Barclays Stockbrokers switch draws complaints
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.