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Charles Stanley Direct investment platform review

We analyse the charges levied by Charles Stanley Direct and ask whether the investment platform provides good value for investors

In this article
What is Charles Stanley Direct? Is Charles Stanley Direct good or bad? What do customers say about Charles Stanley Direct? What are Charles Stanley Direct's charges? Who is Charles Stanley Direct good for?
Who is Charles Stanley Direct expensive for? What accounts and services does Charles Stanley Direct offer? Is your money safe with Charles Stanley Direct? Get top money-saving tips from Which?

What is Charles Stanley Direct?

Established in 1782, Charles Stanley is one of the oldest firms on the London Stock Exchange. 

Charles Stanley Direct is the do-it-yourself or 'execution-only' arm of wealth manager Charles Stanley and provides access to Charles Stanley funds and regulated financial advice from its parent company if desired.

Is Charles Stanley Direct good or bad?

To get an idea of how good or bad Charles Stanley Direct is, we asked its customers.

Which?'s rating for customer satisfaction is based on feedback from real customers. We ask investors to rate their current platform for the quality of its online tools, customer service, and investment information. We also ask if it meets their needs, is value for money and whether they'd recommend it to someone else.

However, to be named a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP), customer satisfaction alone won't suffice; we also consider platform fees.

Members can log in to read our analysis. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

Aspect of service Star rating
Online tools Logged out padlock
Customer service Logged out padlock
Investment information Logged out padlock
Available investments meet my needs Logged out padlock
Value for money Logged out padlock

What do customers say about Charles Stanley Direct?

  • 'App and, to a lesser extent, the web site, are a bit clunky but otherwise a good platform. Customer service has always been great.'
  • 'Very easy to use. Informative articles. Now has sustainable recommendations.'
  • 'Been with them a long time and never once regretted my decision.'

Check out our guide on the best and worst investment platforms to see how Hargreaves Lansdown compared.

What are Charles Stanley Direct's charges?

Annual charges

  • 0.35% per annum on first £250,000 of funds held across all accounts
  • 0.20% per annum on Funds between £250,000 and £500,000
  • 0.15% per annum on Funds between £500,000 and £1m
  • 0.05% per annum on Funds between £1m and £2m
  • 0% on funds over £2m

Trading charges

  • £11.50 to trade stocks and shares online
  • Free online trading for funds

We’ve estimated the cost of investing various sums with Charles Stanley Direct over the course of a year in the table below. The costs assume you only buy funds (shares work out slightly cheaper with some companies), and make four purchases and four sales each year.

Amount invested Annual cost
£5,000 Logged out detail
£10,000 Logged out detail
£25,000 Logged out detail
£50,000 Logged out detail
£100,000 Logged out detail
£250,000 Logged out detail
£500,000 Logged out detail
£1m Logged out detail

Source: Analysis by Which? Money correct as of April 2020

Read our comparison of investment platform charges to see whether another platform could work out cheaper than Charles Stanley Direct for your portfolio.

If you're thinking of using Charles Stanley Direct to take an income from your pension in a drawdown plan, read our comparison of pension drawdown charges

Who is Charles Stanley Direct good for?

Charles Stanley Direct offers great value for those with smaller portfolios.

Of brokers who charge a percentage based platform charge, its headline charge of 0.35% is one of the most competitive rates around. 

Who is Charles Stanley Direct expensive for?

Charles Stanley Direct may be expensive for investors with larger portfolios. 

If you have a larger portfolio, you may be better placed choosing a platform with a fixed fee structure, such as Interactive Investor, Halifax Share Dealing or The Share Centre.

    What accounts and services does Charles Stanley Direct offer?

    The information below gives an at-glance view of the key things that the accounts and services Charles Stanley Direct offers.

    Elements marked with a are offered by Charles Stanley Direct and those marked with a are not.

     

    Advisory Services

     

    Advisory services allow you to access professional investment advice.

     

     General investment account

     

    A general investment account that can hold different types of investments but doesn’t give tax-free benefits like pensions and Isas.

     

     Junior Isa

     

    A junior Isa is a tax-free savings account for under 18s.

     

     Sipps

     

    A Sipp is a pension where you have complete control over the investments you put your savings into.

     

     Stocks and shares Isa

     

    A stocks and shares Isa is a tax-free account that allows you to put your money in a range of investments.

     

    Annuities

     

    An annuity is an insurance product which allows you to swap your pension savings for a guaranteed regular income that will last for the rest of your life.

     

    Banking services

     

    Banking services allow you to operate bank accounts, make transfers and make payments.

     

     

    Income drawdown

     

    Income drawdown allows you to take money out of your pension to live on in retirement.

     

    Lifetime Isa

     

    A lifetime Isa is a tax-free savings or investment account designed to help people aged 18-39 buy their first home or save for retirement.

     

    Savings accounts

     

    A savings account is somewhere you can put your money so it can grow in value.  

    Is your money safe with Charles Stanley Direct?

    If Charles Stanley went out of business, you would be compensated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

    The FSCS will cover up to £85,000 of investments per person, per platform. You can claim for free online: there’s no reason to use a claims management company.

    You won’t be compensated for investments falling in value, or a company in which you hold shares goes bust, unless this poor performance resulted from bad advice given by a regulated Independent Financial Advisor that has since gone bust. 

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