Barclays Smart Investor Platform

Anybody else here suffering from same frustration re Barclays new platform for my SIPP? User unfriendly and well nigh impossible for bond trading. Results from putting all and sundry under one umbrella, (MIFID II the reason, apparently) involving endless registration numbers, and pass codes. Inclined to move to another provider, but who?


  • Fang, I ditched Barclays a couple of years ago, due to their high charges for bond trades
    Been happy with YouInvest, although it requires a telephone call to trade.
  • Already raised half dozen complaints. Payments in not working, withdrawals not working, displays blank pages. Need help on the help tools. Not sure if there should be a transfer of funds or not between accounts, 20min on telephone no reply from help desk. No more RNS news at least I can't find it, keeps saying I need a new browser, tried two and these are latest firefox/chrome. No more file downloads, from accounts. Don't give you a track of complaints made I've got more.
  • Thanks, Shaunm. AJ Bell are, of course, doing the admin for Barclays, so familiar to me. However, as my SIPP is quite large, I am concerned as to credit risk. AJ Bell is privately held; Andy Bell owns 28%, other large holders are Invesco and Woodford. So what if the company were to go down.. as opposed to Barclays, where it is unlikely?
  • I had a Barclay's SIPP, is in the process of being transferred to my much larger AJ Bell YouInvest SIPP, it's taking a long time. Also have a Redmayne Bentley SIPP for more 'exotic' trades, very expensive compared to AJ Bell YouInvest, which is cheap but very vanilla, don't think they execute as quickly as the expensive ones (you need to execute by phone). Also got my ISA with HL, which is middle of the road, do my bond trading online with them. Re Credit Risk, I have assumed the assets are held in safe custody, ring fenced from Mr Bell & Co, I'm willing to be corrected on that though!
  • Not sure as to ring fencing. Beyond 85K, especially if you run a large cash position, may not be to easy or quick to disentangle from a failed provider, as Northern Rock fiasco has shown.
  • Regardless of assurances, I've always thought it safer to keep my portfolio spread across several providers even if I miss out on some discounts.
  • I use Barclays, so plus sides are 1. commissions lower for stocks can now place retail bond trades for much smaller fee which is £25 over phone but can do online for £6 I think. Previously this was very expensive, paying £75 for orders over 50k if again I recall correctly.
    3. cash transfers free and same day. However, I placed a stock trade this morning to test and still showed pending 5 hours later and took a phone call and 20 min wait to get it updated. The next trade went through fine.
    I guess you can expect some teething issues.........but the platform is not great user interface at first looks and quite chintzy, do you really want a picture of a shopping trolley next to your orders? Maybe I was just used to the old platform and I am old!
    I also have HL account and when I first looked at that it seemed cumbersome, just simple things like why placing a limit order it says upper limit to sell. However HL now looks great in comparison to Barc which is large font and not easy to navigate. Do they not beta test and realise people want readily accessible condensed information?
  • Thanks for your comment, Mr Depp. Have decided to leave Barclays, cannot stand newly fangled umbrella website, primitive charting, complicated sign-in, involving endless numbers. Still contemplating where to go- notice many poor reviews as to charges of HL but they do answer the phone, unlike Trustnet, or Alliance Trust,for example but then again perhaps so many are leaving, the competition cannot cope...
  • edited August 2017
    They've been a nightmare!!! No account access since Friday and I've been told I have to wait until Saturday at the earliest. I've worked my way up the chain of command although most are way to important to speak to customers, no doubt spending their fat bonuses. The fraud department told me I'm one of over 8,000 customers they screwed up during the transfer to Smart Investor! (They used the word 'affected')

    Finally got to speak to Nicola O'Brian, the PA to Alistair Thaw (Director in charge of Smart Investor), totally unaware of any problems! Registered a complaint and was told head of complaints Alexandra Goodman would call straight back....did she hell!

    Any recommendations as to where I should take my business?
  • Paddy, with regard to SIPP 'risk' at AJBell or anywhere else, I have had similar concerns to you so I contacted the Bank of England. A very helpful lady there researched the matter and came back to me to say, SIPP accounts are only protected up to the FCA protection level £85k, but that is not per account but per institution. So if like me you have a SIPP and an ISA and a bank account in the same place bad luck if they go down.
  • Feel for you John, at least they have not lost my holdings. As to where to go: not easy. I have a large SIPP, so HL , with seemingly good customer service and web tools, are an expensive proposition, and have been badly reviewed recently. Some of the "better value" providers did not answer the phone when I tried today. You get what you pay for there? As to credit risk, all potentially problematic due to private owners , except for Barclays, Halifax , Vanguard and Fidelity, but the latter do not offer share trading. Back to the drawing board- can one afford to leave?
  • As far as I'm aware, only cash is exposed to the FCA protection. All other holdings are ring fenced.
    Hopefully we never need to find out as I'm sure it would be anything but straight forward and horrendously stressful.
  • Not much comfort, as many of us probably hold quite large cash positions at present, due to overpriced bonds and shares.
  • BlueMosel...I'm ready to be corrected, but BofE specifically said holdings in SIPPs and ISAs are NOT ringfenced because they are not held in your name but held in the name of the financial institution on our behalf. A subtle but apparently very important legal distinction. Holdings in a normal account are ringfenced because they are stocks bonds etc registered in the holders name.
  • "the name of the financial institution", this could have been the "Bank of Scotland", now part of Lloyds Bank PLC.
    Originally SIPPDEAL had links with the Bank of Scotland, therefore the shareholdings (Nominee accounts) would have been under their name.
    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Cash holdings would of course be part of the FCA, 85K protection
  • I assume everyone here has seen the article in IC online today followed by the many horror stories from Barclays customers. After my 95 minute wait starting at 7.30 this morning (thought I would get in early - doh!) I wanted to add to this but everything had been said already. Some of the cheapie platforms look enticing if like me you just have equities and no ISA or SIP eg X-O or iWeb. And does HL really have no annual fees??
    From my perspective it's not if but who to?
    This is just the latest in Barclays push for profit at the expense of customer service. Just look at the branches where everyone is being pushed towards automation and no cashiers. No wonder the queues get longer. Glad I bank with the horse


  • PS
    When I asked the Barclays guy on the phone how much it would cost to leave Barclays he said


    Maybe it's just because I only have equities. My bonds and ISA are elsewhere.

    For info IC does an interactive "how much will it cost me", bit like moneysup. ......

    Food for thought

  • The IC online comments really are a horror story. They reflect my own experience - 10 days and still no access to my wife's ISA account. And all for a seemingly worse website.

    But when the dust has all settled, the key question, for which surely this forum should provide the answer, is "where should we migrate to?"
    Personally I am sceptical that HL is the answer for an infrequently-trading corporate bond "hold to maturity" ISA.

    What do our expertsw advise? Please.
  • HI HB1, welcome to the club. Please please make sure you register a separate complaint for each problem you encounter. The FCA told me they measure the number and not the severity of complaints recorded by each institution in assessing whether they should open a formal investigation. My vain hope is that Barclays will come under pressure from the FCA to improve, negating the current need for us to find an alternative.
  • Going back to John's comments on Aug 31 regarding absence of ringfencing in ISAs and SIPPs. Thanks for checking that out - it's the sort of detail you normally only discover after it's too late. I have an ISA with Halifax and was getting frustrated at the restricted choice in some cases, their failure to participate in new issues and the inability to trade online but in light of your comments, I think that I will stay there and maybe use allowances in future years to build up my Interactive Investor ISA which offers a wider range and lower trading costs. Generally I am extremely happy with Halifax and in response to HB1's comment, I can recommend it as a home for a "hold to maturity" portfolio.
  • I switched an ISA from Barclays a few years ago. I started the account as my other one went over the 85k mark. After paying charges for a few years on both accounts, I decided to join them together at Selftrade and take the risk on the amount over 85K. I couldn't tell you how competent they are, as I have largely just bought & held. The convenience of being able to make retail bond trades online is one good thing about Selftrade.
  • Within the Barclays Smart Investor guide sent in prep to the transfer, they state near the back that if you are not happy with the new platform you can transfer at no cost, which for a portfolio with a lot of holdings would in normal circumstances be very costly to move. I am moving my SIPP due to the high fees (which for me are increasing) and in particular the additional fund charges they apply. Based on fees, my view was, Halifax, III and Alliance were best, although you obviously have to balance service with cost. I already had an ISA with Halifax and was fine with this for what I need, so this is where I am moving my SIPP to.
  • Its definitely free to transfer out but I would guess that department is over busy at moment.
    Whats so bad about HL? Anyone who has been with Barclays Stockbrokers is not super price conscious and liked the ease of previous platform and often got good price improvements.
    I've started using HL more in last week and have to say I like the platform and for example if you place a non limit order it gives you 15 seconds to accept the price (this is great) or is that just for a few stocks?, although has seemed to work for the 3 I've traded in last week (and once gave me a better price than I eventually got through Barclays, which also now seem to take ages to confirm certain orders, ie they stay pending).
    So in brief, what are the downsides to HL, and also are there any other big pluses from their platform?
  • In the apparent rush for the door to exit Barclays no one has mentioned TD Direct. There are no admin fees for portfolios valued above a low hurdle and no exit fees for their shares ISA.

    Bonds and shares can be traded for £12.50 but for the first three months for only £5.95 which would be particularly useful for anyone wanting to move a large amount of money from a cash ISA.

    They were formerly TD Waterhouse and were sold recently by Toronto Bank to iii. However they will hopefully trade as a separate entity.
  • I've finally been able to access my ex-Barclays Stockbrokers now 'Smart Investor' SIPP and ISA. My main problem isn't the login or the interface, rather I'm very upset about having seeming lost access to nearly all the data and analysis that was available through the old Barclays Stockbrokers platform - or am I missing something?

    I'm going to phone them tomorrow for a good old moan ...
  • DSC
    Best of luck. My phone call made me feel better but gained nothing and made me realise that Barclays have a strategy that "suits me" rather than "suits you sir". My only surprise was no one said
  • I downloaded a complaints template from the Financial Ombudsman, filled in the details and emailed it to them, they seemed to recognise that the template and at least acknowledged my complaint, after 15 working days I will progress the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman, Barclays don't like that....
  • Will now quit Barclays since neither Thaw nor anybody else there bothered to get back to me after receiving written complaint three weeks ago, and a more recent phone request was not responded to either. My sizeable SIPP they have had for a decade will now walk. Nobody managerial there cares a hoot, just as well that smart investors have alternatives.
  • Can anyone recommend another provider that offers the same level of data and analysis that the old Barclays Stockbrokers used to?
  • HL, despite some misgivings as to high cost, seems to be the obvious choice. For one, they answer the phone promptly and seem to know their business, which is more than can be said about some of the other contenders. Have good web stats and charts, too. However, if in draw-down, may take a while to get there, some clarification of life-time allowance issues in the way if your SIPP is sizeable.
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