Charles Stanley Direct – Hands-On Review 2021

Editorial Team
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Charles Stanley Direct is the online investment service offered by Charles Stanley Company. The company has over £25 billion assets under its management and is a multi-award winning firm with awards such as Boring Money Best Buy 2019 – Online Investments, Best Stocks & Shares Junior ISA 2018 – Moneywise Children’s Savings Awards, Best Direct Platform for Customer Service 2018 – Platforum, Boring Money Best Buy 2017 – Online Investments. This makes it a highly reliable broker in the UK.

The investing platform offered by Charles Stanley provides ISA and SIPP account options. One thing that stands out for Charles Stanley Direct is that competitive charges offered by the company regardless of the size of the investment. Charles Stanley is currently listed on the FTSE 100. The company has around £2 billion worth of assets under its control that are evenly split between mutual funds and shares.

Pros

  • Charles Stanley Direct has remarkable reputation in the industry and brings utmost trust to the users
  • Investors who have just embarked on their journey can find the Charles Stanley Direct very user-friendly
  • The customer support offered by this firm is one of the best in the industry

Cons

  • There are no educational resources available on Charles Stanley Direct
  • Research offered by the platform is not satisfactory
  • A high fee is charged

Pricing

Contrary to its competitors, Charles Stanley Direct charges an average fee when a user is trading with ETFs

The charges vary on the basis of the investment size. Mentioned below are the charges applicable to a user who has a Charles Stanley Direct fund

First £250,000 – 0.35%

£250,000 to £500,000 – 0.20%

£500,000 to £1million – 0.15%

£1million to £2million – 0.05%

Over £2million – Fees Waived

Coming to the charges for trading, £11.50 is the base fee for every trade along with the platform charges. The platform charges are calculated as 0.35% of the total trade value with the minimum and maximum limit of £24 and £240, respectively.

While these charges are high, the charges for trading funds are pretty low. In case a user opens or closes a position with a mutual fund, no charges are applicable. There is an annual fee which is subject to the trading volume of the user per year. Financing rates are of no concern as the provision to trade on margins is not there. The deals completed over the phone are charged with a minimum of £25. No annual fee is charged Junior ISA, ISA, and Investment accounts while the SIPP is charged with an admin fee amounting to £100+VAT. I

In terms of the non-trading fee, there is no fee on withdrawals or account inactivity.

Account Types

Opening an account with Charles Stanley Direct requires a minimum deposit of £20 with debit cards and a minimum deposit of £50 for the bank transfers. The account opening is restricted to only UK residents and requires proof of residence.

Some of the accounts available at the Charles Stanley Direct are:

  • Investment Account
  • Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Self-Invested Personal Pension
  • Junior Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Junior Self-Invested Personal Pension account

Demo accounts are not available on the Charles Stanley Direct platform.

The account opening is pretty straightforward and a user can sign up in just 10 mins. All it needs is a UK passport and the process is done through electronic verification.

In case the user does not have a UK passport or the process of electronic verification fails, then a physical application form is needed to be filled followed by posting the following documents:

  • A completed application form
  • A copy of either the passport, driver’s license, firearms certificate (shotgun license), or recent evidence of entitlement to either a state- or local authority funded benefit
  • Tax credit
  • Pension or educational or other grants
  • A copy of either the current council tax demand letter or statement (issued within the last three months), current bank statement (issued by post within the last three months), or a utility bill (issued by post within the last three months)

Payment Methods

There is no fee charged for either withdrawing or depositing when using an account with Charles Stanley. Being exclusive to the UK residents, there is only one currency option, Pounds Sterling. Overall, the process of withdrawing the funds is simple.

Three options  are available for adding funds to your Charles Stanley account:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Bank transfers

The bank transfer generally takes a few days to process while the transaction with credit/debit cards is instantaneous. The withdrawal via debit card can take up to 48 hours.

Platforms

Charles Stanley Direct offers a simple yet elegant desktop trading platform which is easy to use for the beginners. There is an absence of customization along with some other basic features which are common among various other platforms in the industry.

A user cannot set time limits on the platform but the process of placing a trade is quite simple. Price alerts can also be set easily. Interface for the account portfolio and performance indicators are also very easy to understand. User can compare multiple charts through the comparison feature available on the platform. Other than that, there are about 15 technical analysis indicators.

Coming to the mobile trading platform, the design of the application offered by Charles Stanley Direct is exquisite and almost all the features available on the desktop platform are also available on the mobile application. Logging into the mobile application requires either a 6 digit PIN code or a biometric authentication and the process is one-step only.

Investment options

The UK investors are in for a treat because the Chalres Stanley Direct offers a wide array of products with a primary focus on ISAs and SIPPs.

ISA & SIPP products include:

  • Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Junior ISA
  • Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

Other products include:

  • Funds, Unit Trusts and OEICs
  • Equities listed on the LSE and AIM
  • Investment Trusts & Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Gilts & Bonds
  • PIBS
  • ETFs including Shares ETFs and Trust ETF
  • Selected overseas shares on the main US, Canadian, European and Far Eastern Markets

For traders who possess less experience in investment products, Charles Stanley Direct offer Foundation Portfolio which is a combination of funds with varying risks and outlooks as well as Foundation Fundlists. This portfolio assists a user in making an informed decision in terms of investment.

Security

The clients of Charles Stanley are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or the FSCS scheme and even if the company went out of business, the clients will be compensated by under this scheme. Under this scheme, the clients get a cover of up to £85,000 of investments per person, per platform. This claim requires no claims management company and can be redeemed online for free.

In addition to this, the company is also listed on the London Stock Exchange which means that the complete process of the company is transparent.

Coming to the security of the platform, the latest 128-bit encryption technology is being used to ensure data privacy of the user of Charles Stanley Direct.

Research

Research and education is the area where Charles Stanley has a lot to work for. However, the account holders of Charles Stanley do get fund and share factsheets that consist of useful data. This data helps a trader in making informed decisions when considering various investment options.

In addition to this, Charles Stanley Direct also offers up-to-date market data, indices and sector breakdown information which is powered by CBOE.

Another publicly provided research is the “Foundation Fundlists” which is available on their website. This list comprises of a competitive list of 50 funds belonging to various sectors which are curated by the in-house experts of Charles Stanley.

A blog section can also be found under the ‘Research’ tab where the users can get acquainted with the latest news and trends in the financial industry.

Customer Support

When a user is facing any issue or having some queries, navigating to the ‘Help’ page should be the first thing to do. Even for the issues related to the Charles Stanley Direct offers, this page is quite helpful. The page consists of commonly asked questions along with relevant answers. A user can also select categories on the page and narrow down the search result which makes the navigation experience seamless.

If the issue is not resolved through the ‘Help’ page, contacting the customer support team is the next thing to do. The customer support of Charles Stanley can be reached via phone or email.

The timings to get support via phone are 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM on the weekdays. The staff is well-trained and courteous so it ends up being a good customer experience.

In case of contacting the customer support team via email, a user can expect the response within 24 hours which is much faster than other customer support services in the industry.

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