When you compare UK stockbrokers online, you’ll find it easy to compare the trading fees and account fees charged by different platforms. What you’ll find more difficult is measuring the customer experience and customer service levels of each company.
These are subjective factors, and there is no objective way to quantitatively compare stockbroker customer service. But you can still find information to help you make a relative comparison.
For the purposes of this article, we have used the Trustpilot score (as at the date of writing) as a measure of customer experience. Trustpilot is one of the worlds largest online home for product and service reviews. Anyone can leave a review on Trustpilot, and companies can also invite their customers to leave reviews upon request.
The limitations of relying on a Trustpilot score
It’s important to be upfront about the drawbacks of using a Trustpilot aggregated review score to measure customer service.
- The reviews may not be timely. Some reviews could relate to an older iteration of a service that has since changed. Those old reviews will still count all the same. This could result in a favourable or unfavourable bias depending on the distribution of reviews over time, and whether the service is improving or worsening over time.
- Vulnerability to pitchforks. An established score that has accumulated over many years can be quickly wiped out or deleted if a group of disgruntled customers launch a campaign of 1-star reviews on a particular issue. It’s right that negative reviews are shared, but if the campaign relates to a single point of contention, and the volume of campaign reviews overwhelm the platform, then the overall score ceases to be representative of the overall service.
- Fake reviews. Trustpilot has policies, software and manpower all tasked with the difficult job of preventing fake or ‘paid-for’ reviews from appearing on Trustpilot. However, this is very difficult to prevent entirely. While browsing stockbroker reviews, we would regularly find a 1-star review which included a request to contact an email address regarding refunds or lost investments. This is generally a scam technique to take money from already vulnerable investors. The fact these reviews appear with frequency on the platform reduces the credibility of controls designed to block fake reviews.
However, in spite of all this, we have concluded that an aggregated review metric such as Trustpilot score is probably the best data available.
What counts as a UK stockbroker?
We use a simple definition to divide stockbrokers and share dealing services into ‘UK’ and ‘Non-UK’ for the purposes of this list. If they’re regulated in the UK and have permission to service UK clients, then they are a UK broker.
If they require a foreign bank account, or are only available to expats from a foreign country then we haven’t included them in this list.
The UK stockbrokers with the Best Customer Service
Interactive Investor – 4.6 / 5.0 Trustpilot score
Source: Trustpilot website – https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/ii.co.uk
In a coup for this northern powerhouse of a stockbroker, Interactive Investor tops this list as a favourite of the nation. The people have spoken and scored, and placed Interactive Investors in the #1 spot with a rating of 4.6/5.0.
78% of reviews written gave a 5.0 score, and 13,486 reviews have been left overall. That provides a big enough sample to feel comfortable that this is reflective of the customer experience. A big congratulations to Interactive Investor for keeping their clients so happy.
Trading212 – 4.1 / 5.0
Source: Trustpilot website – https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/trading212.com
Trading212 is a UK-based new generation stockbroker, offering fee-free trading. (Yes, you read that correctly – Trading212 does not charge trading commissions on ordinary share purchases.)
Judging from its 4.1 Trustpilot score left by 11,022 reviewers, clients seem to really appreciate the interface, fee structure and range of financial instruments offered by Trading212. For a new stockbroker to build such a body of positive reviews in a short space of time is nothing short of impressive.
Of course, only time will tell as to whether Trading212 can retain this position in the UK stockbroker line-up.
Fidelity International – 4.0 / 5.0
Source: Trustpilot website – https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.fidelity.co.uk
Fidelity International is a growing player in the UK stockbroking industry. Through alliances and acquisitions, such as the recent deal with Cavendish Online, Fidelity is growing its UK client base.
Those clients appear to continue to be favourable about Fidelity. Its Trustpilot score of 4.0 is categorised by Trustpilot as ‘Great’ and 51% of reviews left a 5 star review.
Vanguard Investor – 3.8 / 5.0
Source: Trustpilot website – https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/vanguardinvestor.co.uk
Vanguard Investor is direct to customer offering from Vanguard. This platform, which received 66% of reviews as either ‘Great’ or ‘Excellent’, seems to be a firm favourite among converts to its range of low-cost index funds.
Some reviewers take umbridge with slow customer service replies, whereas others report a speedier and more responsive experience.
Hargreaves Lansdown – 3.6 / 5.0
Source: Trustpilot website – https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.hl.co.uk
As the largest UK stockbroker, Hargreaves Lansdown has a big reputation to protect. Its Trustpilot score suggests that most investors have a positive experience.
The saga surrounding the Woodford Equity Income Fund in 2019 has brought some particularly bad press (and negative reviews) for HL. The liquidity of the fund reached breaking point, and the subsequent sale of underlying assets triggered losses for investors. As a fund actively promoted by Hargreaves Lansdown in its flagship list of fund recommendations; the ‘Wealth 50’, this was an embarassing episode for the broker. Judging from the content of the negative reviews, this seems to have left an impact upon some client’s opinions of the firm.
Nether the less, a 3.6 / 5.0 overall review is actually relatively strong in the UK stockbroker industry and this shows that HL are clearly doing plenty right to retain their clients and continue to attract new ones.