FE has launched its own retail investment platform, Trustnet Direct
, offering investors the chance to invest in funds, investment trusts, ETFs and equities at a low cost.
The site offers extensive tools and information, drawing on FE’s ratings and data to help retail investors achieve their financial goals.
John Blowers, head of Trustnet Direct
, says the platform will offer an easy-to-use website that helps bridge the current “advice gap” in the financial services industry.
“DIY investing can be a daunting task and many investors who have historically sought advice from an IFA in their local bank branch now find themselves on their own in the so-called advice gap,” Blowers said.
“As a trusted provider of information to the investment community for almost two decades, we’ve worked hard to order this information into a format that is readily accessible by any retail investor.”
Blowers says that Trustnet Direct
will offer investors access to more than 6,000 direct equities, open-ended funds and investment trusts.
platform fee is 0.25 per cent, capped at £200 per annum, with a minimum of £20, which is guaranteed until February 2017, and there is a charge of £10 per trade, falling to £6 for frequent traders.
Regular investors, for example those who drip-feed monthly, will pay only £2 per trade.
Blowers says that Trustnet Direct
only offers commission-free, or “clean” share classes. He adds that investors currently in “dirty” share classes with a competitor will be converted in to “clean” ones free of charge if they decide to switch to the new platform.
He continued: “It’s clear investors are increasingly aware that low interest rates and a resurgent equity market mean that their savings shouldn’t simply be left on deposit.”
“However, the fact that such a huge swathe of the population has been disenfranchised from investment advice in the wake of RDR shows there’s a big, untapped market here.”
“The industry is evolving to meet that need and we have seen a number of price changes in recent weeks as a consequence. We are providing the most transparent fee structure possible and underline our commitment to maintaining this; we will guarantee the platform fee until at least 2017.”
The distinguishing selling point of Trustnet Direct
, according to Blowers, is that it offers investors access to FE’s expert research and analytical data.
says there are a number of tools on the website that investors should look at first.
• The Trustnet Direct Portfolio
– The first is the Trustnet Direct Portfolio page, which allows investors to build, analyse and change their portfolios.
“The Trustnet Direct Portfolio contains some powerful analysis tools to help you get the best from your investments. Other analysis tools, such as charting and a health-check facility, will be coming online soon,” Blowers said.
• Trustnet Direct Top 100 Funds
– The next is Trustnet Direct Top 100 Funds, which Blowers says draws on the expertise and knowledge of Rob Gleeson’s FE Research
“We have used the FE Research
team to create a list of circa 100 funds that represent the best-performing in the market covering the key sectors. Account holders get access to FE Research
extracts on these funds.”
Performance of fund vs sector and index over 3yrs
Source: FE Analytics
Some of the notable funds on the list include Artemis Income
, Cazenove UK Opportunities
and M&G Global Dividend
, as well as some relatively lesser-known portfolios such as FP Argonaut European Alpha
, Baring German Growth
and Somerset Emerging Markets Dividend Growth
• Model portfolios
– To help the less-informed investor, Blowers and his team have created a number of model portfolios and common investment scenarios.
“Again, constructed by FE Research
, there are three ‘core’ model portfolios and four goal-based selections (retirement, school-fees, mortgage buster and regular ISA saver) which are available for lump-sums or investing each month,” Blowers said.
• Fund filter
– Blowers explains that, as on FE Trustnet’s
own website, investors can pick and choose funds via various filters including FE Crown Ratings, FE Alpha Manager status and risk level.
“Our new fund filter helps to generate investment shortlists fast and effectively, not just for unit trusts and OEICs, but also for investment trusts and ETFs. You can use one or all seven filters to find the funds you need,” he said.
• Account benefits
– Blowers added: “On top of all the high value content we provide (with much more to come), we have a single account containing a SIPP, ISA and general investment account (GIA) priced at 0.25 per cent, capped at £200 per annum.”