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Barclays has been hit with another technical glitch at its online stockbroking service, forcing private investors with shares in some of the FTSE’s biggest income stocks to wait weeks for dividend payments to arrive.
The DIY platform, recently rebranded Barclays Smart Investor, confirmed that investors in 10 companies including BP, Segro and Imperial Brands have been waiting since September for overdue dividend payments, and may not receive these for a further eight days because of problems with the site’s overhaul.
Dividends due on stocks including HSBC, British American Tobacco and BHP Billiton were also paid late, and some investors in Royal Dutch Shell were paid the wrong amount when a delayed dividend payment arrived last week.
Barclays said it had encountered problems processing the dividends of stocks that went ex-dividend before the platform’s re-launch over the August Bank Holiday weekend, but had dividend payment dates in the following month — an issue affecting potentially hundreds of UK-listed stocks.
The bank said less than 4 per cent of equities on its platform were affected and all outstanding dividends would be paid by October 12. Those include BP’s dividend, which investors should have been paid on September 22, and Glencore, which was due on September 26, pushing the total delay to more than two weeks in some cases.
Some investors waiting for their delayed Shell dividend due on September 18 were dismayed to find the payment docked by up to 15 per cent when it arrived last week. Barclays said the issue was a technical fault affecting a minority of customers that had been resolved. The bank added all affected investors would be paid the correct amount by October 4 2017.
“This was a short-term issue with the dividend payments on a small number of stocks that has now been resolved and future dividend payments will not be impacted,” Barclays said. “The last of the delayed payments will be made by 12 October after which our customers should not see any further delays.”
One FT reader said: “I’ve been logging on every morning looking for my dividends and they aren’t there, it’s absolutely disgraceful. I’m missing about £1,000 in dividends from Lloyds and I was due £1,300 from Shell, which arrived nine days late.
“Nearly all of my dividends have been paid late. I make plans around this income that I know is due but now I can’t. It’s a huge amount of money for me and for anyone. People are depending on this dividend money. Barclays should hang their heads in shame.”
Another said: “BP dividends were paid by the company to Barclays on 22 September but I still haven’t received them this morning [October 4], though I am assured I soon will. Most September dividends were eventually paid to me, but one or two weeks late and it is irritating if you operate a tight retiree’s cash flow like I do.”
The dividend issues are the latest in a string of problems that have dogged the platform’s re-launch including log-in issues, inconsistent stock pricing, missing transactions and delays in transfer out times.
Some Barclays customers had previously been quoted wait times of up to three months to leave the platform, but the bank said delays in exiting the platform had now been resolved along with issues surrounding stock pricing and error messages.
Meanwhile, rival fund supermarkets are hoping to capitalise on Barclays’ woes. Numis, the stockbroker, said it expected Hargreaves Lansdown to benefit significantly from aggrieved Smart Investor customers deserting Barclays when it reveals its latest trading update later this month.
“We believe that HL will have been the largest beneficiary of the fallout from the system migration at Barclays,” said Numis.
Last month, rival investment platform IG said that more than half of its transfer requests were coming from Barclays Smart Investor customers.