Vanguard UK Investor Review
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 pros & cons
- Offers great value for the money.
- Excellent low-cost diversification.
- Good for beginner investors and those looking for simple, long-term investments.
- Investment options are very limited: Only Vanguard funds and ETFs are available.
- No mobile app.
- Clunky website.
|Vanguard UK Investor
|Charges & Fees
|Ease of Use
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 four 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
|Vanguard UK Investor
|Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month
|Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month
|Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month
|Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000
|Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K
|Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m
|Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over
|Bonds - Corporate - Fee
|Bonds - Government (Gilts) - Fee
|ETFs - Fee
|0.02% to 0.46%
|Investment Trusts - Fee
|Telephone Dealing Fee
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.
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.
|Vanguard UK Investor
|Charting - Indicators / Studies
|Charting - Drawing Tools
|Charting - Notes
|Charting - Display Corporate Events
|Charting - Stock Overlays
|Charting - Index Overlays
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.
|Vanguard UK Investor
|Research - ETFs
|Bonds - Corporate
|Bonds - Government (Gilts)
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.
|Vanguard UK Investor
|Education (Share Trading)
|Client Webinars (Archived)
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.
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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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.
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