TONY HETHERINGTON: Sorry, Barclays, but I find your requests offensive
Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below.
S.C. writes: I am sending you a request for information I received from Barclays Smart Investor and I wonder whether you find it as offensive as I do. I have been a Barclays customer for nearly 50 years and with Barclays Stockbrokers – now called Smart Investor – since before the year 2000. Professionally, I am regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, so I know the level of detail demanded by Barclays is not required.
The Barclays questionnaire came with a threat that you must cooperate ‘to prevent restrictions on your account’.
But the huge wealth of detail demanded goes way beyond what seems reasonable, simply for Barclays to comply with the ‘know your customer’ rules and the anti-money laundering regulations.
If you have saved from your earnings, you are asked for a full job history ‘including names of companies and positions held, dates and annual salary received’.
If you have ever sold a property, the bank wants a completion statement or letter from your solicitor.
And if any of your savings came from a gift, then Barclays wants the name and address of the donor, the amount of the gift and full details of where the donor got their money.
I have no idea of your exact age, but imagine asking a customer of, say, 60 to provide all these details going back 40 years, with evidence.
Barclays told me it is only imposing these demands on big savers and investors, but admits other banks ‘may have different risk assessments’.
So, this is not strictly necessary, but is a decision by the bank itself. I asked Barclays how many customers have dumped them rather than give answers, but it refused to say.