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What investments Smart Investor has to offer

Whether you’re an experienced investor or feel you’re more of a novice, there’s a huge range of investments for you to buy for your Smart Investor, Investment ISA, general Investment Account or SIPP.

Here we explore in detail what you can choose from when building your portfolio, and how we decide what to make available to you.

The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. On this page, we’ll help you understand more about our investment services and help you decide which one is right for you. If you’re not sure about investing, seek independent advice.

Keeping our offering up-to-date

We proactively manage the range of investments available on Smart Investor, and add new assets when they’re listed as soon as we can.

We provide a wide range of UK shares and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), as well as making sure more niche products are accessible where appropriate.

We won’t make any investment available before we’ve confirmed all the necessary details, and are able to provide the documents and details of costs and charges required by financial regulations or best practice.

We’ll complete this due diligence process as quickly as we can, but sometimes it may take a little while from when a company or product is listed or launched. Usually any delay is because we’re reliant on documents being published by the issuing company, but we also need to be sure we can correctly trade, settle, and price your investment once you hold it.

As we don’t automatically make available every investment of every type of asset, there might be one you wish to invest in that we don’t currently offer. Please contact us and we’ll review it and let you know if we can accept it for investment or not.

We reserve the right to apply any relevant criteria to our decision to make a product available or not. Any product offered on Smart Investor is available to all customers, though some products may be restricted to certain types of accounts due to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules covering ISAs and SIPPs.

Types of investments

When you look at investments on Smart Investor you’ll find they’re split into different categories:

Funds, ETFs, Investment trusts, Shares, and Gilts & Bonds.

If you want to understand these types of investments find out more here

Funds

When you invest in a fund, your money is spread across a wide range of underlying investments, which are overseen by a fund manager. It’s their job to run the fund in line with the investment objectives they set out, to try to make a profit for you and the other investors.

With a fund you can access all kinds of markets around the world, as well as different types of investments, which would otherwise be very hard, or very expensive to invest in – even if you did have the time and effort to do the necessary research.

Find out more about funds

Smart Investor offers around 2,500 funds for you to choose from. These are mostly UK based unit trusts and OEICs (open ended investment companies) where we offer full fund ranges from all the major fund managers as well as access to many smaller managers and funds. We also offer a small number of funds based in Ireland and Luxembourg.

We always make available the cheapest version of a fund that we can access for you.

If there’s an investment you’re interested in that we don’t currently offer then please contact us to see if we can make this available.

ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)

ETFs are like funds in that they allow you to indirectly access markets around the world. However, as they normally track an index – such as the FTSE 100 – , they are usually cheaper than an actively managed fund where you pay a manager to try to choose investments which will perform better. And as ETFs are listed on a stock exchange, you can buy and sell shares in them just like you would in any other company. ETFs don’t just track standard market indices though, they are popular as they also invest in specific sectors, such as finance or healthcare, as well as other investments like Government or corporate bonds.

Find out more about ETFs & ETCs

If you’re looking to buy an ETF or ETC we offer a large selection available to purchase in your Smart Investor account.

There are many thousands of ETFs available in the UK and we select those from leading providers that are of most interest to our Smart Investor customers. We monitor the new launches daily and add new products as soon as we can once all the key documents and charges data have been published.

If an ETF is available in more than one currency we’ll normally offer the version priced in GBP.

We don’t offer products which track cryptocurrency or cannabis.

If there’s an investment you’re interested in that we don’t currently offer then please contact us to see if we can make this available.

Investment Trusts

Investment trusts are like funds in that they allow you to access a large number of underlying investments through one product, by pooling your money together with other investors. Unlike funds, but like ETFs and ETCs, investment trusts are listed on the Stock Exchange and can be bought and sold throughout each day. However even though they’re listed like a company, their sole business is to invest on behalf of their investors.

Find out more about Investment trusts

If you’re looking to buy an Investment trust in your Smart Investor account, we give you access to all of those listed in the UK market, with just a few exceptions. We monitor the new launches daily and add new products as soon as we can once all the key documents and charges data have been published.

We don’t make available companies which are designed for professional investors, which are part of the Specialist Fund Segment on the LSE, or where the manager hasn’t published the key documents and charges data.

We don’t offer access where the company is involved in cryptocurrency or cannabis.

Shares

When you buy a share you’ll own a small part of that company, and the value of your investment will rely on the how well the company performs and the perception of how it will perform in the future. There are many potential benefits to investing in shares, including cash dividend payments they may pay out to shareholders.

When you buy a share though, you’re invested in the fortunes of just that one company. - unlike when you buy a fund, ETF or investment trust and your money is immediately invested across multiple companies. So you need to remember when buying shares, you’ll need to spread your investing across a lot of different shares to avoid the high risks of relying on the prospects of a small number of firms.

You should always make sure your portfolio is properly diversified to spread risk.

Find out more about investing in shares

If you’re looking to buy shares in your Smart Investor account, Barclays gives you access to the full UK market, as well as access to stock exchanges around the world. We monitor the new launches daily and add new companies as soon as we can.

UK: All LSE listed companies, the AIM market, and shares listed on the Acquis exchange.

Remember, an easy way to spread your investment in shares is with a fund or an ETF. Instead of having to buy and hold lots of individual company shares you can buy a fund which with one purchase you’re invested in lots of different companies, often in many different countries. This can either be run by a professional manager making decisions on what they think is best to buy, or it might track an index.

Gilts & Bonds

When you buy a bond, you’re lending your money to a company, government, or other body. Bonds issued by the UK Government are known to as ‘gilts’.

Corporate and government bonds are also referred to as fixed interest or fixed income and are usually considered less risky than buying shares, but more risky than just holding cash.

In exchange for handing over your cash to the company or government for a set period of time. You earn a regular fixed rate of interest known as a ‘coupon’, and when the bond’s life comes to an end and it reaches maturity, your original capital should be repaid in full.

Not all companies and countries are the same though and independent credit rating agencies grade bonds for how risky they are based on whether they might fail to pay out the promised interest or pay back the full capital amount at maturity.

Bonds, though not gilts, usually also deal in round lots of 1,000. So it’s not possible to make very small investments and buying more goes up in large increments. This means it’s not easy to build a diversified bond holding without investing quite a large amount of money.

Remember that Funds and ETFs allow you to invest in a number of different bonds through a single investment, allowing you to spread your money more easily than buying each asset directly. Make sure you do your homework by reading the Key Investor Document (KID) for a fund which can tell you more about its objectives and how it invests.

Smart Investor lets you access: UK gilts

UK corporate bonds we consider retail – those categorised as ‘non-complex’. 

Access to complex UK corporate bonds where full client documentation, and costs and charges information is available.

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The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invest. Tax rules can change and their effects on you will depend on your individual circumstances.

Smart Investor

To choose and manage your own investments from a range of funds, shares, ETFs and bonds, get started today by simply opening up an Investment (Stocks & Shares) ISA, Investment Account or SIPP Account with Smart Investor.

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