Now that you know a bit about different types of investments, you need to know how to acutally get your money into investments. That’s where platforms come in.
So, what is a platform?
Platforms are to investing what travel agents are to holidays. Just like Thomson the travel agent will sell holidays by lots of travel companies (like first choice, thomas cook, kuoni, P&O, haven holidays), the platform you choose will enable you to buy funds from a huge choise of fund providers.
Fund providers are like the travel companies. Travel companies will have a range of holidays that they package together for you to buy. There are lots of travel companies and what they offer may be similar to others. There are also lots of fund providers and they construct a range of funds that are invested in different companies and are managed in different ways. Don’t worry, a ‘more about funds’ post will be coming soon!
How do you choose a platform?
Choosing a platform can feel like hard work; there are so many to choose from and they all have different charges.
By happy coincidence, thisismoney have just published a table comparing the different charges of various platforms. Personally, I invest with TD Direct investing, who I chose for the low platform fee and no admin fee under £5,100 for making monthly payments. I really like their fund selector tool. I don’t have experience of other platforms, but TD Direct are reasonably easy to use, the staff tend to be helpful and efficient and nothing has gone wrong.
Check out the comments on thisismoney’s site as this will give you insight into what other investors have experienced.
If you already invest, what platform do you use, how did you choose and would you recommend them?