Bond Platform

Having made the change from Barclays to HL, I find it frustrating to have to confine myself to the bonds on their platform, many of them with less than three years to run, and/or illiquid, trading , remarkably poor choice for such a big outfit. Presumably they want to see us funds instead.
Are there other brokers out there with greater flexibility that offer wider and faster bond trading at competitive prices, i.e. as good as Barclays used to be, prior to Smart Investor? If so, may want to move my SIPP once more. Recommendations gratefully received.


  • Typo errors, sorry. Should read ".. sell us funds instead".
  • My main account is with and I've never had a problem buying any bonds that I wanted. However sometimes that means doing it over the phone but if that's the case they go and deal whilst holding on, just like an olde worlde stockbroker used to do and charge the same as for an on-line trade.

    I also have an account with HL. I don't much like them, as you say they want you to hold funds where their charges are huge. I've transferred out of funds on HL into ITs if for no other reason than I object to how much they kept taking from my account in charges each month.

    If you want, post up a selection of bonds you are interested in (with their codes) and I'm happy to check if they're available on-line at iDealing - or just email them direct and ask.

    I'm sure they're not everyone's cup of tea (they don't have all that research/commentary that HL or AJ Bell have) but for dealing and low costs they work for me.
  • Thanks for that advice, will check them out. As to splitting one's SIPP with two providers: how does that affect the monthly drawdown and taxation thereof?
  • edited March 2018
    I'm not a financial advisor so can't be certain but if you were in flexible drawdown I wouldn't have thought it would make any difference.

    I also don't have a SIPP (mine is a SSAS) so only guessing but if you have 2 or 3 or 4 would you then have multiple lots of annual admin charges?

    A SSAS has an administrator/trustee that charges for doing their bit and then the SSAS can have as many dealing accounts with different brokers/banks as I like. Maybe it's different for a SIPP
  • Fang, been happy with YouInvest, despite having to phone them (always quick to pick up the phone)
    Dealing cost £9.95
    I have a large number of Corporate Bond, Preference shares & PIBS holdings
  • As Laughton says having more than one SIPP in flexible drawdown ultimately doesn't affect the taxation. You will still use your personal allowance of £11,500 and the rest will be taxable. There are no limits on what you can take out these days. If you haven't taken the 25% tax free cash upfront then 25% of each payment will also avoid tax. If you want the correct tax deducted at source then you need to make sure all your pension schemes (including state pension if applicable) are aware of the others, so for example one could be paid tax free using annual allowance and another automatically taxed at 20%. Each will give you a P60 at tax year end so you can reconcile it all and make adjustments via tax return if necessary
  • Thank you all for helpful comments. Will check out suggested providers. Barclays were so good back in the day with bond executions and prompt, courteous service.. pity the way that has gone. Perhaps more worrying in grand scheme of things is the lack of new issues, and, for the few that come, mean pricing, weaker covenants and wider dealing spreads. GBP increasingly on the side lines, Euros and Dollars the preferred currencies for issuance. After Brexit, would expect it to get even worse if that is possible.
  • Well, Barclays Stockbrokers was relatively very expensive so you'd hope for good service. I'd suggest Selftrade. I don't know how it is with non-ORB bonds and it's a little more expensive than AJ Bell (YouInvest) at £11.75 per bargain but it allows you to trade ORB bonds as you would any normal LSE listed share i.e. online and with a 15 seconds quote.
  • Hello all, I'm still with Barclays Stockbrokers - mainly through inertia - although what kept me there over the years despite the high costs was what I considered to be their excellent, detailed and easily accessible/manageable data. However, the data provided by their new set up pales in comparison.

    Has any one got any views on platforms that might provide comparable data to the old Barclays Stockbrokers set up? I did have a look at Hargreaves Lansdown, which - at first glance - appears to sit somewhere in between the old and new Barclays platforms ...

  • If you want prompt telephone service re bonds ouyside ORB, DSC, do not use HL. I changed to them and find them slow and unhelpful in this area, so withdrawing most of my large cash position to AJBell. Will continue with HL re shares, funds and ETFs for now, in essence splitting my SIPP 50/50. Better risk management, if nothing else.
  • Have been informed by current platform HL ( who are nowhere near as good in every which way as the old Barclays when it comes to corp. bonds) that I cannot transfer a large slug of my big cash holding over to another (hopefully better) platform for bond holdings. Apparently it is all or none, according to HMRC rules ( my Sipp is in drawdown) . Reluctant to do the whole lot, as shares & ETFs *& funds are in it, so it would take many weeks, and be costly. Any thoughts?
  • I've always found AJBell to be helpful, and they charge £9.95 for telephone dealing, although, by way of exception, I had to pay £29.95 to sell some prefs in the recent panic (but this was clearly stated and agreed to by myself) - there wasn't much buying going on at the time!
  • I’m still waiting for the Burford interest payment that should have been made last week through AJ Bell. Is anyone else experiencing delays with theirs?
  • @beekey: yes, I was about to start a new thread. I am also with AJ Bell and haven't received my interest. Normally it takes 3 days from the due date to arrive in the account. 1st June was a Friday, so 2nd and 3rd don't count, which means it should have arrived yesterday.
  • They do seem to be less reliable than in the past. Previously some dividends were credited on the first day but mostly one or two days later, now I'm still waiting for a May dividend to be made in addition to the Burford interest.
  • I haven't had any trouble before. On the x-O site, dividends have always been credited later in the day than on AJ Bell.
  • Just received my Burford interest about 20 mins ago with Selftrade
  • Just got paid after reminding AJ Bell. Not sure whether it was the reminder wot done it.
  • If any of you are considering switch to HL and like to buy corporate bonds that are not of the LSE Retail type, think again. Find HL unhelpful if not useless in getting back with quotes or at least "cannot do it". Takes a week, if not longer, and that only with reminding them, whilst at Barclays in the good old days would have been answered instantly. HL blame their tardiness on input from 3rd party, laughable excuse for this large , expensive platform. Move back to Smart Investor, with all its faults?
  • Fang - see my post of March 8 above.
    That's only my experience, it's not really advice. For all I know they might go out of business tomorrow. Worth doing a bit of research though.
  • Thanks, Laughton. The bonds I look at are usually the institutional variety, 100k nom. minimum. Can only move the whole SIPP, as already crystallized. Never thought that the big HL, when making the move, are as useless and unhelpful as they proved to be. At present minded to see whether Barclays have corrected much of their woeful SmartInvestor offering, not evident until autumn. Most other platform simply clueless as to this corporate bond segment whilst Barclays at least have the traders to quote. Some hope..
  • Hi Fang, I have almost completed my move from Barclays to ii, so far so good. They're friendly, speak English and seem to want my business. Going back is an option but may be worth waiting to see who SmartInvestor is sold to, as I understand it's status in Barclays is under review.
  • I still have my SIPP at Smartinvestor as I had to keep it there, at least thats what I thought, to get my PMO1 synthetic warrants.
    Barclays remain utterly awful, nothing has changed. They do not support retail bond offerings on the platform, no idea how it works for bonds but the general impression is dire, whether its from corporate actions, which I have to call them about, to simple navigation of the trading application.
  • Thanks for the insight. Seems that there is no match to the Barclays of old when it comes to corporate bond trading for now, so might as well stay put with HL and await further developments. Note that HL shares went up 50% in the last 12months yet are as useless as can be when it comes to corporate bonds. So should have bought their stock, of course, after the SmartInvestor debacle, instead of crying over spilt milk.
  • Fang - if you give me the names of two or three bonds you look at I'm more than happy to log onto iDealing and see if they have them available.
  • By way of example, Laughton: no luck with Pemex 3.75% 2025, Legal & General 5.5% 2064 (fixed, then FRN) or Leeds BS 3.75% 2029, either not in CREST or not signed off for "retail" investors. Thanks.
  • Ah. None of those seem readily available on iDealing site. That's with me just searching for them on their dealing screen, not actually contacting them. Sorry.
  • That summarises the problem, L. The unique aspect as to Barclays was the access to their corporate bond traders, which no other platform can match. Inclined now to wait as to how their SmartInvestor, clearly still as frustrating for users as when launched, will evolve. They do not want new ( or returning) clients for now, so perhaps it is due to be sold?
  • Fang,
    I echo Laughton's comments re iDealing. Right from when I opened my account and told them I was interested in ORB they recommended that I bought via their phone service which was excellent and at no additional cost. Works for equities as well if need be. Cost £5 per quarter per ISA account.
    Works for me
    At the time I had a BS account and buying bonds was going to cost about £50 per trade
    PS now on to my 4th complaint about Smart Investor. Now with HL but only equities so charges are nil so far. Hurrah

  • Agree that bonds on ORB should not cost £5o. However, when it comes to "institutional" variety and size (50-100K) do not mind this charge if traders get me a good execution, which used to be the case through Barclays whereas HL, if at all, do not execute better than limit.
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