Bar­clays Stock­bro­kers switch draws com­plaints

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - OPINION - Richard Dyson

Bar­clays Stock­bro­kers, Bri­tain’s third-big­gest in­vest­ment shop, chose Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day to mi­grate 200,000 cus­tomers to new ac­counts un­der­pinned by new tech­nol­ogy and re­quir­ing fresh log-ins and phone pass­words.

The new ser­vice, Smart In­vestor, has a dif­fer­ent charg­ing struc­ture which will see most savers pay less, the firm has said.

Cus­tomers had been sent nu­mer­ous let­ters and warn­ings, but some still en­coun­tered prob­lems when they tried to log in to their new ac­counts.

One reader, call­ing in to Your Money, said he was be­ing asked to “en­ter a mem­o­rable word” when he had never set one up.

Oth­ers com­plained of waits of up to 40 min­utes to get through to call cen­tre staff for help af­ter nav­i­gat­ing a com­plex phone menu.

Par­tic­u­lar dif­fi­culty seemed to arise with the 100,000 cus­tomers who were ex­ist­ing cus­tomers of Bar­clays Stock­bro­kers but not cus­tomers of Bar­clays Bank. Be­cause the new log-in is uni­fied across all Bar­clays ser­vices, for­mer cus­tomers of the bro­ker arm were be­wil­dered to en­counter in­struc­tions such as “pro­ceed to on­line bank­ing”, with tabs for credit cards and loans.

Com­men­ta­tors re­marked that it was lucky for both Bar­clays and its clients that the week opened with calm mar­kets and light trad­ing.

Ru­pert Dick­in­son, head of di­rect in­vest­ing at Bar­clays, said: “We are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to sup­port our cus­tomers. We apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience caused dur­ing this pe­riod of ad­just­ment.”

Bar­clays’ bro­ker ser­vice has long lagged those of larger ri­vals such as Har­g­reaves Lans­down, the big­gest, and In­ter­ac­tive In­vestor, which is in the process of merg­ing with TD Di­rect to be­come the sec­ond largest.

De­spite mov­ing to the new Smart In­vestor plat­form, Bar­clays’ ser­vice still lacks many of the fea­tures of­fered by ri­vals.

In­for­ma­tion pro­vided about pop­u­lar in­vest­ment trusts, for ex­am­ple, re­mains lim­ited, and there is still no mo­bile app for trad­ing on the move.

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