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While researching where to invest some capital (currently in fixed term savings, but will mature soon), someone I spoke to at my bank mentioned that given how low interest rates are on savings at the moment, it might be worth looking into investing in the stock market- which is something I've never done before... I've just used savings/ current accounts with a number of banks/ building societies. They mentioned that they used Hargreaves Lansdown as their broker, and having started watching the prices of a few companies listed on their site, I am now looking at the different ways of investing in the stock market.

The two main options (with Hargreaves Lansdown anyway), appear to be either to open a 'Fund & Share' account, or a 'Stocks & Shares' ISA. What I'm wondering is: what is the difference between these options?

Having done a bit of light research, it appears that the 'Stocks & Shares' ISA option is generally used by quite experienced investors, who are looking to invest fairly large sums (> £1,000), whereas the 'Fund & Share' account appears to be more suited for those who aren't making regular transactions/ are not investing huge amounts at a time.

I am aware that I will need to research different brokers, and decide which one to use for any investments I make depending on their charges, but what I am wondering is, as a first time investor, am I better to invest using an ISA, or a 'Fund & Share' account (or equivalent with another provider)? With the ISA obviously being tax free, there is then also the consideration of whether I go for a 'Ready-made ISA' or a 'Do-it-yourself' ISA?

What advice would any more experienced investors give to a first time investor? I am probably not looking to invest any more than about £500 to start with, until I get some idea of how it works/ what I'm doing, etc.

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The main difference is that the ISA account like a Cash ISA shelters you from TAX - you don't have to worry about Capital Gains TAX. The other account is normal taxable account.

With only £500 to invest you will be paying a high % in charges so...

To start out I would look at some of the Investment Trust savings schemes where you can save a small amount monthly very cost-effectively - save £50 a month for a year to see how you get on.

Some Trusts to look at include Wittan, City Of London and Lowland

  • Thanks for the advice, I'll have a look into those Investment Trusts you mentioned. – Noble-Surfer Dec 10 '15 at 16:54

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