AJ Bell Review

Written by Sam Hodgson
Last updated: 3rd November 2023

AJ Bell Review 2023 – Is It the Best Value Investment Platform?

From its diverse range of investment products to its user-friendly platform and competitive fees, AJ Bell has made a name for itself in the investment world.

But how does it fare against its competitors? 

Read on as we break down the pros and cons, comparing AJ Bell to other popular investment platforms, and answer some frequently asked questions in this comprehensive AJ Bell review.

Key Takeaways

  • AJ Bell is a UK-based online investment platform with a wide range of products and services.
  • It offers low fees, excellent customer support & educational resources, plus FCA regulation & FSCS protection.
  • AJ Bell has competitive fees, outperforming alternatives like Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor (specifically for shares).

AJ Bell Overview

Founded in 1995, AJ Bell is a reputable UK-based online investment platform listed on the London Stock Exchange.

With a strong focus on customer satisfaction, AJ Bell has amassed over £73.8 billion in assets under management and serves more than 480,000 customers.

You can breeze through the account opening process with AJ Bell, which takes no more than 10 minutes. 

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting, AJ Bell offers a wide range of investment products and services to suit your needs.

Plus, rest assured that your investments are safe, as AJ Bell is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Choose from over 2,000 funds
From £25 per month

Features:
Low cost ISA. Multi-award winning ISA provider.
Go to website »
Mobile app - manage your portfolio on the move. FSCS protected. Capital at risk.

Investment Products Offered

A variety of investment products are offered by AJ Bell to cater to diverse needs and goals, including:

  • Stocks & Shares ISA
  • Junior ISA
  • Lifetime ISA
  • SIPP
  • Junior SIPP
  • General investment accounts

If you’re looking for a more premium experience, AJ Bell Platinum provides access to a dedicated relationship manager, exclusive investment content, and priority customer support.

Also, AJ Bell offers access to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange for smaller companies with higher potential for growth.

Investment Choices and Diversification

Providing access to over 19,000 investments, AJ Bell offers investors plenty of opportunities to create a well-diversified portfolio. Their diverse range of investment options includes:

  • Individual stocks
  • Funds
  • ETFs
  • Investment trusts
  • Ready-made portfolios

AJ Bell also provides access to 24 global exchanges and 14,000 shares, ensuring you can access a wide range of investment opportunities across various markets and sectors.

With the AJ Bell offer, whether you’re interested in tax-free savings accounts like the Stocks & Shares ISA, Junior ISA, and Lifetime ISA, or exploring other assets, an AJ Bell account has an extensive selection for you to choose from.

Platform Features and Usability

The platform of AJ Bell is tailored to both novice and seasoned investors, featuring a user-friendly interface and beneficial features for refined investing decisions.

The platform includes AJ Bell’s favourite funds, passive funds, and an investment filter tool that allows you to filter by investment goal, type of fund, and sector.

While the platform may not be the most straightforward for complete beginners, with some knowledge about investing, you’ll quickly get the hang of it and navigate the website and app with ease.

AJ Bell also offers telephone trading, should you prefer a more traditional approach to managing your investments. Note that this incurs an additional fee of £29.95.

Fees and Charges

A key advantage of AJ Bell is its competitive fee structure.  The platform charges a percentage-based fee, with additional fees for buying and selling funds, share trading, and other services.

AJ Bell’s Dealing Account charges for holding shares is 0.25%, with a maximum of £42 per year.  For funds, it’s a tiered fee structure as follows:

Funds custody charge: First £0 – £250,000: 0.25%

Next £250,000 – £500,000: 0.10%

Value over £500,000: No charge

So, for example, if you invested $600,000 into a fund, you’d be paying £625 on the first £250k, £250 on the second, and no charge on the last £100k.

This caps fund investment fees at £875 for investments over £500,000.

Like many other providers, AJ Bell also charges for buying and selling holdings: Buying and selling shares: £9.95 Buying and selling funds: £1.50

If you’re looking for a lower cost option, AJ Bell also offers the Dodl account (in-app only), which features an annual platform fee of 0.15%, with a minimum of £1 per month and no trading fees. Dodl offers investment and lifetime ISAs, pension funds and general investment accounts.

Fee Type AJ Bell Dealing Account
Holding Shares -0.25%
Maximum annual charge £42 (£3.50/month)
Holding Funds Tiered fee structure
(Funds Custody Charge) First £0-£250,000: 0.25%
Next £250,000-£500,000: 0.1%
Dealing Charges Shares: £9.95
Funds: £1.50
Frequent shares dealing (>10 deals in the past month): £4.95

Customer Support and Service One of the main advantages of AJ Bell’s platform is its excellent customer support. Investors can get the help they need through multiple channels, including phone, email, and live chat.

For example, their customer support team aims to respond to emails within two working days, providing around the clock support and customer care.

You can also use their online help centre that’s filled with answers to frequently asked questions, guides, and informative articles to assist you in navigating the platform and making informed decisions.

Educational Resources and Tools

AJ Bell is also committed to helping you make your own investor decisions and feeling confident in doing so.

So, they provide various resources and tools to improve your understanding of investing, from the basics to more advanced levels.

The platform features guides, videos, and Shares magazine, providing valuable insights for investors at all levels.

The education centre on AJ Bell’s website includes articles, videos, and webinars to assist investors in their journey toward financial success.

With a wealth of educational content at your fingertips, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed choices and further your investment journey.

Safety and Security

Investing with AJ Bell is not only convenient but also secure, as the platform is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The FSCS protection limit for client money held in third-party banks is up to £85,000 per person per account, providing additional peace of mind for investors.

Also, your money is held in segregated accounts, making AJ Bell safe from the company’s creditors in case of liquidity issues.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers has been received by AJ Bell, with an ‘Excellent’ rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 on Trustpilot, based on over 4,000 reviews.

Repeated testimonials of AJ Bell being straightforward, efficient and friendly, which is important when providing services that are not fully understood by many.

Pros and Cons

Several advantages, such as diverse investment options and competitive fees are boasted by AJ Bell.

The platform’s strong foundations ensure stability and growth, making it an excellent choice for beginner investors and those with small to medium-sized portfolios.

However, AJ Bell is not without its drawbacks.

The platform lacks certain unique features and advanced trading options, as well as easy navigation for beginners.

As with any investment platform, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons based on your individual needs and preferences.

Feature Pros Cons
Investment Options
  • Multitude of diverse investment options
  • Lacks unique features and advanced trading options.
Fees
  • Competitive fee structure
  • Includes frequent shares dealing charge
Platform
  • Extensive and filled with useful information
  • Sometimes difficult for beginners to use
  • Accessible through all devices
  • Unable to tailor to individual needs, without direct contact with the support team.
Sustainability

 

Comparing AJ Bell to Alternatives

When considering alternatives like Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor, you should take into account factors such as:

  • Fees – cheaper than alternatives such as Hargreaves Lansdown, however there are more cost-effective options out there.
  • Investment options – good level of choice for beginners and experienced investors.
  • Platform features – comprehensive and detailed.
  • Customer support – fast response times, from a friendly, dedicated support team, as well as access through email and live chat.

While AJ Bell offers competitive fees and a wide range of investment options, Hargreaves Lansdown is known for its excellent customer satisfaction, service, and research offerings, albeit at a higher cost.

Interactive Investor, on the other hand, charges a flat-fee subscription based on three available plans, with fees comparable to AJ Bell.

Ultimately, the best investment platform for you will depend on your individual needs, preferences, and investment goals.

AJ Bell Review Summary

In conclusion, AJ Bell is a reputable investment platform offering a diverse range of investment products, user-friendly features, and competitive fees.

While it may not be the perfect fit for every investor, AJ Bell’s excellent customer reviews make it a strong contender in the world of investment platforms.

Choose from over 2,000 funds
From £25 per month

Features:
Low cost ISA. Multi-award winning ISA provider.
Go to website »
Mobile app - manage your portfolio on the move. FSCS protected. Capital at risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I trust AJ Bell?

AJ Bell is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and has hundreds of thousands of customers trusting them with over £76 billion in assets; this should instil confidence that, yes, you can trust them.

Is AJ Bell good for beginners?

AJ Bell is a great option for beginner investors, offering an excellent customer service response time as well as AJ Bell Youinvest trading fees that are average. They also have a portfolio of funds which allows beginners to leave the hard work to the experts. However, some beginners cite the website as being a bit difficult to navigate at first.

What types of investment accounts does AJ Bell offer?

AJ Bell offers a range of investment accounts, including Stocks & Shares ISAs, Junior ISAs, Lifetime ISAs, SIPPs, Junior SIPPs, and general investment accounts.

Are there any fees associated with using AJ Bell’s platform?

Yes, AJ Bell does have fees associated with using their platform which include a platform fee, buying/selling funds fee and share trading fees.

How does AJ Bell compare to other investment platforms like Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor?

AJ Bell is a more affordable alternative to Hargreaves, which is more expensive but with high levels of customer satisfaction. Interactive Investor charges a flat fee for their investment services of £4.99 to £11.99, making AJ Bell a far more affordable option.  Ultimately, when comparing AJ Bell to Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor, fees, investment options, platform features, and customer support are factors to consider when determining the best investment platform for your needs.

Important Risk Information: This website contains information only and does not constitute advice or a personal recommendation in any way whatsoever. The value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. The tax efficiency of ISAs is based on current tax law and there is no guarantee that tax rules will stay the same in the future. Different types of investment carry different levels of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment and should read the product literature. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice. * Details of how the Financial Services Compensation Scheme applies to investment firms can be found at fscs.org.uk.