Complex Investments - Buys restricted

Me too. I would prefer FreeTrade to be more open and transparent. It made me quite angry, to the extent that I was thinking about closing down my account. I’m personally affected with AEW UK REIT. I hope the staff and founders read all these messages, so they know what these kind of actions may incur. We are their customers, and without us, it would not exist. I know the financial markets are quite rocky right now, but being honest and open with their communication is a must.


To be honest this has made me consider all my investments with Freetrade after several changes this year that upset customers with not the best comms for those effected. I actually dodged the bullet so far but have being doing research on a couple stocks of this latest issue and was about to buy in on one. What really bothers me is the withdrawal with no comms to everyone. I pay for SIPP + Plus and to find out I now am not able to buy these does make me want another long term provider but not 2 premium costs.

This is making me look at merging all my accounts into a more expensive single provider. To me, if they are happy to take money for Plus, they should allow me to buy more complex stocks and if not they should not take my money. It is literally the reason I pay the money to access the wider markets. Obviously if they need to ask something for regs that is fine.

And now that I am looking at other costs and working out the loss on 15% US tax for dividends long term, it kind of makes me think that could cover part of the costs at a more expensive trading site.


I’m confused. What do you mean complex stock? What metric is being used for a stock to be considered complex? What reasonings are FT giving?

I’ve always ‘went to bat’ from FT if you will, I’ve been very supportive and understanding (or so I would like to believe) but over the past couple of months there has been a few issues crop up which are concerning, all of which could have likely been averted or at the very least caused less dissatisfaction with some clear and concise communication.

Understand the team, as we are led to believe, are exceptionally busy looking to roll out new features and bring improvements to current features in a timely manner - but some effective communication wouldn’t take too much time to throw together.

What worries me specifically around this issue is that we’ve had no official word other than an individual message to holders of these shares to basically say you can’t buy any more. Emailing as instructed on the individual message seems to have brought a generic response (as per @HighlandTiger on the Bluefield thread) without any real rationale or proactivity about resolving for customers.

Being proactive and clear communication are simple enough things to implement and surely would be beneficial to the business as well. As of yet we’ve gone over 24 hours with a change that is no clearer to being explained other than some are more complex than others.

Bluefield Solar for me, but my other 5 renewables investment trusts are ok - for now. Watching developments with interest. Will more follow or have all “complex” investments been declared?

It looks like it may be based on the intended investor section of the Key Information Document for a given investment trust.


It will allow you to buy those stocks once it meets the requirements that the FCA has set. It is under no obligation to explain to you the risks of each and every stock - and in fact it would not do this because it is not permitted to give you advice. Here the advice pertains to the nature of the stock.

All it can say is (roughly) “this is specialist stock please confirm via this questionnaire that you understand this. Based on your answers we need to be satisfied that you understand this.” If you do your homework you will see that some of the relevant companies tell you on their webpages that their offering is not (primarily) targeted at retail investors.

I am not going to continue making comments on this because I don’t think it is productive. It is clear that some people are frustrated by what is happening and I sympathise with that. Perhaps Freetrade could have handled it better (communication wise), as others have said, but it is what it is.


Totally agree, this is not a free service at a tenner a month, other providers effectively offer plus for free and an isa for free. As an investor from the start, i too have been supportive of freetrade and have supported them understanding they are building a new platform however we should expect at least some quality communication on these sorts of changes rather than a “we’re doing this” message without any explanation. They have form for doing this now :confounded: The pure lack of any logic with the investments they have so far deemed complex is puzzling and is making me question basic competence. I hope im wrong and that the questions ive asked freetrade reassure me but getting any non-generic answers is proving difficult. Maybe they should be pausing plus subscriptions while they figure it out, after all we’re paying for access to a lot of investments that are no longer available.


This seems to have hit the nail on the head from what I can gather if it is indeed true and the correct answer. It certainly fits the bill for AEW UK REIT info doc on FT, and the BBGI one that isn’t on FT but I found after a quick search. Hopefully FT can clarify this officially.

Ironically, the risk profile given to these (3&4) are less than ETFs such as VWRL and HDLG (5&6). This isn’t an argument against the restrictions, just something that I find to be a weird quirk.


So maybe they have someone new to the job going through the kid’s to determine “complex”. If so, go look at phll, bpt, hvpe, nbpe, icgt etc etc. These are all private equity, unquoted companies that are massively high risk so clearly should be removed (I can help with what you have on your platform that are actually complex for a “small fee”, just get in touch :smiley: as clearly what you are currently showing as complex is not quite correct). Those PE’s still available are way more “complex” and dangerous compared to Shed, aew or vof, :smiley: and given shed (removed) owns warehouses just like bbox or ebox or asli (not removed) theres something wrong in whats going on here. And if youre worried about volumes (liquidity) then youll find a lot of those removed have much better liquidity than many of those still available to buy. All we need is communication, consistency and professionalism. Those things lead to a better understanding and loyalty and they mean the business grows and doesn’t die

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This. Me too.

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Have you seen anything official from FT saying such? As far as I can tell (from @weenie’s screenshot), all it’s said is ‘we may allow further buys’. I’m being pedantic but it’s not that firm a commitment.

Communication used to be one of FT’s strongpoints, unfortunately it seems to have gone downhill.


From the email conversations I’ve had with FT, it appears that they have no timescale to create a method for us to confirm that we understand the risks attached to these alleged "complex investments’, and are happy to invest in them still.

I can’t get an answer why they think a certain stock is a “complex investment” either.

The whole ridiculous thing about all this, is that everyone is aware that there is a risk in buying any stock and there is always a chance you could lose your entire investment. This is no different

I get a bit peeved, that as a middle aged adult, I’m being told I don’t know what I’m investing in and I need protecting from myself.

I understand that other providers have an online test as required by the regulator, in order to confirm that you are knowledgeable about the stock you wish to purchase. Well I would expect that FT should put this test online immediately before anything else is rolled out. They need to deal with issues with stock already held by their customers before any other fancy offering like crypto.


Personally if FT can’t get this sorted, I don’t think crypto should even be on freetrade, full stop!

Most Cryptos are more volatile then the most volatile of stocks and ETFs.

If we need protecting from ourselves then crypto needs to be off the list.

I find we are in a strange place. Either we need “protecting from ourselves” as you put it, or we don’t.


Financial services are hugely (over?) regulated so this isn’t Freetrade making a judgment call over your abilities @HighlandTiger.

The frustration is real but some perspective here - you’re still allowed to hold these ‘complex’ instruments, and nobody is firing you to sell them.
Remove any wording that gives the impression you need supervision - they have to be called something, this is not personal.

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I think the issue is the comms. Many people have now done DD for no reason, me being one, and only found out via some person on a forum. This is not great and a simple message saying sorry but due to X or Y no-one can do this until Z happens would of been a bit better but nothing.

Others will have bought in on the plan of average buying etc but not able to continue.

I actually appreciate the FT staff MUST have a massive list of very difficult things to solve at present as the market has changed dramatically and times are challenging but PR is everything and it is free and easy to post a message to all.

And I say this as an investor who was accused constantly of being a fan boy last year. Hopefully they soon raise their game on comms to previous levels and especially on any bad news as good comms shouldn’t just be the positive elements.


Yes. With a lot of the comings and goings on freetrade recently, Comms is everything.

I appreciate we will still be able to hold the positions listed. But freetrade needs to create an action plan with how it will create a questionnaire that will cover of the FCAs needs, and needs to be public about what it’s doing to resolve this quickly


I’m wondering for how long - Freetrade’s website explicitly says they don’t do complex products.

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I think a few other trusts – such as SEQI, HGEN and FSF – could fall victim to this too.

To varying degrees, their Key Information Documents seem to say they are primarily for institutional, professionally advised or experienced investors, which suggests checks might be necessary.

While the KID may not be the deciding factor about what is and isn’t a complex product, you’d think what the trust itself says about its intended investor would be an important factor.

Unfortunately, the FCA/MiFID II rules on where the line should be drawn are as clear as mud, so you have to sympathise with FT to a degree.

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My question is how do you define both retail investor and professional investor.

The lines may also be somewhat blurred if one works in the financial services industry, particularly the stocks and shares side of it.