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Vanguard UK Investor Review

Elizabeth Anderson

Written by Elizabeth Anderson
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis
Edited by Carolyn Kimball

April 30, 2024

Your capital is at risk.

Vanguard U.K. Investor is part of the Vanguard group, one of the world’s largest fund managers. In testing I found there to be many shortcomings in Vanguard’s U.K. platform, particularly relating to the narrow investment selection and lack of mobile app, but it’s cheap and easy to use. Vanguard has built up a loyal following among investors looking for inexpensive index funds for long-term investing, and it may appeal to beginner investors due to its simplicity.

Vanguard UK Investor
3.5/5 Stars Overall
  • Minimum Deposit: £500.0
  • ISA: Yes
  • SIPP: Yes

Vanguard pros & cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Offers great value for the money.
  • Excellent low-cost diversification.
  • Good for beginner investors and those looking for simple, long-term investments.

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Investment options are very limited: Only Vanguard funds and ETFs are available.
  • No mobile app.
  • Clunky website.

Overall summary

Feature Vanguard UK Investor logoVanguard UK Investor
Overall Rating 3.5/5 Stars
Charges & Fees 5/5 Stars
Investment Choices 3.5/5 Stars
Mobile App 0.5/5 Stars
Website 3/5 Stars
Ease of Use 4.5/5 Stars
Education 3.5/5 Stars

Charges and fees

Vanguard is well known for its low fees and charges. It charges an annual management fee of 0.15% a year of the value of your investments. The total is capped at £375, meaning once the value of your investments goes above £250,000 you’ll have no management fees above this.

Like all investment platforms, there are separate fees per fund. These average at 0.2% across Vanguard’s funds but the cheapest fund is just 0.07%.

There are no fees for buying, selling or switching funds. Vanguard places bulk deals twice a day, and your purchase will be included in that for free. However, if you want to buy or sell an ETF in real time, you’ll pay a £7.50 fee.

There are no exit or transfer fees.

Vanguard offers great value for money for investors with both small and large portfolios. However, if you have a portfolio worth more than £100,000 then a platform that charges a flat fee — such as Halifax, Lloyds Bank or Interactive Investor (ii) — may be more economical. You should weigh up how often you’ll be trading and your investment choices when working out which is the better value.

Scenario pricing: When calculating annual share dealing costs, trading frequency and account balance are the two most important factors to consider. Assuming a £30,000 portfolio in a traditional, taxable share dealing account, here are five scenarios of how much Vanguard U.K. would cost based on trade frequency:

  • 5 trades per year = £45
  • 12 trades per year = £45
  • 36 trades per year = £45
  • 120 trades per year = £45
  • 3 fund trades per year = £45
Feature Vanguard UK Investor logoVanguard UK Investor
Minimum Deposit info £500.0
Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month info N/A
Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month info N/A
Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month info N/A
Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000 info 0.15%
Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K info £375
Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m info £375
Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over info £375
Bonds - Corporate - Fee info N/A
Bonds - Government (Gilts) - Fee info N/A
ETFs - Fee info 0.02% to 0.46%
Investment Trusts - Fee info N/A
Telephone Dealing Fee info N/A
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query_stats What type of trader are you?

Our guides can help you choose the right broker for you and the way you trade: whether you consider yourself an investing beginner, a more experienced active trader, or a mobile-first trading enthusiast.

Mobile trading apps

Vanguard unfortunately does not offer a mobile app in the U.K., making it the only major U.K. broker without a mobile app, which is surprising. If you want to view your investments on your mobile, you’ll have to sign in through your phone’s web browser. I found it easy enough to log in to Vanguard through my phone, but an app that facilitates Face ID would be better.

However, a spokesperson says a Vanguard U.K. app is in development.

Website

The Vanguard U.K. website is very basic in design, and has only just started rolling out two-factor authentication. However, I found it easy to open an account in just a matter of minutes. You can link to another account, which means you can view another person’s account (with permission) and they can see yours. This is handy for couples when managing their household finances. Other investment platforms, such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell, also offer this feature.

Research, help and support is more limited than at other brokers. But Vanguard’s lack of extensive investor options means it is easy enough for even a novice investor to figure out. Just pick a fund and start investing. There are no charges for switching investments if you feel you have made an error. It’s worth doing some reading elsewhere on the difference between accumulation and income choices and how to decide whether you want to lean towards equities or bonds. Interactive Investor, Hargreaves Lansdown, Fidelity or AJ Bell are helpful for this type of guidance.

Feature Vanguard UK Investor logoVanguard UK Investor
Web Platform info Yes
iPhone App info No
Android App info No
Stock Alerts info No
Charting - Indicators / Studies info
Charting - Drawing Tools info
Charting - Notes info No
Charting - Display Corporate Events info No
Charting - Stock Overlays info No
Charting - Index Overlays info No

Investment choices

There are very few investment options through Vanguard U.K. There is no ability to buy shares, investment trusts or to invest in alternative assets such as commodities.

However, you can invest in mutual funds or ETFs that invest in these. The benefit is that investors will benefit from wide diversification. Vanguard funds cover markets worldwide, including emerging markets, the U.S. and Europe.

There are 70 funds to choose from, including ones that track an index such as the FTSE 100 and others such as the Lifestrategy range that invest in a range of indices and bonds on your behalf. Many new investors opt for a Lifestrategy fund as a starting point.

You can invest through a Vanguard ISA, SIPP or general investment account. Vanguard recently launched a “Managed ISA” option, matching investors with one of five portfolios to reflect their saving goals and attitude to risk for a 0.3% fee.

Feature Vanguard UK Investor logoVanguard UK Investor
Share Trading info No
CFD Trading info No
Funds info Yes
Research - ETFs info Yes
Bonds - Corporate info No
Bonds - Government (Gilts) info No
Investment Trusts info No
Spread Betting info No
Crypto Trading info No
Advisor Services info No

Education

Vanguard has increased the educational material on its website in the past couple of years, featuring around 200 articles on a range of topics such as the impact of currency movements and why diversification should be considered for long-term investment success.

There are no podcasts or webinars.

You can create a Portfolio Valuation Report from your account. This includes a pie chart showing your asset allocation — such as how much you have in U.K. equities and other global equities — along with gains and losses since your initial investment.

Feature Vanguard UK Investor logoVanguard UK Investor
Education (Share Trading) info No
Education (Funds) info Yes
Education (Retirement) info Yes
Client Webinars info No
Client Webinars (Archived) info Yes

Final thoughts

Vanguard is basic in functionality and choice, but offers a very good service for less experienced investors and those looking for simple long-term investments – perhaps looking ahead to retirement. Vanguard should be worth considering by savers looking to take a hands–off approach to investing.

About Vanguard

Vanguard pioneered index investing when it launched in the U.S. in 1975, founded by legendary investorJohn Bogle, who is credited with inventing the index fund. Vanguard launched its U.K. retail platform in 2017 and says it has gained 30 million customers since then.

Is Vanguard good for beginners?

Vanguard is a great option for beginner investors. You can be confident you are putting your money with a reputable brand that has been in business for many years. It offers the chance to build or access diversified investment portfolios at very low cost. The limited investment range also means you can easily select a fund without having to trawl through thousands of options. However, if your interests lie in learning how to actively trade shares, you will find better options elsewhere.

Does Vanguard have an app?

Vanguard does not currently offer a trading app in the U.K., but reports that it has one in development. No launch date has been specified.

Is Vanguard good for ISA?

A Vanguard stocks and shares ISA is worth considering as it’s easy to open one and the fees are low. You can either select your own fund or funds to invest in, or pick Vanguard’s Managed ISA, where investing decisions are taken for you. Remember you can only pay into one investment ISA each tax year.

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Methodology

For the UK.StockBrokers.com Annual Review, we assessed, rated, and ranked 17 U.K. share dealing platforms over a 10-week time period. Each broker’s platforms and features were exhaustively tested by hand and graded on 53 different variables. In total, over 25,000 words of research were produced.

We thoroughly tested and compared features of prime interest to everyday investors, including but not limited to:

  • Investment choices, such as whether the broker offers trading of shares, ETFs, funds, bonds, and CFDs; and offers SIPP and ISA accounts.
  • The broker’s charges and fees for investing.
  • Functionality and design of mobile apps and website platform, and a fluid experience moving between app and web.
  • Usability of tools such as charting and watch lists.
  • Market research, such as screening, news and analysis.
  • Educational resources including tutorials, online courses, videos, webinars and articles.

Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Our lead researcher and writer, Elizabeth Anderson, has more than a decade’s experience as a financial journalist and market researcher. Elizabeth’s expertise is backed by a team of veteran fellow traders, data auditors, editors and project managers who work to ensure that UK.StockBrokers.com reviews and guides are the most unbiased and complete in the industry. Read more about our team.

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About the Editorial Team

Elizabeth Anderson
Elizabeth Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson, lead writer and researcher, has been a financial journalist for more than a decade. In addition to her work with UK.StockBrokers.com, she has written extensively for major publications including BBC, The Times and Bloomberg. A keen investor herself, she is passionate about helping people understand finance and investing.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the StockBrokers.com Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

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