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Understanding the Charles Stanley Direct App: An Investors’ Guide

Nigel Firth
Nigel Frith trader
Updated 8 Jun 2022

One of the oldest companies on the London Stock Exchange is Charles Stanley & Co. It dates back to the latter part of the 18th century and was originally a banking partnership. Charles Stanley was the director who set up operations in London in the mid-1800s, and the company became a separate operation, becoming an independent member company of the London Stock Exchange in 1852.

Charles Stanley Direct experiences

The company has become one of the best stock broker firms in the UK handling private investors, charities, banks and professional institutes. But how does Charles Stanley compare?

  • The Charles Stanley Direct App
  • App upgrades
  • Advantages of using Charles Stanley
  • Managing your investments with Charles Stanley

The Charles Stanley Direct App

It was announced in 2015 that Charles Stanley Direct would launch an app to help traders. This is a direct-to-consumer platform and investments are able to be traded using the investment news application. This new service app provides the consumer with the latest company and market information, analysis and commentary. Both new and existing customers can take advantage of the app via their iPhone. When first launched, the Charles Stanley app was relatively basic, but it was clear that new features would be added regularly. When the app was launched, it was estimated that 60% of customers were already using their iPhones and other Apple devices to access their investment accounts.

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However, some might say that Charles Stanley was a little late to the party with the app, as other investment firms had already produced an app several years earlier. A quick broker comparison shows that Hargreaves Lansdown had launched their own app back in 2011. AJ Bell’s app appeared in 2013 and Beaufort Securities launched theirs in 2014. However, it is a case of better late than never, and as many customers were showing an inclination towards accessing their accounts in this way, it was definitely a service that was needed.

App upgrades

In December 2017, the Charles Stanley Direct app was upgraded. The aim was to establish the framework for the March 2018 introduction of full, whole of market Fund trading. The upgrade did not cost anything for users, and by then had also reached Android users. It will now allow a full fund and stock search, indexes and also includes a fingerprint authentication system for Android phones. iPhone X users will have face-id recognition and there are some other upgrades that give the user more control over the way that they run their accounts. In the first two months after the Charles Stanley app was launched, there were more than 10,000 downloads, which is an excellent response rate and shows clearly that Charles Stanley customers were waiting for this type of access to their accounts. Despite announcing the app in 2015, it was not launched until October 2017. The firm has also received good feedback on the use of fingerprint and Face ID logins. The aim for June 2018 is to include the option on the app for people to register as new clients, so that the process for registration can be streamlined. The organisation has shown awareness that this will be the preferred method of contact for most customers.

  • Upgraded app
  • Available for Android and iOS
  • Fingerprint and Face ID technology

Plans for additional upgrades

There are plans for additional enhancements to the app as 2018 progresses. These plans include giving existing clients the ability to open new investments through it, so ISAs, SIPPs, Junior ISAs and General Investment Accounts can all be started through the app instead of going online via a computer or contacting the helpdesk. This will streamline the whole process, making it easy for you to do no matter where you are. The organisation is aiming to achieve its goal of ‘Insanely Simple Investing’ throughout 2018 as it makes the user experience much easier. Once you have downloaded the app onto your smartphone or tablet you only need to log in to your account using your existing username and password and this will then record the details of the device. The next stage of the process is to set up a PIN number and enable the fingerprint ID, if your device is compatible with this technology, to login to the app in the future. This means that future logins are going to be very simple and you will not have to wait to find out exactly what your investments are doing, making it easier for you to make decisions when they need to be made.

Advantages of using Charles Stanley

Those who are considering choosing the Charles Stanley app over any other need to understand what makes this organisation a good choice when they are planning their investments. Despite the age of the company, it has definitely moved into the modern era when it comes to technology. The platform used by Charles Stanley Direct is easy-to-use and there are many different investment options, so that the investor always has control over their portfolio. We have already mentioned the app that the company launched in 2015. While this may have been later than apps launched by other companies, it is a clear recognition that customers these days are happy to manage their investments while they are on the move, and the more convenient that an investment firm can make the process for the client the better. The Charles Stanley Direct firm also boasts a very low fee rate, with platform fees set at just 0.25%, which is considered to be one of the lowest fee rates on the market. When looking for the best stockbroker it is worth noting that the UK telephone helpdesk at Charles Stanley Direct is award-winning and the team there can help you with any query about your investments.

  • Simple platform
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Low rates of 0.25%

Dashboard features

The investor is able to manage their own accounts using the customisable dashboard and this makes the process much more straightforward. There are many useful features on this dashboard including price alerts, so that when a particular stock reaches a certain price it will inform you immediately. Another is to limit orders so that your trade is conducted as soon as a stock price reaches a level that you have previously chosen. This is useful if you want to carry out a trade outside of the usual market hours. The dashboard will also stream live share prices, so that you receive live data continuously for all stocks and shares. If you are unsure about which stocks you want to invest in, consider making use of the share watchlists. You can create your own fantasy portfolio so that you can monitor the stocks that you are interested in. The dashboard can be set so that it automatically follows your wishes with any income that is received, and if you want to set up an automatic monthly investment you can do this via the dashboard too. The dashboard is a very handy and simple tool for the investor and can be accessed from anywhere.

Investment choices through the Charles Stanley app

In our Charles Stanley Direct review, we found that there is a choice of more than 3,000 funds, shares, bonds, gilts, investment trusts and ETFs. For the beginner, there is a selection of foundation portfolios and a foundation fundlist that are designed to get your investing off the ground. The Fundlist is a list compiled by the firm that shows their preferred funds in all the major sectors. However, Charles Stanley does not expect you to do all your investment transactions via the app or dashboard. The team here offer telephone dealing which is ideal if you need to place a larger order, complete a more complicated transaction or if you are unsure of dealing with an overseas order. The team will be happy to help, but you will need to be registered online before they are able to assist. It is recommended that you have your account number to hand when you call, and you should ensure that the account is in credit before you call to buy. However, you need to be aware that there is a trading fee for telephone transactions that starts at £25, so this might only be worth it if you are completing a large transaction. Investors have the option to join the loyalty programme to save on platform fees and obtain a free Capital Gains Tax report. Terms apply with the loyalty programme, so it is a good idea to study these before signing.

  • Helpful for beginners
  • Over 3,000 funds, shares, bonds, investment trusts and ETFs
  • Telephone assistance also available

Managing your investments with Charles Stanley

Whether you choose to use the Charles Stanley app or not, understanding the ways in which the organisation can help you to manage your investments is important. Wealth management is just one of the aspects of the services offered by Charles Stanley. The company will appoint a financial planner to provide you with the specialist advice that you need, putting together a strong plan that will help you to plan for your future. The investments that you make will be managed by an investment manager. The portfolio chosen will be designed to meet with your individual requirements. Charles Stanley Direct offers a complete management service. In agreement with your investment manager, you will provide permission for the company to handle all your investments. The investments are tailored with you in mind and your investment manager will handle your account from start to finish, allowing you to build a relationship with him or her. The wealth managers that will be on hand to assist you have the right skills and expertise. Your portfolio is continuously monitored to ensure that it will meet with your objectives. The downside to this service is that you need a minimum investment of £200,000, which means that this is not an option for those who want to invest on a smaller scale.

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Guided investment

Those who are a little more experienced with investments might want to consider a middle option, which is listening to recommendations from Charles Stanley Direct advisors and then making the decisions. You would still have the skills and expertise on hand of an experienced investment manager who will be familiar with the objectives that you want to achieve. You will be involved with the decisions about your portfolio at every stage and the research carried out by our staff will enable you to take advantage of the latest shifts in the market. However, full control of your portfolio is also an option, and this is ideal for those who have been investing for years and who are fully familiar with the process. You can take advice from the staff at Charles Stanley if you wish, but this information is not volunteered, and you lead on all the trades and transactions on your account. The responsibility for your investments is yours, although our expertise is always here and available to you if you need it. The variety of support options that the company provides means that there is something here for all levels of expertise and there is an award-winning customer helpdesk where you can obtain information and advice as needed.

  • Expert advisors offer assistance
  • Award-winning customer support
  • Attentive staff

Is the app worth it?

As one of the longest-standing stockbrokers in the UK, it does make sense to take advantage of the expertise of Charles Stanley Direct. The Charles Stanley Direct app is something that has become very popular very quickly and part of the reason for this is that you can check your portfolio wherever you are. The fact that the original plan for the app was for it to be available for iPhones, but when it was launched, it also launched on Android, means that the organisation is aware that it does need to consider the needs of all its customers. The regular updates and upgrades that are planned for the app also demonstrates that Charles Stanley Direct is planning to keep pace with not only the market but modern technology too. The app is free to download and install and all upgrades are also free. A quick Charles Stanley app review will show the benefits of using this app and how it can help you and your investments.


Nigel Firth
Nigel has been in the regulated financial services industry for nearly a decade, has previously owned a financial brokerage and has written many times for sites relating to personal finance and trading.