Bestinvest to relaunch its DIY platform
Bestinvest has announced that it is set to reinvent online investing with the introduction of free coaching, affordable advice, low-cost ready-made portfolios and sophisticated digital tools – on top of other improvements to its award-winning DIY investment platform.
The firm writes that the unique combination of new features will help people to plan for their future, keep on track for personal goals, and become better investors.
The platform will transform into a hybrid digital service by combining online goal-planning and analytical tools with a human touch. Savers will be able to access help from qualified professionals through free investment coaching and, if desired, choose affordable fixed-price advice packages. Bestinvest has also launched a range of very low-cost, ready-made ‘Smart’ portfolios, while improving its resources for investors who like to select and manage their own investments.
The platform’s relaunch - which will also see share-trading fees slashed to less than GBP5 - is aimed at empowering investors with the insights and confidence they need to make their money work harder for them. Its distinctive range of functionality bridges the gap between existing online services for self-directed investors and traditional financial advice aimed at wealthier people. Combined with this, Bestinvest offers a much wider choice of investments than can be found at most ‘robo-advisers’ and digital wealth apps, the firm says.
The revamped Bestinvest is set go live after the tax-year end. However, the new range of Smart portfolios (which will have ongoing costs as low as 0.34 per cent pa), a halving of account fees for holding ready-made portfolios and the new competitive share dealing fee will take effect from 1 February - so that investors can start benefiting in the run-up to the current tax-year end on 5 April 2022.
Experienced self-directed investors will be able to continue using the platform exactly as before, with the advantage of extra functionality. But the new Bestinvest will also be able to support the millions of Britons who are not currently being served by the wealth management industry, the firm says. It is estimated that 29 per cent of adults – or 15.7 million people – already hold an investment product but many have low confidence in their investment knowledge. Recent research indicates that only 8 per cent of adults currently have an ongoing relationship with an adviser.
New services and features will help investors select and manage their investment portfolios and private pensions with more confidence and reassurance, the firm says. These include:
• Free investment coaching: All clients will have access to investment coaches, who are qualified financial planners, at no extra cost. Virtual meetings with the coaches can be booked online, with the option of completing a digital fact find and risk assessment questionnaire to streamline the coaching discussion.
• One-time advice packages: Where personalised advice is required by a client, such as a review of their existing investments or a recommendation for an appropriate portfolio, this will be available for a one-off fee of between GBP295 and GBP495.
• Best-in-class performance data and charts: Account and portfolio level insights include interactive charts so investors can see how their overall portfolio and each account has performed over time, as well as the annualised return since inception. This will enable comparison with market benchmarks so that DIY investors can see if they are doing a good job managing their portfolios, the firm writes. Most online platforms only show performance data for individual holdings, not the client portfolio, the firm says, adding Bestinvest will do both.
• Picturing your financial future: Clients will have access to the sort of digital analysis that is often only available to financial advisers to help visualise the trajectory of their investments. By comparing existing investment portfolios to in-house models, projection tools will estimate future performance and simulation tools will trace the impact of changing contributions or altering approach to risk.
• Set your financial goals: From the outset customers will be able to set a retirement goal and monitor whether they are on track to achieve it and identify potential actions. A range of additional digital tools will be rolled out to help investors plan for other specific goals such as buying a home and funding a child’s education fees, enabling investors to build their own financial life plan – and check on progress whenever they want to.
• Low-cost Smart portfolios: There are five new Smart portfolios designed as ready-made investment options to suit various risk profiles. They will be invested in passive investment funds but actively managed by Tilney Smith & Williamson’s experienced investment team. The total cost of investing in the Smart portfolios – including a new reduced account fee of 0.20 per cent – comes to 0.54-0.57 per cent pa, which means someone can have GBP10,000 in the Smart portfolios and pay fees of around GBP55 a year all-in. This is significantly cheaper than most robo-advisers, the firm says.
Together, this combination of expertise on demand, investment range and digital features is unique in the UK market. Alongside the new service features, Bestinvest is also cutting a number of fees:
• Share trading costs are cut by a third to less than GBP5: From GBP7.50 per online share trade to GBP4.95, irrespective of transaction size. This will be the lowest share dealing fee among the major UK online investment platforms and will take effect from 1 February. Bestinvest will continue not to charge any dealing fees on funds purchases, sales or switches.
• Rock-bottom account fees for holding ready-made portfolios: Investors in both the new low-cost Smart portfolios and existing Expert range (which predominantly invest in ‘best of breed’ actively managed funds) will benefit from a highly competitive 0.20 per cent pa account fee on balances up to GBP500k, and then 0.10 per cent up to GBP1M. No account fees will be levied on balances above GBP1M. Bestinvest is also halving the fees paid on accounts holding investments other than ready-made portfolios for balances between GBP500k and GBP1M from 0.20 per cent to 0.10 per cent. 
• SIPP fees simplified with most ad hoc costs eliminated: The current annual GBP100 + VAT SIPP administration fee will be scrapped alongside several other ad hoc SIPP. The account fee tiers for SIPPs will be harmonised with those for ISAs, Junior ISAs and General Investment Accounts. 
Simonetta Rigo, Group Chief Marketing Officer of Tilney Smith & Williamson says: “The launch of this new hybrid service is a major development which will make good on Tilney Smith & Williamson’s chosen purpose of ‘placing the power of good advice into more hands’. There are millions of people in the UK who work hard for their money but lack confidence when it comes to investing. Many have cash left languishing in the bank being eroded by inflation or have multiple pensions which they are unsure about. By providing them with the tools to set real goals and estimate whether they are on track to achieve them, we can help investors ‘bring tomorrow forward’ and identify the actions they might take today to get them on track to achieve their objectives, or even reach those goals at an earlier point in time.
"The new Bestinvest will provide the best of both worlds: the benefits of a modern, digital service with a human touch through the ability to speak to a qualified investment coach. It will provide them with the extensive investment choice of a DIY platform but also the option to choose a managed portfolio with highly competitive fees versus a robo-adviser. Whether a client is a confident investor who enjoys building their own portfolio, or someone who wants help identifying a plan of action and selecting a managed approach, the new platform will offer them an unrivalled range of features to become better investors at great value for money.”