IG vs Hargreaves Lansdown

These are two of the bigger players in investing, but what are the differences between the two?

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 62%-78.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Investing has recently become a popular venture. Digital “robo-advisors” and share dealing platforms are popping up all over the place, allowing everyone to try out investing, no matter how much experience or knowledge of the subject they’ve got.

Two “all rounder” platforms that have been around for quite some time are IG and Hargreaves Lansdown. We’ve compared their products, fees and features to see which one comes out on top.

What is an all rounder platform?

Both of these platforms are all rounders – this means that they offer share dealing, ready made portfolios and contracts for difference. Investors can choose what aspects of investing they want to get involved in.

In short:
Ready made portfolios are usually offered by dedicated robo advisors like Nutmeg or Wealthify, but in some cases traditional share dealing platforms offer them They usually have less options available, but tend to have lower fees.
Share dealing is simply buying and selling shares. Buying and selling exchange traded funds or other financial instruments is usually included when referring to share dealing platforms.
Contracts for difference (CFDs) are a much riskier type of investing. You don’t buy and sell shares or financial instruments, but simply speculate on what will happen to them. These investments are a lot riskier – you should only trade CFDs if you’re an experienced investor and know what you’re doing.

IG vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Vital statistics

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Finder rating★★★★★★★★★★
Customer satisfaction rating★★★★★★★★★★
Stocks and shares ISA available?
FSCS protected?
Costs rating★★★★★★★★★★
Keep in mind71% of retail CFD accounts lose money76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
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Both Hargreaves Lansdown and IG have individual savings accounts (ISAs) available, which means you can make use of your annual ISA allowance to invest tax free. The allowance for the 2021/2022 tax year is £20,000. Both platforms are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means that if they were to go bust, you’re protected by up to £85,000. This doesn’t protect your investments if they go down in value.

We carried out a customer satisfaction survey in December 2020. IG’s customers said that it had excellent customer service and found it really easy to use and quick to open an account. Investors liked the number of choices available to them but didn’t think it was the cheapest platform on offer.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s customers said that it was a really informative platform, they found it easy to use and trustworthy and liked how much support they got. Again, some customers felt that the fees were quite high.

Round 1: Products

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Stocks and shares ISA available?
Lifetime ISA (LISA)
Contracts for difference
Pension
Keep in mind71% of retail CFD accounts lose money76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
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With both providers you can trade with an ISA and a pension. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you’re also able to invest in a lifetime ISA (LISA), which lets you save up to £4,000 towards your first home or retirement in each tax year and get an additional 25% added on by the government. You can’t get a LISA with IG.

Both providers offer contracts for difference.

  • Winner: Hargreaves Lansdown

Round 2: Stock exchanges

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Exchanges covered score★★★★★
UK - London Stock Exchange
US - NASDAQ
US - New York Stock Exchange
Canada - Toronto Stock Exchange
Japan - Japan Exchange Group
Euronext
Germany - Deutsche Börse
Keep in mind71% of retail CFD accounts lose money76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
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With both providers you can invest in most of the major stock exchanges. This includes UK shares, such as IAG, Shell and Lloyds; and US shares such as Apple, Tesla and Disney. You can also trade most European shares with both providers — IG doesn’t have stocks on the Deutsche Börse, and neither provider has Japanese stocks.

  • Winner: Hargreaves Lansdown

Round 3: Ready made portfolios

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Portfolios rating★★★★★★★★★★
Risk assessment quiz
Number of portfolios on offer56
Ethical portfolios on offer
Managed portfolios on offer
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Ready made portfolios are suitable for investors that don’t want to build a portfolio themselves. IG has a handy quiz that helps you find a portfolio that matches your attitude to risk. You can answer a few questions about how much you’re investing and for how long. Hargreaves Lansdown does not have this option.

Hargreaves Lansdown has more portfolios on offer, but only slightly — and neither of these are ethical. IG has some ethical portfolios on offer, while Hargreaves Lansdown doesn’t. Both providers offer fully managed portfolios.

  • Winner: IG

Round 4: Financial instruments

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Rating★★★★★★★★★★
Forex
Shares
Options
ETFs
Keep in mind71% of retail CFD accounts lose money76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
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Both providers let you invest in shares, foreign exchange, options and exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Financial instruments explained

Financial instruments are types of investments:
Shares are small bits of companies. Companies choose to sell their shares to investors when they go public (or “float” on a stock exchange).
Foreign exchange is very similar to foreign exchange when you go on holiday – except investors often do it in an attempt to make money.
Options are a type of contract that gives you the option to buy an investment at a specific price.
ETFs Exchange traded funds are collections of investments. They’re a type of fund — except they’re traded on stock exchanges.

  • Winner: Tie

Round 5: Fees

Costs rating★★★★★★★★★★
Standard platform charge0%0.45%
Best platform charge0%0%
Best platform charge noteOn the value over £2 million
Standard trading fee£8£11.95
Best trading fee£3£5.95
Annual cost of investing £10,000£72.00£45
Annual cost of investing £100,000£220.00£250
Annual cost of investing £1m£2,200.00£1000
Borrow fee
Rolling position
Overnight funding
Open/Close trades
Stop order
Keep in mind71% of retail CFD accounts lose money76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
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The fees for these providers depends on whether you want to buy shares, invest in ready made portfolios or trade contracts for difference.

Share dealing

IG and Hargreaves Lansdown both have similar trading fees. Buying a share would cost you £11.95 with Hargreaves Lansdown and £8 with IG. If you trade regularly with Hargreaves Lansdown then you could pay as little as £5.95, and trading regularly with IG could cost as little as £3.

CFDs

Contracts for difference are usually commission free – the pricing is built into the spread, which is the difference between the “buy” and “sell” price of an investment. There are some additional fees with both providers including a borrow fee, rolling position fees, overnight funding and stop order fees.

Ready made portfolios

IG and Hargreaves Lansdown both charge based on how much you invest. They have very similar costs, but which one you decide to go with will depend on how much you are investing.

IG’s fees are pretty simple. For its “Smart Portfolio”, it charges 0.72% on investments up to £50,000 made up of a 0.50% IG management fee, an average of 0.15% in fund costs and 0.07% for transaction costs. For investments over £50,000 it charges 0.22%, made up of an average of 0.15% in fund costs and 0.07% in transaction costs. You pay no IG management fee over £50,000.

Hargreaves Lansdown has a very similar charging structure. It charges 0.45% on investments up to £250,000, 0.25% on investments between £250,000 and £1 million, 0.1% on investments between £1 million and £2 million and investments over £2 million are free.

What does all that actually mean?
If you invest £10,000 with IG, then you’ll spend £72 (in a year).
If you invest £10,000 with Hargreaves Lansdown then you’ll spend £45 (in a year).

Many investment platforms have calculators that help you work out the costs of your investments based on a figure you enter. Neither Hargreaves Lansdown or IG had this, so we did it the old fashioned way, with a calculator, pen and paper, using the costs outlined above.

  • Winner: IG

Round 6: Features

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Features rating★★★★★★★★★★
Desktop or web access
iPhone app
Android app
In-app news and research
In-app top-up
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Both of these providers have the main features you’d expect from an investment platform. This includes access on the desktop and in a mobile app (yep, both Android and iPhone apps). You can also access great news and research in the mobile apps and top up on mobile.

An additional feature that IG has is a forum which lets you chat to other investors to get some additional information.

Both providers also let you create watch lists as well as create share price notifications.

  • Winner: IG (but only just!)

Round 7: Learning resources

IG Share DealingHargreaves Lansdown
Resources rating★★★★★★★★★★
Guides
Videos and walkthroughs
Demo account
In-depth learning tools
Keep in mind71% of retail CFD accounts lose money76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
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Both of these providers have some great learning resources, including guides, videos and walkthroughs on what’s available, how it works and how you can get started. Both providers also have a demo account, which means you can try out the platform with virtual funds.

IG’s winning feature is IG Academy – its dedicated learning platform. This lets you go through a dedicated course to learn about investing, including helpful quizzes and videos to explain everything in detail.

  • Winner: IG

Our verdict: Is IG better than Hargreaves Lansdown?

Both of these platforms are suitable for comprehensive investing, with share dealing and trading available. They both cater for less experienced investors who are looking for ready-made portfolios. Hargreaves Lansdown and IG both cover all bases with basic investing: share trading, a pension, lifetime ISA and ready-made portfolios. They both have similar prices, as you can see above. The main differences are that IG doesn’t let you invest in a LISA, Hargreaves Lansdown’s fees are slightly higher, and IG has better learning resources.

Promoted
IG Share Dealing

Buy and sell US shares with no commission with IG

Capital at risk, investments may fall

  • Invest in over 10,000 shares, funds and investment trusts
  • Low costs - Zero commission on US shares, £3 on UK shares
  • Support available 24 hours a day from Sunday to Friday
  • Open an account in a few minutes through website or app

  • Winner: IG

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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. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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