This is our independent InvestEngine review.
InvestEngine is a low-cost Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) investment platform that allows you to invest in either a managed portfolio, similar to robo-advisors, or to build your own portfolio.
In this review of InvestEngine we’ll go into detail on its features, account options, fees, safety and how it compares against its main rivals.
I’ve been trading and investing with my own money for 15 years and it’s my aim to review all of the major investment platforms in the UK here at GM. As a Chartered Accountant I’m very much aware of how costs can impact returns over time, so don’t miss my detailed cost comparison of InvestEngine vs its rivals later on in this review.
What You Need To Know
InvestEngine is an FCA regulated, FSCS protected ETF investment platform with zero management fees or platform fees when building your own portfolio. Its Managed Portfolios come with a fee of 0.25%.
This makes InvestEngine the best priced ETF platform on the market, beating its main robo-advisor competitors. In fact, it’s cheaper to invest in Vanguard funds through InvestEngine than it is through Vanguard’s platform. It also has a number of innovative features such as Smart Orders.
However, its product offering is currently limited to a Stocks & Shares ISA or a GIA.
OFFER: Get a Welcome Bonus of up to £50 when you invest at least £100 with InvestEngine.
Ts&Cs apply. Capital at risk if you invest.
Read on for our full InvestEngine review, or use table of contents to skip ahead to a particular section.
- InvestEngine Review: What Is InvestEngine?
- InvestEngine Review: InvestEngine’s Features
- InvestEngine Review: How Does InvestEngine Work?
- InvestEngine Review: How To Set Up An InvestEngine Account
- InvestEngine Review: Costs & Fees
- InvestEngine Review: Alternatives to InvestEngine
- InvestEngine Review: InvestEngine ETF List
- InvestEngine Review: Is InvestEngine Safe?
- InvestEngine Review: How Does InvestEngine Make Money?
- InvestEngine Review: Pros & Cons
- InvestEngine Review: Customer Reviews
- InvestEngine Review: Is InvestEngine Any Good?
InvestEngine Review: What Is InvestEngine?
InvestEngine is a UK based investment platform which allows you to invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). You can do so either by picking which ETFs to invest in to build your own portfolio yourself or via InvestEngine’s managed portfolios.
This approach by InvestEngine is quite innovative. Broadly speaking, if you’re looking to invest your money you have two main options.
You can either make your own investment decisions and build a DIY portfolio, or you can entrust your money to professionals to build and manage a portfolio for you to invest in. InvestEngine allows you to do either.
The last 10 years has seen the rise of robo-advisors such as Moneyfarm, Wealthify and Nutmeg. These platforms work by putting your money into one of a range of professionally managed portfolios based on your attitude to risk.
Typically, robo-advisors suit a less experienced or time-poor investor who doesn’t have the time or desire to research investments and build their own portfolio. Instead, you can simply complete a questionnaire, fund your account and a robo-advisor puts your money to work for you.
On the other hand, the larger and more established investment platforms in the UK tend to offer a wide range of assets to invest in. These include big names such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor. With these platforms you can build a diverse portfolio of investments.
Not only does InvestEngine offer both approaches, it does it at a very competitive cost. There are no platform fees when building your own portfolio, and only a low fee of 0.25% to invest in one of its 10 managed portfolios. More on InvestEngines fees below.
However, as mentioned, you can only invest in ETFs through InvestEngine, unlike broader investment platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor. You cannot invest in stocks and shares directly, nor can you invest in bonds or other types of funds such as mutual funds and investment trusts.
As of April-23, InvestEngine has more than 23,000 users and over £175m in Assets Under Administration (AUA). There are over 550 ETFs available to invest in through InvestEngine’s platform, including funds from the major investment managers such as Vanguard, L&G and iShares.
InvestEngine Review: InvestEngine’s Features
Below is a summary of the key features provided by InvestEngine:
- Zero platform fees on DIY portfolios
- Low cost platform fee of 0.25% on managed portfolios
- 10 managed portfolio options, based on your risk preference (all are growth portfolios)
- Over 550 ETFs to invest in
- Stocks and Shares ISA and General Investment Account (GIA) – invest through a tax-wrapper or via a normal investment account
- Business account – open an account for your business to invest your business’ cash
- Minimum investment of £100
- Fractional investing from just £1
- Mobile app and online web platform
- One-click rebalancing – allows you to rebalance your portfolio back to your initial ETF allocations
- Auto invest – any available cash in your account is automatically invested into your portfolio according to your chosen weights
- Smart orders – deposited funds are invested according to your existing portfolio weights
- Portfolio look-through – quickly see how your portfolio is invested by company, sector, and geography, as well as its weighting between shares and bonds
InvestEngine Review: How Does InvestEngine Work?
You can either invest in a managed portfolio or build your own ‘DIY’ portfolio through InvestEngine. Whichever way you want to invest, you can do so either through a Stocks and Shares ISA or a General Investment Account (GIA).
The option to either create your own portfolio or to put your money into a managed portfolio is a key standout feature of InvestEngine. This gives you more choice compared to specialist robo-advisors who only offer managed portfolios.
InvestEngine also allows you to open a business account if you want to invest your business’ spare cash. This is another somewhat unusual feature, especially compared to robo-advisors, but is a potentially good low-cost option if you’re a business owner looking to get a return on spare cash.
InvestEngine DIY Portfolios
You’re able to choose from over 550 ETFs to build your own investment portfolio with InvestEngine. These include funds from HSBC, Vanguard and L&G, among many more well-known fund managers.
If you’re looking to build your own portfolio, choosing from only ETFs may seem a little limited. Other major investment platforms, such as Interactive Investor, allow you to invest in thousands of individual shares, corporate bonds, government bonds, mutual funds and investment trusts.
However, the main attraction with InvestEngine is its lack of platform fees for building your own portfolio. This really sets it apart from its rivals so, although you can only choose from ETFs, you will pay zero management or platform fees.
There are also no deposit/withdrawal fees on your account, unlike with eToro and Trading 212, so it really is fee-free from a platform point of view. You will only pay the ETF fund costs and market spread, as you would with any other provider. More on costs later in this InvestEngine review.
Interestingly, this makes it cheaper to invest in Vanguard funds through InvestEngine than it is to do so through Vanguard’s own investment platform. This is because Vanguard charges a 0.15% platform fee. For more on how these two platforms compare, you can read my detailed InvestEngine vs Vanguard head-to-head review.
InvestEngine Managed Portfolios
There are 10 growth portfolios to choose from with InvestEngine’s managed portfolio option. Each portfolio is differentiated by its level of risk with ‘Growth 10’ the highest risk and ‘Growth 1’ the lowest risk.
To invest in a managed portfolio, you will be asked by InvestEngine to complete a questionnaire so that it can decide which of the 10 portfolios to recommend for you.
This is the same as specialist robo-advisors, which also use questionnaires to understand your risk appetite and allocate you to an appropriate portfolio.
Note: InvestEngine previously offered 3 income portfolios, but no longer does so.
Before funding your account, you’re able to see all the relevant details of the portfolio you have been recommended. This includes which specific ETFs you will be invested in, the weighting of shares vs bonds and projected future growth scenarios.
You can register for free and complete the questionnaire with no obligation to invest to find out which portfolio you are recommended. This is worth doing as you’ll also get a sense of how InvestEngine’s online platform works before depositing any of your money.
Typically, a riskier portfolio will have a higher weighting towards shares and a lower weighting towards bonds. Less risky portfolios will work the other way around – with higher weighting towards bonds and a lower allocation to shares.
InvestEngine’s managed service broadly follows this philosophy. This is due to the higher expected volatility, and therefore risk, in the stock market compared to the bond market.
However, the events of early 2023 have shown that the bond market is not immune to periods of volatility in a rapidly rising interest rate environment.
I was unable to find historical performance data for InvestEngine’s 10 Managed portfolios. These portfolios are constructed by using the same ETFs but with different asset allocations for each. For example, Portfolio 10 – the highest risk portfolio – has an allocation of 93% to equities and 7% to bonds.
You can, however, see the historical performance of individual ETFs in the InvestEngine platform.
Once you’ve invested, you’ll be presented with your portfolio and its performance over time. You can easily drill down into its details.
You’re able to see which specific companies, sectors and geographies your money is invested in, as well as the split between shares and bonds. This level of breakdown is becoming a common feature in the newer investment platforms, as keen investors tend to want to know exactly where their money is going.
InvestEngine currently does not offer a specific ethical investment option. This is unlike its main robo-advisor rivals (more on these under InvestEngine Alternatives later in this review) who offer the option of putting your money into an ethical or socially responsible portfolio.
However, there are plenty of ethical, or ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) ETFs provided by InvestEngine. So, your portfolio may include investment in these ESG-friendly ETFs.
InvestEngine Review: How To Set Up An InvestEngine Account
Signing up for an InvestEngine account is straightforward. Its platform, although somewhat basic, is simple and easy to follow.
After clicking get started, you’ll be asked if you want to register as an individual or as a business. InvestEngine is one of the few investment platforms that offers business accounts. If you are interested in opening a business account, Interactive Investor is one of the few full-service investment platforms to offer one.
If you want to open an individual account, you will then be asked if you want to create your own DIY investment portfolio or put your money into a managed portfolio. DIY portfolios come with no platform fees while managed portfolios have a platform fee of 0.25%.
You must also choose whether you want to open a Stocks & Shares ISA or a general investment account (GIA). This decision will be down to your personal circumstances, such as whether or not you’ve already paid into a Stocks & Shares ISA in the current tax year.
InvestEngine also allows you to transfer in an existing Stocks & Shares ISA held with another provider.
Whether you choose to open an ISA (or transfer in an existing ISA) or a GIA, InvestEngine is one of the lowest cost platforms on the market.
If you’re creating your own investment portfolio, the InvestEngine ISA is hard to beat on cost. There are no account funding or withdrawal fees, as well as no platform fee. More on costs below.
So you can simply fund your account and start building your own portfolio from the available ETFs. As previously mentioned, InvestEngine’s platform is simple to use, but there’s not a huge amount in the way of research and insights so you will want to do your own research when picking ETFs.
Simply select the ETFs you want to invest in from the list, or use the search bar to find them, and click add to portfolio.
If you instead want to invest in one of InvestEngine’s managed portfolios, you will be asked a series of questions to gauge your risk appetite.
Once completed, you will then be given a suggested portfolio for your money. This is rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest risk portfolio, and therefore the highest allocation to equities.
Each portfolio has a different mix of exposure to equities, bonds and commodities (all through ETFs). You’re free to tweak these risk allocations, and therefore adjust which of the 10 portfolios you want to invest in.
If you tweak the risk setting using the sliders shown above you can see how this changes your projected future returns. You’re also able to adjust the time period and how this impacts on returns over time.
One of the benefits of a managed portfolio, with InvestEngine or other robo-advisors, is that it will be reviewed and rebalanced as is seen necessarily by a team of professionals. This could be in response to changing market conditions, or proactively in advance of expected movements.
Ultimately though, with InvestEngine’s managed service you are able to tweak your risk profile whenever you like, so you will still retain influence over your investment portfolio.
Does InvestEngine Have A SIPP?
Currently, InvestEngine does not offer a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). However, from reading its investment prospectus (April-23) it’s clear that it intends to launch a SIPP in the near future.
Providing a SIPP comes with greater regularity burden – and cost – so it will be interesting to see how InvestEngine prices its SIPP service when it does launch. Especially given how competitively priced its ISA is compared to its main rivals.
InvestEngine Review: Costs & Fees
If I was to reduce this InvestEngine review to one key aspect, it would be cost. InvestEngine is one of the best priced investment platforms currently available in the UK – so long as you’re happy only investing in ETFs.
For a DIY portfolio, there are no platform fees, no withdrawal fees, no exit fees and no transfer fees. For managed portfolios, the only fee is a 0.25% management charge which compares favourably with other major investment platforms – see more below.
Below I lay out the costs for each type of investment with InvestEngine – DIY and managed. Note that the fees are the same whether you open an ISA or a GIA.
DIY Portfolio Costs
For DIY investing, InvestEngine presents great value. There are no platform fees and no transaction fees when buying and selling ETFs.
Below is how they compare to other major investment platforms:
|Platform Charges||InvestEngine DIY Portfolio||Hargreaves Lansdown||Interactive Investor (Investor Plan)||AJ Bell||Vanguard|
|Platform Fee||FREE||GIA: FREE|
|£9.99 per month||0.25% per year (capped at £3.50 per month)||0.15% (capped at £375 per year)|
|Trading Fee||FREE||£11.95||£5.99 (first trade each month free)||£9.95||FREE|
Note that this excludes ETF spreads and annual ETF charges, as these will not vary significantly between providers as they are generally charged by the fund managers. You do sometimes see cases where a platform has negotiated discounted fund fees for its clients, though.
Managed Portfolio Costs
When looking at managed portfolios with InvestEngine, there are 3 fees to be aware of:
- 0.25% platform charge – this is a management fee charged by InvestEngine for reviewing and rebalancing their 10 portfolios. This is significantly lower than many of its competitors
- 0.15% average ETF charge – this is the average annual charge of the ETFs invested in as part of a managed portfolio. The majority of these fees go to the fund manager
- 0.07% market spread – this is the difference between the buy and sell price of the ETF, and averages to 0.07% per annum
Taken together, this implies an average annual charge of 0.47% on your investments. The table below shows how this compares to the main alternatives to InvestEngine:
|Charges on £10,000 investment||InvestEngine Managed Portfolio||Moneyfarm||Wealthify||Nutmeg (Fully Managed)||&me|
|Annual ETF Fee||0.15%||0.21%||0.16%||0.21%||0.19%|
|Annual Avg. Spread Fee||0.07%||0.09%||Included in ETF fee||0.04%||0.04%|
As you can see, InvestEngine works out very favourably on cost compared to its rivals. However, whilst InvestEngine charges a flat 0.25% fee on any investment amount, some of its rivals reduce the charge the more you invest. So below is a comparison when investing £50,000:
|Charges on £50,000 investment||InvestEngine Managed Portfolio||Moneyfarm||Wealthify||Nutmeg (Fully Managed)||&me|
|Annual ETF fee||0.15%||0.21%||0.16%||0.21%||0.19%|
|Annual avg. spread fee||0.07%||0.09%||Included in ETF fee||0.04%||0.04%|
Again, InvestEngine comes out as the lowest cost option.
Is InvestEngine The Cheapest Way To Buy Vanguard Funds?
Vanguard is one of the largest investment management companies in the world and is perhaps best-known for its index tracker funds which can be bought as ETFs.
It recently opened a direct investment platform for retail customers in the UK. This means you can invest in Vanguard’s ETFs and actively managed funds through Vanguard’s own platform.
However, Vanguard charges an annual 0.15% platform fee, even when picking your own funds. It also has a Managed Portfolio ISA which charges a 0.60% management fee.
As we know from above, InvestEngine does not charge a management fee on DIY portfolios. This means it’s cheaper to invest in Vanguard funds through InvestEngine than it is through Vanguard Investor.
But, InvestEngine does not offer all of Vanguard’s funds, and it only offers ETFs so you cannot access Vanguard’s popular actively managed funds, such as its LifeStrategy range. For more details read our InvestEngine vs Vanguard comparison.
If you want to invest in Vanguard’s actively managed funds, then it’s cheaper to do so through Interactive Investor if you’re investing £80,000 or more. Read our Vanguard vs Interactive Investor comparison for more details.
Alternatives to InvestEngine
For InvestEngine alternatives to build your own portfolio, the large investment platforms which offer a wide range of assets to choose from are good places to begin.
Three of the best-known are Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell and Interactive Investor. For more on how they compare against each other, you can read my Interactive Investor vs Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell vs Hargreaves Lansdown comparisons.
Both allow you to open a wide range of ISA accounts, more so than with InvestEngine. They also both offer SIPPs. You can invest in mutual funds, investment trusts, individual shares, bonds and ETFs with both platforms, whereas InvestEngine only provides ETFs.
Furthermore, Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor have also launched their own ready-made portfolios. These are more expensive than InvestEngine’s but demonstrate the variety of investment options available at the big-name platforms.
For specialist robo-advisors, there are several alternatives to InvestEngine. The major robo-advisor alternatives are Moneyfarm, &me, Wealthify and Nutmeg. You can see earlier in this review how they compared to InvestEngine on cost. For more details, read our guide to the best robo-advisors in the UK.
However, it’s worth remembering that for investing only in ETFs, InvestEngine is the lowest cost platform to do so.
InvestEngine Review: InvestEngine ETF List
Before signing up, you’re able to see the entire InvestEngine ETF range. If you know which ETFs you would like to be a part of your portfolio, this is a useful way of checking.
There are over 550 ETFs to choose from, including funds from the likes of Vanguard, Invesco, HSBC and L&G.
Is InvestEngine Safe?
InvestEngine is regulated by the FCA and has Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection.
FSCS protection means that any deposits up to £85,000 held with InvestEngine will be guaranteed by the regulator in the event that InvestEngine was to go bust. This should give you peace of mind that InvestEngine has similar protection to large financial services companies.
Beyond regulator protection, InvestEngine has shown an impressive record of fundraising from investors to support its growth.
InvestEngine Review: How Does InvestEngine Make Money?
You may be wondering how InvestEngine makes money, considering how low its fees are compared to its competitors.
Clearly, the 0.25% fee on managed portfolios will be a major stream of revenue for InvestEngine. But the reality is that most, if not all, new entrants into the investment platform market are loss-making in their early years.
To support this stage of growth, they usually seek to raise money from investors to cover costs and allow the business to expand. In fact, InvestEngine recently underwent its latest crowdfunding round on CrowdCube.
I’ve been involved in FinTech start-ups before and for investment platforms and apps the key to profitability is to build Assets Under Management (AUA). This is essentially the total value of customer deposits.
As of April-23, InvestEngine had £175m in AUA. If we assume half of this is in managed portfolios, we can then assume a revenue number of £218,750 after applying the 0.25% fee.
This is, of course, guesswork but helps to highlight the revenue model. There will be additional revenue on top of this too, likely from cash interest and any incentives from ETF managers for bringing in investment.
When customers choose to deposit money with an investment platform they tend to keep their money with them for a long time, which means there is a strong customer lifetime value (CLV).
What that means is, typically, investment platform start-ups will offer a core product or service at a low initial cost. This helps to attract customers and grow AUA. As AUA grows, and most customers tend not to switch investment providers, platforms will often increase their fees over time.
So, don’t be surprised to see InvestEngine bring out additional products or features that attract higher fees, such as ‘premium’ accounts which have a monthly subscription. Or even to increase their base fee on managed portfolios in the future.
For now though, InvestEngine represents great value and beats the main robo-advisors on cost.
InvestEngine Pros & Cons
Here are the main pros and cons of InvestEngine to take away from this InvestEngine review.
- No platform fees or account charges on DIY investments
- Very low 0.25% fee on managed portfolios means it beats the other major robo-advisors on cost
- Over 550 ETFs to choose from
- Business accounts available
- Simple, straightforward mobile app and online platform
- Fractional investing from just £1 (overall minimum investment of £100)
- Innovative features such as one-click portfolio rebelancing and portfolio look throughs
- The only ISA it offers is a Stocks & Shares ISA, so you cannot open a Junior ISA or Lifetime ISA
- No pension accounts – so no SIPP or Junior SIPP
- Investments are limited only to ETFs, so you cannot invest in individual shares or bonds, or other types of funds, such as mutual funds
- Minimum investment of £100 is in-line with robo-advisors but higher than most trading apps
InvestEngine Review: Customer Reviews
On Trustpilot, InvestEngine has a rating of 4.4. Many of the positive reviews comment on its low cost pricing and ease of use.
Feedback from others suggests customers would like to see more product options, such as a SIPP and Junior ISA.
Is InvestEngine Any Good? Final Verdict
When it comes to cost, InvestEngine has become the market leader among digital wealth managers. Its pricing is highly competitive and significantly undercuts that of the established robo-advisors in the UK.
This pricing will likely attract many customers, and is a key reason why it’s worth signing up for InvestEngine. Essentially, it’s worth it for the price alone. Its low pricing can be seen in the fact that it’s cheaper to buy Vanguard funds through InvestEngine than it is through Vanguard’s own retail investment platform.
In addition, InvestEngine has added some innovative features such as Smart Orders and portfolio look throughs, which helps broaden its appeal, despite its somewhat basic interface.
On the other hand, you can only currently invest in ETFs. So if you want to invest directly in shares, bonds and other types of funds then you will have to look at the bigger investment platforms, such as Interactive Investor.
That being said, InvestEngine recently went through another successful funding round and is looking to bring out more products and features in the near future. If it’s able to add to its existing proposition and maintain its market-leading pricing then it could become the dominant digital wealth manager in the UK.