Picking a platform for your Stocks and Shares ISA is not an easy decision. Wade too deeply into the world of price comparison and you can find yourself in a complicated tangle of calculations as you try to work out the cheapest option.

It is also a very personal decision - you need to pick the platform which offers the cheapest fees and best service for your own requirements - which makes recommendations, reviews and price comparison pretty tricky.

But making the right choice is very important as fees can eat away at your returns.

In the first half of this article, we’ll help you understand how to compare platforms, so you can make the right decision for yourself.

We’ll then go onto a more specific comparison of the platforms and brokers in the UK which offer ISAs. We’ll lay out the fees, discuss the positives and negatives and aim to indicate which type of investor might benefit from each platform.

The ISA tax wrapper and how to use it

First up, a brief reminder of the ISA basics. An ISA is a tax-free savings account which means that money saved in an ISA account isn’t charged any income, capital gains, or dividend tax.

All eligible ISA participants receive a £20,000 annual allowance which renews at the end of each tax year on 5 April. You can’t roll your ISA allowance over into a new tax year. Use it, or lose it. For now, there is no upper limit for how much you can save in an ISA. The only restriction is your £20,000 annual allowance.

Our full ISA guide provides more detail about the tax wrapper, including the different types of ISA account available to British savers. This article will focus on the Stocks and Shares ISA.

To set up a Stocks and Shares ISA your first step is to choose a share dealing investment platform or full service broker. These providers have come a long way in the last few decades. Gone are the days when investors had to call up exclusive brokers to buy or sell their shares in transactions which might take several days to process. Today, most brokers offer online services which allow for almost instantaneous transactions. This democratisation of investment has paved the way for a newer breed of…

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