AJ Bell Youinvest review

Start your journey into share dealing with AJ Bell Youinvest in a number of easy steps. Our review dives into the detail of this well-known provider.

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What is AJ Bell?

AJ Bell is a private limited company that provides online investment platforms and stockbroker services. It was formed in Manchester in 1995 by Andy Bell and Nicholas Littlefair. The company now has over 150,000 clients and assets under administration exceeding £40 billion.

AJ Bell was set up to make investing as easy as possible for its customers. Its core values include:

  • Continually making sure products and services are among the most competitive
  • Using as little jargon as possible
  • Putting its customers’ best interests at heart

For retirement, AJ Bell offers self invested personal pensions (SIPPs), to help you save up for retirement. The SIPP lets you make decisions to determine what your pension is invested in and how it performs, so it’s more suitable for experienced investors.

There are also a range of products available for the little ones, if you want to start saving for their future now. This includes a junior dealing account, a junior ISA (JISA) and a junior SIPP.

What products does AJ Bell offer?

Whether you’re saving for your future or your children’s, AJ Bell has a range of products designed to suit you. These include:

  • Stocks and shares ISA
  • Lifetime ISA
  • Junior ISA (JISA)
  • SIPP
  • Platinum SIPP
  • Junior SIPP
  • Share dealing account
  • Junior share dealing account

Individual savings accounts (ISAs)

AJ Bell offers several different types of ISA, the stocks and shares ISA, a lifetime ISA (LISA) and a junior ISA. We review the junior ISA in the junior products section below.

AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA

The stocks and shares ISA is an accessible savings account. You can invest up to the annual ISA allowance (£20,000 for the 2020/2021 tax year) without paying any tax on any gains you make.

AJ Bell lifetime ISA (LISA)

Lifetime ISAs can help you save up for your first home or retirement. They have some generous tax benefits, so for every £4 you put in, the government will add £1 (up to a maximum bonus of £1000 per year).

This is a nice way to top up your retirement fund or your deposit towards a house by up to £32,000.

Lifetime ISAs aren’t accessible in the way that the stocks and shares ISA is. This means that you can’t withdraw willy nilly. If you choose to withdraw for anything other than the purchase of your first home or retirement then you pay a withdrawal charge of 25%, so you could end up with less than you put in.

What can you invest in?

All of AJ Bell’s ISAs let you invest in a range of investments. You can choose what you want to invest in from stocks, shares, funds, investment trusts and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

You can choose between investing a lump sum (from £500) or investing regular monthly sums of £25 or more. If you want to, you can do a combination of both.

How do I set up an ISA?

Setting up an AJ Bell YouInvest stocks and shares ISA is done online and may require some additional documents. If you want to transfer an existing ISA then you can do this too. You’ll need:

  • To be aged 18 or over at the time of application
  • To be a resident in the United Kingdom for tax purposes
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your bank details

Self invested personal pension (SIPP)

AJ Bell’s pension product offers you a great level of freedom, meaning it’s quite suitable for those with experience in investing and know what they’re doing. This does mean that you could lose the money you put in.

What can I invest in?
As with the ISA, AJ Bell’s SIPP gives you access to a range of investments, including:

  • Bonds
  • Shares
  • Funds
  • Trusts
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs)
  • Exchange traded commodities (ETCs)

AJ Bell Platinum SIPP

For those who want their SIPP managed for them, AJ Bell offers a platinum SIPP service. The main difference between this and the Youinvest SIPP is that you can appoint any UK authorised investment manager to run the SIPP for you. Features of the AJ Bell Platinum SIPP include:

  • Choose any UK authorised investment manager to run your SIPP
  • Each Platinum SIPP has a dedicated administration team, and comes with access to AJ Bell’s consultants
  • Ability to invest in UK commercial property, which can then be leased out to your own business at a commercial rent, or to a third party

AJ Bell Share Dealing Account

AJ Bell’s dealing account gives you access to all the same investments as the ISAs, without the ISA wrapping. This means that there aren’t limits to how much you can invest in and you can make withdrawals whenever you want.

The dealing account is “execution only”. This means that you don’t get advice on what to invest in, so you need to be comfortable making your own investment decisions.

Features of AJ Bell’s dealing account include:

  • Wide choice of investments, including shares, funds and investment trusts
  • Overseas share trading in 24 international markets
  • Two UK based customer support teams, webchat and email support
  • Low-cost online share and fund trading from just £1.50
  • Range of investment tools at your disposal, such as videos and research

Junior accounts

You can start saving for your children’s futures nice and early, with AJ Bell’s Junior ISA (JISA) and Junior SIPP

The JISA allows you to save up to £9,000 per year tax-free until they turn 18.

The Junior SIPP allows you to invest up to £2,880 per year with a 20% government top-up.

Both accounts are inaccessible until the child’s 18th birthday or when they retire, depending on which one you choose to go with. Plus, anyone can contribute, which is good for those over-eager grandparents or keen aunties (guilty as charged!).
You get great tax benefits with the junior products, but they have different limits.

How safe is my investment?

AJ Bell Youinvest is part of the AJ Bell Group, which is a financially secure and regulated company. AJ Bell Securities Limited is a member of the London Stock Exchange and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It complies with the rules and guidelines of the FCA and is subject to review in the form of individual interviews, document review and deep-dive visits.

Your money is held in FCA approved banks and is protected under the FCA rules. Under AJ Bell Youinvest you are also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which means you could claim up to £80,000 if AJ Bell were to go bust.

AJ Bell costs and fees

The following fees and charges apply for all AJ Bell accounts.

Shares

For the shares in your account, including investment trusts, ETFs, gilts and bonds.

Buying and selling shares cost £9.95 per deal, or £4.95 if there were more than 10 or more online share deals in the previous month.

Value of investmentCharge
All investments0.25% of the value of the shares in your account up to £7.50 per quarter (£25 for the SIPPs and £5 for junior ISA)

Funds

For the funds in your account including unit trusts, OEICs and structured products
To buy and sell investments (per deal) it will cost £1.50.

Value of investmentCharge
On the first £250,000 of funds0.25%
On the value between £250,000 and £1m0.10%
On the value between £1m and £2m0.05%
On the value of funds over £2mNo charge

Learning resources and tools

In terms of learning resources and tools, AJ Bell doesn’t have as much on offer that Hargreaves Lansdown and IG have, but it does have a nice selection of guides for all the products it has available, as well as a jargon buster.

AJ Bell also has a list of favourite funds to help you choose your investments. There’s a filter tool which lets you find a fund that suits you. You can filter by your investment goal, the type of fund and the sectors.

When deciding on the list, AJ Bell considers loads of different factors, including:
Active funds:

  • The fund manager and the wider organisation
  • The investment philosophy
  • The objective of the fund
  • The construction of the fund portfolio
  • The diversification of the portfolio
  • The performance of the fund
  • The cost of the fund

Tracker funds:

  • The fund manager
  • The investment approach
  • The cost of the fund or ETF
  • The size of the fund and whether it can ensure liquidity

Pros and cons

Pros

  • ISA accounts available, meaning you save paying tax on your returns
  • Lots of different investment options and ideas
  • Award-winning UK based customer service team

Cons

  • Not a huge selection of learning tools and resources
  • Not designed with beginners in mind

Our verdict

Overall, AJ Bell is quite a good investment platform. It has plenty of different markets and products available, including junior products, which is a nice touch.

It could definitely have more learning resources and tools that help out beginners. You can pass control over to an expert to do it all for you, but you’ll never learn anything. There are loads of platforms with really good resources though, such as HL, IG and Trading 212.

Compare investment services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
£2.95
£2.95
Zero platform fee
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. Your first 50 trades are free with Fineco, until 30/09/2020. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
IG
0% commission on US shares, and £3 on UK shares
From £5
£0 - £24 per quarter
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
No fees
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
0% commission, no markup, no ticket fee, no management fee
N/A
Withdrawal fee & GDP to USD deposit conversion
eToro is good for social trading - letting you mirror the portfolios of other traders. Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply.
Interactive Investor
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
No transfer fees or exit fees. £9.99 a month on the Investor Service Plan
Capital at risk.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Fidelity stocks and shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.75%
£0
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor Pension
£25/month
Over 2,500 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
£1,000
Over 2,000 funds
0.05-0.25%
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
Moneybox Pension
£1
3 funds
0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
Moneyfarm Pension
0.35%-0.75%
7 funds
£1,500 (initial investment)
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.
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