Barclays is suffering a major bottleneck in transfers out of its new DIY investment platform following issues with its launch last week. Customers have complained of wait times of up to three months to exit the site while rival platforms said the bank was taking up to six weeks to reply to transfer requests that should normally take a third of that time.
Barclays moved more than 200,000 customers away from its 30-year old stockbroking service to a revamped platform designed to appeal to a broader range of investors over the bank holiday weekend. But the move has alienated much of its former stockbroking customer base, who have expressed anger about changes to the way stocks and prices are displayed, the fact the bank no longer supports certain shares and holdings and the changed functionality of the site.
The launch was also beset by issues surrounding missing log-in details, error messages and missing transactions on users' accounts. Many customers remain unable to access their accounts and now also unable to leave due to a backlog in transfer requests.
No customer will have to pay to exit Barclays under its new pricing model. But customers said they were being quoted a wait of between six to 12 weeks to transfer their accounts to another provider. HMRC guidelines suggest it should take just 30 days to transfer a stocks and shares investment Individual Savings Account (Isa).
Rival brokers – who undertake transfers on behalf of new customers – said they had been inundated with requests from Barclays customers to transfer but were being forced to delay the process as Barclays was taking six weeks to reply to requests.
A spokesperson at IG said: "In average we normally process a transfer request in about six weeks, (though it depends on which broker a customer is transferring from and their speediness). But right now we are seeing significant delays in transfers from Barclays and only getting a response from them after six weeks."
A spokesperson at broker AJ Bell said: "Six to 12 weeks is significantly longer than it should normally take to transfer an account and the main reason is that we’re having to wait much longer than we would normally to hear back from Barclays."
IG said that more than half of its current transfer requests were from Barclays customers, while AJ Bell said it had received a "significant" increase in requests from Barclays customers in recent weeks.
Barclays said it was still aiming to transfer clients within two to four weeks, depending on the complexity of the holdings in their portfolio.
Other customers dependent on services that Barclays will no longer offer, including the administration of bare trusts, have been left "in limbo" in frozen accounts due to the transfer backlog, despite being advised to move elsewhere before the switch-over, they said.
One customer said the trust account he held with Barclays Stockbrokers had now been inaccessible for five weeks due to the backlog of requests to transfer. Barclays said it had given three months’ notice to customers needing to move accounts.