As an investor, there are a lot of different tools available that can help you manage your money. From financial management software to budgeting tools, the choices can be very overwhelming. However, in the search for the best investing software to manage your money, we feel that one of the best areas to focus on is with respect to investment tools.
Using the right investment applications is critical to people interested in growing their wealth, especially if you are a do-it-yourself investor. Even if you are interested in using a robo advisor to completely automate and manage your portfolio, supplementing with other tools can be helpful.
In this article, we are going to look at several quality investment tools. Some of them you may be aware of, and some of the others may be new to you. Either way, they are worth considering if you are at all interested in managing money on your own. However, before we get into the investing software, let’s look at why you might need to look at other pieces of software to manage your portfolio.
There are a number of different circumstances where using the right investment tools can help make sure you get the best returns possible on your portfolio. Let’s look at the most common reasons.
Tracking Investment Performance: If you are a do-it-yourself investor, even one who uses robo advisors, your most important goal is to make sure you achieve returns that match the market. The worst thing for your long-term wealth is underperforming the market; you want to make sure you at least get the returns of the stock market. Robo advisors specialise in this, but you should also find ways to track this yourself.
Lower Fees: The right investment software should allow you to pay less in fees. This is especially important with discount brokers. Paying higher commissions to purchase and/or sell investments is a waste of money. Your second most important goal when investing your money (number one was making sure you get at least the market performance) is to minimise the amount of fees you pay to manage your portfolio. The right software will help you do that.
Mobile Capability: As the world becomes busier, and more connected, the right investment tool will allow you to manage your investments while on the go. This is not about the ability to constantly monitor your portfolio – because you actually should not do that. Instead, the right investment software will allow you to use iPhones, iPads, and other devices to manage your portfolio when you need to. For example, we are constantly contributing extra money to our robo advisor accounts via the mobile platforms.
Picking Strong Performing Investments: There is software available that can help investors examine various investment options in order to choose options that are the best performing. They will not tell you exactly how to invest, however they can help you examine the technical and fundamental traits of a stock to determine if it is worth investing in it.
Access to Markets: The best investment software will allow you to trade on the markets you need to trade on. For example, if you are an investor from the United Kingdom, you will need a discount broker that provides access to the UK stock markets. Unfortunately, there are a number of brokers that advertise across the web that do not provide access for specific regions. For example, TradeStation does not allow investors from Canada to sign up for their services.
Getting access to the stock markets is a critical requirement when acting as a do it yourself investor. One of the largest online stock brokers in the United Kingdom is AJ Bell Youinvest. As of this writing, they have over 130,000 customers and look after over $28 billion in assets under administration.
AJ Bell Youinvest allows clients to open up the following account types:
• Self-Insured Pension Plan (SIPP): Type of pension plan allowable in the United Kingdom that allows investors to make their own investment decisions. Offers tax rebates as a way to maximise tax efficiency.
• Stocks and Share Individual Savings Account (ISA): A tax efficient investment account that allows investors to buy stocks and shares on the dealing market.
• Junior ISA: A savings account available to UK residents under the age of 18 and born on or after 3 Jan 2011.
• Dealing Accounts: A dealing account is a regular investment account that allows investors to purchase a wide variety of investment products, including exchange traded funds, as a means to save for the future. These accounts offer no tax relief; the income and capital gains are one hundred percent taxable.
AJ Bell Youinvest has one of the best mobile platforms available to investors in the United Kingdom. It is obvious they have spent a lot of money developing the applications so they are intuitive and easy to use.
From within the app, investors are able to buy and sell shares, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, as well as a variety of corporate and government bonds. In addition, the app is available on most of the major platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, and even the Apple Watch.
AJ Bell Youinvest is a great option for most investors, especially if you are a long-term investor who is focused on building up a retirement portfolio over a number of years. But what if you are a more active trader who is looking to buy and sell shares on a regular basis, and want to do that as cheaply as possible?
That is where Interactive Brokers comes in – they are one of the best investing software packages available for active traders.
The tools a discount broker like Interactive Brokers offer is important to consider. Even with some of the lowest commission rates in the industry, if they do not have the best tools available for both professional and do it yourself retail investors, then they are basically useless.
Like AJ Bell Youinvest, Interactive Brokers has invested heavily in the tools they provide investors. With three versions of their online trading platform available, customers are able to buy and sell stocks, bonds, options and other investment choices easily.
They have a full-featured desktop app that provides very powerful research and trading tools. They have a web app that provides simplified trading and account management services, and they also have a solid mobile app. The mobile app is very well designed and offers active traders the ability to trade shares on the go.
Interactive Brokers also offer some of the lowest commissions for UK clients. They do this by not offering a lot of human support. As mentioned, their trading tools are well done so they expect people to be relatively self-sufficient when it comes to their support needs. However, if you are looking to keep your trading fees low – and you should be – then Interactive Brokers is worth considering.
As an example, here are the commissions for trading in the United Kingdom:
At trades as low as £6.00, you won’t find much cheaper alternatives for trading in the United Kingdom.
Robo advisors provide access to professional level investing software that automates and manages portfolios on your behalf. We are including Nutmeg in our list of best investing software because it simply helps people invest better. In fact, it helps people invest using an automated and well-researched methodology that has been proven to lead to much better investment performance.
Nutmeg is the UK's biggest robo-advised investment service that offers a variety of account types including ISAs, SIPPs, and general dealing accounts. They claim to be the United Kingdom’s largest robo advisor that takes the best elements of a professional level investing service, strips out the complexity and cost, and provide it to customers online.
With Nutmeg, investors start by completing a detailed questionnaire online. This questionnaire is designed to provide the service with the level of information required to provide the exact asset allocation and portfolio that will meet the goals of the investor. Through the tool, Nutmeg will determine the investor’s risk profile (how much risk they are comfortable taking), the investment goal (i.e. retirement, college savings), as well as investment time horizon.
With this information entered into the system, Nutmeg’s investing algorithms automatically design a portfolio that is globally diversified across multiple asset classes and countries, risk balanced so the portfolio provides the best balance between risk and reward, and finally low cost so most of the investor’s money continues to compound for years.
Nutmeg offers two levels of service: Fully Managed Portfolios or Fixed Allocation Portfolios. Fully managed portfolios are for investors who want a portfolio built and fully-managed by an experienced investment team. With this service, investors get access to a human being who will help them manage their portfolio over time and will look for opportunities to get better returns with reduced risk.
The Fixed Allocation Portfolio will provide the same level of portfolio design including risk management and diversification, but without the ongoing strategic intervention provided in the fully managed service. If you are comfortable just having a portfolio built for you, and letting it work then the lower fees on this option is a good choice.
Overall, in terms of the best investing software available, using a robo advisor like Nutmeg is worth considering.
Another solid option in the robo advisor space is Moneyfarm. We chose Moneyfarm as one of our best investing software choices because of the diversified portfolios that they build their customers. When you open up a Moneyfarm account, the questionnaire will determine the best portfolio for your risk profile and time horizon. The resulting portfolio will have you invested in a large mix of asset classes including equities, bonds, and commodities that cover several geographical areas including the UK, Europe, US, and emerging markets. In addition, they also take it a step further and provide exposure to different currencies such as the Pound and US Dollar, as well as different market sectors like banking, healthcare, and energy. This all results in a portfolio that provides a good chance of solid, long-term performance.
Here is an example of a portfolio provided by Moneyfarm for someone with more than £50,000 to invest that has a more aggressive risk profile:
There is a good balance of equities and bonds spread out globally. With Moneyfarm, a portfolio like this is built for each client depending on their investment needs.
There is a multitude of investing software available for people interested in growing their wealth. In this article, we looked a few of the better options available for investors located in the United Kingdom.
If you are looking for a good broker with well designed tools, then AJ Bell Youinvest is a good choice. As one of the largest brokers in the UK, they have proven that their service is excellent. If you want low fees because you are a more active trader, then Interactive Brokers is a good choice.
If you are the type of investor who is looking for an automated portfolio that is designed and managed for you, at low cost, then robo advisors are an excellent option. Two examples of these in the UK is Nutmeg and Moneyfarm. Both provide fully automated investment service that used to be only available for high net worth investors. With the technology they have deployed, those services are now available to anyone, no matter how small their investment portfolio is.