Barclays Group 

Barclays launches service to rival robo-advice

Barclays launches service to rival robo-advice

Barclays is the latest company to launch a direct to consumer investment proposition that claims to give customers a little more than robo-advice does.

The bank is launching Ready Made Investments, which allows customers to build a portfolio by investing in a single Barclays fund.

It claims that the funds are matched to customers’ chosen risk profile and financial goals.

Customers can choose between growth and income investments as well as funds matched to their risk appetite and goals.

The service is available to Barclays Smart Investor customers, and the charges are on top of the fees and transaction services for Smart Investor.

The Growth Investment funds have an ongoing management fee of 0.45 per cent, and the management fee for the Income Investment funds is 1.45 per cent to 1.48 per cent.

Clare Francis, savings and investments director at Barclays, said: "While some new or unconfident investors can find it difficult to know where to start, Ready-made Investments gives them a simple way to match their financial goals and risk appetite to a range of Barclays funds.

“Users then select the options they feel most comfortable investing in. It’s therefore the perfect starting point for novices, many of whom just want to take that first important step onto the investment ladder.

"The funds are managed by our investment experts who undertake daily reviews of the best opportunities in the market.”

Recent announcements from banks in this space include HSBC’s new low-cost online investment service that will use algorithms to match people to an investment, and which is aimed at those with less than £15,000 to invest.

More details on the service is expected later in the year.

Natwest is also planning to launch a robo-advice service later in the year.

Patrick Connolly, Chartered financial planner at Chase de Vere, said while these bank services can be useful for those who are unable or unwilling to access independent financial advice, many of these offerings are simply a way for product providers to sell their own investment funds and propositions.

Last month research revealed robo-advice is less popular than financial advisers, friends or even the internet.

According to the fifth annual ING International Survey Mobile Banking 2017, which quizzed nearly 15,000 people across 15 countries, nine out of 10 (91 per cent) people in Europe would not let a robo-adviser – a computer program that learns consumer preferences and invests money based on this information –manage and make decisions about their finances unilaterally.

Allowing a computer program to make decisions is not out of the question for some people, with a quarter (26 per cent) saying this would be an option if they got final approval.

However, only 3 per cent are willing to give up control and let a robo-adviser act on their behalf without them first giving the go-ahead.

rosie.murray-west@ft.com

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