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General investment accounts let you buy and hold a range of assets such as shares, investment funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and bonds. With a GIA, you can build an investment portfolio yourself through a DIY platform or with the help of experts through managed investment accounts. 

Best general investment accounts compared and reviewed

In our comparison of general investment accounts, we compare providers based on what different types of accounts they offer. You can also see which platforms let you choose your own investments and which accounts are managed by professional fund managers. We have ranked, compared and reviewed some of the best investing platforms and accounts in the UK that are regulated by the FCA. All investing carries risk. 

Interactive Investor: Best overall investing platform 2023

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, bonds & funds
  • Minimum deposit: £1
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP, JISA
  • Account charge: £9.99 per month
  • Dealing fee: £3.99 – £5.99

Interactive Investor won our award for best investment account in our 2023 and 2022 awards as they offer an excellent fixed-fee pricing model, which is a good choice for investors with over £10,000 to invest. Interactive Investor’s fixed-fee model means that your total account costs remain low no matter how big your portfolio gets. You can also invest in a huge range of markets, from UK and international shares to funds, trusts, bonds and ETFs.

It costs £9.99 a month for a general investing account with Interactive Investor. Dealing commissions are a free trade every month, then UK Shares and Funds, US Shares charged £7.99 or upgrade to a £19.99 “Super Investor” account 2 free monthly trades and deal for £3.99. Regular investing is free.

If you want level-2 pricing, you can also add Quotestream for £20 per month.

  • One free trade per month – One buy or sell order is free every month, after that, the cost is between £3.99 and £5.99 depending on what plan you are on.
  • Free investing for your friends and family –  You can give up to five people a free investment account subscription with Interactive Investor’s Friends and Family plan. You pay a single extra fee of £5 a month, and their monthly cost is zero. Each member can invest up to £30,000 in an ISA or a general investing account with free regular investing and no account fees. However, they will still pay normal dealing commissions when they buy and sell investments.
  • Get £200 when you refer a friend to Interactive Investor – Recommend a friend or family member to ii and get a £200 reward. Your friend will get their first year’s service plan for free – saving £120. To qualify, your friend must transfer or fund their account with at least £10,000 in combined cash/investments. However, your friend will not receive the usually monthly free trade.


  • ✔️Pick your own investments or use their model portfolios
  • ✔️£1 minimum deposit makes it easy to get started
  • ✔️Fixed account fee that does not increase with your investments
  • ✔️Joint account options


  • ❌Fixed fee expensive for very accounts below £1,000
  • ❌No Lifetime ISA account
  • ❌No Junior SIPP account

Interactive Investor’s investment platform is very easy to use and gives lots of market data on potential investments.

Interactive Investor investing platform

CMC Invest: Start investing with zero commission

  • Investments: Shares & ETFs
  • Minimum deposit: £0
  • Account types: GIA, ISA
  • Account charge: £0 – £10 per month
  • Dealing fee: £0

Capital at risk

CMC Invest lets you invest in major UK shares, US stocks and ETFs without having to pay commission when you deal. The app is free to use when investing in a general investment account, however, you can upgrade to a Plus account which includes a flexible stocks and shares ISA, access to UK mid-cap shares and a USD wallet.

General investment accounts are commission and fee free. ISA accounts cost £10 a month and are included in the Plus plan. For US shares there is a 0.5% conversion fee.


  • ✔️Zero commission
  • ✔️No custody fee for GIAs
  • ✔️Low FX conversion fee of 0.5%


  • ❌No fractional shares
  • ❌No limit or stop orders

CMC Invest’s app gives you access to major stocks, and has a screener to help search for potential investments.

CMC Invest App


Hargreaves Lansdown: Excellent added value investment platform

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, bonds & funds
  • Minimum deposit: £1
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP, JISA, JISA, JSIPP
  • Account charge: Shares £0, funds 0.45%
  • Dealing fee: Shares £5.95 – £11.95, funds £0

Hargreaves Lansdown is good for investors looking for an investment platform that provides more added value than just somewhere to buy and sell shares. HL offers the most account types of all the investment platforms we compare, including a general investment account, stocks and shares ISAs, lifetime ISAs, and junior ISAs. Plus, they have one of the best research portals to help you choose your own investments. They also have some of the widest market coverage, including thousands of UK and international shares, over 3,000 funds, ETFs, investment trusts, and corporate bonds.

There is no account charge for shares in a general investment account with Hargreaves Lansdown. Funds are charged at 0.45% for the first £250,000. There is no charge for buying funds, but shares are charged at £11.95 per deal or £5.95 if you do over 20 deals per month.


  • ✔️Thousands of UK and international shares, bonds & funds
  • ✔️Ready-made portfolios with different levels of risk
  • ✔️Excellent research and analysis
  • ✔️An established and listed company on the LSE.


  • ❌Can be expensive for large fund portfolios

Hargreaves Lansdown investment platform is one of the best around. HL provide a huge amount of technical and fundamental data to help you choose investments.

Hargreaves Lansdown Investing Platform

AJ Bell: Best platform for low-cost investing

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, bonds & funds
  • Minimum deposit: £500
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP, JISA, JISA, JSIPP
  • Account charge: 0.25% annual charge
  • Dealing fee: Shares £4.95 – £9.95, funds £1.50

Capital at risk

AJ Bell is most suited to investors who are price sensitive and want the cheapest overall investment platform for starting to grow a small investment portfolio. AJ Bell offers share dealing in over 24 stock markets, bonds, ETFs and over 2,000  funds (of which around 500 are investment trusts), including a range of the company’s own funds that have been created in-house so you can invest by how much risk you want to take, or by theme or region.

AJ Bell charges 0.25% of the value of your for a general investment account, but share account fees are capped at £3.50 a month. Dealing costs are £1.50 for funds and £9.95 for shares but drop to £4.95 where there were 10 or more online share deals in the previous month

  • Recommend a friend, and you’ll both get £100 gift vouchers – When you recommend a friend to AJ Bell Youinvest that invests more than £10,000 in a SIPP or ISA, you and your friend can get One4All gift vouchers worth £100.
  • Switch your share dealing account and receive up to £500 to cover exit fees – If you transfer your share dealing general investment account valued at more than £20,000 to AJ Bell they will help cover any exit fees charged by your current provider. They will cover £35 per investment moved and up to £100 for general exit fees, up to an overall maximum of £500 per person.
  • Free subscription to Shares Magazine worth £220
    Get a free subscription to Shares (worth over £220 per year) by maintaining a balance of £4,000 or more across your AJ Bell investing accounts.


  • ✔️Pick your own shares, funds and bonds or use their investing ideas
  • ✔️Low account fees capped at £3.50 a month for shares 
  • ✔️Lots of accounts types


  • ❌High phone dealing charges

AJ Bell’s investment platform is functional and well laid out. Key share and fund information is available to view at the time of execution.

AJ Bell investing platform

Nutmeg: Best for beginners who want a simple investment platform

  • Investments: Pre-made portfolios
  • Minimum deposit: £500
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, Pension, JISA, LISA
  • Account charge: 0.75% annual charge
  • Dealing fee: £0

Capital at risk

Owned by JP Morgan, Nutmeg is an excellent option for those new to investing who want a simple and relatively low-cost way to invest in the stock markets. The main benefit of Nutmeg is that it is very simple to use, and you don’t have to pick your own individual investments, instead you choose to invest in a small selection of four pre-made diverse portfolios that include stocks, bonds and funds from the UK, US and emerging markets.

Nutmeg charge 0.75% on the value of your portfolio, however, fees drop to 0.35% for balances over £100k. There is an additional charge from the investment fund managers of around 0.2% and the market spread on buying and selling portfolios is on average 0.07%.


  • ✔️Simple investment platform for beginners
  • ✔️Regular investing available (repeat orders)
  • ✔️Scaled account fees that reduce as your portfolio grows


  • ❌Cannot invest in individual shares
  • Collect 2,500 Avios with Nutmeg – New customers who invest in a Nutmeg globally diversified portfolio can collect 2,500 Avios towards your future adventures.

Moneyfarm: Simple risk-based investment portfolios

  • Investments: Pre-made portfolios
  • Minimum deposit: £500
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, Pension, JISA
  • Account charge: 0.75% annual charge
  • Dealing fee: £0

Capital at risk

Moneyfarm call itself a digital wealth manager and makes setting up a diverse investment account easy and cheap. As with other robo-advisors, you cannot buy individual stocks, but instead choose to invest in any of their seven risk-based portfolios through a stocks and shares ISA, a pension or a general investment account. 

Moneyfarm investing account fees are scaled between 0.75% for accounts between £500 and £50,000, then above £100k are 0.45% to 0.35%. Average investment fund fees are 0.2% and the average market spread when buying and selling is 0.10%


  • ✔️Risk-based portfolios
  • ✔️ Low-cost investing
  • ✔️Easy-to-use


  • ❌Cannot buy and sell individual shares

Moneyfarm’s investment platform is like a big quiz directing you towards the most appropriate portfolio based your responses to risk-based questions.

Moneyfarm investment platform

Interactive Brokers: Best platform for international investing

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, bonds & funds
  • Minimum deposit: £1
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP,  derivatives
  • Account charge: £0
  • Dealing fee: Shares £1 – 0.05%

Interactive Brokers is an excellent account for sophisticated investors who want to manage their own portfolios with complex order types. Ideal for active investors who need access to a wider range of investment products like derivatives, options, and futures. IBKR are also one of the cheapest investment platforms across all asset classes, as they were built on offering electronic discount brokerage.

There is no account charge for general investment accounts at Interactive Brokers. When you buy and sell shares minimum, dealing commissions are £1 in the UK or 0.05% of the deal size.

  • $200 when you refer a friend to Interactive Brokers – IBKR clients can “Refer a Friend” and earn USD 200 for each qualified referral while giving their friend the opportunity to earn up to USD 1000 of IBKR stock.


  • ✔️Excellent market coverage
  • ✔️Advanced investment platform
  • ✔️Low-cost investing


  • ❌ Based in the US

Interactive Brokers’ investment platform is a slimmed down version of their exceptional desktop trader station. For investing it gives you a good overview of shares and funds.

Interactive Brokers investing platform

IG: Best platform for a mixture of high and low-risk investing

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, investment trusts & pre-made portfolios
  • Minimum deposit: £250
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP, derivatives
  • Account charge: £24 per quarter
  • Dealing fee: Shares £3 – £8

Capital at risk

IG is primarily a trading platform (and one of the best ones at that) but also has an investment account through which clients can deal in physical stocks and shares, including ETFs in the UK, Europe, US and Asian markets. If you do not want to choose your own stocks, IG also has a managed investment product called “Smart portfolios”, which are pre-made diverse portfolios with exposure to the global markets through shares, bonds, property and commodities. A good choice for traders also looking for a cost-effective way to hold long-term investments in a general investment account,  stocks and shares ISA or SIPP. 

IG charges a flat custody fee of £24 a quarter (£96 a year) for general investing accounts. However, if you have more than £15,000 in a Smart Portfolio managed fund or place over three trades per quarter that fee is waived. Standard dealing fees are £8 for UK and £10 for US shares. Smart Portfolio fees are 0.5% – capped at £250 per year. Fund management charges are 0.13% and transaction costs are 0.09%.

  • Free US stock investing – There is zero commission on US share trades and just £3 on UK share trades when you trade three or more times a month.


  • ✔️ Low-cost investing account
  • ✔️UK & international shares
  • ✔️Pre-made portfolios


  • ❌Also provides access to high risk investment products

IG’s investment platform is the same as their trading interface so it will be familiar to their short-term speculators. It provides a good visual of investments with associated news and analysis

IG investing platform

Saxo Markets: Best investment platform for experienced and professional investors

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, funds, bonds
  • Minimum deposit: £500
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP, derivatives
  • Account charge: €10 per month or 0.12%
  • Dealing fee: Shares 0.1% – 0.05%

Capital at risk

Saxo Markets’ investment platform is one of the most advanced accounts for UK long-term investors with access to more than 50 stock exchanges around the world with 22,000 instruments available to invest in. Saxo Markets’ forte is as a trading platform for professional and institutional short and medium-term speculators as they provide direct market access and very low commissions. A good choice for large active investors.

Saxo Markets charge EUR10 a month or 0.12% a year based on the value of your portfolio (depending on which is higher). If you have a VIP account this fee is reduced to 0.08%. Dealing charges are commission based as a percentage of transaction size. They are very competitive, though and UK shares trading commission starts at 0.1% (£100 if you buy £100,000 worth of stock) and drops to 0.05% for more active traders.

  • Platinum – if you have £200,000 or more on account, you can apply for 30% lower transaction and account costs.
  • VIP – For accounts with portfolios over £1m, you get even better pricing, direct connection to experts, 1:1 SaxoStrats access and propriety event invitations.


  • ✔️Direct market access
  • ✔️Excellent platform
  • ✔️Low commissions


  • ❌May be too complicated for beginners
  • ❌Subscription fees for live pricing

Saxo Markets’ investment platform provides exceptional access to the global markets.

Saxo Markets investing platform

Wealthify: Invest from just £1

  • Investments: Pre-made portfolios
  • Minimum deposit: £1
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, Pension
  • Account charge: 0.6% annual charge
  • Dealing fee: £0

Capital at risk

Wealthify, part of the Aviva Group, lets you invest in either an original portfolio of investments from the UK and overseas or choose an ethical investment plan made from a blend of environmentally and socially responsible investments.

It costs 0.6% to start investing with Wealthify, which is one of the cheapest robo-advisor general investment account fees. There are also investment costs of on average 0.16% for original plans and 0.7% for ethical plans. 

  • £50 when you refer a friend – You can get a unique link when you have a funded Wealthify account to use to recommend them to friends. To get the £50 bonus, your friend needs to invest at least £250 for three months.


  • ✔️Managed portfolios
  • ✔️Low minimum deposit of £1
  • ✔️Low account fee of 0.6%


  • ❌Cannot trade individual shares or ETFs

Wealthify’s investment platform lets you fine-tune your portfolio based on risk, giving good visuals of what it may be worth in the future.

Wealthify investment platform

Bestinvest: Best added value investment account

  • Investments: Shares, ETFs, funds
  • Minimum deposit: £1
  • Account types: GIA, ISA, SIPP, JISA, JSIPP
  • Account charge: 0.2% to 0.4%
  • Dealing fee: Shares £4.95, funds £0

Capital at risk

Bestinvest has recently launched a series of low-cost ready-made portfolios. You can also buy individual shares, funds and trusts. Bestinvest’s investment platform has combined low-cost online investing and share dealing with personalised expert advice to help clients choose suitable investments for their portfolios. A good choice for investors who want to talk to an actual human when investing, rather than doing everything online themselves.

Bestinvest general account fees start at 0.2% a year for smart ready-made portoflios, which makes them one of the cheapest managed investment accounts. If you have more than £500,000 in your account, it reduces to 0.1%. For other investments, like bonds, shares and expert-managed portfolios, the account fee is 0.4% up to £250k. Dealing commissions £4.95 per online share trade, fund dealing is free. 

For investment advice, Bestinvest will give you a full portfolio health check for £495, which includes advice on your individual holdings, and suggestions for new or alternative investments.  There is also a more basic investment advice  package priced at £295 where you speak to an advise who will send a report advising on a ready-made portfolio and some suggestions for creating your own portfolio.


  • ✔️Expert advice from professionals
  • ✔️Low minimum deposit of £1
  • ✔️Very low account fees from 0.2%


  • ❌No bond investing

Bestinvest’s investment platform is very simple to use and lets you connect with an investment advisor via video chat.

Bestinvest investing platform

What is the best overall general investment account?

Interactive Investor won “best investing platform” in our 2023 awards. Their fixed fee structure means that your costs do not rise along with your portfolio. Plus they offer a wide range of account types and excellent market access and scored very well for customer serivce.

Methodology: We have chosen what we think are the best investment accounts based on:

  • over 17,000 votes in our annual awards
  • our own experiences testing the investment accounts with real money
  • an in-depth comparison of the features that make them stand out compared to alternative investing platforms.
  • interviews with the investment account company CEOs and senior management

Which investment platform is the cheapest?

For larger general investment accounts, Interactive Investor is the cheapest investing platform for buying funds and shares. The fixed account fee means that your fees do not increase with the size of your portfolio and trading commission remains low at £7.99 for standard accounts or £3.99 for “Super Investor” accounts charged at £19.99 a month.

How to find the cheapest investment platform:

The cheapest broker will depend on a few things such as the size of your account, your investment strategy, the assets you plan to invest in, and how often you are planning to trade.

Once you have considered these variables, you can compare different brokers’ fees and charges and find the broker that offers the lowest overall costs. You can find fees and charges listed on brokers’ websites or in our broker reviews. You will need to consider trading commissions, annual custody charges, entry fees, and exit fees. Some brokers offer fee calculators that can be helpful in determining the costs you’re likely to face over time.

Different brokers have different custody fee structures. Some brokers, such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell, have fee structures that depend on the size of your account. Others, such as Interactive Investor and Freetrade offer a flat fee. Depending on the size of your account, one option may be more cost-effective for you than the other.

It’s important to stress that the cheapest account isn’t always the best option. Generally speaking, you tend to get what you pay for with investment platforms. Those that have higher fees tend to offer more investment options, provide better customer service, be more reliable, and provide extras such as investment research and tools.

Every investment provider has a different fee structure. This needs to be considered carefully because fees and charges can have a big impact on your overall investment returns over time. Some fees and charges to consider include trading commissions, annual custody charges, entry fees, and exit fees.

Which investing platform offers access to the most markets?

Hargreaves Lansdown provides access to the widest range of markets through it’s general investment account including:

Some platforms offer access to a vast range of investments including domestic and international shares, funds, ETFs, and bonds. Others, however, only offer access to certain asset classes or products.

Which investment platform has the best customer service?

In our 2022 Good Money Guide Awards, clients voted Hargreaves Lansdown as having the best customer service relative to the other investment accounts they held.

Some investment providers are better than others when it comes to providing customer support. Service and support can be important, particularly if you are new to investing. You may need help placing a trade.

Which investment platform offers the most added value?

Hargreaves Lansdown offers clients the most added value as their platform features:

  • Market data
  • Fund, share and market analysis
  • Multiple order types
  • Excellent customer service
  • Pre-made portfolios
  • Educational videos & webinars
  • Investment calculators

Some platforms offer a range of features that can help you make better investment decisions such as research, charts, and stock screeners. Others, however, just offer basic investment services.

Which investment platform offers the most account types?

AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown offer the most types of investment account as they include lifetime ISAs.

However, we found that only IG, Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Brokers offer access to the full suite of investment types. However, Interactive Brokers is more of a trading platform than an investing account and the derivatives offered by HL are actually provided through a partnership with IG. So, the two accounts that offer the most investment options is technically IG.

Some platforms offer access to a variety of different accounts such as general investment accounts, Stocks and Shares ISAs, Lifetime ISAs, and Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) accounts. Others, though, only offer general investment accounts. Tax-efficient accounts such as ISAs and SIPPs can help you minimise your tax liabilities.

General Investment Account FAQs:

  • Diverse: You can invest in anything from stocks and shares, to commodities, emerging markets, ethical investments to property funds
  • Tax efficient: You can also open accounts where you do not have to pay tax on profits from some investment accounts like stocks and shares ISAs
  • Low cost: Many online investment platforms offer a very cheap way to buy stocks and shares
  • Risky: It is possible to lose money as well as make money through an investment platform
  • Access: Some investment accounts like pensions and lifetime ISAs lock away your money for a certain period of time and charge a penalty for early withdrawal.
  • Fees: All general investment accounts charge fees and there is no way to avoid paying something for having long term investments

A number of brokers such as Freetrade offer commission-free trading. However, it’s important to be aware of other costs. Freetrade, for example, charges £3 per month for its Stocks and Shares ISA and £9.99 per month for Freetrade Plus (which offers access to more investments). It also charges FX fees of spot rate +0.45% on international shares.

In terms of investing in funds, some brokers such as Hargreaves Lansdown allow you to buy and sell funds commission free. However, these brokers generally charge an annual custody charge on fund investments. Hargreaves Lansdown, for example, charges 0.45% per year on fund holdings up to £250,000.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to invest within a Stocks and Shares ISA. The key advantage of a Stocks and Shares ISA is that it shelters all your capital gains and income from HMRC. If you invest in a general investing account, you will have to pay capital gains tax on gains and income tax on income received.

Platforms that are regulated by the FCA can be considered safe. When an investment platform is regulated by the FCA, it is bound by the regulator’s rules and regulations.

FCA-regulated platforms are required to hold client assets and investments separately in the name of a nominee company or authorised third-party custodian. Meanwhile, clients’ cash must be held in trust accounts with authorised UK banks. This adds protection for investors.

If a FCA-regulated platform becomes insolvent, and investors suffer a loss as a result, they will be protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000 per client, if you have balances with a single financial institution that exceed this amount, you may wish to consider opening a new account with an investment provider under a separate banking licence to ensure your deposits are fully protected incase of investment broker collapse.

It’s worth stressing that regulation and FSCS protection will not protect you from investment-related losses. When you invest money, your capital is always at risk because of fluctuations in the markets.

Investing is a long-term strategy. In general, financial experts recommend holding investments for at least five years. This is because in the short term, investments tend to fluctuate in value. A long-term investment horizon allows you to ride out financial market volatility.

Transferring between investment platforms can take time, depending on the broker you are currently with and the investments you hold. In some cases, transfers between platforms can take months. However, there are things you can do to reduce transfer time.

The first is to check that your transfer instruction has been completed correctly and in full. This should help reduce administration delays and streamline the transfer process.

The second is to transfer cash instead of investments. Investments such as shares and funds take longer to transfer between platforms than cash. Funds, in particular, can take a long time to transfer because there is no centralised system. This means that the provider requesting the transfer has to manually request details from fund managers’ back office teams, and this can take several weeks.

The first step is to make the complaint to the broker itself. You can normally find contact details on the broker’s website. If you are not satisfied by the broker’s response, you can refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

You might want to make a complaint about a broker because of; poor customer service, platform bugs, website downtime or other errors.

You can have as many investment accounts as you want. There can be benefits of using several different platforms as some have strengths in specific areas. For example, some platforms are better than others for investing in funds. Others are more cost-effective for share trading. However, it’s generally much easier to manage and monitor your investments when they are all on the one platform.

It’s worth pointing out that you can open multiple Stocks and Shares ISAs. However, you can only pay into one of these ISAs per year and the annual allowance is £20,000.

Technically, there are ways to buy shares without a broker (i.e. through a dividend investment scheme). However, in general, to buy shares online you need a broker. A broker will provide you with access to the stock market and make the process of buying shares straightforward.

There are a number of benefits to using a broker to buy shares. Benefits include customer support when buying shares and access to valuable investment tools and research. Here is more on how to buy shares.

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