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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? 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?


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.

What do customers say about Charles Stanley Direct?

  • 'Seems to work well. Not too expensive, no monthly charge for holding shares, low management costs for funds.'
  • 'I gain a lot from their loyalty scheme having General, ISA and Sipp accounts with Charles Stanley Direct and trading at least once per month.'
  • 'I've found them efficient.'

Find out more: Check out our guide on the best and worst investment platforms to see how other platforms 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

The annual charge for your share holdings is waived each month you trade shares, so trading every month caps fees at £138.

Trading charges

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

How much will I pay to invest? 

We’ve estimated the cost of investing with Charles Stanley Direct over the course of a year, as shown in the tables below.

Costs will vary depending on how much you invest, and whether you trade funds or shares. All assume you make four purchases and four sales each year, spread out over different months.

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 2022

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, say up to £25,000, if you hold funds (bear in mind it doesn't charge transaction fees for buying and selling funds).

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

It's relatively cheap for share trading too; even if you have a large portfolio of say £500,000 you'd pay just £172 in a year to trade shares in our scenario.

Who is Charles Stanley Direct expensive for?

Charles Stanley Direct may be expensive for investors with larger portfolios if you hold funds.

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

    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.




    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.




    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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