Barclays launches discretionary management service

Barclays Wealth is to launch a discretionary portfolio management service for the adviser market, to take advantage of regulatory changes brought about by the ­retail distribution review (RDR).

The service will offer five actively managed, risk-profiled portfolios ­investing across nine asset classes.

Equities and bonds will be considered in the portfolio construction alongside non-traditional asset classes such as emerging markets, high yield debt, property, commodities and alternative trading strategies.

The portfolios will invest in a combination of active and passive funds, based on the strategic asset allocation decisions of its investment committee, chaired by Barclays Wealth chief investment officer Aaron Gurwitz.

The decisions are taken on a five-year view, with the committee meeting every two weeks.

The highest-risk portfolio has a 51% exposure to developed market equities and 17% exposure to emerging market equities, with a volatility range of between 11% and 15%. The lowest-risk portfolio has a 43% weighting towards short-maturity bonds, a much lower exposure to equities and a volatility range of up to 5%. (article continues below)

Bryan Parkinson, the director of UK IFA distribution at Barclays Wealth, says the service would allow advisers to work on client relationships, while investment decisions were outsourced.

“The launch of this service is very much, from our point of view, part of our commitment to the intermediary market,” says Parkinson.

“There is a continued move to outsource investment advice. What people want is a trusted brand, it allows the adviser to do what they are good at.”

The service is set to make its debut on the wrap platform Ascentric, but will be rolled out to other platforms after launch.

“This is definitely not the only platform [the service will launch on], but it is the first one,” says Parkinson.

Hugo Thorman, the managing director of Ascentric, says: “The diversification of asset classses managers need to run their port­folios showcases the investment solutions available to them and reinforces the capabilities of our in-house trading functionality.

“With [Barclays’] track record in investment management, I am certain that there will be a strong ­demand for this service.”