Platform costs at a glance

Platforms allow you to hold several different investments in one place. But their costs can be difficult to compare. Our heatmaps are designed to help.

Platform costs vary depending on how much assets (in £) you hold on the platform, whether you hold assets in ISAs or pensions, which assets you hold (for example, investment companies or funds) and how much you trade. This makes it harder to compare one platform and another. 

To help, we’ve created the following “heatmaps”, which give you an idea of how much you might pay. 

Of course, cost isn’t everything. Service and ease of use are important too, as well as making sure the platform offers all the investments you want.

But higher charges, compounded over time, can eat into your investment returns, so cost is definitely an important factor to consider. 

How to use the heatmaps

The heatmaps below look at various combinations of investment companies and “open-ended funds”. Open-ended funds are usually just called funds and are also called OEICs or unit trusts. Platforms often charge you differently for buying, selling and holding investment companies compared to their charges for open-ended funds. 

The different columns of each heatmap indicate different levels of assets (in pounds) you might hold on a platform. The values in the table show what you’d pay on each platform over one year if you held those assets. You can see these costs either in % terms (so, the % of your assets on the platform that you’d pay in platform charges per year) or as costs in pounds. Green indicates lower cost, red indicates higher cost.

Please note that the platform costs you pay, and which platforms are cheaper/more expensive, will depend on your individual circumstances. The heatmaps are only examples and you should not rely on them to make a decision.

Where's Freetrade?

Freetrade does not appear in the heatmaps. The trading app offers free access as well as a service called Freetrade+ which costs £9.99 a month. To trade investment companies outside the FTSE 350, you need to pay for the Freetrade+ service. Because of the significant differences in cost and investment company availability between the basic service and Freetrade+, we decided after some debate that including either option in these tables could be misleading. Full details of Freetrade's charges are available in our Detailed costs

About the heatmaps

The heatmaps are produced by the lang cat, a platform specialist, for the AIC. They show the cost of investing on each platform for one year, assumed to be the first year of investment on that platform. Investment is assumed to be within an ISA. Calculations include ongoing platform fees, any additional wrapper charges and trading where applicable. The data is based on publicly available charging structure information with some details verified via conversations with platforms. Please note that only platform charges are considered and there are other charges involved in investing in investment companies; for example, management charges of the investment companies themselves. The following is provided as general information and may not be appropriate or relevant for your individual circumstances. If in doubt, consult a financial adviser.


100% investment in investment companies
100% investment in open-ended funds
50/50% split between open-ended funds and investment companies
75/25% split between open-ended funds and investment companies
Regular monthly investing in investment companies

Source: AIC/the lang cat (last updated 13/05/24)


Detailed costs

Dig deeper into platform charges with our detailed costs tables.


How to invest on a platform

Find out which platforms offer investment companies, and which allow you to invest via an ISA or SIPP.


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