Betterment is not available in the UK, sadly, much like its US rival Wealthfront. They also don’t currently have any plans to enter the UK market.
But just because Betterment doesn’t operate in the UK, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great alternatives to Betterment for UK based investors.
Read on for our round-up of the best alternatives to Betterment in the UK.
So, What is Betterment?
Betterment is a US-based robo-advisor founded in 2010. It claims to be the largest independent digital investment advisor in the US.
As of February 2022, Betterment has over 700,000 customers and more than $33bn in assets under management.
Betterment offers a range of products through its app, many of which are available through alternative platforms in the UK (see below), including:
- Investing: Betterment’s core offering is robo-investing, which is a hands-off way of investing your money based on your preferences and risk appetite. The UK has many alternatives to Betterment for this (see below), where AI optimises your investment portfolio based on your goals and preferences.
- Socially responsible investing: sometimes referred to as impact investing, Betterment offers a socially responsible investing option. This option invests in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) centred around particular environmental, social and governance themes. Currently the best UK alternative is Circa5000, but Moneyfarm also now offers socially responsible investing options.
- Banking and savings: Betterment offers a no-fee current account with debit card and a savings account all in the same app. This means you pay bills and generally do all of your usual banking activities in the same place as your investments.
- Charitable giving: customers are able to give shares to charity as part of their investment planning with Betterment. Giving in this way also maximises tax benefits
- Planning: Betterment offers a variety of planning services aimed at those planning for retirement, home ownership, or other long term goals.
- Crypto: following its takeover of Makara, a robo-investing platform focused on cryptocurrencies, Betterment plans to launch a crypto investing service in 2022.
Who owns Betterment?
Betterment is owned by a range of investors, including several Venture Capital funds. Its September 2021 funding round valued the company at almost $1.3bn.
Alternatives to Betterment in the UK
There are alternatives to Betterment in the UK that provide the same features, but not necessarily all in one app. UK based robo advisors and investing apps are catching up, however.
In the UK there are some great robo-advisors that offer the same core investment services that Betterment does. The UK market also has many commission-free trading alternatives to Betterment.
It’s my aim to review all of the investment platforms the UK has to offer, so here’s my roundup of the best UK alternatives to Betterment.
Betterment UK Alternatives – Robo Advisors
TOP PICK: Moneyfarm
Moneyfarm is your ideal partner if you want to sit back and allow experts to manage your money for you. It’s one of the largest robo-advisors in the UK, and it offers a general investment account as well as the main ISA accounts.
Simply complete an onboarding questionnaire and Moneyfarm will work out your risk appetite and allocate your money to a suitable portfolio. Moneyfarm’s professional investment managers then get to work for you, aiming to grow the value of your portfolio over time.
Moneyfarm is soon to launch a share dealing service too, so you’ll be able to pick investments to add to your account. You can also open a pension account and speak to one of Moneyfarm’s investment consultants for free, making it a great alternative to Betterment.
There’s also the ability to make your investments socially responsible, like Betterment offers, and add ‘themes’ to your portfolio, such as AI and robotics investments. Plus, the more you invest the lower the percentage fee becomes.
Moneyfarm – Key Details
- Portfolios: 7 actively managed, 7 ethical / socially responsible, 5 fixed allocation, Thematic Investing
- Products: Stocks & Shares ISA, SIPP, Junior ISA, GIA
- Up to £10,000: 0.75%
- £10,000 – £19,999: 0.70%
- £20,000 – £49,999: 0.65%
- £50,000 – £99,999: 0.60%
- £100,000 – £249,999: 0.45%
- £250,000 – £499,999: 0.40%
- Over £500,000: 0.35%
- Minimum Investment: £500
- FCA Regulated: Yes
- FSCS Protection: Yes
- Trustpilot Rating: 3.9
PRIZE DRAW: Open and fund a SIPP account or transfer a pension to Moneyfarm by the 12th December 2023 and enter a prize draw for a chance to win £20,000. New customers only. Ts&Cs apply.
Read our detailed Moneyfarm review for more.
More Robo-Advisor Alternatives To Wealthfront
A great alternative to Moneyfarm, &me is a relatively new robo-advisor having just launched in the UK in 2023. It’s the creation of M&G Wealth which is owned by M&G plc, one of the biggest asset managers in the UK, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your money is backed by one of the UK’s largest financial institutions. They offer a range of investment portfolios, including socially responsible.
Another useful feature they have is the option to speak book a video call with an investment consultant, which would benefit someone who wants to get more personalised investment guidance.
Generation Money OFFER: Sign up to &me and deposit £500 to get 3 months of no fees on your investments. You must use this link otherwise the offer will not be valid. Terms apply.
Another alternative is Plum, which is more focused on savings but also offers a decent range of investing options. That said, it’s probably best for those who are completely new to investing, as Plum is centred around a savings app designed to help customers budget and make the most of their savings. Their investment accounts are, however, great for beginners. Read our in-depth Plum review here.
Who is a robo advisor for?
Robo-advisors invest your money based on an algorithm that typically uses your responses to a detailed questionnaire. The UK now has many providers to choose from – read our full guide to the best robo-advisors in the UK here. Depending on the provider, this will take into account your risk appetite, investment goals and any themes or socially responsible preferences you have.
Robo-advisors are a great option if you’re seeking a hands-off way of investing your money, and are most suited to people who don’t have the time or desire to manage their own investments.
Betterment UK Alternatives – Commission free trading
- Top pick: eToro
If you’re interested in making your own investment choices, then eToro is one of the best commission-free trading options out there. You’re able to buy and sell stocks and shares without paying commission. They even waive stamp duty on share purchases in the UK. You can also trade CFDs* (contracts for difference) if you’re interested in trading using leverage. But you should only trade CFDs if you have done your own research and understand the risks involved.
Read our detailed eToro review for more.
*CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Trading212 was the first trading app I used to trade shares using CFDs* and is still one of the best platforms you can use in the UK. It’s also another great option for commission free trading on stocks and shares. Again, if you want to trade using CFDs rather than buying shares directly, make sure you understand the risks involved.
Read our detailed head-to-head of eToro vs Trading 212 to see how they compare.
*CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 78% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Stake is an Australian based trading platform that now operates in the UK. One of their best features is that you can trade US stocks and shares with zero brokerage and FX fees, which is great if you’re interested in investing in US companies. Stake does charge a 0.5% fee on deposits and withdrawals, though. You can also get a free stock for signing up to Stake and funding your account within 24 hours.
Who is commission free trading for?
Commission-free trading apps are probably for you if you want to directly own stakes in companies and are confident in making your own investment or trading decisions. The above options are a good start.
They’re also great for trading a variety of asset classes, such as getting direct exposure to ETFs, commodities and currencies.
If you’re going to trade using CFDs though, it’s very important that you have a good knowledge of how they work and the risks involved. They are leveraged instruments which can dramatically increase your losses (and profits).
Check out our guide to the differences in trading vs investing here.
Is my money safe with these Betterment alternatives?
All of the above investing and trading options are FCA registered and regulated, including FSCS protection. This means that if they were to go out of business, you can be paid compensation directly by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to the value of £85,000.
This should give some comfort that your money is safe with these providers if anything was to go wrong with them. But, as with any type of investment, the value of your investments may go up or down.
I’ve personally used Moneyfarm, Trading212 and eToro for a number of years and have not had any issues with my money or the security of their platforms.
What to do next?
It is up to you to decide which platform and type of investment is right for you, and at the moment there’s no single Betterment UK alternative that offers everything that Betterment does in the US. You must also consider your own individual circumstances and level of risk that you’re comfortable with before investing your money. You should think about how you want your money invested and whether you want to actively buy and sell individual instruments, or take a hands-off approach.
For a hands-off approach, my favourite robo-advisor alternative to Betterment in the UK is Moneyfarm which I’ve been using for a number of years.
For a more hands-on approach, eToro is my current top pick as an alternative to Betterment in the UK. Their app is also very nice to navigate.
Remember, none of the above should be considered investment advice. Any investor should do their own research and take time to understand the risks involved and their own risk appetite for any investment.