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Vanguard investment platform review

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

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

What is Vanguard?

Vanguard is one of the world’s largest fund managers, pioneering index investing in the 1970s and launching its UK DIY platform in 2017. It offers general investing accounts, stocks and shares Isas, junior Isas and Sipps.

Vanguard’s platform only allows you to buy Vanguard funds, of which there are around 75, covering a range of regions, assets and investment styles. It also offers the LifeStrategy range of portfolio funds.

You can’t buy funds from other companies, shares or investment trusts. 

Is Vanguard good?

Our customer satisfaction rating 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 opportunities. We also ask if it meets their needs, provides good 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. 

Which? members can exclusively read the results of our unique customer satisfaction survey.

Members can log in to see our review of Vanguard. 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 Vanguard?

  • 'I wish I could have invested with Vanguard years ago.'
  • 'Cost effective, with excellent customer service.'
  • Very helpful staff and straightforward investments - you really do get what it says, and it is no frills. Relatively low costs and consistently reasonable performance are all that I was looking for.'

Find out more: check out our guide to the best and worst investment platforms to see how Vanguard compares

What are Vanguard's charges?

Annual charges

  • 0.15% annual account fee (no fee for amounts above £250,000)

Trading charges

  • £7.50 to buy or sell a fund through Quote and Deal service (free with bulk dealing service)
  • No charge for switching or selling funds
  • No charge for transferring in or out
  • You can’t buy shares with Vanguard, so share trading costs aren’t applicable

How much will I pay to invest?

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

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

Amount invested Logged out detail
£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 2021

Read our comparison of investment platform charges to see how much it costs to invest with Vanguard for a range of portfolios.

Who is Vanguard good for?

For those with small and medium portfolios, Vanguard’s simple, percentage-based fees are a fraction of those charged by even its closest major rivals.

It's also one of the cheapest platforms for large portfolios, thanks to no fees being charged on amounts over £250,000, but lags behind some fixed-fee brokers (see below). 

Who is Vanguard expensive for?

For portfolios of more than £100,000, it’s actually cheaper to buy Vanguard funds from a fixed-fee broker, such as Halifax Share Dealing or Interactive Investor.

As Vanguard only offers its own funds, investors looking to buy other funds, investment trusts or company shares will have to look elsewhere.

What accounts and services does Vanguard offer?

The information below gives an at-a-glance view of the accounts and services Vanguard offers. 

Elements marked with a are offered by Vanguard and those marked with a are not.

 

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.

 

 

!  Advisory services

 

Vanguard has launched Vanguard Personal Financial Planning, providing restricted financial advice for retirement. It costs 0.79% a year, including fund fees and a Sipp, with advice dependent on the size of your pot. You won't be able to pick your own investments.

 

✘ 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 account

 

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

 

✘ Annuity

 

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.

Is your money safe with Vanguard?

If Vanguard 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 free online; there’s no reason to use a claims-management company.

You won’t be compensated for investments falling in value, or if a company you hold shares in 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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