Hargreaves Lansdown Review (HL): The Waitrose Of The Investing World

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I always think of Hargreaves Lansdown as the Waitrose of the investing world. Yes, it may be a bit pricier sometimes, but I think it’s just a nicer, safer place to shop for stocks. In my Hargreaves Lansdown review, I explain what they are good at, what they are too expensive for and what sort of investor they are most suited to.

Hargreaves Lansdown Overview

Hargreaves Lansdown Review
Hargreaves Lansdown

Name: Hargreaves Lansdown

Description: Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the largest investment platforms in the UK. They offer investing, savings, ISAs and SIPP account to over 1.8 million clients with 142bn in assets under management. The company was founded by Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown in 1981 and is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Is Hargreaves Lansdown a good broker?

Yes, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of our best-rated stock brokers and investment platforms. HL offers access to a huge range of investment types, through a wide range of general and tax-efficient accounts and is suitable for almost all types of investors.

Pros

  • Wide range of investments
  • Most investment account types
  • Excellent research and analysis

Cons

  • There are cheaper options for fund investing
  • Limited portfolio hedging tools
  • Pricing
    (4)
  • Market Access
    (5)
  • Online Platform
    (5)
  • Customer Service
    (5)
  • Research & Analysis
    (5)
Overall
4.8

Hargreaves Lansdown Expert Review

I’ve spoken to the founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, Peter Hargreaves a few times. First when I interviewed him over the phone and then a few follow-ups after that via email. I have to say that he’s to the point, detailed, charismatic and clearly has a huge amount of passion for the business.

Of course, Peter Hargreaves no longer runs the business, but for this review, I interviewed the then  CEO Chris Hill, but the mentality of HL doesn’t seem to have changed. Hargreaves Lansdown is still one of the best investment platforms out there. Its research, market data, and market range are unrivaled. There are cheaper “free stockbrokers” out there, but your choice of investment is limited, customer service is basically a chatbot and many are still raising funds and running at a loss. Sure people complain that HL can sometimes be expensive, but in finance, you get what you pay for.

Founded in 1981, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the largest fund management and investment platforms in the UK with 1.8 million clients and £142bn funds under management. Operating from its Bristol base, it offers a huge range of investment tools, ready-made portfolios, ISAsSIPPs (pension), cash savings and foreign currency exchange. They also offer financial advice with a free initial consultation, research, webinars and guides to investment. The scale and scope of their offering mean they offer one of the widest range of choices for investors of all levels.

For those that are more risk averse HL Active Savings offers access to some of the highest-paying savings accounts.

With a history stretching back 40 decades, HL brings the security, scale and reputation of an established FTSE 100 company.

In the Good Money Guide Awards, HL is a regular winner and in 2022 won the award for “best stockbroker”, “best investing app” and “best SIPP account”. 100% of those who took the 2022 survey said they used HL for longer-term investing, with only 33% saying they also made short-term speculative investments on the platform.

Now, onto the nitty-gritty of Hargreaves Lansdown and our ratings explained:

I’ve spoken to the founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, Peter Hargreaves, a few times. First, when I interviewed him over the phone, and then a few follow-ups via email. I have to say that he’s to the point, detailed, charismatic, and clearly has a huge amount of passion for the business.

Of course, Peter Hargreaves no longer runs the business, but for this review, I interviewed the then-CEO Chris Hill. The mentality of Hargreaves Lansdown doesn’t seem to have changed. It remains one of the best investment platforms out there. Its research, market data, and market range are unrivalled. There are cheaper “free stockbrokers” available, but their choice of investment is limited, customer service is basically a chatbot, and many are still raising funds and operating at a loss. Sure, people complain that HL can sometimes be expensive, but in finance, you get what you pay for.

Founded in 1981, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the largest fund management and investment platforms in the UK, with 1.8 million clients and £142bn in funds under management. Operating from its Bristol base, it offers a huge range of investment tools, ready-made portfolios, ISAs, SIPPs (pensions), cash savings, and foreign currency exchange. They also offer financial advice with a free initial consultation, research, webinars, and investment guides. The scale and scope of their offering mean they provide one of the widest ranges of choices for investors of all levels.

For those who are more risk-averse, HL Active Savings offers access to some of the highest-paying savings accounts.

With a history stretching back four decades, HL brings the security, scale, and reputation of an established FTSE 100 company.

In the Good Money Guide Awards, HL is a regular winner and in 2022 won the awards for “Best Stockbroker”, “Best Investing App”, and “Best SIPP Account”. 100% of those who took the 2022 survey said they used HL for longer-term investing, with only 33% saying they also made short-term speculative investments on the platform.

Now, onto the nitty-gritty of Hargreaves Lansdown and our ratings explained:

Pricing

Cheap for stocks, expensive for funds—that’s the basics.

Over the years, though, HL has become cheaper, and I expect it to continue becoming more competitive. They have a huge legacy client base that won’t switch to another broker no matter what, so that will be milked for a while with these reduced rates. However, newer customers should see commissions come in line with other major investment platforms.

HL is still horrendously expensive for US stocks, as their FX fees are quite high, and since there is no cap on fund account fees, these can add up very quickly for big accounts.

The jewel in the pricing crown, though, is the Junior ISA, which is free to hold and to buy shares and funds.

Market Access

Excellent, with pretty much full market coverage.

If you’re a UK investor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a listed instrument you can’t invest in through HL. So, if you’re looking to build a very diverse portfolio over the years and want access to a wide range of small-cap stocks, corporate bonds, and funds, HL is a good choice for investment options.

Plus, they offer the most types of accounts as well. In our comparison tables, only Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell offer access to the full range of accounts including:

If you click on the link above, you can see our ratings for each of the key Hargreaves Lansdown account types.

Platform & Apps:

Generally, one of the best apps and platforms around.

The Hargreaves Lansdown website and app have been the go-to for stock market research. I should know, I sold them bond data, rankings, and analysis for years.

The website has an excellent market data section, so you can read through company reports, and the HL app is much more comprehensive than competitors.

Everything is easy to use: lots of order types, account statements, etc. It all just works. Let’s be honest, if you are investing with Hargreaves Lansdown, you’re going to use the platform and buy something in the long run. You don’t need lots of flashing lights and algo API connectivity.

These were all developed by a hugely experienced team that has now gone on to run Navos (fintech.co.uk), which builds investment systems and infrastructure for some of the biggest financial institutions in the UK.

They are grown-up platforms and apps for serious investors.

Customer Service:

You get what you pay for here. HL always picks up the phone quickly.

Whenever we test platforms, we always try to find a problem so we can phone customer support to test their response time. Some of the apps are woeful at getting back to customers. But then again, I’d say that investing apps are for small investors, while investment platforms and stock brokers are for when you have a bit more and need a bit of help looking after it.

For this review, and you can watch this in our video of me testing the platform live, there was an issue with cancelling the a stop on a position I had closed out. I managed to get through straight away and was given the answer after speaking to a couple of their staff.

Hargreaves Lansdown does have a reputation for being expensive, but then again, it’s not cheap employing and training staff to ensure that if you have a problem, it can be dealt with quickly—and may I add, politely.

Research & Analysis:

Superb, with lots of market data screens for non-customers and even more information when you are logged in.

Hargreaves Lansdown is a DIY platform, which means you have to make your own decisions. Now, I’m not being commercially cynical here, but when I was a broker, we wanted our customers to make lots of decisions. Because the more investment decisions they made, the more commission we made.

And how do you get your customers to make more investment decisions? Well, you provide them with the tools, stimulus, and research to help them make them.

As Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the biggest companies in the UK, listed on the LSE with a market cap of £4.25bn (17/5/24), you can assume that they are providing a lot of people with a lot of research and analysis to help them make more decisions…

Hargreaves Lansdown Awards

Hargreaves Lansdown always wins awards with us, over the years Hargreaves Lansdown has won Good Money Guide Awards for:

  • 2023: Best DIY Stocks & Shares ISA & Best Junior SIPP
  • 2022: Best Investing App, Best Stock Broker, Best SIPP & Best Junior SIPP
  • 2021: Best Full-Service Stock Broker
  • 2019: Best Stock Broker, Best SIPP Account
  • 2018: Best SIPP and Stocks & Shares ISA Broker
@good_money_guide Best DIY Stocks & Shares ISA… #goodmoneyguide #goodmoneyguideawards #investing #shares #stocks #stockmarket ♬ original sound – Good Money Guide


I’m afraid though, we don’t have any footage of Hargreaves Lansdown collecting an award because as yet they’ve not turned up to collect them.

Hargreaves Lansdown Video Review

Watch as we test the Hargreaves Lansdown investing platform and app. In our video review and test we buy and sell some Hargreaves Lansdown shares (LON:HL) and demonstrate some of the stock broker’s features.

YouTube video

Hargreaves Lansdown Facts & Figures

⬜ Public Company✔️
👉 Number Active Clients1,800,000
💰 Minimum Deposit£1
💸 Client Funds£142 billion
📅 Founded1981
Account Costs
👉 Investment Account
0%
👉 SIPP
0.45%
👉 Stocks & Shares ISA
0.45%
👉 Junior ISA
0%
👉 Lifetime ISA
0%
Dealing Costs
👉 UK Shares
£11.95
👉 US Stocks
£11.95
👉 ETFs
£11.95
👉 Bonds
£11.95
👉 Funds£0

Hargreaves Lansdown Customer Reviews

3.7
Rated 3.7 out of 5
3.7 out of 5 stars (based on 1,304 reviews)
Excellent26%
Very good37%
Average25%
Poor7%
Terrible5%

Tell us what you think:


Capital at risk

Hargreaves Lansdown FAQs

Yes, we rate Hargreaves Lansdown as one of the safest share dealing accounts in the UK because they are well established, listed on the London Stock Exchange, and regulated by the FCA. Hargreaves Lansdown is also a profitable company with millions of private and corporate customers.

As an FCA-regulated stock broker, if Hargreaves Lansdown were to go bust, client cash on account would be protected by the FSCS scheme. Client investments are held in nominee accounts on CREST and can be transferred to another FCA-regulated investment platform.

Yes, Hargreaves Lansdown is considered one of the more expensive trading apps, as they charge a commission per share deal as opposed to commission-free investing apps like Freetrade, CMC Invest or Dodl, where it is free. Hargreaves Lansdown is also very expensive for holding funds on account as there is no cap on their fund account charge. Whereas, AJ Bell fund fees are capped and Interactive Investor charges a flat monthly subscription.

Hargreaves Lansdown is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange meaning anyone can buy shares. But only around 25% of HL shares are traded on the LSE as 75% of the company is still owned by the founders Peter Hargreaves, and Stephen Lansdown and employees. You can see the breakdown of Hargreaves Lansdown shareholders in our HL share price performance section.

Yes, Hargreaves Lansdown offers access to a huge range of UK-listed Government and corporate bonds that you can invest in to build an income-generating portfolio. We actually used Hargreaves Lansdown to demonstrate buying Retail Charity bonds when we reviewed them.

No, you cannot buy commodities directly on Hargreaves Lansdown directly, to do that you need a commodities broker. But, you can invest in commodities on HL through a commodity ETF which is listed on the stock exchange like the Legal & General Longer Dated All commodities UCITS ETF (CMFP).

No, you cannot buy fractional shares on Hargreaves Lansdown, you can only buy whole shares, ETFs and units of funds. If you want to invest in small slices of company shares or want to invest in monetary amounts rather than shares you can compare the best brokers for fractional shares investing here.

No, you cannot trade options on Hargreaves Lansdown. I view this as quite a significant disadvantage because options are a great way to hedge your long-term investment portfolio against potential short-term stock market falls. If you want to trade or invest with options you can compare the best options brokers here.

No, you cannot buy or invest in gold directly on Hargreaves Lansdown, to do that you need a gold trading platform. But, you can get exposure to gold and invest in a gold ETF that tracks the price of the gold and can be bought and sold on the Hargreaves Lansdown platform just like shares for example, SPDR Gold Trust, iShares Gold Trust or Aberdeen Standard Physical Gold Shares ETF.

No, you cannot short stocks or go short on the Hargreaves Lansdown platform. But if you think that the Hargreaves Lansdown share price will go down it is possible to short Hargreaves Lansdown shares with a short-selling broker using CFDs, options or financial spread betting. However, if you want to go short the overall stock market to hedge your portfolio held at Hargreaves Lansdown you can buy an inverse ETF (which goes up when the market goes down) like

Absolutely not! Hargreaves Lansdown is a traditional stock brokerage and is most suitable for those investing in the long term. Cryptocurrency is a very high-risk product and not apprapriate to hold alongside ISA or SIPP accounts. Having said that, the SEC has recently approved a Bitcoin ETF, which can be bought and sold on the stock market, so some UK investors may be able to buy cryptocurrency on HL if they pass the sophisticated investor threshold.

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