For novice investors
The ‘Barclays Ready-made Investments’ give you an all-in-one portfolio, spreading your money around many different investments in one go.
What we say
Holly has accounts with all the providers on our website and independently reviews all of them.
This service has improved and IMHO is better than the customer review scores suggest :0) Clear information and straightforward user journeys. Barclays’ customers will likely value the familiarity of investing with a brand they know. Minimum monthly fees feel outdated - and make this service expensive for smaller accounts. Navigation of the site can be tricky and not always intuitive. Lots of supporting information. There is still work to be done to compete with the non-bank brand platforms on usability.
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Ease of use
The interface of the signed-in state matches that of the front end of the website, which makes navigation more straightforward. There’s even an area to view recent changes to the website to help customers adapt. A bit of additional text to guide you through different sections wouldn’t go a miss.
Mobile & apps
Barclays Smart Investor does not have its own dedicated app, however banking customers can see a summary of their investments through the mobile banking app.
Using Smart Investor through a mobile browser is a decent experience if familiar with the desktop site. When pages are mobile optimised, they are quite good, although annoyingly some pages revert to a desktop version that becomes difficult to use, such as the chat function.
Behind the scenes
The logged-in interface is similar to the front end of the site which helps customers navigate. Trading was simple and there is a mountain of help and additional information available. Usability behind the scenes has improved significantly since the launch of Smart Investor and there is a better balance between suiting a more engaged investor and a new investor.
Stocks and Shares ISA
Own brand funds
Funds from other groups
Stocks and shares
Robo advice/ready-made portfolios
Includes a shortlist of investments
Pick your own funds
Pick your own shares
The 'geeky' details
Barclays Smart Investor is the investment service from the high street bank. There are loads of investment options, including funds from Barclays and other groups, and you can buy and sell company shares. It offers a good blend of research, which is equally strong across both funds and shares/listed securities.
For novice investors, the ‘Barclays Ready-made Investments’ give you an all-in-one portfolio, spreading your money around many different investments in one go.
There’s a slightly complex set of charges. A £4 minimum monthly account fee means there are cheaper options available for those with very small portfolios. There is also a £3 fund dealing charge, so it can be an expensive option for those that regularly invest small amounts into multiple funds.
Barclays outsources its SIPP administration to AJ Bell, who charge a £150 annual admin fee. Additional charges for those approaching retirement include a £120 p.a. flexi-access drawdown administration fee, a £90 fee for setting up either UFPLS or flexi-access drawdown and paying any lump sum benefits, and a £30 fee for a one-off income payment.
It is also worth noting that there is a £90 charge for both transferring in and transferring out a pension to/from Barclays and a £90 SIPP closure charge (rising to £300 if the account has been open for less than a year).
Important Facts & Figures
Large banking and investment firm/huge global brand.
£0 minimum investment.