Costs at a glance

Platforms allow you to hold several different investments in one place. These investments might include investment companies and/or open-ended funds. However, each platform has its own fees and charges, which can be difficult to compare.

How much you pay will depend on:

  • The value of assets (in £) you hold on the platform. Holding more assets often costs more. However, some platforms have a flat charge, and others cap their charges.
  • How much you trade.
  • Whether you hold assets in an ISA, a pension, or outside one of these tax wrappers. Pensions generally cost more.

To help, the AIC has asked the lang cat, a consultancy specialising in platforms, to prepare the following “heatmaps”. These give an idea of how much an investor might pay depending on the size of their portfolio. However, cost is not the only factor to consider when choosing a platform. Service and ease of use are important too, and whether the platform offers a wide enough choice of investments for you.

How to use the heatmaps

The different columns of each heatmap indicate different portfolio sizes, while the values in the table show what you’d pay on each platform over one year. You can see these values either in % terms (so, the % of your assets on the platform that would be spent in platform charges per year) or as amounts of money 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 table.

About the heatmaps

The heatmaps 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.

(Financial advisers: to see our research on advised platforms, please visit the Financial advisers centre.


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 08/02/23)