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Charles Stanley Direct ETF Review 2020 – Established in 1792

Charles Stanley Direct is an arm of Charles Stanley & Co. Ltd which was established in the UK in 1792 as an investment management company. The company boasts of about £21.3 billion of investments from 95,000 clients under its management. They offer over 3,000 funds including shares, funds, ETFs, Bonds (Corporate & Govt) and investment trusts. It is one of the oldest members of the London Stock Exchange.

Charles Stanley Direct is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Company Headquarters is in London.

  • Offers possibility of tax relief
  • Member of the London Stock Exchange
  • Offer over 3,000 funds.
  • Offers a Junior ISA account for kids.
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Charles Stanley Direct
Charles Stanley Direct experiences
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
Headquarters and regulation


Number of ETFs with discount


Saving plans


Custody fee


Trading from

11,50 GBP

Mobile Trading & Apps

Demo account




Minimum deposit

£ 50

Services & additional benefits


1. Trading Offer

1.) ETF Trading Offers: Trade Up to 3,000 Funds

What are the trading offers available on Charles Stanley Direct, especially as it relates to Exchange Traded Funds? The following asset classes are available.

ETFs: Exchange Traded Funds give investors the opportunity to buy whole indices easily just like buying a stock on the Stock Exchange. ETFs have very low annual charges when compared to other investments schemes.

Equities: Shares of companies are traded on the London stock exchange (LSE) are available for trading on the Charles Stanley Direct platform. Shares from other Exchanges outside UK can be traded.

ETFs with discount
Saving plans

Bonds and Gilts: A bond is a fixed investment in which the investor loans money to the govt or a corporate body for a period of time and at an interest. Bonds issued by the British govt are called Gilts.

Investment Trusts: These are collective funds constituted as Public Limited Companies. They are traded on the stock exchange like that of public companies.

The Corporate Custody Account is available. Savings plans are available for a fee of £50 per month, or for a lump sum of £500.

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  • An ETF broker comparison shows that Charles Stanley Direct charges are not as low as those of competitors such as Fidelity and Halifax.
  • ETFs, Shares, Bonds and investment funds are available for trading on the Charles Stanley Direct platform.
  • There are about 3,000 funds available for trading.
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2. Costs

2.) Exchanges and Trading Centres: Trade Directly or Indirectly

The major exchange that provides the ETFs on Charles Stanley is the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). LSE has about 890 ETFs listed on it. Investors can trade these ETFs on the provided platform.

Charles Stanley Direct also connects to other exchanges across Europe, America and Asia. Trading outside the UK is regarded as foreign trading by Charles Stanley Direct. Charles Stanley Direct Trading Platform Review indicates that trading with exchanges outside the UK can only be done from the phone trading desk. This means that traders can only call to place orders.

Trading venues
Trading venues

Some of the foreign exchanges that Charles Stanley Direct connects to are: OMX Copenhagen, OMC Helsinki, Euronext Stock exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels, Irish Stock Exchange, Lisbon Stock Exchange, Italian Stock Exchange, etc

Charles Stanley Direct places the trade themselves through the phone. They assert that they have direct access to these markets. When a request is received at the time that a foreign exchange is closed, they log the request and wait for the next time the exchange opens before placing the trade.

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  • The primary exchange accessible by traders on their own is the LSE and AIM.
  • Trades outside the UK exchange are foreign and must be placed on the phone.
  • There are many international exchanges that Charles Stanley Direct connects to.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
3. Account

3.) Trading Conditions: ETF Trading Is Quite Pricey

Charles Stanley Direct claims that their charges are low but a broker comparison shows otherwise. The company charges a platform/custody fee of 0.25% per annum of the value of share investments. This money is charged on a pro-rated basis monthly. The minimum charge is £24 while the maximum is £240. The good news is that this fee is waived once the client places a trade within a month. Also, all platform fees on funds held over £2million will be waived. Investments held in oversee custody accounts are charged £30 per annum per holding. It is charged annually in arrears in addition to the platform charge.

50 GBP
Saving plans
11,50 GBP
Custody fee
£ 50
Min. deposit

Online trading fees for stocks & Shares are £11.50 per trade. Telephone trading cost between 0.15 to 0.75% depending on trading volume. The minimum is £25 per trade.

Stock Withdrawal cost £10 per holding. Movement charges apply to all purchases or sales to all markets. The charge for Canada & USA is £20 while other markets cost £50. Stamp duty reserve tax is applied on share purchases. In addition, Charles Stanley Direct says that they are obliged to levy a charge of £1 on purchases or sales worth £10,000.

Savings plan starts for £50 per month.

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  • Platform charges are 0.25% per annum prorated monthly.
  • Trading at least once a month waives the platform fee.
  • Trades are charged a flat fee of £11.50
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
4. Platform

4.) ETF Trading Platform & Mobile Trading – A browser Platform for You

Charles Stanley Direct ETF Trading – Review 2018 shows that the trading platform is browser-based and has several features:

A price alert system, where an email alert is received when a stock reaches a set price, is in place. Another resource for ETF trading is the automatic fund monthly investing is achievable.

Traders can also get an investment summary. This shows the whole portfolio of assets. It has a fund basket which enables the purchase of multiple funds at the same time. Secured messages can be received. News and research is featured. More accounts can be opened from the platform and you can view and manage existing accounts. Platform charge is from 0.25%.


The Charles Stanley Direct mobile app is available on Android and iPhone and it is downloadable from their respective stores. The app can access client’s accounts, access full market data, and perform a full search of shares, stocks and funds. However, the app cannot perform account fund management and new signups for new customers. Also, it cannot place trades, so, no mobile trading is possible yet. However, the company has promised future updates to accommodate everything that mobile apps do on other brokerage platforms.

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  • Browser-based trading is available.
  • No mobile trading is possible yet as the mobile app is restricted.
  • An ETF broker comparison shows that Charles Stanley Direct trading platform is just basic.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
5. Usability

5.) Usability of the Website: Clean, Visually Appealing Interface

The official website is nice and beautiful. The pictures, icons, and banners across the website are all professionally designed and look very neat with matching colours. The website’s background is white with black font, blue heading and pink buttons. The colour combination is good and neat.

The menu bar features a Navy blue background with white texts. It uses a nested fly-out menu. Navigation from page to page is very easy. Charles Stanley Direct Review shows that the website visitors had no problems with finding info or navigating around the website.

Important information like the risk warning, company registration info, contact details etc are conspicuously placed on all the WebPages. The bottom menu, links to important info like glossary, FAQs, terms of use etc.

When opened on a mobile phone, the website easily rearranged to fit perfectly on the smaller screen without affecting legibility and clarity. On a tablet, very good results were obtained too. Testing across the most popular browsers produced good results and there were no issues of clutter or misalignment of banners, menus or sections. Overall, the website is rated high.

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  • Generally, Charles Stanley Direct has a nice website.
  • The website arrangement is neat and simple.
  • It is compatible with major browsers and mobile devices.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
6. Support

6.) Customer Support: Responsive Customer Service

The customer support channels on Charles Stanley Direct are:

Frequently Asked Questions: These are a set of useful, most asked questions and their detailed answers. Going through this page provides most answers to visitor’s questions and a visitor may end up being satisfied with the answers provided.

On the spot

Secure Message System: Registered Clients are advised to use this method. Charles Stanley Direct claims that this is the best way to get in touch with helpdesk. The system keeps track of these messages. The client is also notified by email when he has a secured message waiting.

Phone: The helpdesk phone line given is 0131 550 1234 and it is available from 7:30am to 5:00pm, Mon – Friday.

Paper Mail: Website visitors are encouraged to write a mail.

Social Media: The channels are:

  • Twitter: follow “@CStanleyDirect”
  • LinkedIn: follow “Charles Stanley Direct ”

Email: Send an email to : [email protected]

Charles Stanley Direct has a robust customer support system.

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  • Charles Stanley Direct has many support Channels
  • Phone call is usually the fastest means of getting help.
  • A broker comparison shows that most brokers provide an online chat facility but Charles Stanley Direct did not. Also, the customer support hours are shorter (7:30am – 5:00pm) on Charles Stanley Direct.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
7. Payment

7.) Methods of Payment: Several Options for Traders

Here are the payment methods available for traders on Charles Stanley Direct.

Credit/Debit Cards: Charles Stanley Direct Accounts can be funded with a debit/credit card. This is normally used for depositing lump sums. This method is only used for deposits and the processing time is usually instant. The minimum amount is £50 and there is no maximum limit stated by Charles Stanley Direct.

  • banktransfer
  • creditcard

Bank Transfer: The bank transfer method can be used for both deposits and withdrawals. There are no charges for deposits, but generally, withdrawals are charged at £10 per holding. There are no limits to bank transactions but a minimum of £50 deposit is required on Charles Stanley Direct accounts. Usually, bank transfers take between 1-7 business days to complete. The investor’s bank might also collect transaction fees.

Cheque Deposit: A cheque can also be used to fund Charles Stanley Direct accounts. The cheque must be from the investor’s account. The processing time for a cheque is 1-3 business days. The minimum amount is £50 while there is no maximum amount. Charles Stanley Direct charges £25 when a cheque is returned.

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  • Credit or Debit Cards can be used to fund accounts.
  • Bank transfer can be used for both deposit and withdrawal.
  • Cheques can be used for deposits.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
8. Offers

8.) Additional Offers : A variety of promotions available.

The only available trading platform for trading in Charles Stanley Direct is the Web trader platform on the browser. There are no demo accounts available.

There are a number of promotions to encourage the investor and trader. For any charged trade placed within a month, the 0.25% platform charge is waived for that month.

If your account balance or investment is on the high side, you will get waivers on the platform usage charge. For funds above £250,000, the platform fee reduces to 0.20%, 0.15% for £500,000, 0.05% for £1,000,000 and free for £2,000,000.

Demo Account
Premiums / Promotions
Saving Plans

Transfer of portfolio from another broker is welcomed by Charles Stanley Direct with a bonus when you have paid exit fee to the former brokers. Charles Stanley Direct rewards the new investor with 6 month waiver for platform charges.

Investors with Charles Stanley Direct get a comprehensive Capital Gains Tax report upon request.

There is a glossary on the website which did a nice job defining the financial investment jargons used throughout the website. There are also some downloadable articles offering some kind of training mainly for beginners. These trainings are not as well structured, organised, detailed and comprehensive when compared to the competitors.

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  • No Demo Account is provided
  • Active traders are rewarded with a platform fee waiver.
  • No detailed training is available.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
9. Regulation

9.) Licensing & Deposit Protection: Your Funds are Safe with Charles Stanley Direct

Is Charles Stanley Direct a good broker?

Charles Stanley Direct is one of the oldest members of the London Stock Exchange. It is a trading name for Charles Stanley and Co. Ltd registered in England with the reg. No. 1903304. It is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) no. 124412.

The official website of Charles Stanley Direct is encrypted using a 128bit Secured Socket Layer (SSL) encryption. This is to protect user data like names, passwords, credit card details from hackers. They also state that all client information are held in physically secured data centres.

Regulatory Authority
50,000 GBP
Dep. Protection

The company complies with the FCA rule of client fund segregation and so, the deposited funds are kept separately in banks. FCA licensing of the company also entitles clients for registration under the Financial Service Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This provides a cover of up to £85,000 on deposits in the unlikely event of broker insolvency.

So, clients’ monies and investments are safe with Charles Stanley Direct, making this broker a good broker.

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  • Fully regulated by the FCA in the UK.
  • Their website is Secured by SSL.
  • Client’s funds are segregated from Broker’s funds.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
10. Awards

10.) Awards: Trade with an Award-Winning Company

Charles Stanley Direct is one of the oldest firms on the London Stock Exchange. The company has been existing for over 200 years and has won some awards.

In this 2018, Charles Stanley Direct won the “Best Direct Platform for Customer Service”. This award was won at the annual Platform Awards ceremony held on 13th Feb. 2018. The award was held at the JP Morgan office in London. Several competitors like AJ Bell, Nutmeg and Hargreaves Lansdown were in the contest but the award went to Charles Stanley Direct.

“Moneywise” honoured Charles Stanley Direct with the “2018 Best Stocks and Shares Junior ISA Award”. Moneywise is a leading UK personal finance magazine and Website. Their judges assessed many brokers, but, praised ‘Charles Stanley Directs’ charges, easy-to-understand info and excellent help desk support.

Charles Stanley Direct won the “2016 Best Full service stockbroker” at the “Investment and Wealth Management Awards”

At the 2015 annual Platform Conference, Charles Stanley Direct won the “Best Direct Platform for Service”.

In 2013, at the Money AM Awards Ceremony, Charles Stanley Direct won “The Best Customer Service” award. The award was won ahead of stiff competition from the likes of Barclays, Halifax and Killik & Co.

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  • Charles Stanley Direct has won awards for excellent Service.
  • It has won the prestigious “Best Full Service Stockbroker” award.
  • It has won awards for good customer service.
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.

Conclusion: Charles Stanley Direct Has a Great But Expensive ETF Offering

Charles Stanley Direct has been in the investment business for centuries. They are responsible for managing over £20 billion in investments for over 95,000 clients.

Charles Stanley Direct Review wonders why they have not expanded outside the United Kingdom.

They have over 3,000 funds available and ETFs are traded on the platform. However, you can only trade ETFs from the home exchanges like London Stock Exchange (LSE), Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the platform. Every other foreign market can only be accessed via telephone trading. This forces the trader to pay a percentage as commission. The minimum amount payable for telephone trading is £25. Buying overseas share attracts a minimum commission of £75 per trade. This is definitely high compared to other brokers that allow trading and connections to any exchange via their trading platforms.

Their trading platform has features that can place trades and perform a good job to a beginner trader. It has no advanced features of sophisticated charts, signals and other useful tools. There is no mobile trading and no demo accounts.

In terms of customer care, they are the Best ETF Broker. There services are rated as excellent and responsive. No wonder they have won awards in that respect. However, the time frame for the customer support is short (7:30am – 5pm).

Generally, Charles Stanley Direct is a good broker and has awards to show for it.


  • Creditand debit cards can be used for account funding.
  • Fully regulated by the FCA
  • Rewards are providing in the form of reduced fees for high volume trading.
  • Various savings plans are available.


  • Fee structure is quite high
  • Poor quality research
  • No trading via mobile app
  • No education material is provided
Test result
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Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.
Charles Stanley Direct
Go to Broker
Risk warning: Capital can be lost. Terms and conditions apply.

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