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Banks, Financial

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Categorized | Banks, Financial

Barclays to combine banking and investment services

Posted on November 27, 2016

Barclays will bring its banking and investment services together in an overhaul of its 30-year old stockbroking operation to help the bank take on investment advisory rivals such as Hargreaves Lansdown.

Barclays said the new platform, which will be open to all customers to manage savings, current accounts and investments, would be the first combined service of its kind, although similar features have been available to clients of wealth services that typically need a minimum in investable assets.

The bank said existing Barclays Stockbrokers customers would be transferred across to the site — called Barclays Direct Investing — next year, marking the end of three decades of the Stockbrokers brand. It will be open to customers of other banks next year.

Barclays is targeting a broader range of customers through the site compared with its current stockbrokers service, which provides trading and investments to self-directed investors.

Rupert Dickinson, managing director of Direct Investing, said most of the staff supporting stockbrokers would continue to work for the new service, although some might be redeployed within the bank.

The launch comes months after the Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority released a report revealing that many people did not have access to costly advice and required other forms of support in order to invest.

The Barclays service is aimed at helping less experienced investors and address this so-called “advice gap”. It provides tools designed to help people learn about investing, set long-term goals and execute investments.

Mr Dickinson said: “You’ll struggle to find any other player in the marketplace that provides a full investment offering fully integrated with banking.” He added: “This is an investment proposition that everyone will be able to access, even non-banking customers.”

Akshaya Bhargava, chief executive of wealth and investments UK at Barclays, said: “The world of investing can often seem complex and changes to the advice market in the UK have left many people without the help they need to navigate it.”

In a similar move to Hargreaves Lansdown, the largest direct investment platform in the UK, Barclays will offer a core list of more than 50 funds that have achieved a certain level of performance.

Barclays claims that there are no “hidden charges” within customer fees. The bank said there is one fee and one transaction charge, while other common costs such as exit fees, reinvesting dividends and probate valuations are not charged.

Charges came under the spotlight last week when the FCA published a 200-page market study into the UK’s asset management sector, which recommended funds charge an “all-in fee” so investors can easily see what is being taken from a fund.

Barclays said fees for holding funds would amount to 0.2 per cent a year, while other investments such as shares would cost 0.1 per cent.