Another broker changes their fees….

So I fear that this post is going to end up in more of a rant than anything that may possibly make sense, so please do indulge me and put up with it 🙂

It’s just over a year now since I opened the Go T’ Pub ISA with Selftrade. Whilst their website is a little on the basic side, it worked very well for me. I paid a £1.50 per trade for my regular order and for any dividend reinvestments, and that was it. No other fees – a truly cheap price for using their service.

The perfect fire and forget strategy… or so I thought.

Out of the blue yesterday evening I get an email via their secure inbox to me. Note: not to my registered email address, but to my selftrade account. This means to read it I have to log in, look out for the tiny mail icon just above my account logo and click on there to read it. Nothing else to tell me I have a message. At least with premium bonds they email me to tell me I have a message.

Out of the blue they are announcing a new pricing tariff – effective from the 1st July 2018. I can’t believe they didn’t know about this plan before the new tax year so I can only assume they have deliberately waited until now to notify people.

This really annoys me as I have now made an ISA contribution to them, and so I need to research if I am able to move my ISA without any consequences (I have enough trouble as it is with HMRC not getting my tax code right!). I’ve made one payment to them. For this I feel that they have me over a barrel.

So, what is this new tariff I (don’t!) hear you cry? They are introducing a new “custody fee”. And yes, you guessed it, it applies quarterly. They are reducing the cost of trading (if you don’t buy on regular direct debit) – which I never use. To make matters even worse, ETF trades will not change (my main purchase)

The new cost is “Up to”£17.49 per quarter. Needless to say this is fees you have to pay inside the ISA wrapper (unlike my IFA who’s fees I can pay before it goes into the wrapper).

The whole reason I chose Selftrade was their low fees, however it seems that they are now going the way of iii who took over TD Direct, and others who are charging a quarterly charge regardless.

Am I going to take action? Yes. Unlike when iii introduced their fees, I took the view that I was happy to pay them (as it offset my trading costs, and I really do like their platform so happy to pay a slight premium for it, it leaves others in the dust). For Selftrade, I am not happy to pay the fee.

Unfortunately for me, the Selftrade helpdesk isn’t open at 6am on a Saturday morning (why on earth not?! :)) so I won’t be able to do anything yet, but my clear actions are:

  1. Call Selftrade. Find out about the cost of transferring the ISA out from them to another provider
  2. Find out if, now I have started this ISA year, if I can actually move to another ISA provider (or do you, dear reader, know if I can?)
  3. Review the broker table on Monivator to find out which broker I will be moving to

My biggest fear is that in a relatively short space of time another broker is moving to a quarterly fee and that this will become the norm.

I think I need another coffee….