Rplan latest platform to unveil new charge

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Hot on the heels of investment giants Fidelity and Hargreaves Lansdown, minnow rplan has become the latest platform to reveal its new charging structure.

Rplan is charging all investors a fixed fee equivalent to 0.35% of their holdings with no hidden charges; for example, entry or exit fees. On a portfolio below £250,000 this price matches Fidelity, which announced its new fees yesterday.

Hargreaves Lansdown is charging 0.45% and has been criticised for introducing as many as 30 additional charges - for things including closing your account and opting for paper statements.

These new charges are the result of the Retail Distribution Review, which is banning the payment of commission on the sale of funds to make it easier for investors to compare fees. As a result investment platforms have been in the process of restructuring their charges.

Most now charge an account or platform fee and either rebate commission via the retail shares, or sell so-called 'clean shares', which have lower annual management charges that don't factor in commission.

However, at this stage, it's looking like the changes may not make it as easy to compare costs as the regulator had hoped. In order to justify their new charges to investors, both Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity have negotiated reduced annual management charges on some of their funds, once again muddying the waters and making it harder for investors to compare the real cost of investing.

Andy Creak, director of rplan said: "RDR has led to the amount investors pay their providers to be clearer, better understood and in many cases lower, but it's a real shame that many providers have chosen to muddy the waters with hidden fees and additional charges. It's a real missed opportunity to achieve the transparency that will help build trust and understanding amongst investors."

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