Review by banjodog
submitted on 11 August 2016
Likes: Was cheap
Dislikes: Now Expensive
AJ Bell have increased their charges, removing the cap on the fund custody charge. As a result my total fees have risen from £300 pa to £500.
Review by hdeakin299
submitted on 23 June 2015
Likes: ISA account also available :" COMBINED VIEW" facility allows all investments to be seen (SIPP ,ISA and Dealing Account ) : It works well if you like DIY (drive it yourself) :"Cash Bucket" approach to dividends : Flexible and accepts small transfers
Dislikes: I found it hard to get the right ETFs I wanted for this year's ISA top up :
This review now covers all the accounts not just the Sipp
In general I like the AJ Bell platform which I now use for Sipp ,ISA and the Dealing Account . Regarding individual equity purchase and disposal on this platform : Recently I have got rid of some of the bad equity ISA selections I made in April this year. I used the "reduced charges offer" that applies to equity purchase/disposal in the month following on from the previous month. This only applies when the quota has been reached for a "following month" discount to kick in and I used this allowance right at the end of May . This can sometimes be a useful feature for clearing out bad choices that become apparent quickly and , in the end I decided to have a "mini clear out" using it.
One of the problems I had earlier this year was getting a decent amount of ETFs into my portfolio. I have to decide whether to persevere with my existing platforms or start something new for next year's ISA
The problems include things like : " ETF not available for ISA investment" , the right code numbers not being available or the relevant stock exchange not being available. Also I found that ETFs previously purchased in other accounts were not available for the ISA . Possibly I need to "mug up" a bit on the ISA investment rules which may be part of the problem. Another factor was subjective stuff like a lack of persistence on my part.So what to do ? Well I think more persistence on my part is probably needed . However in the end by June this year I decided that more exposure to investment trusts was needed so my ETF problem has gone away for now.I think basically I was in too much of a rush to invest quickly.
One possibility is modify the way I use these platforms or rather my functional use (of these platforms) for my portfolio as a whole, My proposed new classification for my own investments could be geared to the"overall investment cost" of each investment ( ie this would include both platform and investment costs) irrespective of the type of financial instrument used .
I used the porfolio X Ray analysis system for the first time today . I could not get it to work on "Combined View": it came up with a server error , an "exception" occurred ,it said . But it did work for some of the individual accounts which was good . It is based on Morningstar system like the Fidelity analysis uses . With the Fidelity system you can select from a range of worldwide indices to compare the performance of your portfolio with . Here on AJ Bell though I only found the Global Large Cap Blend Equity index which appears to be very easy to beat . Maybe in the future they will include some other indices.On Fidelity the Large Cap Swiss Index is a bit more challenging and is the one I currently use to "chase" though I have more or less caught up with it now . And of course it only works (I think) with investments currently held so it does not compare the actual past investments held (but switched out of) , only the current ones. But it is very useful to show "direction of travel" if nothing else.
The site appears to be improving the features it offers and works well
Review by provin2
submitted on 19 August 2014
Likes: Was cheap now not- good lesson
Dislikes: READ THE SMALL PRINT- hopefully I will be able to transfer out soon
Bit rich of AJ Bell to complain of hidden charges in old pensions when they have just introduced a foreign exchange charge of 1% per transaction with no record of this during the transaction and on the contract note after the transaction.
It’s not even a one off charge as the platform does not allow you to hold foreign exchange, so on sale of foreign shares you have to switch back to pounds (another 1% foreign exchange fee) and if you want to buy another foreign share you have yet again the foreign exchange charge (deduct 1% again) - it’s ridiculous!
But no surprise that AJ Bell are now making a point of promoting foreign share ownership on their platform. No surprise too they offer frequent trader discount on the share transaction fixed fee. So let me see you can trade at 4.95 gbp but you have a hidden foreign exchange transaction fee of 1%. Our industry is so cynical.
This is a totally backward step for a flat fee company to now introduce this charge. No highlighting of this charge is attempted; many might argue they have concealed it in their small print. The charge itself is listed 2/3rds of the way down their new charging list where there are around 27 other listed charges all of whom are low cost flat fees expressed in cash terms whilst the foreign exchange fee is not highlighted, no example is given in cash terms, and is only expressed as a percentage. It is a classic 'needle in a haystack'.
As a long time AJ Bell client (and promoter to friends and colleagues with no financial gain for self) I am outraged they have acted that way and so cynically sought to compensate themselves for the loss of the trail on unit trusts.
AJ Bell claim it's in their terms and conditions and therefore there is no requirement to disclose forex charge at point of sale. The profit for AJ Bell on this transaction is substantial and totally out of line to the amount of work involved. In my opinion they are laughing at the regulator and totally ignoring TCF.
In their defense they may well argue Hargreaves Lansdowne, TD Waterhouse, and others also charge similar amounts. The industry has been trying for years to get away from the attitude of “well others do it so therefore it’s ok”. Finally regulators have systematically stepped in and put a stop to this sort of defense, if it’s wrong it’s wrong and I for one do not care who else is doing it- it is no defense.
What surprises me is that with all the changes that have taken place in the industry, all the discussions, training, qualifications, and legislation has leant towards looking after the customer. And Sipp's were meant to be a new way of dealing with clients in a transparent low cost manner and here we have the major SIPPs acting as if they can do as they please.
If an advisor hid a charge like that he would be in serious trouble but they seem to have no problem getting away with it.
On the issue of AJ Bell criticizing old style pension companies for hiding charges it is as usual in this industry another case of ‘pot and kettle’.
P.S. In the interests of being fair and open I declare a personal interest in this issue. I am being charged a foreign exchange fee on my Sipp of 900 pounds that in my opinion should have cost no more than 20 pounds. The Sipp will shortly be transferred to another provider that gives me access to fx and allows me to deal in fx at a fixed cost of less than 2 pounds per transaction. The new provider also allows me to hold the fx on the platform so none of the AJ Bell sippdeal backwards and forwards -stripping may account with hidden fees.
Review by sionevans35
submitted on 04 April 2014
Likes: LOW CHARGES
Dislikes: SITE UNAVAILABLE FOR TRADING
Appalling website. Constantly hangs and therefore unavailable to trade. Responses from enquiry email are poor, patchy and show lack of training and understanding.
Review by lovelysamantha
submitted on 30 August 2013
Likes: The website/online experience is much slicker, and user-friendly, than other reviews (perhaps not recent) had suggested.
Dislikes: none so far, but although I opened the account with ease I've not yet placed any deals
Like so many at the moment, I've reached the stage of trying to diversify my accounts to take advantage of the new commission and fee arrangements. I just wish that they'd all get their acts together and have dark suspicions that the latecomers are waiting to see what the early adopters do. It will be chaotic if we're all trying to move come the deadline next year.
I'm no expert, but the online research provided on the different sites I already use seems more than adequate, so thought I'd give Sippdeal a go as comment on this site is clear that it's cheap for shares, less so for funds because of the dealing charges, but mainly because it offers some funds from smaller providers that are not available elsewhere (notably FundsNetwork/CoFunds). These are the ones that even before the new arrangements, Hargreaves Lansdown had introduced its 'platform fee' for, when it did supply them on the Vantage platform.
I'm quite happy doing everything online, and was impressed that the account-opening phase automatically included the 'expression of wish' nomination for beneficiaries' death benefits - many seem to regard this as an optional add-on, but it is really important as it defines how the trustees should distribute funds which are outside one's estate until benefits are taken.
I am somewhat nervous that correctly identifying which form of the desired fund might be difficult, none is explicitly described as 'clean' - I think it just has to be deduced from the combination of whether a custody fee is charged, monthly dealing is available, and the ongoing charge in combination with the minimum investment, as different fund providers appear to use different (random!) letters to designate their own range. Time will tell if my deductions are right.
One thing definitely to check is the minimum investment - my initial pick was iUKD, but although I'd regard this as a mainstream if volatile ETF, with Sippdeal I'd have to invest a minimum of £200,000 (I think it was - far more than my entire pension provision) - no such restriction at Alliance Trust.
Although I found the website easy to navigate, I'm still waiting for a reply to a query I raised before opening the account; I'd give the online service provision five stars, but customer service in response to a specific enquiry, nil. As 1 is categorised as 'Awful', that's what I've awarded for service for the time being.
Review by radford123
submitted on 05 August 2013
Dislikes: Diabolical unreliabilty of online dealing platform.
Pretty unimpressed really. Their dealing fees are OK for direct equities but they also charge to investr and disinvest to/from pooled funds.
They also9 close their site without advance warning to customers and especially at weekends - often all weekend!
I am considering switching to Hargreaves Lansdown who show more consideration to their clients, do not charge (explicity) for pooled funds and offer discounts on a far bigger range of funds.
I don't see where SIPPdeal hold any advantages.
Review by Andrew1S
submitted on 17 March 2010
Likes: Cheap, Easy to use, very quick service
Dislikes: not for the amateur as no advice given
I am a financial adviser and have been looking to put my own pension house in order. A SIPP was the only way I was going to go. Sippdeal offered me just what I wanted.
I have used SippDeal's parent firm AJ Bell for my clients and have always found them extremely good.
SippDeal is low cost but has all the flexibility of the SIPP wrapper (except commercial property). You can hold individual securities, funds etc and deal at a very low rate. This means it is a very economical option
A word of warning though! SippDeal comes advice free and, in my opinion should be used by Professional Clients only...that is, those in the business and who know what risks they are taking. If you are looking at Sippdeal purely because its cheap and you don't have to pay adviser fees, you need to look at your motives - and make sure you know what you are doing. Many a fortune has been lost by day trading or following the herd. Remember, this is your future - if it costs a few quid to get good advice it may well be worth it.
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