Barclays is launching a digital adviser that will manage funds for customers who invest as little as GBP 5,000 ($6,280), a move the bank said Tuesday gives less-affluent clients access to services that were previously only available to the wealthy.
Barclays’ disclosure comes as competitors including HSBC and Lloyds Banking increasingly offer so-called robo-advising services and make them more accessible to a broader range of investors. In the United States, Wells Fargo cut its robo-adviser’s fees in April and lowered its minimum account from $10,000 to $5,000 in an effort to draw clientele during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I firmly believe that everyone should have access to affordable advice, and Plan & Invest is just the first step in our plans to open up the tools we use with our Wealth clients to more people,” said Dirk Klee, Barclays CEO of wealth management and investments.
Klee continued, “We launched Plan & Invest after listening to our customers, who said they wanted an investment service that gave them the convenience and affordability of robo-advice, but with more of the personalization of wealth management.”
Barclays, which is among Britain’s largest banks with GBP 1.4 trillion ($1.8 trillion) in assets at the end of 2019, said its robo-adviser is different from those of other banks because it will check in with customers at least once a year in order to adapt their investment plans to market and personal circumstances.
Barclays will charge Plan & Invest customers an ongoing annual fee of between 1.39% and 1.59%. The cost is made up of a 0.95% service cost, 0.19% value-added tax and product costs of between 0.25% and 0.45%, depending on which funds are chosen in a client’s investment plan.
Investments recommended by the robo-advising service will be based on a series of questions evaluating customers' goals, finances and attitudes toward risk. The robo-advisor will then create a personalized plan “that can follow over 10,000 investment paths,” the bank said.
The service will be provided through the bank’s online banking interface and mobile app. The mobile app service will launch later this summer, the bank said.