From Boring Money Bulletin July 2017

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What's New Pussycat?

In the wonderful world of DIY investing, notable changes this month are the upgrades to both the Fidelity and Barclays sites.

Fidelity looks a lot better. Navigation is easier and switching which used be ridiculously hard to execute has been simplified and ‘retailed-up’! Transacting is simple and clear. Moving about the site feels simple.

Whilst there is lots to like, it’s still too hard to track what most investors want to know. What did I put in? And how much is it worth today? My test account has a SIPP opened years ago when this was outsourced to Standard Life and I can’t pull through the book cost into the valuation page. So the reported performance is 0%.  Gosh I’m a genius! And as a final observation the Morningstar-powered investment analysis tool is far too complex and it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. Hypo weighted average fee and all those blobs on the sector specific analysis stuff makes my head hurt! But generally it’s a good upgrade to the secure site.

Barclays is now accessed from the Mobile Banking log-in which makes me feel a bit rebellious about being forced into a family I haven’t asked to join. But I’ll get over it. I like the nicer account summary page which is a huge improvement. So some of the customer reviews we’ve received feel a little harsh to me. Irritatingly when I tried to navigate to the other tables – Learn, Plan etc I just found a blank screen and couldn’t navigate back so get stuck on an empty white page.

The small number of reviews of the new site suggest that people like what they are used to – Microsoft know all about that! The old stockbrokers site was complex. The new Smart Investors is cleaner, and I think will have broader appeal but the more user-friendly format might be alienating the current hobbyist customers who enjoy (and take pride in) complexity?

As always we’ll leave the last word to our (rather grumpy and in our opinion overly harsh) readers. But we think time may soften this feedback.

“Relies on Barclays Banking site. Bank site not the easiest to navigate, relies on using pin entry, very inconvenient if accessing from a location other than home, very poor telephone service, totally opposite to the previous Barclays Stockbroker site which I would have recommended.”

“Not so smart. In fact very much dumber than the old. Looks like they let the kids redesign the site over the holidays. Takes too much space for very little data and reduced functionality. How many decimal places do you need? Four decimal places filled with zeroes shows this never had any numerate input. A whopping failure.”

 

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