AJ Bell raises custody charges for shares, trusts and ETFs

AJ Bell is raising custody charges for shares, investment trusts and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) held on its Youinvest platform.

From 1 January, the cap on the platform’s 0.25% charge on shares held in Sipps, ISAs and dealing accounts will rise.

For shares held in Sipps, the existing £25 per quarter cap will be replaced with a £10 monthly maximum, raising the maximum charge from £100 to £120.

The hike will impact any customers with £40,000 or more of their Sipp held in shares, including investment trusts, ETFs, gilts and bonds. Those holding £50,000 or more in these investments will face the biggest increase, of £20 more in fees per year.

Customers holding shares on the platform’s ISA, lifetime ISA and dealing account will see the cap to their custody charge rise from £30 a year to £42, as the existing £7.50 per quarter maximum is replaced with a £3.50 monthly cap.

Those holding more than £12,000 in shares in these accounts will be affected, while customers with £16,800 or more will face the maximum rise of an extra £12 per year.

Customers holding shares in the platform’s Junior ISA also face rising charges, as the £5 per quarter cap is replaced with a £2.50 monthly maximum charge, equivalent to a rise in the annual charge cap from £20 to £30.

Investors with more than £8,000 held in shares in a Junior ISA will be affected, while those with £12,000 or more will pay £10 extra per year.

AJ Bell customers took to Twitter to complain about the rise in charges.

A spokesman for AJ Bell said: ‘The cap on our shares custody charge has remained the same since October 2016 and a modest increase has been applied as part of these wider changes which also include the removal of our Sipp exit fee.’ 

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Charges on funds held on the platform will be unaffected as fees are not capped. Instead, the 0.25% custody charge on funds held in an ISA or Sipp falls to 0.1% on assets over £250,000, 0.05% on assets over £1m and nil on assets over £2m.

While custody charges are increasing, AJ Bell has dropped drawdown charges and cut transfer fees.

The £90 charge on Sipp transfers to another pension scheme will be scrapped at the turn of the year, while a £25 per holding transfer charge that applies across all accounts will be reduced to £9.95.

Drawdown fees of £30 for one-off payments from Sipps, and £120 a year for regular payments, will also be removed from 1 January.

‘Pension drawdown is becoming increasingly popular following pension freedoms and removal of those charges will ensure customers only pay our low platform charge of up to 0.25% a year whether they are growing their pension or making withdrawals,’ said an AJ Bell spokesman.



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