With so many investment platforms and robo advisors to choose from, it is no wonder you’re here looking for help. We’ve compared the key bits of information below in order for you to make an informed decision between these two heavyweights.
- Quick summary
- The head to head: Nutmeg vs Hargreaves Lansdown
- Conclusion: Nutmeg vs Hargreaves Lansdown
- Alternatives to Hargreaves Lansdown and Nutmeg
Nutmeg is best for people wanting a convenient robo advisor and don’t want to build their own portfolio
Hargreaves Lansdown* is best for people wanting a wide range of investment choices and more control over their portfolio
- Ready made portfolios
- Low fees on fixed allocation portfolios
- Ethical investments available
- High minimum (£500 excl LISA)
- Other “styles” not the cheapest on market
- Wide range of investments
- Financial advice available
- Some ready made portfolios available
- High minimum investment on ready made portfolios
- High share dealing charges
The head to head: Nutmeg vs Hargreaves Lansdown
Even though the information in the article is accurate at the time of writing, nothing in this article should be seen as financial advice. With all investing, your capital is at risk. Even though we regularly update our content, please do your own research before investing. If you require financial advice, you can search for a regulated and qualified financial advisor via the Personal Finance Society.
How we assess the head to head
For our head to head, we compare the investment platforms by each of the categories below. This allows us to compare well between providers and pick out the key bits of information for our readers:
- Type and range of available investments
- Ethical investing availability
- Range of accounts
- Customer reviews
- Minimum deposit requirements
- Restrictions on withdrawals
- Platforms available
- FSCS protection
Round 1: Investment Options
There is a range of portfolios available on Nutmeg based on:
- Your appetite to risk and
- The investment style you want
In Nutmeg language, these are referred to as their “investment styles”.
Within each style, you can select a risk level for your portfolio. This influences your asset allocation. Generally, a portfolio considered higher risk will have more stocks. Whereas a lower risk portfolio will have more invested in investments such as bonds. This is because the returns on bonds are generally less volatile compared to stocks.
The different kinds of investment styles Nutmeg offers:
- Fixed allocation. You can choose one of 5 risk levels. This is Nutmeg’s passive investment “style”, which is where they don’t actively manage the fund and simply aim to keep the asset allocation balanced to the target amount. As a result this is also their cheapest option.
- Fully managed. As it’s name would suggest, this is an actively managed portfolio. This is where investment experts and investment managers will proactively manage the fund with the aim of maximising returns. For Nutmeg’s fully managed funds, you can choose a portfolio from one of 10 risk levels which aligns with your risk appetite.
- Socially responsible. These are fully managed portfolios, with an “ESG focus”. These are actively managed and monitored portfolios. Nutmeg uses data from MSCI to help keep an eye on the companies within their portfolio for performance against a set of ESG metrics and performance benchmarks.
- Smart alpha. These are also fully managed global portfolios, but also utilise the knowledge of the JP Morgan Asset Management team.
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is a slightly different beast. Its investment platform operates as a broker platform, where it has a massive range of investment choices. You choose your investments and HL helps to enable and facilitate that.
HL boasts over £120bn under administration and over 1.6m clients. HL are in the FTSE100 and have won multiple awards in the industry such as the “Best Investment Platform 2021” at the Your Money Awards.
On the HL platform you can invest in:
- UK and international shares
- Investment trusts
However, HL has also developed a range of pre-made portfolios based on risk level called Portfolio+ or “Master Portfolio”. These are similar in concept to the offerings from the likes of Nutmeg (i.e their fixed allocation options).
Portfolio+ is a set of ready made portfolios. This is similar to Nutmeg where you select yours based on your risk appetite. These portfolios are made up of multiple funds aiming to give you diversification straight out of the gate.
A Master Portfolio is similar, in they are a ready made portfolio dependent that you pick based on your attitude to risk. Where the Portfolio+ selection is aimed to just be a “set it and forget it”, the Master Portfolios are a set of ready made portfolios that you can go in and edit, update and adjust. For example, if you wanted to add some individual shares into your portfolio.
Both aim to make the world of investing a bit more accessible. With the huge scale of investments available via HL, this is a welcome offering.
As well as the above, HL also offers:
- Financial advice: it has a team of on-hand financial advisors that can give financial advice if you need it (this costs extra, however)
- Active savings accounts: this aims to maximise your interest on your cash by essentially allowing you to deposit your savings in multiple banks and pick and choose which ones (avoiding the paperwork of opening loads of accounts each time a favourable interest rate comes on the market)
Round 2: Ethical investing
There are a set of ethical investment options with Nutmeg. These are constructed using data from MSCI to monitor and manage the performance of the portfolio.
Nutmeg have called out some industries/activities they exclude explicitly in their funds. So any companies which are involved in the following industries or activities are excluded:
- have significant exposure to the tobacco industry
- production of nuclear weapons
- the production of “controversial weapons such as landmines, cluster bombs, or chemical and biological weapons”
- alcohol production
- adult entertainment
- significant involvement in the gambling industry
- and others such as nuclear power, genetic modification and civilian firearms industry.
If you want to find out more, Nutmeg has published a whitepaper that gives more details on their portfolios, monitoring and approach.
Due to HL being a broker (and share dealing platform), this means that you ultimately can exercise as much (or as little) control over the make-up of your portfolio as possible.
Meaning that if you didn’t want to invest in a particular company because of an activity or industry that don’t align with your values, you can exclude them yourself by not investing. Similarly, there are a lot of ESG-focused funds, exclusionary funds (i.e they exclude certain industries or activities) and sustainability-focused/impact investing funds, that you can invest in via the HL platform.
However, as these are all part of their wider platform, it isn’t as easy as selecting the ESG version as it is with Nutmeg. That being said, you should be able to find an appropriate fund if you research their list of available funds.
The benefit of this type of investing on a DIY / broker platform like HL is that everyone’s own values are unique, and so building and selecting your own investments allows you to keep your investments in line with those views. That being said, Nutmeg offers a more customer-friendly approach (you only need to select the ESG version).
Round 3: Accounts available
With Nutmeg, you can open:
- General Investment Account (GIA)
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- Stocks and Shares Lifetime ISA
- Personal Pension
- Junior ISA
With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can open:
- General Investment Account (GIA)
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- Lifetime ISA
- Junior ISA
- Personal Pension
- Cash ISA
- Active Savings Account
Round 4: Fees
The fees Nutmeg charge vary based on the “investment style” selected. For example, fixed allocation vs fully managed.
The management fee reduces once you have over £100k invested, but for ease of comparison, I’ll compare the fees assuming £10,000 is invested.
The Nutmeg fees are as below:
- Fully managed: 0.75% (0.35% on investments beyond £100k)
- Smart alpha: 0.75% (0.35% on investments beyond £100k)
- Socially responsible: 0.75% (0.35% on investments beyond £100k)
- Fixed allocation: 0.45% (0.25% on portion beyond)
On top of the fees paid to Nutmeg for management and platform fees, you will incur costs from the underlying funds as well as a market spread. These vary again but fund costs are typically 0.22%-0.32%. The market spread is 0.07%.
The fee you’ll pay HL will depend on what you are investing in, and the type of account.
For investing in funds; you pay an annual account fee, and also the underlying fund costs you invest in.
The annual account fee is tiered dependent on the amount you have invested. The underlying fund costs vary depending on what you invest in, and are standard across all platforms/brokers (as you can see in the Nutmeg cost breakdowns).
The annual account fee is tiered:
- 0.45% up to £250k invested
- 0.25% between £250k-£1m invested
- 0.1% between £1m-£2m invested
- No charge for +£2m invested
However, if you are looking to buy individual shares, investment trusts, ETFs, bonds or gilts, then you will incur additional share dealing charges (no trading fee or dealing charges on fund investments).
This charge depends on how many trades you are doing a month.
- 0-9 trades = £11.95 per deal
- 10-19 trades = £8.95 per deal
- 20+ = £5.95 per deal
If you use their regular investing feature (i.e set up a direct debit to invest a minimum £25 per month) then the trading charge falls to £1.50 per trade.
Regardless, these individual trading fees can eat up a lot of your returns unless you have a sizeable amount to invest, so bear in mind the impact of these fees before committing to the investment.
Round 5: Existing customer reviews
Nutmeg has an average 4.4/5 on Trustpilot from 1.1k reviews at the time of writing. Positive reviews discuss the design and ease of use of the platform, as well as a few call outs for specific customer service agents. On the negative side, they revolve around the theme of slow withdrawals and issues with transfers in/out (such as slow transfer out to a new provider) and a few comments around poor customer support.
Hargreaves Lansdown has an average 4.2/5 on Trustpilot from 5.4k reviews at the time of writing. Positive reviews mention efficient processing, customer service being prompt and positive feedback about the level of guidance and information available on the site. The negative reviews mention the high trading charges and some bad experiences with customer service.
Round 6: Minimum deposit requirements
Nutmeg requires £100 for a Lifetime ISA or £500 for their other accounts (GIA, Stocks & Shares ISA or Personal Pension).
Hargreaves Lansdown minimum requirements vary by account:
- Any ready-made portfolio (i.e Portfolio+ mentioned above) requires a minimum £1000 or more
- Stocks & Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA and Junior ISA: start from £100 or £25 per month
- Pension: start from £100 or £25 per month
- Fund & Share Dealing Account (i.e a general investment account): open an account with a minimum of £1 (or £25 per month regular investing)
Round 7: Withdrawal restrictions
You can withdraw from your GIA and Stocks & Shares ISA whenever without any penalties or charges. Just bear in mind there may be a slight delay whilst your investments are sold.
The pension and Junior ISA you can only withdraw at maturity (i.e Junior ISA when the child turns 18 and for the Personal Pension when you turn 55).
A Lifetime ISA will be hit with a withdrawal penalty of 25% if withdrawn for any reason other than buying a first home or retirement.
You can withdraw from HL without any restrictions or penalties on the Stocks & Shares ISA and General Investment Account (the Fund & Share Dealing account) within HL. You’ll just need to wait for your investments to be sold before your money is returned.
Similarly to Nutmeg, the Junior ISA, Lifetime ISA and Pension accounts are restricted either based on maturity or usage (i.e Lifetime ISA won’t have withdrawal penalties applied only if used for a first home purchase or retirement).
Round 8: Platforms available
Nutmeg has a web app (so you can easily access it online via your laptop or desktop), as well as iOS and Android apps.
Hargreaves Lansdown also has a web app, iOS and Android apps.
Round 9: FSCS protection
Nutmeg is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to the first £85,000.
Hargreaves Lansdown is authorised and regulated by the FCA and is protected by the FSCS protection scheme (up to the first £85,000 on ISA, General Investment and Pension accounts).
Conclusion: Nutmeg vs Hargreaves Lansdown
On the one hand, we have a massive broker platform. On the other, we have a robo advisor. One offers a huge array of investment choices, the other a curated selection of globally-diversified portfolios.
The ease and convenience of quickly building a globally diversified portfolio with Nutmeg can’t be understated. With their (newer) fixed allocation portfolios you also get access to competitively low fees at just 0.45% (management fees).
However, with a robo advisor like Nutmeg, you can’t exercise any control over your portfolio other than choosing a different “investment style”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you are looking to customise your own portfolio then Hargreaves Lansdown is a great option.
Alternatives to Hargreaves Lansdown and Nutmeg
Other brokers similar to Hargreaves Lansdown:
- Interactive Investor
- Vanguard Investor (not a broker but typically lowest fees on the market if you want to invest in Vanguard products)
- AJ Bell Youinvest
- Interactive Brokers
Other apps and services similar(ish) to Nutmeg:
*Any links with an asterisk may be affiliate links. Even though we may receive a payment if you use this link to sign up for the service, it does not influence our editorial content and we remain independent. The views expressed are based on our own experience and analysis of the service.