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Bridging the Gap: Wealth Isn’t Just for the Wealthy

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In the UK, money is the #1 cause of stress—ranking above physical health, work, or family.

When people begin investing, they see immediate emotional benefits compared to non-investors. In fact, investors are 16 percentage points happier, and 23 percentage points more positive about their well-being.

However, only 37% of Brits hold market-based investments. So why aren’t more people taking steps to invest? Today’s infographic from BlackRock outlines the barriers people face, and how wealthtech can help address these issues at scale.

wealthtech

The Wealth Problem

A variety of hurdles keep people from taking control of their finances.

  1. Lack of Resources: 59% of Brits feel they don’t have enough money to invest.
  2. Lack of Knowledge: 39% say a lack of knowledge holds them back.
  3. Fear of Failure: 34% are afraid of losing everything if they invest.

All of these factors culminate in insufficient investing. In fact, 50% of the €26 trillion European wealth market is currently in uninvested cash, earning zero interest.

What’s the Current Solution?

Traditionally, investment advisers helped tackle these issues. However, investors have faced challenges accessing professional advice in recent years.

A shortage of UK advisers is a main contributing factor:

  • There are only 26,700 advisers, who can service an average of 100 clients each.
  • This leaves over 51 million adults without professional advice.

Among available advisers, many impose investment minimums or fees that create barriers for lower-income populations. Financial advisers charge an average of £150/hour, and half of all surveyed advisers turned away clients with less than £50,000 to invest.

With so many hurdles to overcome, how can Brits take charge of their investments?

A Modern Solution

Wealth technology—or simply wealthtech—helps address these issues at scale, offering four main digital-first solutions:

  1. Helps investors build better portfolios.
    Gone are the days of rudimentary spreadsheets. With the help of algorithms and machine learning, investors can now automatically build sophisticated portfolios.
  2. Helps advisors scale their services.
    The automation of time-consuming processes allows advisers to service more clients.
  3. Reaches more people.
    Wealthtech is accessible for all, not just the wealthy. For example, micro-investing apps allow investors to make small, regular contributions without paying a commission.
  4. Modernises infrastructure.
    Wealthtech updates old legacy systems with more streamlined, automated systems. As a result, paper-based processes are replaced with mobile transactions that can be done with the click of a button.

These benefits can be applied across various branches of wealth management.

The Wealthtech Ecosystem

Investors can choose one of three main paths, based on their level of knowledge and interest.

“Do It Yourself” Investing
Confident investors who enjoy managing their own money can trade securities through self-directed online platforms.

“Do It For Me” Investing
Novice investors can use platforms that execute trades on their behalf, such as micro-investing or robo-advisers.

“Do It With Me” Investing
For investors in the middle of this spectrum, certain platforms offer a hybrid of digital transactions and professional advice.

With a wide variety of solutions available, investing has never been easier.

Inclusive Wealth-Building

It’s clear Brits are open to the shift: 64% say new technology would help them be more involved in their investments.

As wealthtech evolves, it will be seamlessly integrated into daily life as part of a holistic financial services offering. Traditional barriers will be broken down, empowering individuals to take charge of their financial future.

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Investor Education

Ranked: The Best Stock Brokers for Investors and Traders

Whether you’re searching for low fees or an easy-to-use trading platform, this clear breakdown can help you find the best stock brokers.

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A heat map scoring the best stock brokers on a variety of categories like research and education; most of the category names and broker names are obscured from view in this preview image.

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The following content is sponsored by StockBrokers.com

Ranked: The Best Stock Brokers for Investors and Traders

Choosing the right online trading platform might seem tricky. There are lots of options, and finding the best stock brokers could require a lot of time and research. Luckily, a team of experts has already done the work for you!

In this graphic from StockBrokers.com, we show how stock brokers performed in a variety of categories so you can make an informed decision.

Breaking Down the Best Stock Brokers

StockBrokers.com analyzed 17 select brokers using actual trading accounts or demo accounts. 

The below table shows the overall scores, with 100% being the highest possible score. It also breaks down ratings in the ease of use, mobile trading, and commissions and fees categories, which have the heaviest weightings in the overall score. 

Stock BrokerOverall Ease
of Use
Mobile
Trading
Commissions
& Fees
Fidelity9910099100
E*TRADE971009990
Charles Schwab971009790
Merrill Edge941009690
Interactive Brokers93809990
Firstrade88809490
tastytrade85908990
Ally Invest85907990
Webull85909190
Robinhood841009090
TradeStation82709090
J.P. Morgan
Self-Directed
Investing
82857990
Vanguard78955690
Tradier77907590
eToro77858790
SoFi Invest74906490
Public.com70856890

Source: StockBrokers.com as of January 23, 2024. The overall score is based on the following category weightings: 25% ease of use, 25% mobile trading apps, 20% Commissions and fees, 10% investment options, 10% research, 5% platforms and tools, 5% education.

Fidelity has the top overall score in 2024, with an excellent app, clear navigation, and low fees. When it comes to fees, Fidelity skips many charges that are common among other brokers. It also doesn’t accept payment for order flow, which is when brokers direct your orders to market centers that pay them a referral fee. 

E*TRADE and Charles Schwab are tied for second place when it comes to the best stock brokers. According to StockBrokers.com, E*TRADE has the best platform for mobile trading. The company offers one app focused on casual investors, and another for beginner to intermediate investors that has a useful—but not overwhelming—number of tools. 

Charles Schwab, on the other hand, boasts the best desktop trading platform where investors can keep track of huge watch lists and follow streaming market news.

How Brokers Bring Additional Value

Apart from giving you the ability to trade stocks online, brokers also offer other perks like trading tools and education. Here’s how the same 17 brokers scored on these types of features.

Stock BrokerInvestment
Options
Research Platform
& Tools
Education
Fidelity969694100
E*TRADE95999396
Charles Schwab971009595
Merrill Edge89989399
Interactive Brokers999910093
Firstrade90877569
tastytrade80559284
Ally Invest89777382
Webull76638858
Robinhood74496273
TradeStation94659170
J.P. Morgan
Self-Directed
Investing
78755791
Vanguard88674868
Tradier76467335
eToro54566653
SoFi Invest60415486
Public.com53444653

Source: StockBrokers.com as of January 23, 2024. The overall score is based on the following category weightings: 25% ease of use, 25% mobile trading apps, 20% Commissions and fees, 10% investment options, 10% research, 5% platforms and tools, 5% education.

Interactive Brokers holds the title of “best for professional traders” thanks to its wide range of highly customizable tools, investment options, and research. Investors can also trade in foreign markets and hold multiple currencies, for those interested in forex trading.

While not included in overall scores, StockBrokers.com also rated brokers on their customer service through nationwide phone testing. Fidelity and Merrill Edge are the best stock brokers when it comes to customer service. Both companies answered calls in less than a minute on average, and their representatives had high professionalism. 

Picking the Best Brokerage Account

When you’re choosing from a list of the best stock brokers, you’ll want to consider which features are most important to you.

StockBrokers.com offers clear, in-depth reviews and compares brokers on more than 150 different account features and fees. You can also see screenshots of what various pages look like within the trading platforms. 

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See StockBrokers.com’s guide to the best online trading platforms of 2024.

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