Monthly archive for July, 2013
Socially responsible investment and competitive returns are not always phrases that are found in the same sentence, but a new investment opportunity launched this week may be an exception. Launched in partnership with ethical bank Triodos, under the leadership of CEO Richard Nicol, the Midlands Together Community Investment Company (CIC) Bond aims to address some of the obstacles faced by ex-offenders when seeking employment after the end of their sentence. The money raised will be used to provide training and employment opportunities in the Midlands to some of the 58.2% of adults serving short-term prison sentences who go on to reoffend upon release (source tridos.co.uk, 30/07/13).
A worthwhile investment
Many ex-offenders lack training, experience and skills to enter the workplace, as well as facing social and personal challenges to gaining employment. With the odds stacked against them, many ex-offenders find it all too easy to drift back into their previous lifestyle on leaving prison. Midlands Together aims to provide paid work for ex-offenders and equip them with the skills they need to secure permanent jobs, helping them break out of the cycle of reoffending.
The second successive increase to the headline rate of inflation is far from welcome and it couldn’t come at a worse time, with millions of maturing fixed rate bondholders staring at sharp drops in the level of income currently available. We take a closer look at what this latest increase really means when making decisions around our savings and investments.
A quick round up
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen by 2.9% in the year to June 2013, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, up from 2.7% in the previous month. Although the ONS has now largely abandoned the Retail Price Index, RPI stood at 3.3% for the year, also up 0.2% compared to the previous month.
The government statistics body says a rise in the price of motor fuels was the largest contributor while there was also a large upward contribution from clothing & footwear. There were other, comparatively modest, upward contributions from water, electricity, gas & other fuels.
The need for income is at the forefront of every saver and investor alike, whether you are working and need to supplement your earnings, or retired and looking to add to your pension income. The need for income never goes away and with the current economic environment providing one of the most challenging on record, we take a look at one particular solution that is proving popular with income seekers.
The economic landscape is one that continues to offer little in the way of a positive step towards sustainable recovery and those looking for income are affected as much as anyone. Interest rates continue at 0.5% for well into their fourth year, many salaries have been frozen due to the pressures on business, annuity rates are at record lows creating uncertainty at retirement and all of this with inflation continuing well above target.
For investors seeking a diversified income stream and are attracted to the potential of dividend growth offered by companies in the Asian peninsular then the Newton Asian Income fund is worth a closer look. The current yield of the fund at the time of writing is an attractive 4.44%, with income paid quarterly.
Newton, who are based in London and have over 30 years’ experience, are well known for their distinctive approach to global thematic investing with a strong focus on extensive proprietary research. The Newton Asian Income Fund was launched in 2005 and seeks to generate income for investors together with long term capital growth through a concentrated portfolio of shares in companies based in Asia, excluding Japan, but including Australia and New Zealand. The fund has no sector or country constraints and invests in stocks in both developed and emerging Asian economies. The investment team at Newton led by Jason Pidcock who has 19 years investment management experience have a constantly evolving approach that anticipates change and identifies opportunities. The fund typically invests in companies that are cash generative with high dividend yields.
With interest rates continuing at a low rate, locking cash away in a fixed-rate bond is no longer a guarantee of getting a good return. Fixed rate bonds can potentially offer a better return than easy access savings accounts, in return for tying up your capital for a set period. However, there are alternatives to traditional fixed rate bonds – in particular, structured deposit plans, which are worth a closer look. See below for our selection of some of the current fixed rate bond deals and alternative savings plans for July 2013.
Short term fixed rate bonds
If you don’t want to tie up cash for longer than a year, Aldermore’s 1 year fixed rate bond offers 1.95% gross/AER from a minimum deposit of £1,000. For those looking to lock cash away for 2 years, Aldermore also leads the pack, with a rate of 2.30% AER/gross based on a minimum deposit of £1,000. Other 2 year deals include United Banks’ 2.00% offering, requiring a £2,000 minimum deposit, and a 2 year fixed term deposit plan from Cater Allen offering 1.60% AER/gross on balances over £50,000.
Charities frequently face obstacles when it comes to getting a good interest rate on their savings. At Fair Investment we’re working with various financial service providers to help bring you better interest rates on your charity’s savings. See below for our selection of the best charity savings accounts currently available.*
Latest easy access account deals
If you’re looking for easy access to your charity’s funds, an easy access account might be worth considering. The Scottish Widows Charity Deposit Account offers a 7-day notice period and requires a minimum deposit of £500, with an interest rate of up to 0.40% gross AER.
Cash that is not currently required as capital for the day-to-day running of your business will usually generate more interest in a business savings account than in a business current account.
To help you choose, we’ve put together a selection of some of the top business savings accounts that are on offer this month.*
Latest easy access account deals
Currently on offer from Aldermore is an easy access account paying 1.25% AER/gross. If you’re likely to need quick and easy access to your capital at a later date, this account may be an option to consider. Withdrawals are free and can be made online. They are unlimited as long as you maintain a minimum balance of £1,000 in your account at all times (if your balance drops below this rate, you will be charged 0.05% AER).