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By Aimee Steen | Published Jun 06, 2012

In Depth: Barclays Stockbrokers relaunch

Barclays has signalled a renewed interest in IFAs with the relaunch of its stockbroker service for investment managers.

In the latest of a series of moves to take a share of the intermediary space, Barclays Stockbrokers is pitching to investment managers wanting access to both stocks and funds.

Advisers using the service will be able to access client accounts through one login and trade on their behalf. They will have access to UK stocks and shares as well as funds following a recent tie-up with Fidelity FundsNetwork.

When the relationship was announced, commentators speculated on its similarity to Hargreaves Lansdown; like the Hargreaves service, clients at Barclays can also earn a loyalty bonus on eligible investments.

Barclays claims to have features that set it apart from Hargreaves, however. For example, clients – and advisers using the intermediary version – can access its price improver tool, which polls a range of market makers to find the best available prices. An average saving of £10.14 per trade was saved in 2011 using this method, Barclays said.

While the bank is trumpeting the launch of this service, Alistair Cunningham, director at Surrey-based Wingate Financial Planning, said frequent equity trading would not be relevant to many advisers. “Most advisers don’t have discretionary permissions,” he said. “Why would we want to be buying and selling shares? It potentially adds in more compliance and an administrative nightmare.”

Will Burge, head of corporate sales at Barclays Stockbrokers, conceded that individual stock trading might not appeal to many IFAs. “Is that going to be something that the majority of IFAs want? Probably not,” he said.

But, he added, access to ETFs and investment trusts would be of interest to advisers, particularly when the RDR comes into force.

It was revealed earlier this year that the Barclays Stockbrokers service was being piloted on the Cofunds platform. While Burge would not be drawn on whether Barclays would be developing its offering into a standalone full-blown platform with additional features, he said its functionality would be a work in progress.

“Currently we are building up the platform that we’ve got,” he said. “We will always respond to client demand and, as and when IFAs are requesting different access to different products, then we can move to support them.”

Costs involved in the service include a charge of £6.95 upwards per trade and a 15 basis points global custody charge for assets under management.

Why would we want to be buying and selling shares? It potentially adds in more compliance and an administrative nightmare.

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