Barclays: Smart Investor not so clever

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UK banking group Barclays recently launched stockbroking service Smart Investor, moving customers from Barclays Stockbrokers.

Rationale

Dubbed an easier and cheaper “DIY” service, it was meant to have broad appeal. But the design overhaul has irritated established users.

Still antiquated

And whilst the service is new, it’s still seen as outdated compared to rivals.

There’s no app. And that’s big: Hargreaves Landsdown, the biggest UK investor shop, sees 25% of trades conducted via its app.

And Barclays doesn’t publish investment trust research. That’s odd considering it’s a very popular product.

Issues

Users have been unable to login. They’ve been asked for “memorable words” they’ve yet to create. Some can’t see stock price changes. Others have been prompted to a Barclays bank account they don’t hold.

And when it comes to resolving these problems, they’ve been faced with long telephone queues.

Disadvantages

A new “online transaction fee” for fund investors makes the service best suited for longer term investment strategies. Conversely, sophisticated investors, who like to trade in funds often, will find it more expensive.

Meanwhile, customers can no longer hold multiple accounts nor the accounts of others, meaning trust accounts have to leave.

As a result, there’s been a customer exodus.

Can’t escape

And because so many are wanting to leave, it’s created a bottleneck.

Customers are being told it’ll take upto 3 months before they can jump ship.

Barclays share price dipped slightly.

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