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.