New Charges Calculator Tackles ‘Shocking’ Lack of Clarity in the Investment Industry
Consumer investment site BoringMoney.co.uk has launched an independent fee calculator which provides investors with a single simple £ fee across 20 leading platforms and robo advisors.
According to research from the company’s 2019 Online Investing Report, two thirds of investors are not fully confident they understand what fees they are currently paying. Additional Boring Money testing shows that even those who feel confident often miscalculate in reality, as a result of complex fee structures and ambiguous additional charges.
Holly Mackay, CEO of Boring Money commented: “Trying to work out what we pay for investment services remains shockingly difficult. Customers tell us they want to see a single £ fee, but instead they have to build complex Excel spreadsheets with multiple inputs to try and work out what each provider costs.”
The Investment Fee Calculator – found at www.boringmoney.co.uk/calculator – enables investors and would-be investors to compare fees across 20 leading investment providers. In an industry first, the calculator also pulls in both customer ratings and the Boring Money rating so that customers can choose whether to focus on price alone, or take a broader view of the service.
Although designed to be simple to use – with pre-programmed assumptions for those who don’t know how many trades a year they make, or how exactly their investments are split between funds and shares – more experienced investors can override these assumptions to tailor the calculations more accurately.
Alongside the unveiling of the calculator, Boring Money is also launching a campaign for fairer fee disclosure.
Mackay says: “There’s endless talk and very little action. We know that customers want to see fees in simple £ amounts. We know they want to be able to compare.
“We are calling on the industry to improve this fundamental part of disclosure and acknowledge that transparency is not the same as clarity. We think every part of the chain – from platform to asset manager – should have some way for consumers to understand in simple £ terms what any given investment would cost. So they can make informed and confident decisions.”
The campaign comes against the backdrop of the FCA’s recent Investment Platforms Market Study, in which the regulator very clearly stated that it expects the industry to show “progress in making charges more accessible and comparable for consumers who are shopping around”.
Major players in the industry have shown support for Boring Money’s cause.
Andy Bell, Chief Executive of AJ Bell Youinvest commented: “Seeing an investment platform’s charges in pounds and pence is significantly easier for people to understand than percentages. It’s something we’ve provided on our website for a while now and the Boring Money calculator is a good addition to research tools available to investors.”
Highlighting the importance of understanding fees, he added: “Price isn’t everything of course and people will also want to look at service and the reputation of the platform provider, but making sure you have the best value platform for your needs can save thousands of pounds over a long term investment.”