Best stocks & shares ISA investing platforms for 2023

In the United Kingdom, everyone aged 18 or older has the right to an annual Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance. For the tax year 2023/24, running from the 6th of April 2023 to the 5th of April 2024, this allowance stands at £20,000.

You can use this ISA allowance either in full or partially to invest in a specific type of account called a stocks and shares ISA. This account enables investments in funds, bonds, and shares of individual companies. The key benefit is that any profits or income from investments held within your stocks and shares ISA are exempt from dividends, capital gains, or income tax.

A stocks and shares ISA differs from a cash ISA, as it operates as a tax-free savings account but does not offer the opportunity to invest in funds or individual company shares.

Best stocks & shares ISA investing platforms

Investing your ISA allowance in a stocks and shares ISA is an excellent way to grow your money tax-free. Choosing the right investment platform is key to making the most of your £20,000 annual ISA allowance. There are two main types of platforms to consider – do-it-yourself platforms and robo-advisers.

Do-it-yourself platforms

With a do-it-yourself ISA platform, you select your own investments and build your portfolio. This allows complete control over where your money is invested. However, you’ll need to conduct thorough research and regularly monitor your investments.

The major benefit of DIY platforms is flexibility. You can invest in a wide range of assets including funds, bonds, shares, investment trusts and ETFs. Many platforms offer ready-made portfolios of funds and shares if you don’t want to select investments yourself.

Watch out for dealing fees and fund charges, which can eat into your returns. Leading DIY platforms include Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell YouInvest and Interactive Investor. They offer a choice of accounts, investment options and low fees if you have a large portfolio.

Robo-advisers

Robo advisers provide a managed investments solution. You answer questions about your goals and risk tolerance, and the robo-adviser builds and manages a suitable portfolio for you.

With robo-advice, you don’t need to pick investments or rebalance your portfolio – it’s all handled automatically. Robo advisers invest in ETFs and funds to match your risk profile. Popular robo-advisers include Nutmeg, Wealthify and Moneyfarm.

The main advantage of robo-platforms is convenience. They do the hard work of portfolio construction and asset allocation for you. The downside is you have little control over exactly where your money is invested. Costs are also higher than DIY investing once your portfolio grows.

Which is best?

There’s no definitive answer on whether DIY or robo platforms are better. It depends on your confidence and interest in investing.

If you’re hands-on and willing to invest time in research, a DIY stocks and shares ISA gives you more control. But if you want a completely automated approach, a robo-adviser may suit you better.

Most importantly, choose an established platform with low fees and a good range of investment options. Review your account regularly to ensure it remains aligned with your goals and risk tolerance over time.

Best UK DIY stocks & shares ISA platforms

PlatformCostFee to buy/sell
InvestEngine↗︎
Online/ app
NoneShares: N/A
Funds: None
Trading212↗︎
Online/ app
NoneShares: None
Funds: None
Freetrade↗︎
App
£5.99/mth
£59.88/yr
Shares: None
Funds: None
AJ Bell↗︎
Online/ app
0.25%/yearShares: £9.95
Funds: £1.50
Hargreaves Lansdown↗︎
Online/ app
0.45%/yearShares: £9.95
Funds: £11.95

Best UK Robo stocks & shares ISA platforms

PlatformCostAverage annual fund cost 
InvestEngine↗︎
Online/ app
0.25%/year0.23%
Evestor↗︎
Online/ app
0.5%/year0.16%
Wealthify↗︎
Online/ app
First year free
0.6%/year
0.16% or 0.7%
Moneyfarm↗︎
Online/ app
First year free
0.6%-0.75%/yr
0.3%
Nutmeg↗︎
Online/ app
First year free
0.45%-0.75%/year
0.24%-0.4%
Average annual fund cost comprises fund charges + market spread.

How To Open A Stocks & Shares ISA

Opening a Stocks & Shares ISA follows a process similar to that of opening a regular savings account. You’ll be required to verify your identity and furnish proof of your address as part of the standard procedure.

  1. Step 1: Research and Choose a Provider – Start by researching and choosing a reputable Stocks & Shares ISA provider. Look for one that offers the investments and features that match your financial goals and risk tolerance.
  2. Step 2: Visit the Provider’s Website – Go to the chosen provider’s website. They will have information about their ISA products and the application process.
  3. Step 3: Check Eligibility – Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. In the UK, you must be 18 or older and a UK resident for tax purposes to open a Stocks & Shares ISA.
  4. Step 4: Complete the Application Form – Find the application form on the provider’s website and fill it out. You’ll typically need to provide personal information, including your National Insurance number and bank details.
  5. Step 5: Choose Your Investments – During the application, you’ll be asked to select your investment options. You can usually choose from a range of funds, bonds, and individual company shares.
  6. Step 6: Decide on Contributions – Determine whether you want to make lump-sum contributions, regular monthly contributions, or both. Some providers may have minimum investment requirements.
  7. Step 7: Review and Confirm – Review all the information you’ve provided and the terms and conditions. Make sure you understand the fees associated with the ISA.
  8. Step 8: Submit Your Application – Once you are satisfied, submit your application electronically through the provider’s website.
  9. Step 9: erify Your Identity – The provider may require you to verify your identity. This can usually be done online, but occasionally, you may need to provide documents like a passport or utility bill.
  10. Step 10: Fund Your ISA – Transfer funds into your new Stocks & Shares ISA. You can do this through a bank transfer or by setting up a direct debit for regular contributions.
  11. Step 11: Start Investing – Once your account is funded, you can start investing in the assets you’ve chosen within the ISA.
  12. Step 12: Monitor Your Investments – Keep an eye on your investments, and consider reviewing your portfolio regularly to ensure it aligns with your financial goals.

Remember that the value of investments can go up and down, so it’s essential to make informed decisions and, if necessary, seek financial advice before opening a Stocks & Shares ISA.


Stocks & Shares ISA FAQs