Barclays Smart Investor Investment Account Review

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

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The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

Our bottom line

Barclays Smart Investor makes it easy to take your first step into investing. For those who are beginners, or short on time, it has  ready-made investment portfolios created and monitored by experts. Customers can also easily transfer existing investments over, without affecting their tax-efficient status. The platform sells itself on having transparent customer fees. Added to that – stock alerts for real-time changes in price, and you have a product which is there to hold your hand from the start of your investment journey.

Top feature of Barclays’ Smart Investor account

New to investing? Then the Barclays Smart Investor account gives you the chance to dip your toe in the water and learn the ropes. It offers novice investors the choice of five ready-made investment portfolios which, if you are not an expert, could be a huge help. You can select a portfolio based on which suits you best. Then all you need to do is fund the account and Barclays’ team of experts will do the hard work to make sure the fund acts in-line with its characteristics.

However, if you do want to be more involved and create your own portfolio, the Smart Investor’s Research Centre has practically everything you would need. You can make use of Barclays Funds List, which helps to narrow down the wide range of options available. Here you will find funds that have solid reputations. They are selected based on their potential to generate consistent returns in the medium to long-term.

Meanwhile, the Research Centre enables you to stay up-to-date with your investments. Stock alerts can help ensure you won’t miss a trick. Real-time price changes and an advanced search function, in a clean and easy-to-use format, allows you to drill down to the important information to make an informed choice.

Finally, one big advantage of the Barclays Smart Investor account is that it allows you to transfer existing investments in. So if you already have a portfolio but fancy a change, you could make a switch without impacting your investments’ tax-efficient status. The whole process can be completed in four simple steps, smoothing the way to the next stage of your investment journey.

Barclays Smart Investor’s platform

With a regular customer maintenance fee attached to its service, the Barclays Smart Investor platform does not lend itself so well to investors who wish to sit on the sidelines. Instead, you might prefer to drip feed your savings into the market, keeping your investment portfolio ticking over while you pay your monthly fee.

The existence of the platform’s Funds List and ready-made investment portfolios could prove vital for those just getting started with investing. The simple pricing structure also lets novices invest with confidence, knowing they won’t be hit with any unexpected hidden fees.

Barclays Smart Investor’s research offerings

Barclays Smart Investors’s comprehensive Research Centre allows you to search for stocks, structured products, ETFs and many more. With an advanced search option, you can drill down to the information you really need about the investments you are interested in.

You can also opt-in to stock alerts, which will keep you up-to-date with the latest market developments. And if you feel like just having a browse, then the Research Centre has lists of the highest rising and lowest falling funds in varying sectors, as well as other fund tools like sector performance tables.

Customer service and support

Barclays has an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, all of which redirect you to the relevant page for your query. It also has a library of ‘how to’ videos, which walk you through takes such as ‘how to manage your investment settings’ and ‘how to use our research centre’. Really useful if you are a novice investor.

If you can’t find the answer to your question in the FAQs or in the video guides, then you can chat or email the team through the website or call them between 7.30am and 7pm Monday to Thursday, and 7.30am to 6pm on Friday.

Is a Barclays Smart Investor account a good choice for you?

This is a good account for a novice investor. Its simple pricing structure, ready-made investment portfolios and curated fund list are useful tools for someone new to the world of investment. 

Its monthly fee structure does potentially encourage users to trade in order to get ‘value’ from it. But its cost calculator and cap on the maximum fees you can spend each month mean that you can be confident in knowing that costs won’t get out of control.

’How to’ guides and stock alert options all combine to make a package which is designed to help someone take that first step on their investment journey.

Alternatives to consider

If you’re looking for platforms that are easy for beginner investors to get to grips with, you should also take a look at: