Barclays to overhaul stockbroking operations

Barclays is overhauling its stockbroking operations to compete with rivals such as Hargreaves Lansdown, by combining its banking and investment services.

The bank said that existing customers at Barclays Stockbrokers will be transferred to a new platform or website called Barclays Direct Investing, which will be done in 2017, bringing an end of its 30-year-old Stockbrokers brand.

Barclays, which recently saw its profits jump on bond trading, said the new platform will not be restricted to its own customers, but will instead be open to members of other banks as well. This will allow Barclays target more customers in comparison to the current platform, which provides trading and investment services to self-directed investors only.

It added that all Barclays Direct Investing users will be able to manage savings, current accounts and investments on a single platform in 2017. Barclays said that while similar features have been provided to customers in the past.

Commenting on the overhaul, MD at Direct Investing Rupert Dickinson was cited by the Financial Times as saying, “You’ll struggle to find any other player in the marketplace that provides a full investment offering fully integrated with banking…This is an investment proposition that everyone will be able to access, even non-banking customers.”

Akshaya Bhargava, CEO of wealth and investments at Barclays, said “The world of investing can often seem complex and changes to the advice market in the UK have left many people without the help they need to navigate it.”

With regards to staff affected from the overhaul, Dickinson said that a majority of the staff at Barclays Stockbrokers would work for the new platform. He added that a few may be shifted to other roles within the bank.

Speaking about the charges for the new service, Barclays said there was just one fee and one transaction charge. It added that there were no “hidden charges” and that other costs such as exit fees, reinvesting dividends and probate valuations would also not be charged as well.

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