In January 2021, I decided to transfer my Stocks and Shares ISA from Hargreaves Lansdown to Freetrade. The funds arrived a few days ago, meaning the process took just over a month from initial request to completion.
Since I had to sell up on my positions before I could initiate the transfer, a month is arguably quite a long time not to be invested in the market. However, I am clear that the hold up was caused by Hargreaves Lansdown, rather than Freetrade because Freetrade were very transparent about their actions and the process. So whilst it was frustrating to have to wait this long, at least now I have consolidated my two ISAs into a single platform. This will make it easier to manage my investment moving forward.
Why I decided to transfer from Hargreaves Lansdown to Freetrade
I’ve used Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) for many years. HL is the UK’s biggest investment platform for individual (aka “retail”) investors. If ever you call up HL, they are very professional and a bit old school (will probably call you Sir or Madam). They offer a wide range of stocks and funds- I think probably far more than any other platform. These are the main pros of investing with HL.
For many years, I was a passive investor with the bulk of my savings invested in this global technology index fund. More recently, I have come to the conclusion that investing in a fund like this can put a limit on gains due to such funds being over diversified and focused exclusively on large-cap stocks. As such, I’ve decided to move away from funds and instead create a more concentrated portfolio of 10-15 stocks. This is where HL falls down because they charge a £12 fee each time you purchase an individual stock, whereas with Freetrade you can buy stocks without paying commission.
Hargreaves Lansdown vs. Freetrade mobile app
Further, people want to be able to view and manage their investments from their mobile. This is another area where, for me, Freetrade (which is mobile-first and doesn’t actually have a desktop app at present) trumps HL. HL does have a mobile app it’s very boring, static and lacking in visuals and analytics.
Hargreaves Lansdown vs. Freetrade Support
Lastly, whilst HL offer pretty good support over the phone, calling up isn’t always convenient and, personally, I tend to prefer email. I’ve found it can HL take many days to get a response to messages these days. Freetrade, in contrast, typically respond to messages within a couple of hours.
Freetrade can be a little slow to execute orders and so it’s not well suited to traders. Worse still, the share price displayed when you click buy is an “indicative” price, meaning it may not match the buy price at the moment the order is executed. This can be frustrating for people looking to “buy the dip”