 3) in several other categories including Platforms & Tools and Ease of Use. One highlight is the mobile app, which is brilliant thanks to being well-designed, very responsive, and packed full of market research for traders.
- Hargreaves Lansdown provides traders access to trade shares across twenty international exchanges. As far as investment options go, Hargreaves Lansdown is No. 1.
- No matter how you slice it, Hargreaves Lansdown is expensive for share dealing, especially when compared against pricing leaders DEGIRO and IG.
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platform & Tools|
Commissions & Fees
Similar to many of its competitors, Hargreaves Lansdown has a tiered fee structure that depends on the number of deals placed during the previous calendar month. For funds, there are no direct trading fees, although there are annual management charges.
Per-trade fees: For shares, corporate bonds, gilts, and ETFs, there are per-trade fees. The higher-end price is £11.95 per deal, but this falls to as low as £5.95 per deal if 20 or more share deals have been placed the previous month. While £11.95 per deal is at the higher end of the industry range in the UK, £5.95 per deal for active investors is very competitive. Also, Hargreaves Lansdown does not charge for account inactivity.
Annual fees: Annual management charges are 0.45% per annum on funds held from £0-£250,000. For funds of £250,000-£1 million, the charge is 0.25%, for £1 million-£2 million the fee is 0.10%, and for funds over £2 million there is no further charge. For example, if you have an account with £10,000, you will pay £45 in management charges.
Again, these charges are at the higher end compared to other share dealers.
|Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month||£11.95|
|Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month||£8.95|
|Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month||£5.95|
|Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000*||0.45%|
|Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K*||0.25%|
|Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m*||0.25%|
|Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over*||0.10%|
|ETFs - Fee||£11.95|
|Investment Trusts - Fee||£11.95|
|Telephone Dealing Fee*||£20.00|
Platforms & Tools
Hargreaves Lansdown offers an above-average trading platform and a great mobile app. Finishing third in our review for Platforms & Tools, only IG and Saxo Markets provide a better platform experience.
Charting: As far as stock charts go, Hargreaves Lansdown does a decent job, falling in line with the industry average. Traders have access to 26 charting indicators and can easily add an overlay of an Indice or commodity. Charts can display events such as broker forecasts, financial results, or dividends, a feature hard to find in the UK. However, only one drawing tool is offered and you cannot open a chart in a separate window to make it bigger. The inability to save studies for an individual chart is also frustrating.
Mobile Trading: Hargreaves Lansdown offers its HL Live mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app is brilliant, offering traders a simple and effective way to trade on the go without sacrificing fundamental research. So many UK share dealers do not provide the same quality of research on their mobile apps. It is refreshing to see broker forecasts and in-house research when researching a company from my iPhone. Hargreaves Lansdown also allows traders to view a mobile chart in full-screen mode, a feature only offered by Saxo Markets and IG Group.
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||No|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||26|
|Charting - Drawing Tools||1|
|Charting - Notes||No|
|Charting - Display Corporate Events||Yes|
|Charting - Stock Overlays||Yes|
|Charting - Index Overlays||Yes|
Hargreaves Lansdown's research area is robust, including a wealth of fundamental company data. Standard quote pages have the following research tabs: charts & performance, news, HL research, broker forecasts, director deals, financials, dividends, company info, and costs. I enjoyed the broker forecasts and HL research tabs the most, which provide analyst ratings and in-house commentary on specific shares. Highlights include:
The Wealth 50 List: This list highlights funds Hargreaves Lansdown considers the best across the leading investment sectors. The aim here is to help investors choose funds in which the fund manager has complete confidence.
Insight and Research: The insight and research tab contains in-house commentary, typically discussing recent news and how it affects the share price. Our testing found that no other broker provides as much in-house research and commentary as Hargreaves Lansdown.
Market News: Hargreaves Lansdown offers a variety of in-house and third-party market news and stock market reports. The news covers everything from individual companies to director dealings and corporate actions. In addition to market news, Hargreaves Lansdown displays lists of top-traded stocks and a financial diary that tracks important company results dates.
No Screener: Hardly a deal breaker, but Hargreaves Lansdown does not offer a stock screener.
|Research - Shares||Yes|
|Research - CFDs||Yes|
|Research - Funds||Yes|
|Fund Research - Research Reports||Yes|
|Research - ETFs||Yes|
|Research - Bonds||Yes|
|Portfolio Allocation Breakdown||Yes|
Offering of Investments
The flagship Vantage account is the primary vehicle for trading and investing in stocks, over 2,500 funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), gilts, and corporate bonds. Share trading on 20 international exchanges is also available. The other main account options are the Stocks & Shares ISA or Vantage SIPP (for pensions).
Hargreaves Lansdown is one of a select few UK brokers to offer adviser services in addition to standard share dealing.
Portfolio+ is another fund investment option that Hargreaves Lansdown offers. Portfolio+ comprises six prebuilt portfolios, which invest in multiple assets such as bonds and shares across countries, regions, and sectors.
Lastly, passive investors can also choose HL Multi-Manager Funds, which invests in a range of the best funds available (nominated by the Hargreaves Lansdown investment team). Each of the HL Multi-Manager Funds looks to provide broad exposure to a whole sector (high income, UK growth, etc.) with a single investment.
|Bonds - Corporate||Yes|
|Bonds - Government (Gilts)||Yes|
Beyond Hargreaves Lansdown's respectable research platform, several guides and calculators provide clients educational material. Clients can learn about general topics such as ISAs, SIPPS, share selection, and pensions. Overall, the educational guides are of decent quality, but nothing special.
The absence of video tutorials or webinars was disappointing. Although Hargreaves Lansdown appears to be trying to enhance its offering in these areas (we found several videos in the funds education section), their is room for improvement.
|Has Education - Share Trading||Yes|
|Has Education - Funds||Yes|
|Has Education - Retirement||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||No|
Hargreaves Lansdown is a well-rounded share dealing brokerage. The company offers excellent in-house research, a variety of market research tools, and an excellent mobile app.
Ultimately, casual investors have to ask themselves whether the excellent research available for shares and funds is enough to justify paying higher commissions.
About Hargreaves Lansdown
Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown has a 35-year history of helping UK investors with their investment decisions and execution. With more than £86 billion under management and with over 1,000,000 clients, Hargreaves Lansdown can be viewed as a market leader by many measures. The company continues to maintain a 100% UK presence and is listed on the FTSE 100 under the stock symbol, "HL".
About the author: Steve Miley Steve Miley is Director of Research, Europe, for StockBrokers.com and heads the annual UK Share Dealing Broker Review. With 25 years of experience in institutional financial markets, Steve has won multiple Technical Analyst Magazine awards, including "Best Independent Fixed Income" and "Best FX Research." Alongside StockBrokers.com, Steve is the founder of The Market Chartist where he provides market research for institutional clients.