Best Stocks and Shares ISA

Table of Contents

This is our guide to the best Stocks and Shares ISA.

Our team of finance experts tested the best Stocks and Shares ISA providers in the UK. We looked at investment options, fees and charges, ease of use, customer support and more to narrow down the best platforms.

Let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

Best Stocks and Shares ISA – Interactive Investor

Our overall best Stocks and Shares ISA platform is Ineractive Investor (also known as ‘ii’). 

Interactive Investor

Due to its monthly subscription pricing instead of charging as a percentage of your portfolio, Interactive Investor is one of the lowest cost ISA providers for large amounts. Fees stay the same even as your portfolio grows in size.

It has more than 40,000 shares, bonds and funds to invest in. There’s also a range of investment ideas and funds lists to help you decide what to invest in. Plus, dealing fees are lower than the other major ISA providers and regular monthly investing is free.

Interactive Investor has an ‘excellent’ Trustpilot rating of 4.7 and gets great customer feedback. Its customer support wait time averages under 1 minute, so help is on hand quickly if you need it.

Interactive Investor is regulated by the FCA and has FSCS protection.

In our view, Interactive Investor offers the best service and investment options of the major Stocks and Shares ISA providers.

Interactive Investor manages to cater to both experienced investors and beginners equally well. Its mobile app is excellent and allows you to easily analyse your portfolio and browse investments. 

Interactive Investor app snapshot
A snapshot of the ii app

At the same time it still offers customers phone support and telephone dealing.

Its fees are market-leading among the big platforms. Each trade is just £3.99, including US shares, making it cheaper than AJ Bell, Hargreaves Lansdown and Bestinvest. Non-US international dealing fees are £9.99.

Even better, ii’s regular investing service is free from dealing fees. So you can set up a direct debit and place regular trades each month and avoid dealing fees – a very cheap way of building a portfolio over time.

Interactive Investor charges platform fees differently to the other major providers, too. Instead of fees based on a percentage of the value of your investments, it charges monthly subscription fees.

This means that the price you pay (based on the plan you choose) is fixed. So, the more your investments grow the less you are charged as a percentage, making ii one of the lowest cost platforms for larger portfolios.

Interactive Investor – Key Details:

Interactive Investor logo
  • Investments: More than 40,000 shares (including AIM shares), ETFs, mutual funds, investment trusts and bonds to invest in
  • Products: Stocks & Shares ISA, JISA, SIPP, GIA, Company Trading Account
  • Platform Fees based on Plan type:
    • Investor Essentials: £4.99 per month (max. investment of £50k)
    • Investor: £11.99 per month
    • Super Investor: £19.99 per month
    • Pension Builder: £12.99 per month
  • Dealing Fees:
    • UK shares & funds and US shares: £3.99 per transaction on all Plans
    • 1 free monthly trade with Investor plan, 2 with Super Investor
    • Non-US international shares charged at £9.99 per transaction for all accounts except Super Investor which is £5.99
    • No dealing fees for regular investing
    • Dividend reinvestment £0.99 for all plans
  • Minimum Investment: No minimum investment to open an account. £25 per month minimum for regular investing
  • FCA Regulated: Yes
  • FSCS Protection: Yes
  • Trustpilot Rating: 4.7

Who will benefit from Interactive Investor?

  • Beginners – Interactive Investor has lots of useful guides and funds list to help you decide what to invest in, plus a range of ready-made portfolios
  • Experienced investors – easily able to build a diversified portfolio choosing from thousands of shares (including international and AIM shares), bonds and funds
  • If you want a cost effective ISA – regular investing is free from dealing fees so you can cheaply build a portfolio over time. Plus, the more your portfolio is worth the lower the effective fee is due to ii’s fixed monthly pricing

Overall, we rate Interactive Investor as the best Stocks and Shares ISA.

Get £200 cashback or £100 in free trades

SIPP: Open or transfer a SIPP by 31st May and get £200 cashback.

ISA: New customers who open an Interactive Investor ISA or Trading Account by 19th May will get £100 in free trades.

Terms apply. Capital at risk if you invest.

Get £200 cashback and £100 in free trades​

SIPP: Open or transfer a SIPP by 31st May and get £200 cashback.

ISA: New customers who open an Interactive Investor ISA or Trading Account by 19th May will get £100 in free trades.

Terms apply. Capital at risk if you invest.

Best Stocks and Shares ISA for beginners

Although Interactive Investor is our best Stocks and Shares ISA overall, if you’re a beginner or don’t have time to build your own portfolio then we recommend Moneyfarm.

Moneyfarm is a robo-advisor which means professionals manage your investment for you. It’s fees are low compared to other robo-advisors and ready-made portfolios. 

Plus, it’s launching Share Investing which we’ve had early access to. Once it’s rolled out to everyone it could become one of our top overall picks.

Moneyfarm

Moneyfarm has one of the best performance track records of the main robo-advisors combined with low charges which reduce as your portfolio grows. The more you invest, the lower the percentage fees.

It also offers free guidance from investment consultants and socially responsible options, too. Moneyfarm’s customer service is great and its app is one of the best on the market.

Plus, you can now add individual stocks to your ready-made portfolio if you wish – perfect for beginners.

Moneyfarm is regulated by the FCA and has FSCS protection.

Read more in our guide to the best Stocks and Shares ISA for beginners.

Cheapest Stocks and Shares ISA

If you’re happy to only invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), then InvestEngine is the cheapest Stocks and Shares ISA.

InvestEngine

InvestEngine is the cheapest stocks and shares ISA on the market, charging just 0.25% platform fees on Managed Portfolios no matter the size of your investment.

It only offers ETFs, so no shares or mutual funds, but you can build your own portfolio totally free from platform and dealing charges. Plus, if you have a Managed Portfolio you can still add your own ETF picks to your portfolio for free.

We tested their ISA transfer process and it was smooth, taking around 10 working days to transfer an existing Stocks and Shares ISA. Their customer support is very good, too.

Capital at risk if you invest. InvestEngine is regulated by the FCA and has FSCS protection.

InvestEngine is totally free from dealing fees and platform charges if you build our own ETF portfolio. If you choose one of its Managed Portfolio options, then it’s just 0.25% per year in fees.

However, Interactive Investor is one of the cheapest Stocks and Shares ISAs on the market, too. It also has a much wider range of investments than InvestEngine. 

Read more in our guide to the cheapest Stocks and Shares ISAs. You can also read more about ETF investing in our guide to the best ETF platforms in the UK.

Best Managed Stocks and Shares ISA

If you don’t want to pick your own investments, then we recommend using a robo-advisor to open a Stocks and Shares ISA.

Moneyfarm is our top-pick for best managed Stocks and Shares ISA. 

When you sign up you’ll be asked to answer Moneyfarm’s screening questions about your attitude to risk. Then you’ll be allocated a ready-made portfolio based on your answers. 

It’s as easy as that – then you can sit back and watch your investments over time while they’re managed by professional fund managers.

Picture of Alex's View

Alex's View

Founder, Generation Money

The second ever ISA I opened was with Moneyfarm, soon after I finished my Chartered Accountancy exams. I remember completing their questionnaire for the first time and being impressed at how easy it was to get started. Based on the questionnaire I was allocated to Portfolio 6, Moneyfarm’s second highest risk portfolio – which won’t be for everyone!

Over the years I’ve been impressed with how well designed their app is, their great customer support and the clear portfolio performance and breakdowns you get. Not only is Moneyfarm a great investment ISA for beginners, it’s also brilliant if you simply don’t have the time to manage your own investments.

Moneyfarm is also the best robo-advisor in the UK in our view.

Best Ethical Stocks and Shares ISA

Our top-pick ethical Stocks and Shares ISA is also Moneyfarm. It offers a socially responsible investing option for each of its core ready-made portfolios. The fees for its ethical portfolios aren’t as high as those charged by other providers, either.

Read more in our guide to the best ethical Stocks and Shares ISA.

Of the DIY investment platforms, Interactive Investor offers lots of guidance and fund lists for ethical investing. So, you can still build your own ‘ethical’ investment portfolio if you don’t want to use a robo-advisor.

Other Stocks and Shares ISAs we reviewed

So, Interactive Investor is, in our view, the best Stocks and Shares ISA overall. But, to determine this we analysed a lot of other ISA platforms, too. 

Below we round-up the best of the rest, in order. 

AJ Bell

AJ Bell logo

Our second-choice for best all-round Stocks and Shares ISA, AJ Bell is still a great option. Like Interactive Investor, it offers thousands of shares, funds and bonds to invest in. 

AJ Bell also has great customer feedback and customer service. For most people, though, we calculate it to be more expensive than Interactive Investor (read more on this in our cheapest Stocks and Shares ISA guide). 

Its online platform and app are both good but not as well-designed and easy to use as Interactive Investor’s.

We do, however, rate AJ Bell as our top-pick Self-Invested Personal Pension provider. Read more in our guide to the best SIPP provider

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown logo

Established in 1981, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the largest retail investment platforms in the UK. 

As you’d expect, it has a huge range of investments – similar to AJ Bell and ii – and offers a very good online platform and app. 

Where we didn’t rate it so highly is on cost. It’s more expensive than Interactive Investor (especially for larger portfolios) and AJ Bell for a Stocks and Shares ISA.

But, Hargreaves Lansdown is our top-rated Junior Stocks and Shares ISA. Read more about Hargreaves Lansdown in our comparison reviews:

Bestinvest

Bestinvest logo

We’ve also extensively used and tested another of the best-known investment platforms, Bestinvest

Its customer service is excellent and you can get unlimited free calls with a financial coach – a good option if you’re new to investing.

However, Bestinvest is more expensive than Interactive Investor and more limited in its investment choice. It doesn’t offer bonds, for example.

While it’s not the best Stocks and Shares ISA, we still rate it as one of the better investment platforms. Read more in our detailed Bestinvest review.

You can also read how Bestinvest compares to Hargreaves Lansdown in our Bestinvest vs Hargreaves Lansdown head-to-head.

AJ Bell Dodl

AJ Bell Dodl logo

Aimed at beginners, AJ Bell Dodl is an investment app that’s designed to be simple, low-cost and easy to use, with a limited range of investments. As you may have guessed, it was created by AJ Bell.

There are 3 ranges of investment options with Dodl: Funds, Themed Investments and Shares. You can choose any of these to put together your own investment portfolio, making Dodl one of the more flexible ways of building a portfolio.

There are around 80 or so shares, 7 ready-made funds and 29 themed investments to choose from. So, a much smaller choice than the bigger investment platforms, but less overwhelming for beginners.

Overall, one of the better Stocks and Shares ISAs for beginners but more experienced investors will want more from their ISA platform.

Read all the details in our detailed AJ Bell Dodl review.

TILLIT

TILLIT logo

Confused about how to choose from the thousands of funds on offer with the bigger investment platforms? Well, TILLIT was launched to help you. 

TILLIT is an investment platform that offers a curated set of funds to choose from. These have been picked by experts at TILLIT who have a background in professional fund management.

The funds they’ve chosen to offer have been curated based on factors including performance, investment strategy and the experience of the fund managers. 

It also has an interesting pricing scheme. TILLIT’s annual platform charge starts at 0.40%. Each year you stay with TILLIT your annual fee reduces by 0.01%, with a maximum reduction of 0.15% after 15 years which results in a 0.25% fee.

Over time, it can become a cost-effective platform. But, you can only invest in its range of curated funds – so no shares or bonds.

Read all the details in our TILLIT review.

Vanguard

Vanguard logo

Vanguard is one of the largest investment management companies in the world with more than $7 trillion in assets under management. It’s also known for creating the first index fund. 

Vanguard has over 30 million investors worldwide, and offers 87 funds to UK investors to choose from on its platform.

Its pricing is very competitive at a flat 0.15% on the value of your investments and capped at £375 per year. But, and it’s a big ‘but’ in our view, you can only invest in Vanguard’s in-house funds.

This means you can’t buy stocks and shares, bonds or any non-Vanguard funds. We view this is a big limiting factor in deciding the best Stocks and Shares ISA. 

Many of Vanguard’s most popular funds are its index trackers, such as the Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF. But, if you’re keen to invest in ETFs, then InvestEngine is cheaper and has a lot more of them on offer – including most of Vanguard’s.

Read more in our InvestEngine vs Vanguard comparison.

How we chose the best Stocks and Shares ISA

Putting your money into the stock market shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our team at Generation Money has over 30 years of professional finance and investment experience and we’ve extensively tested each of the platforms in this guide.

To come up with our list of the best Stocks and Shares ISA we looked at a range of criteria. The main factors are:

  • Range of investments
  • Fees
  • Safety – each of the providers on our list is FCA regulated and FSCS protected
  • Customer service and customer feedback
  • Ease of use

We put our money where our mouths are and, between us, we have investment accounts with all of the providers on this list. 

Are Stocks and Shares ISAs Safe?

Stocks and Shares ISAs are considered one of the safest ways to invest your money in the UK. 

To offer a Stocks and Shares ISA the provider must be registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

There are additional regulatory checks and procedures an investment provider must comply with to offer a Stocks and Shares ISA compared to a General Investment Account. 

This is because ISAs have tax incentives which are approved by HMRC and ISA providers must also complete compliance checks directly with HMRC.

Stocks and Shares ISA providers are also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This is a government-backed scheme which protects up to £85,000 of your money in the event that your provider goes out of business.

On top of that, your cash and investments are administered by professional ‘custodians’ and your money is deposited with regulated banks. This keeps your money separate from your provider’s own funds.

If you have a dispute with an FCA registered provider and cannot resolve it directly with them, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS’s decisions are independent, final and binding.

As with all investing, though, your capital is at risk. This means the value of your investments can go down as well as up. But, over the long term, stocks and shares have historically risen in value. This is why it’s important to have a long term view when investing for the first time.

Best Stocks and Shares ISA – Summary

We reviewed a huge range of UK investment platforms and our team of finance experts decided that Interactive Investor has the best Stocks and Shares ISA.

It has the best combination of low fees and range of investment options. Interactive Investor’s customer service is also great and its app and online platform are clear and easy to use.

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor is the best Stocks and Shares ISA for its huge range of investment options, low pricing and excellent customers service.

Interactive Investor is regulated by the FCA and has FSCS protection.

We also covered the best Stocks and Shares ISA for beginners – Moneyfarm. Plus, we covered the cheapest Stocks and Shares ISA, InvestEngine – although you can only invest in ETFs with them.

Other Stocks and Shares ISA providers that we reviewed were also briefly covered, including AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown. Many of them have their own merits but we explained why we don’t consider them to be better than Interactive Investor.

All of the platforms we covered in this guide are regulated by the FCA and have FSCS protection.

This article has been reviewed by Talal, who is a CFA qualified finance professional. Talal previously advised clients with at least £1 billion to invest, so you’re in safe hands.

Get £100 of free trades

Get £100 of free trades when you open an ISA with Interactive Investor which we rate as the best Stocks and Shares ISA.
Capital at risk if you invest. FCA regulated & FSCS protected.

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Get £200 cashback with Interactive Investor

Get £200 cashback when you invest or transfer a SIPP to Interactive Investor. Terms apply.

Capital at risk if you invest. Interactive Investor is regulated by the FCA and has FSCS protection.

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