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Barclays working to fix Smart Investor launch problems

Barclays' Smart Investor platform overhaul has angered customers
Barclays working to fix Smart Investor launch problems

Barclays is working to fix teething problems with its new DIY investment platform which launched on Monday and has resulted in customers saying they cannot log into their accounts, are receiving error messages and are missing transactions.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend the company migrated the data of more than 200,000 customers with assets of around £14bn from Barclays Stockbroker to the new Smart Investor service, which is designed to appeal to a broader customer base than its old, share-focused stockbroking platform.

But customers say they have not received the log-in details they need, are being shown error messages when attempting to log in for the first time and are missing transactions on their accounts.

The flood of calls since the service went live resulted in blocked phone lines and call waiting times of up to an hour, according to several Investors Chronicle readers. Barclays also turned off its new live chat service on Monday and Tuesday in order to let customer care workers deal with calls, meaning customers attempting to request new log-in details have struggled to get through.

Barclays said it was working through the issues this week and had re-instated its live chat service on Wednesday, though customers said they were still struggling to connect to the service. According to Barclays many of the log-in issues were due to customers attempting to log in before 10am on Monday, when the site went live, and the company said any customer unable to locate pass codes or membership numbers should request new ones by calling or sending messages.

Barclays also said it was aware of a technical issue resulting in customers receiving an error message "2224 error" when attempting to log in and said in most cases, refreshing the screen should result in customers being able to gain access.

The company also said those complaining of missing transactions were likely being affected by changes to limit orders - orders to buy and sell stocks at specific prices.  Barclays had told customers before the switch that any limit orders would not be carried over to the new system and would need to be re-entered in Smart Investor.

Barclay’s platform overhaul was undertaken in order to embrace a wider mix of investors and gear its services more towards buy-and-hold fund investors with a bigger range of pots, rather than catering mainly for more frequent stocks and shares traders. The platform's pricing model has been changed in order to align fund and stocks and shares charges and is now likely to be cheaper for many fund investors.

But many stocks and shares traders have been angered by the changes. Customers have complained that they could formerly view daily live price changes in their stocks compared to the previous day’s price but can now only view the change in value against the book cost rather than prior day value.

Barclays said many of its old features including RNS and news announcements were still available in its Smart Investor Research Centre and recommended customers watch its how-to videos for more information, or contact the bank.

But customers remain unimpressed. One reader said: "I have access to my husband’s account, but lots of transactions are missing.  My account is not accessible (since Monday), and we had accounts for our children, both of which have disappeared."

A Barclays spokesperson said: "We are experiencing a higher volume of calls than normal following the move of our Stockbrokers customers to our new direct investing service, Smart Investor. We apologise for the increased wait time and any inconvenience caused to our customers. We are doing everything we can to support them with the move, including increasing the number of agents we have available."

We will be writing about these issues in depth in next week's issue of Investors Chronicle. To see comparisons of Barclays Smart Investor against other platforms see our recent article. Anyone needing to contact Barclays should call 0800 279 3667 free or 0141 352 3919 from a mobile.