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Investors can choose from thousands of different investments in Barclays’ investment ISA, including funds, UK equities and bonds. Smart Investor itself is an online direct investing service that allows accountholders to research potential investments.
Those wanting more assistance may prefer to choose from one of five ready-made investment funds put together by Barclays’ team of investment professionals, which offer different asset allocation, potential levels of return and investment risk. Or for a lighter approach, there is the Barclays Funds List is available, and could help those looking to narrow down the wide range of investment funds available to choose from.
Remember though, if you’re ever unsure about the suitability of an investment for your own circumstances, please seek independent financial advice first.
Top features of Barclays’ Smart Investor ISA account
You can choose from three different levels of support when deciding what to add to your portfolio. You also have access to the research centre, which allows you to make your own investment decisions.
The five ready-made investment funds allow you to choose a fund with the level of risk you may be comfortable taking with your investment and the potential returns you may be looking for. These five funds are made up of different proportions of cash, bonds and shares. The lowest risk profile (of the five) is the ‘Defensive’ fund which is made up of 18% shares, 57% bonds and 25% cash, and the highest risk profile (of the five) is the ‘Adventurous’ fund which is made up of 87% shares, 11% bonds and 2% cash.
Barclays’ commission prices
Barclays charges £3 per online transaction for funds and £6 per online transaction for all other investments. All automated regular investments will cost £1 per online transaction, and all transactions via telephone cost £25 each.
Fees you should know about
Customer fees, which cover the running of the account and the safekeeping of the investments, are £4 per month minimum, or the sum of 0.2% per year for funds plus 0.1% per year for other investments, whichever calculation is greater based on the value of your investments. Customer fees are capped at £125 per month. Barclays charges 0.45% per year for the management of ready-made investments.
Buying shares, ETFs and funds with a Barclays account
A list of the most popular UK investments is available, which is updated monthly. If you want to minimise commission prices and you are committed to regular saving, automated regular investments are potentially your best bet. You only pay £1 for each transaction.
Barclays Smart Investor allows you to choose your own investments from the ready-made investment funds, or the full range of funds, UK equities, investment trusts, gilts, bonds, ETFs and even IPOs. You can access Smart Investor via an app, which allows you to see all of your investments on your mobile device.
When you place an order in your Smart Investor account, Barclays uses its Barclays Price Improver™ to look for the best available price from its selected Retail Service Providers (RSPs).
Barclays’ research offerings
Barclays Smart Investor research centre has access to the latest prices and market movements. You can also research the performance of particular companies through advance charting and virtual portfolios.
You can also register for free daily stock and market alerts. These have been specifically designed to alert you to daily price changes and the latest news.
Barclays recently launched the first version of a new platform which is designed to make it easier for you to research potential shares, too. Further developments are expected later on this year.
Keep in mind that any investment information and expert opinion provided on Barclays’ website is not personal advice and is designed for investors who are happy making their own investment decisions. If you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, you’ll want to seek out your own independent financial advice.
Things to watch out for
Be wary of the customer fee, since it can be based on the size of your fund and is capped at £125 per month. The maximum annual amount you could end up paying is £1,500 on a minimum investment totalling £750,000. This is substantial, so make sure you are receiving a good service and check your fees on a regular basis.
Service and support
You can contact Barclays Smart Investor via telephone from the UK (0800 279 3667) or abroad (+44(0) 141 352 3919). Lines are open Monday to Friday from 7:30am until 7:00pm. Support is also available via web chat on their website at the same times as its telephone service. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can also use Apple Business Chat.
Is a Barclays Smart Investor Investment ISA a good choice for you?
If you are new to investing, Barclays offers you lots of support when deciding on your investment strategy. Smart Investor gives you access to an extensive research centre in addition to an investment platform offering competitive fees and dealing charges. However, trading international equities is not available, so those looking to buy or sell international equities are likely to want to look elsewhere.
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The Motley Fool has recommended Barclays shares.