Are Barclays plc, ICAP plc and Brewin Dolphin Holdings plc the best stock tips of all-time?

Should you buy these 3 financial services stocks right now? Barclays plc (LON: BARC), ICAP plc (LON: IAP) and Brewin Dolphin Holdings plc (LON: BRW).

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Shares in Barclays (LSE: BARC) continue to disappoint, with them having fallen by 26% since the turn of the year. Clearly, this is difficult to stomach for holders of the shares, but for new investors their fall could present an opportunity to buy when the bank’s risk/reward ratio is highly favourable.

For example, Barclays trades on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 10 at the present time and this indicates that there’s tremendous potential for an upward rerating. The chances of that happening are increased significantly by Barclays’ upbeat earnings growth prospects, with the bank expected to increase its bottom line by 40% in the next financial year. This puts it on a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.2, which shows that it offers stunning growth at a very reasonable price.

Furthermore, with Barclays implementing a new strategy that will see it dispose of non-core assets and focus on improving its capital position, investor sentiment could gradually increase as Barclays becomes a more financially sound and profitable bank.

Swimming with (Brewin) Dolphin

Also offering upside potential is investment management company Brewin Dolphin (LSE: BRW). Certainly, 2016 has been a tough year thus far for the business, with increased market volatility causing a degree of uncertainty regarding its financial future. As such, investors are pencilling in a fall in the company’s bottom line of 5% in the current year.

While this result would be disappointing, Brewin Dolphin is expected to bounce back next year with growth in earnings of 15%. This could cause investor sentiment to pick up strongly and with its shares having a PEG ratio of 0.9, they seem to be very attractively priced. Clearly, further market volatility or a fall in the price level of the FTSE 100 could cause Brewin Dolphin’s forecasts to be downgraded. However, with such an appealing valuation it seems to offer a wide margin of safety for long-term investors.

One to watch

Meanwhile, interdealer broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) doesn’t appear to be as enticing for investors as Barclays or Brewin Dolphin. Much of that comes down to its valuation, with it currently trading on a P/E ratio of 16.4, which indicates that its shares may be fully valued. And while ICAP is expected to increase its earnings by 12% this year and by a further 6% next year, there are better value and faster growing options elsewhere.

Certainly, ICAP has the potential to grow its bottom line at a rapid rate in future years, with its planned deal to merge with Tullett Prebon offering synergies and increased financial strength. However, with any merger there are always risks that integration won’t be smooth and with ICAP having such a narrow margin of safety, it appears to be a stock to watch rather than buy at the present time.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Peter Stephens owns shares of Barclays. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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