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Stockbroker clients abandon Barclays for rivals

Rival platforms report big increase in transfers from Barclays after botched Smart Investor launch.

Stockbroker clients abandon Barclays for rivals
Investment platforms have reported a significant rise in the number of clients transferring from Barclays Stockbrokers following the disastrous launch of its Smart Investor platform that prompted a wave of complaints.

Many investors were left without access to their accounts after the August bank holiday launch of the Smart Investor platform, with disgruntled clients citing missing membership numbers and passwords, and others receiving error codes on trying to access their accounts.

Those who tried to complain to Barclays directly were faced with a wait of between 40 minutes and two hours to speak to someone on the helpline.

A host of other grumbles about the way the platform is set up has led to many clients walking away from the broker.

This has been good news for rival platforms who have seen a surge in the number of clients transferring from Barclays.

A spokeswoman for Bestinvest said the platform had seen ‘a huge increase in transfers from Barclays’.

‘The number of accounts coming across in 2017 is already 7.5 times higher than seen during the full year 2016,’ she said.

Although AJ Bell could not put a figure on the number of transfers, a spokesman said ‘we have definitely seen a substantial increase in the number of transfer requests’.

Danny Cox of Hargreaves Lansdown confirmed the platform had ‘seen an increase in the number of people moving across’ from Barclays.

There was a similar response from TD Direct, which was recently bought by Interactive Investor. A spokeswoman said: ‘The Interactive Investor group has seen positive new customer recruitment throughout the year and new customer enquiries have continued to be very strong of late.’

Unhappy Barclays customers may have to wait some time before they are able to move away from the Smart Investor platform as transfer times have been exacerbated by the volume of people moving.

One platform told Citywire Money that the transfers were ‘taking time’ due to the large number.

‘It’s not surprising if you have a lot of people trying to move off,’ they said.

Another platform said Barclays was 'clearly struggling with the volume [of people transferring away] because it is taking a long time to hear back from them on those transfers’.

One platform source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that some customers had been migrated onto the new service but had not received log-in details, which meant they were ‘stuck in a limbo where they cannot trade on the old system but they cannot transfer until they [can access] their new account’.

A spokesman said: 'We anticipated some clients would move their holdings elsewhere as we launched our new service but this is in line with expectations, at the same time new accounts are being opened and customers are also choosing to transfer their investments to us.

'In addition, more people are logging into their Smart Investor accounts every day, making use of the new functionality available.'

46 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Jerry Grant

Sep 19, 2017 at 15:55


I jumped to AJBell in the week immediately after this new system was announced and after one of their staff in Glasgow confided that it wasn't a system I would like.

Certainly glad I took the guy's advice.

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John Brandler

Sep 19, 2017 at 15:55

Barclays dont want PEOPLE - they ONLY want the huge investment houses. They are like Ryan Air - except this policy is PLANNED by someone on a Bonus !!

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Jerry Grant

Sep 19, 2017 at 15:59

Barclays handling of this is akin to Provident Fianacials recent decision to do away with self-employed collectors and replace them with full time staff.

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Sep 19, 2017 at 16:05

It's a common problem with software. When you develop a good system and iron out the bugs you have developers and programmers with time on their hands, so they devise a 'better' one; new and clunky with masses of bugs. Takes good management to forestall, which BARC clearly have not got.

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Sep 19, 2017 at 16:25

I don't agree that Barclays are uninterested in having people using Smart Investor. Their rationale appears to be to join the banking and investing websites. In which case they clearly want their banking customers to use Smart Investor. They have already upset thousands of their old Barclays Stockbroker clients, and if they can't sort out all the glitches in Smart Investor, they are going to start upsetting many of their banking customers too. Not a good move!

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Stephen B.

Sep 19, 2017 at 16:26

I think that starting a new system from scratch, as they seem to have done here, is almost always a disaster. Existing systems accumulate all sorts of fixes for problems encountered over time and features that people have requested. That may make it all look messy and hard to maintain, but there is probably no explicit documentation of what all the features are or why they're there so if you reinvent from scratch a lot of useful functionality is generally lost. The new system does have some innovations, e.g. a bed-and-ISA button, fairly elaborate dividend choices and use of faster payments, which may have been wishlist items that were hard to implement in the old system, but people are much more likely to notice things they used that have gone than new features. Also although they could track what people were clicking on they can't tell what they were looking at, e.g. daily price movements.

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Sep 19, 2017 at 16:33

And to add insult to injury they have stopped one accessing the old system. So if you want historical information like what dividends I received last year, you have to search for old paper records ...

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Martin Swiftt

Sep 19, 2017 at 17:23

What's that old saying, "if it ain't broke....." . Improve stuff by all means, but don't ruin your relationship with existing clients by changing the service completely. Not good.

HL received my transfer request on the 10th of August and it took Barclays another 11 days to acknowledge it. None of my shares have been transferred yet. It will be a long time before Barclays has any of my business again.

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Anthony Tinslay

Sep 19, 2017 at 17:48

One big drawback to the new platform and which caused many customers difficulty or impossibility in logging on, and which was not mentioned by Barclays concerned what browser the customer was trying to use. It seems now that Opera was a definite non-starter and considerable problems with Firefox. Google Chrome was fairly straightforward but Barclays kept quiet. Another still current big problem ia when looking at one's portfolio after close of business the share price indicated is often very different to the actual closing mid price. and that is the supposed measure indicated in the details on the web page. My letter of complaint to Alastair Thaw drew the response that I should receive a reply to their investigations on 22nd Sep. No doubt I will receive another letter advising that they are still investigating and might hear in another four weeks.

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Anthony Tinslay

Sep 19, 2017 at 18:05

One big drawback to the new platform and which caused many customers difficulty or impossibility in logging on, and which was not mentioned by Barclays concerned what browser the customer was trying to use. It seems now that Opera was a definite non-starter and considerable problems with Firefox. Google Chrome was fairly straightforward but Barclays kept quiet. Another still current big problem ia when looking at one's portfolio after close of business the share price indicated is often very different to the actual closing mid price. and that is the supposed measure indicated in the details on the web page. My letter of complaint to Alastair Thaw drew the response that I should receive a reply to their investigations on 22nd Sep. No doubt I will receive another letter advising that they are still investigating and might hear in another four weeks.

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Anthony Tinslay

Sep 19, 2017 at 18:08

Just to emphasise error in share prices shown. These two shares in my portfolio

Cineworld - at 6.10 share price shown 610p - actual c.o.b. was 622.79

GKN - at 6.10 share price shown 334p - actual c.o.b. was 348.12

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Christopher Propert

Sep 19, 2017 at 21:37

I am a simple chap. But, I do like tracking share prices, and in a clumsy way, would print off four accounts for my wife and myself at the month end, and manually put them into a spreadsheet. It was easy, and just one piece of paper for each account. If you try to print now (by Ctrl+P) you do not get the full width easily, and you get reams of stuff at the beginning and end. It smacks of a 'designer' rather than someone who wants something usable/readable.

And I too wait for a reply to my letter.......

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Sep 19, 2017 at 23:41

I've been reluctant to move our (wife's and my) ISAs from Barclays as we've been with them for more than 20 years. I had hoped that the level of outcry over the website changes might have prompted a change of heart on Barclays part. But all there's been is a letter from Alastair Thaw announcing Barclays "delight" about the new platform, and not addressing any of the problems.

So I reluctantly started the process of transferring them to AJ Bell earlier today.

With hindsight I should have seen the writing on the wall when I played the video they sent heralding the change. Instead of a description, or even a demonstration, of their new portal, it was just pictures of fancy coffee machines making flat whites for happy smiley people.

I feel desperately sorry for all those lovely helpful folks I spoke to over the years in Glasgow whenever I had an issue in the past. I'm sure they've seen this coming like a train crash in slow motion.

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Jerry Grant

Sep 20, 2017 at 07:31

I agree; the lads and lassies up in Glasgow were fantastic. Intelligent, well trained, courteous, helpfull and friendly.

I'm eternally gratefull to the lad who let me have his frank opinion about the new system well in advance.

I do wish them all well but I understand that currently they are all working on the new system.

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Sep 20, 2017 at 08:14

The WORST aspect of the new system is that (for a non-B's Bank a/c holder) is that I have no method of emailing simple queries or operational requests. I have only 1. phone them - up to 2 hours 2. webchat - too busy not working can (as of last couple of days) email through the complaints channel.

Be warned all of you considering transfer BARCLAYs behest I started a transfer of my Pension trading a/c to AJBell 3 months ago.....still waiting for completion.

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sandbank 2

Sep 20, 2017 at 09:13

I am now reluctantly transferring from Barclays to IG Index for trading - but I just don't understand what on earth Barclays think they are up to.

Even at this late stage - if Barclays gave me the option of returning to the old system I would jump at the chance - even if the dealing fees were higher

In Barclays we have an ignorant, arrogant, over-compensated "elite", who really know nothing about their business they are in, wrecking a perfectly good product. Bye bye Barclays.

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Tim D

Sep 20, 2017 at 10:30

I very much doubt this massive change has been led by "engineers with time on their hands" as alleged in an earlier comment. It's been fairly well documented in industry news that Barclays are migrating to a 3rd party software/platform provided by an outfit called "FNZ"; apparently Barclays are pioneering some new system from FNZ which allows FNZ's product to be "skinned" to match Barclay's banking site's branding. So there's a double-whammy of both moving from what was (presumably) a bespoke system developed in-house to a one-size-fits-all outsourced "solution", and also being an early adopter of something which probably hasn't been battle-hardened yet.

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Trevor D

Sep 20, 2017 at 22:11

We have had incompetence. And arrogance. But now Barclays have shown a new talent for spin worthy of the most disreputable politicians. The comments from their spokesman in the last two paragraphs of the article beggar belief. I'm now sure they are not going to make any meaningful improvements to their dreadful new platform - and I'm leaving as soon as the chaos abates.

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charles goody

Sep 23, 2017 at 09:10

I have been fighting the new system in order to manage my investments. What a shambles . Placed a limit order but now need to change it. Impossible and no help!

Wished I had moved out earlier!

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Garth Nicholson

Sep 23, 2017 at 09:19

Whilst the new dealing charge for shares at £6 is very reasonable the charge for the privilege of keeping your holdings with Barclays of 0.1% is excessive - bearing in mind they don't provide any services above that of any other on line brokerage. In fact the service level is currently worse than most other on line brokerages. Work it out for yourself £200k portfolio value = £200 pa (currently capped for existing customers). My other broker charges me £20 pa regardless of portfolio size. How about providing more for your money, such as on line streaming prices?

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Sep 23, 2017 at 09:32

You reap what you sow Barclays have treat their customers like dirt for over 20 years

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Sep 23, 2017 at 10:01

The ludicrous statement trying to justify that customers are happy by saying 'In addition, more people are logging into their Smart Investor accounts every day, making use of the new functionality available.' is that they are logging in more times because the Smart Investor site is very quick to log them out whilst they try to use the system.

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Paul Reckin

Sep 23, 2017 at 10:16

I very rarely comment so not too bothered.

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Paul Reckin

Sep 23, 2017 at 11:16

It also is the case now that from September 1st dividends payable by Barclays are not being paid on the pay date specified. Barclays own Dividend pay date was September 18th 2017 - normal routine is money appears in your sotckbroking account 2 days later. Nothing has appeared yet although the website states it has been paid. I checked with Customer Services and they have said that there is a 10 day delay. Is this another foul up. It is pretty poor when Barclays cannot pay out its own shareholders their dividend at the expected time. I have a LLoyds divi due on 27th Sept - will that also be subject to a 10 day delay?. Customer services thought it might be. Is this a further failure of this 'smart investor' implementation?.

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Sep 23, 2017 at 12:38

Old systems should be improved gradually and not changed completely suddenly. Barclays are bangling one thing after another and their managers are not held to account. It is time a few of the directors were given their cards.

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Sep 23, 2017 at 12:58

Some may be spending time at her Magisrys Plesure should give them time to reflect

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Sep 23, 2017 at 13:08

Garth, I quite agree, the charges are way out of kilter, and the DECREASE in functionality of the site is the final blow. Problem is deciding who to move to, but I guess almost anyone is better than Smart.

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Sep 23, 2017 at 13:35


They sent my wife details of my new account transferred by them to a different branch without telling me.

They sent my company details of its new accounts, but actually inserting the details of my joint account with my wife.

When I complained that I couldn't find out if HSBC knew who their clients were and couldn't tell whether they thought I was the only person able to sign on my signature mandate, they told me they would forward my complaint to the complaints department and I could expect an answer in 8 weeks.

I told them I wasn't sure they would be writing to a customer of the bank in 8 weeks time.

Just trying to find out which other bank would treat me better.

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Sep 23, 2017 at 13:50

Iweb £5 pound fee & no management charges

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m g

Sep 23, 2017 at 14:09

I haven't even attempted to log in just the same as I never download new updates on my Apple devices.

However when I do it will purely to check my holdings as they should be then if correct will instigate actions to move my account to another platform provider.

I don't suppose Barclays will mind too much as I only have £500k in the accounts!

Sad to leave as I found the customer support in Glasgow to be excellent. I feel for those staff.

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Jay mi via mobile

Sep 23, 2017 at 16:32

“New functionality”

Still showing incorrect prices and values of my investments. Some showing higher, others lower. The only good thing I can think of is the portfolio analysis. Even that is a poor version of HL portfolio analysis.

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David Harmes

Sep 23, 2017 at 21:45

Unfortunately I agree with all the above comments. I have had SIPP accounts since the Sharelink days so I have been moved firstly to Charles Schwab and then some years later to Barclays

Barclays told us that they trialled the system with 30,000 people prior to moving the last 200,000 across on the bank holiday weekend. I just can't imagine that they were experienced traders otherwise the problems in the new system would have come to the fore. In my opinion the biggest problems are:

a) The inability to link accounts and deal with these in turn rather than have to log out and then log back in with another membership number. I have so many of these now my whole online system is clogging up.

b) The inability to sort accounts and to look at not only the gains since purchase but the gains or losses on the day. Also the ability to sort accounts whether they are shares, unit trusts, investment trusts or ETFs. Who gives a monkeys frankly.

c) I have not yet found a way to import movement or balance data into Excel by downloading in a csv format.

d) The closing prices shown at the end of the day are not the closing prices per the stock market. Some are a million miles away from the real prices that it makes you want to ask how the hell did that number get in there. To be honest even the old system had problems with this but now it's worse than it was before.

e) There is no good summary of the status of the account (or accounts) to give an overview of the overall position.

I'm afraid Barclays the situation is hopeless. It's like day and night. We can never get used to this dumbed down system so we will have to move. If there are other investors that want to open their accounts with you then the move has been a success but I and many others will be forced to move to other, often less proficient systems, than the one you just abandoned.

I would like to echo the comments made above and thank the staff at the Scottish call centre who were always courteous and efficient in answering the phone. We will miss your professionality.

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William Phillips

Sep 28, 2017 at 15:08

Fascinating to see how little coverage this fiasco has gathered in the legacy media, where Barclays is a major advertiser.

A Bing search reveals one City page piece (Telegraph) about which platform you might switch to if disgruntled, more than a fortnight ago. Citywire seems to be a lone voice, although judging by forum posts 'SmartInvestor' is far from over its teething troubles.

The service's home page is a masterpiece of bland optimism and silence about its difficulties.

I am a small Barclays shareholder who has seen a steep drop in price and halving of the dividend; also a current account holder with a small balance, who has never been able to get on line because the same error message comes up every time. The whole organisation, unlike other big banks, seems uninterested in contact and not anxious to make small customers bigger.

If ever challenger banks were needed, it is against the outlook incarnated by this mob.

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Sep 28, 2017 at 15:35

I am dealing as normal with Barclays, but only until the dust from those exiting has settled. Then I shall follow suit to another perhaps more customer focussed provider and one with a good research website. Barclays have proved themselves incompetent and uncaring, their reputation what there was of it in tatters.

As you say, the press have done little to take Barclays to task and we know why.

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Sep 28, 2017 at 17:50

Like you, Drogue, I am waiting for the dust to settle, but am determined within this calendar year to transfer our four accounts amounting to over seven figures from Barclays, along with our joint current account.

Still haven't decided which dealing-only stockbroker we will go with though.

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Sep 28, 2017 at 18:02

Looks like Barclays are up S creek without a paddle

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Sep 28, 2017 at 18:50

Up a creek without a client would be preferable. I suppose we could all buy a few shares and attend en masse the AGM to ruffle a few overpaid feathers.

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Anthony Tinslay

Sep 28, 2017 at 18:52

Like you other gentlemen I shall not rush although the end result seems inevitable that it will be to move away. As a retired employee with involvement in that area I am feeling sad of the current situation. In particular as to how Barclays has its head in the sand and not wanting to recognise the result of so called "Smart" introduction. My inside contact tells me that staff in that area have been instructed to show a brave face and not admit to any shortcomings. Already a sign of changes is that you might be answered by someone in India if you telephone for assistance, rather than one of those very helpful people in Glasgow..

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Sep 28, 2017 at 19:07

The staff below manager level have treat abonobly for 30 years each year getting worse while the fat cats get fatter & trashing the Bank in the process this as been asset stripping on a grand scale

Don't risk buying any shares theirs only one way for them

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Christopher Propert

Sep 28, 2017 at 19:16

Tomboy suggested IWEB as an alternative holder, a few days back. I have watched the not terribly helpful video. The charge per trade is £5; and £25 to open an account - but then there is no annual administration charge, or presumably any at other intervals. It is operated by Halifax Share Dealing Ltd.

Does anyone have any experience of their efficiency/ease of contact/ appearance and use of the site/ its speed and resources?

Like others - I sit tight for the moment, having heard that those who chose to jump a month back, are still stuck. And of course, I wait on tenterhooks for a reply to the letter I sent of general and specific outrage......

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Stephen B.

Sep 28, 2017 at 19:58

There has been a bit more press coverage, at least the FT and Investors Chronicle. My current intention is to transfer my relatively small non-ISA holdings to iweb and see how that goes - the feedback for iweb on another thread was positive but I'd like to see for myself. The ISA will then go to either them or HL. I think the situation with Smart Investor is probably not recoverable now whatever they do, so I'd say about a 90% chance that I'll have started to leave by December.

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Sep 28, 2017 at 20:08

Iweb are good used them for 3 years use the delays in accessing your Barclays accounts then transfer your holdings over please check first with iweb that transfers in are ok mine was a new account so dident face the problems you guys & girls are facing

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m g

Sep 29, 2017 at 07:35

Thanks @Tomboy. Having looked at numerous options I had decided on IWeb for my switch out. Good to hear the positive review. Will start the switch next week of our 4 accounts. Sad to switch but no option!

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Christopher Propert

Sep 29, 2017 at 23:23

Yes - sad to leave the helpful folk of Tay Street. And I have had a letter at last! Full of practised platitudes. Did the fees calculation, and ignoring any reduction for trading that we got before on share accounts, the new charges will (for us) be a minimum of X4.7 which equates to an extra £700 or so. I will try to establish what the backlog on transfer is now. Good luck to you all!

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Michael Linham

Oct 06, 2017 at 11:10

Hooray - after 2 months or more just heard from Sagasharedirect ( managed by Equiniti) that my portfolio had arrived by October 4th as Barclays finally promised. That's the good bit - sadly, it was only half complete and the cash element also went awol. It's really odd the it's all the shares from S- Z that got through the net, hoping A -R will follow shortly.

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Oct 06, 2017 at 13:03

I’ve never come across Sagasharedirect, so that’s even more research before the leap into the unknown.

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