Hargreaves Lansdown has unveiled a number of changes to the pricing of its Vantage customers, claiming that the majority will be better off as a result. Here's what the changes mean for you.
Hargreaves Lansdown is making a number of changes to the pricing structure of its Vantage service which it reckons will save users £8 million a year. Let’s take a look at exactly what it is doing.
New fund charges
There will be two new charges for fund investors, rather than the current single Annual Management Charge (AMC).
These consist of a new annual fund-holding fee for each account the investor has of 0.45% (though this drops depending on the size of your investment portfolio) and an AMC that is lower than what was previously charged. Hargreaves claims that the typical annual charge will fall from 1.5% to 0.75%.
There will be even lower charges on the firm’s Wealth 150 – its list of recommended funds – of just 0.65%.
So once the holding fee is included, most investors will be paying around 1.2% rather than 1.5%.
Bad news for tracker funds
Up until now, Hargreaves Lansdown has charged a monthly ‘platform fee’ of either £1 or £2 for investing in passive funds like trackers. These funds aim to simply match the performance of a given index (such as the FTSE 100) rather than try to actively beat it. It’s a form of investment that we’ve always been big fans of at lovemoney.com, given how few fund managers of active funds actually manage to beat the performance of an index.
However, that monthly fee is being scrapped, to be replaced with the same fund charge as above. So if you have a lot of money tied up in trackers, it could become more costly.
That said, it’s worth noting that Hargreaves Lansdown has secured a range of new passive funds which will be available from March which charge just 0.06% per annum, so there will still be some budget options there.
Hargreaves says that rules from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) say that funds must all be subject to the same charges to prevent bias, which is why it has made these changes.
Statements and activities
If you like to get your statements in the post then this will cost you too. Paper statements and valuations (which are sent out every six months) will now cost you £10 plus VAT. However, move online and they will remain free.
There are a number of other account activities which will now attract a fee too, such as closing your account (£25 plus VAT), probate valutation (£30 plus VAT per stock) and stock transfers (£12.50 per stock between Hargreaves accounts, £25 per stock for transfers to another provider).
From April, new FCA rules will be in place for investors who use platforms, like Hargreaves Lansdown, in order to invest their cash.
Up until now providers of investment products have typically paid platforms a rebate in order to have their products listed on the platform. This rebate comes from the AMC which the investor pays to the fund manager. According to the FCA, these have allowed platforms to give the impression that they are offering a free service, when this isn’t actually the case.
The regulator believes that the lack of transparency about these rebates makes it harder for investors to accurately compare prices, as well as opening up the risk of bias, meaning investors are pushed towards certain products that may not be the most suitable.
So from April rebates are gone, meaning platforms will now have to charge the investor directly for their services.
When are the changes happening?
The changes will be taking place from 1st March, though the FCA rules that they are designed to meet do not come into force until 6th April.
What do you think? Will the cost of your investments go down as a result of these changes? Are you more or less likely to use Hargreaves Lansdown as a result of the new pricing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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