Updated: 18th January 2022
Barclays Smart Investor Review
Backed by one of the largest banks in the country, with a wide range of accounts and investment types available.
The overall score is calculated as the sum of the individual section scores and then rebased to be out of 5.
What accounts are available?
Barclays just pips Halifax – the other bank owned share dealing platforms – when it comes to the accounts you can get from them. That’s because Barclay’s stocks and shares ISA is flexible (meaning you can take money out and add it back again in the same tax year without it reducing your ISA allowance twice) and the one from Halifax isn’t. There’s no options for juniors here either. The Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is provided to Barclays by AJBell, so that’s a plus in our minds too.
We upweighted scores for providers who had the basic accounts available - ISA, SIPP and GIA.
What kind of investments can I make?
A pretty good score here for the Barclays Smart Investor platform. All the usual suspects are available through the platform with over 2,000 investment funds to choose from, as well as investment trusts and trackers such as exchange traded funds, or ETFs. You can also invest directly in the shares of UK listed companies, although there’s no option for buying in companies listed abroad as far as we clould tell. Similarly there’s no mention of bonds, other than a link to an empty page! On the funds side, there are lists to help you choose and a series of ‘ready made’ funds too to keep things simple.
We upweighted scores for providers who made funds, investment trusts, exchange traded funds and UK shares available. Bonds and international shares were less important.
What services do they offer?
As you would expect from a big bank like Barclays, the service offering is pretty creditable too. You can manage your investments on the go using their app, and if you have your current account with Barclays too you can manage that alongside your investments. There’s a wide range of articles with expert news and views from across the Barclays banking empire, and one older innovation that they still promote as their price improver service. This means when you’re buying investments through a stock exchange (so not funds) they will aim to beat the share price of the investment being offered by that exchange.
The most important services were monthly investing, and dividend reinvestment, so we upweighted scores for platforms who provided these services.
How much does it cost?
Fees for holding investments on the Barclays Smart Investor platform are a percentage of the value of your investments. This means as your investments grow in value, the more you will pay in real terms. The rates vary depending on what you invest in, and are capped at an incredibly high level. There’s also a monthly minimum fee. There’s better news on trading fees which are pretty good, with dealing in open-ended investment funds cheaper than dealing in shares or other pooled investments like ETFs.