Barclays is a well-established financial giant.
In my review, I examine the Barclays Smart Investor platform provided by Barclays.
The analysis looks at the platform’s various features, products and services and whether it meets the reputation set by the parent organisation.
I provide an in-depth analysis of what the Barclays Smart Investor has in store for the modern investor and if it can meet the various investment needs of clients.
Table of Contents
Barclays Smart Investor Introduction
Barclays Smart Investor is a DIY investment platform provided by Barclays Bank.
It is designed to meet the investment needs of novice and experienced investors, giving them more flexibility in managing their portfolios.
The platform features various tools and resources which assist customers in making more informed and wise investment decisions.
Barclays provides different investment accounts on the Barclays Smart Investor for its clients.
Barclays Smart Investor offers competitive fees.
The simplest method of paying the costs on the investment platform is via Direct Debit.
Customers have 24/7 access to the latest economic and investment insights from industry experts.
The refresh centre provided by the platform features the latest market movements, real-time pricing, and in-depth company data.
The funds transfer process is not only straightforward and speedy, but it’s also very tax efficient.
Barclays Smart Investor is most suitable for novice investors.
It helps them understand the benefits and risks associated with cash savings vs investing.
They get tips on how to open a Barclays Smart Investor account.
However, the platform doesn’t provide tailored financial advice; investors can get more professional advice about specific investment vehicles from experts.
Barclays Smart Investor Account Opening
The investment vehicles on the Barclays Smart Investor platforms are available to customers after they open an account.
Customers enjoy the convenience of opening their accounts. The digital account opening process is straightforward and quick, whether using the web version or the mobile application.
Only UK investors can open an account with Barclays when using the Barclays Smart Investor platform.
Currently, Barclays Smart Investor has three primary account options for its customers:
- Smart Investor: Investment ISA, Investment Account and Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) Account
- Plan & Invest
- Ready-made Investments
After picking your preferred account, the Barclays Smart Investor platform will prompt the customer to deposit. Investors with funds in their accounts can select their preferred investment vehicle from the extensive catalogue.
Apart from the thousands of investment vehicle options, Barclays Smart Investor has Ready-made Investment funds and Funds List. The two are curated by experts on the platform and provide an excellent opportunity for investors to diversify their investment portfolios.
Experienced investors can use the tools and insights to find their preferred investment vehicle and create a customised investment profile.
The Barclays Smart Investor will request you link your bank account with the platforms. Investors with Barclays bank accounts can skip this process.
Instead, they will automatically have their accounts reflected on the platforms. If the Barclays Smart Investor platform doesn’t verify your personal information online, you must provide identification documents and proof of residence.
Barclays Smart Investor Products
The Barclays Smart Investor platform is suitable for beginner and experienced investors; this is visible from the investment accounts present on the platform.
The investment accounts on the platforms meet the various needs of different investors, regardless of their investment background and experience.
The Smart Investor provides investment options for more experienced clients. The investors use the various instruments and concepts on the platform’s Research Centre to create their investment profile.
Smart Investor currently has three primary tax-efficient accounts which investors can pick from, Investment ISA, Investment Account and SIPP Account.
They also have the comfort of managing their investment accounts. Even though the accounts don’t have a minimum investment, they must be higher than the commission charged when purchasing equities.
It is the most popular investment account on the Barclays Smart Investor platform. The returns earned from this account are tax-free.
Investors can make annual payments of up to £20,000.
Additionally, they can withdraw funds from the ISA account, pay it back before the tax year ends, and enjoy their annual returns.
The Investment ISA provided by the Barclays Smart Investor is an award-winning Investment ISA and received an award during the 2022 Online Money awards (Best Stocks & Shares ISA Provider).
It offers clients a more flexible investment option with zero minimum investment. Investors with the Investment Account can purchase bonds, funds, and shares with zero annual limits.
The account is ideal for low, medium and large-sized investment options. Investors can also create diversified or singular investment profiles based on their needs and goals.
The expansive catalogue of investment opportunities makes it easy to create a diversified investment profile. Investors who want a single investment can use the Ready-made Investments available on the platforms.
Investors get discounted fees when buying qualified investment products from Barclays-partnered Retail Service Providers via the Barclays Price Improver.
Investment Account features a speedy and straightforward transfer from other investment platforms.
Clients can make more informed investment decisions thanks to unlimited access to research content, tools, articles, and videos. If you already have a Barclays banking account, you can manage all your accounts using Barclays Online Banking.
Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) Account
The Self-Invested Personal Pension offered by Barclays Smart Investor is an award-winning SIPP.
During the 2022 Shares Awards, the account received the Best SIPP award. The SIPP is a tax-efficient personal investment and pension plan with a more diverse portfolio of investment opportunities than the regular pension plan.
AJ Bell is the provider and administrator of the Barclays Smart Investor SIPP account. They handle income payments of clients and reclaim any due basic-rate tax relief, thus ensuring the smooth operations of the pension plan.SIPP account holders can access various research content, tools, articles, and videos.
Barclays Smart Investor handles the payment of dividends and income from the SIPP accounts. Investors can make regular, timely payments or one lump sum payment in their SIPP accounts.
They can pick their preferred investment vehicle from over 2000 funds, shares, investment trusts, and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
Apart from enjoying a speedy transfer of pensions to the Barclays Smart Investor SIPP account from other pension providers, clients enjoy 24/7 access to their accounts through online accounts. They get unlimited customer support via online messaging service and phone calls.
The Barclays Smart Investor ready-made investments are suitable for investors looking for a short-term investment. The team at Barclays Smart Investor matches the appropriate investment option to a client based on their investment needs and goals.
They also provide expert and professional guidance for investors. Five investment accounts are in the Ready-made Investments category, each behaving differently.
The investment features the lowest risk. It is a diversified investment vehicle comprising 57% bonds, 25% cash and 18% shares.
The numbers might change as the Barclays Smart Investor experts focus on making the most returns from any investment.
Even though it has a higher risk level than a Defensive investment plan, the risk level is still low. It is also a diversified investment vehicle with the possibility of adjusting the numbers to achieve maximum returns. The Cautious plan entails 51% bonds, 33% shares and 16% cash.
The investment vehicle features a more balanced risk. It comprises 53% shares, 39% bonds and 8% cash. Experts can adjust the numbers to take advantage of short-term opportunities in the market.
It is most suitable for investors willing to take a high risk with the possibility of higher returns. The investment vehicle entails 74% shares, 24% bonds and 2% cash.
It has the highest risk in the category of Ready-made Investments and is ideal for investors willing to risk it all to get very high returns. The diversified profile features 87% shares, 11% bonds and 2% cash. Experts can adjust the portfolio if they identify a short-term opportunity to increase return.
Plan & Invest
Barclays Smart Investor has an expansive Active Funds selection featuring managers. Experienced managers take their time to research and identify the most optimal funds. Active funds provide investors with higher returns than the regular financial market.
The Active Funds selection features funds from the most popular investment sectors. Hence it’s easier for investors to develop a diverse portfolio.
The funds the managers select have a high potential of bringing in high returns. The managers constantly monitor the funds, adding and removing them based on their potential to bring higher returns.
Currently, Barclays Smart Investor has the following funds in their Active Funds list:
- Asia ex-Japan (Fidelity Asia Fund, Franklin India Fund, Janus Henderson Asian Dividend Income Fund and Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability Fund.)
- Europe (BlackRock Continental European Income Fund, BlackRock European Dynamic Fund, Invesco European Equity Fund, Jupiter European Fund, and Montanaro European Smaller Companies Fund)
- Global Bonds (Jupiter Strategic Bond Fund and PIMCO Global Investment Grade Credit)
- Sterling Bonds (Fidelity Sustainable Moneybuilder Income Fund, Invesco Corporate Bond UK Fund, M&G Corporate Bond Fund, and Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund)
- Targeted Absolute Return (Aviva Investors Multi-Strategy Target Return Fund and Janus Henderson Absolute Return Fund)
- Emerging Markets (JO Hambro Global Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund and Ninety-One Emerging Markets Equity Fund)
- Global Equity (Janus Henderson Global Equity Income Fund)
- Japan (Man GLG Japan Core Alpha Fund)
- UK Equity – Growth (abrdn UK Smaller Companies Fund, JPM UK Equity Plus Fund, Jupiter UK Alpha Fund, Jupiter UK Mid Cap Fund, Jupiter UK Smaller Companies Fund, and Lindsell Train UK Equity Fund)
- ESG (BlackRock BGF Sustainable Energy Fund, Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity Fund, Jupiter Ecology Fund and Royal London Sustainable Leaders Trust)
- North America (Findlay Park American Fund, JPM US Equity Income Fund, and Loomis Sayles US Equity Leaders Fund)
- UK Equity – Income (Artemis Income Fund, JO Hambro UK Equity Income Fund, and Man GLG UK Income Fund)
- Specialist (Polar Capital Global Technology Fund)
Barclays Smart Investor encourages investors to research the various investment products before settling on their preferred options.
The platform has a Key Investor Information Document (KIID) and fund factsheet that provide helpful information on the various investment opportunities.
Barclays Smart Investor Website & Mobile Application
The Barclays Smart Investor web version is well-developed by the company. The web trading platform is available in English and easy to navigate.
Unfortunately, the users can’t customise the platform to enjoy an elevated user experience. Various menu tabs provide easy navigation to important sections of the platform.
The search button offers a faster and easier way of accessing specific sections of the Barclays Smart Investor platform.
Apart from the website version, users can still access Barclays Smart Investor using Barclays mobile app. However, users need to have an active Barclays bank account.
The application is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Users can access the Barclays Smart Investor and all the Barclays banking services when using the application.
Barclays Smart Investor Research Tools
There is limited information on the Barclays Smart Investor platform; investors seeking expert advice and opinions about specific investment opportunities are advised to seek external professional help.
The platform lacks demo accounts, webinars and platform tutorial videos. Nevertheless, the Barclays Smart Investor features a Research Centre with various tools and resources. Investors can use these tools and resources in making investment decisions.
The information at the Research Centre isn’t professional advice on making sustainable investments. The Research Centre features superior navigation, an improved search function and new functionalities which enhance how data is displayed.
It is accessible on both the web version and the mobile application.
Investors who want timely access to live stream data like charts, market prices, or Level 2 real-time information can consider the Active Trader platform owned by Web Financial Group (WFG), a trusted partner of Barclays.
Investors can also read the latest industry-related articles Barclays Smart Investor experts submit. The reports provide information on market trends, topical economic and financial market insights and investment ideas.
Investors can also get more information on the platform’s FAQ section, which answers some of the most asked questions. The contact us section features various topics where investors can find the relevant information they seek.
Barclays Smart Investor also has a Help and Support section with more details about the multiple products and services available on the platform.
Barclays Smart Investor Fees
Barclays Smart Investor charges various fees and has a simplified payment structure.
The costs depend on the amount of investment, type of investment and frequency of investing.
Below is a breakdown of the Barclays Smart Investor Fees.
Customer fees (based on asset holding)
|Funds||Other investments||Minimum fee per month||Maximum fee per month|
|0.2% p.a. |
Funds mean Unit Trusts & Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) only.
|0.1% p.a. |
Other investments mean all asset classes except for funds and cash.
The minimum fee applies only once you add cash or investment to your account.
Transaction fees (when buying or selling an investment)
|Funds (Online)||Other investments (Online)||All regular automated investments||All investments (Telephone)|
Costs investing up to £24,000 (funds) while making only two transactions yearly
|Customer fee||Transaction fee||Total|
|0.2% p.a. (minimum £48 p.a.)|
You will pay £48 p.a.
|£3 per transaction |
You will pay £6
|You will pay £54|
Costs investing up to £48,000 (funds) while making only four transactions yearly
|Customer fee||Transaction fee||Total|
|0.1% p.a. (minimum £48 p.a.)|
You will pay £48 p.a.
|£6 per transaction|
You will pay £24
|You will pay £72|
|Investments Account, Investment ISA and SIPP Account||Investment Saver|
|No Interest charged||Rates from 3 July 2023|
1.00% AER/gross per year variable for balances of £1+
Pension Account Administration charges
An administration fee of £31.25 + VAT quarterly or £125 + VAT annually.
Active funds Fees
|Active Fund Type||Ongoing Cost||KIDD Risk Score|
|Fidelity Asia Fund (Asia excluding Japan)||0.94%||6|
|Franklin India Fund||1.05%||6|
|Janus Henderson Asian Dividend Income Fund||0.89%||5|
|Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability Fund||0.84% (Acc), 0.85% (Inc)||5|
|JO Hambro Global Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund||0.90%||5|
|Ninety-One Emerging Markets Equity Fund||1.12%||6|
|BlackRock BGF Sustainable Energy Fund||1.23%||6|
|Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity Fund||0.85%||6|
|Jupiter Ecology Fund||0.80%||6|
|Royal London Sustainable Leaders Trust||0.76%||6|
|BlackRock Continental European Income Fund||0.91% (Acc), 0.92% (Inc)||6|
|BlackRock European Dynamic Fund||0.92% (Acc) 0.93% (Inc)||6|
|Invesco European Equity Fund||0.93%||6|
|Jupiter European Fund||0.99%||6|
|Montanaro European Smaller Companies Fund||0.84%||6|
|Jupiter Strategic Bond Fund||0.73$||4|
|PIMCO Global Investment Grade Credit||0.49%||4|
|Janus Henderson Global Equity Income Fund||0.86%||5|
|Man GLG Japan Core Alpha Fund||0.90%||6|
|Findlay Park American Fund||0.93%||5|
|JPM US Equity Income Fund||0.79% (Acc), 0.77% (Inc)||5|
|Loomis Sayles US Equity Leaders Fund||0.80%||5|
|Polar Capital Global Technology Fund||1.12%||6|
|Fidelity Sustainable Moneybuilder Income Fund||0.56%||4|
|Invesco Corporate Bond UK Fund||0.55%||4|
|M&G Corporate Bond Fund||0.42% (Acc), 0.41% (Inc)||4|
|Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund||0.36%||3|
|Aviva Investors Multi-Strategy Target Return Fund||0.85%||4|
|Janus Henderson Absolute Return Fund||1.07%||4|
|abrdn UK Smaller Companies Fund||0.98%||6|
|JPM UK Equity Plus Fund||0.80% (Acc) / 0.82% (Inc)||6|
|Jupiter UK Alpha Fund||0.85% (Acc), 0.78% (Inc)||6|
|Jupiter UK Mid Cap Fund||0.96%||6|
|Jupiter UK Smaller Companies Fund||0.96%||6|
|Lindsell Train UK Equity Fund||0.64%||6|
|Artemis Income Fund||0.80%||6|
|JO Hambro UK Equity Income Fund||0.69%||6|
|Man GLG UK Income Fund||0.90%||6|
Barclays Smart Investor Customer Support
Customers can get in touch with the Barclays Smart Investor customer support via:
- Live chat
- Phone (Monday to Thursday: 7:30 am to 7:00 pm, and Friday: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm)
Unfortunately, customer support isn’t available 24/7. Instead, they are reachable between 7 am and 11 pm. The platform, however, has automated digital assistants available 24/7. Investors can also contact the customer support team via various social media platforms:
- Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BarclaysUK)
- Twitter (https://twitter.com/barclaysuk)
- YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/barclaysuk)
- LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/barclays-uk)
Pros & Cons of Barclays Smart Investor
- Impressive research tools
- Low fees
- Speedy and effortless transfer of ISA and SIPP funds
- Excellent research Centre
- Limited product portfolio
- Doesn’t provide professional and expert advice on sustainable investments
Barclays Smart Investor Alternatives
Barclays Smart Investor is a modern investment platform suitable for any investor.
However, there are other alternatives that rival this popular platform:
eToro rivals Barclays Smart Investor but only marginally. It offers a broader catalogue of investment options with zero commission when trading real stocks. Apart from that, it has a simplified and user-friendly platform.
Some of the most popular investment options at eToro include; forex pairs, crypto, real stocks, EFTs, fractional shares and CFDs. It also has a live chat available 24/7, providing customers with plenty of assistance.
Read my full eToro review.
Hargreaves Lansdown is a premium investment platform for UK investors, where they are provided with personalised services.
The platform also boasts of having an expansive catalogue of investment vehicles, which is lacking with Barclays Smart Investor.
The only challenge is the high fees on the Hargreaves Lansdown investment platform. The high costs are associated with trading. However, Hargreaves Lansdown remains one of the top investment platforms in the UK.
Read my full Hargreaves Lansdown review.
Barclays Smart Investor Review – Final Thoughts
The ready-made investment options and simple payment structure make Barclays Smart Investor an ideal investment platform for novice and experienced investors.
The curated fund list and resourceful Research Centre make the investment journey of beginner investors more bearable and educational.
The platform is accessible via web and mobile applications, giving investors the freedom to enjoy unlimited features on the platform regardless of the method of accessibility.
Since Barclays Smart Investor is backed by Barclays Bank, which has a long-standing pedestal reputation in the industry, investors are guaranteed credibility.
Even though it lacks popular investment vehicles and CFDs, it has a comprehensive list of options for investors. You can opt for the ready-made portfolios or create your investment profile using the various investment vehicles.