Archive for the ‘New ISA’ Category

Investment Focus: Investec FTSE 100 Enhanced Income Plan

Written by Tags: , , , , ,

Our Investment Focus articles are designed to give new and existing customers a more detailed overview of a selection of income and growth investment plans, covering both the risks and the rewards. So whilst the income yields from the FTSE 100 remain under pressure, what better way to start 2017 than to review our best selling income plan, offering a high level of fixed monthly income. Some of you may be familiar with the plan, some of you may even have invested or reinvested into the plan, which remains popular year after year with a wide range of income seekers.

In a nutshell

Investec’s FTSE 100 Enhanced Income Plan is a relatively straightforward plan to understand. It pays a fixed rate of income, every month, for a fixed term. Therefore, your income is paid regardless of what happens to the stock market. The ‘FTSE 100’ in the plan title refers to what happens to your original investment, with your initial capital returned at the end of the term unless the FTSE 100 Index falls by more than 50% during the plan term. If it does, and also finishes below its starting value, you will lose 1% for each 1% fall in the Index. This plan therefore puts your capital at risk.

What is driving customers?

This is our best-selling income investment plan. Whether you are working and need to supplement your earnings, or retired and looking at ways to supplement your pension or savings income, the need for income is one of the most common demands put on our capital. Traditional investment funds only tend to offer a variable income, whilst also putting your capital at risk on a daily basis. Rather uniquely in the income investment space, this plan combines a fixed income with some degree of capital protection.

Where have all the fixed rates gone?

In contrast to the high levels of the FTSE 100 Index we have experienced recently, fixed savings rates are still at record lows. With no realistic prospect of any sudden sharp increases, let alone a return to the 4%+ rates that were around five years ago, whatever your situation the ability to meet income needs remains a very real challenge. But against this backdrop of intense pressure on savers, and whilst stock market conditions perhaps raise more questions than they do answers, this investment from Investec has remained a top seller with income seekers. So let’s take a look at its main features…

Fixed income

With savings rates at such low levels, the prospect of a high fixed income is likely to be attractive to a wide range of income seekers. Unusual for an investment, which normally pay a variable income dependent on the performance of the underlying asset, this plan pays a fixed income regardless of the performance of the stock market. The current issue of the plan is paying 5.04% p.a. fixed, which means that the investor has the certainty of knowing at the outset exactly how much they will receive each and every year.

Monthly payments

Another popular feature is the monthly payment frequency since this is the most useful in terms of budgeting, especially when many UK equity income funds only offer twice yearly or quarterly payments. Therefore, not only does the investment provide a high level of fixed income, but it also pays this on a monthly basis, which could be an important feature when looking to supplement existing income. At 5.04% p.a. on offer from the latest issue, this equates to 0.42% paid each and every month for the entire term of the plan.

Fixed term

The Enhanced Income Plan has a fixed term of six years and although you do have the option to withdraw your money early (and in this respect is not dissimilar to an investment fund), the plan is designed to be held for the full term and early withdrawal could result in you getting back less (or more) than you invested.

Many fixed rate savers will be used to a fixed term whilst this feature should also appeal to investors who wish to plan around this accordingly. Combined with a fixed and regular level of income, this also means that full plan terms are known at the outset and so investors can consider more clearly the risk versus reward prior to investing their capital.

Some capital protection from a falling market

The Enhanced Income Plan contains what is known as conditional capital protection, which means that the return of your initial investment is conditional on the FTSE 100 Index not falling by more than 50% below its value at the start of the plan. If the FTSE stays above this 50% barrier throughout the plan term, you will receive a full return of your original investment when the plan ends. However, if it falls below this level, and is also below its starting value at the end of the six year term, your initial investment will be reduced by 1% for every 1% fall. Therefore this plan puts your capital at risk and you could lose some or all of your initial investment.

The use of averaging

When calculating the final level of the FTSE for the purposes of comparing it with its value at the start of the plan, the plan takes the average of the closing levels of the Index on each business day during the last 6 months of the plan term. The use of averaging can reduce the adverse effects of a falling market or sudden market falls whilst it can also reduce the benefits of an increasing market or sudden increases in the market during the last six months of the plan.

Credit ratings and agencies

This plan is a structured investment and so unlike investing in a fund where you would buy units at the prevailing price on the date of purchase, your initial capital is used to purchase securities issued by Investec Bank plc. These securities are structured in a way so that they aim to provide the fixed income and the return of capital as described above, and means that Investec Bank plc’s ability to meet their financial obligations becomes an important investment consideration. If the bank fails or becomes insolvent, this could affect both the payment of any future income, as well as the return of your original investment and you would not be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for default alone.

Fitch is one of the main global credit rating agencies and has awarded Investec Bank plc a credit rating of BBB with a stable outlook (awarded 3rd October 2016). The ‘BBB’ rating denotes a good credit quality and indicates that expectations of default risk are currently low and that Investec Bank plc’s capacity for payment of its financial commitments is considered to be adequate but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity. The stable outlook indicates that the rating is not expected to change in the short to medium term, i.e. in the next 6 months to 2 years.

Investec Bank plc profile

Investec is an international specialist bank and asset manager with its main operations in the UK and South Africa. Established in 1974, they currently employ around 9,000 people and as at 31st March 2016, look after £121.7 billion of customer assets. They provide a range of financial products and services and specialise in a number of areas, particularly within the banking sector. Their banking operation looks after £24.0 billion of customer deposits and they are also a market leading provider of investment plans and structured deposits in the UK.

Risk v reward

The principle of risk versus reward means that the search for potentially higher returns leads us to consider putting our capital at risk. A good benchmark for assessing your investment is to compare what you could get from a fixed rate deposit (capital protected) over a similar timeframe, and then consider whether you are comfortable with the risk to capital you are taking in order to receive the opportunity for a higher return.

Our leading five year fixed rate bond is currently offering 2.01%, and so by accepting risk to your capital, you are increasing your fixed return by 3.03% a year (since the fixed income from this investment is 5.04% p.a.). With the savings market failing to meet the need for higher income, the decision is whether you are comfortable with putting your capital at risk and the conditional capital protection offered, in order to achieve the higher return.

Fair Investment view

Commenting on the plan, head of savings and investments at Fair Investment Company Oliver Roylance-Smith said: “One of the main attractions with the Enhanced Income Plan is the ability for potential investors to consider its risk versus reward prior to investing. The plan pays a fixed income, each month, for a fixed term – so you know exactly what you will receive, when, and for how long – whilst you get your capital back at the end of the term unless the FTSE has fallen by more than 50%.“

He continued: “Compared to other income investments, this defined return for a defined level of risk could be attractive whilst the monthly income and fixed income features are often high up on the list of priorities for income seekers.”

The plan is open for new ISA investments up to the £15,240 allowance, Cash ISA and Stocks & Shares ISA transfers, as well as non-ISA investments. The minimum investment is £3,000.

Click for more information about the Investec FTSE 100 Enhanced Income Plan »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

This investment does not include the same security of capital that is afforded to a deposit account. Your capital is at risk.

Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. Always remember to check whether any charges apply before transferring an ISA.

This is a structured investment plan that is not capital protected and is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for default alone. There is a risk of losing some or all of your initial investment. There is a risk that the company backing the plan or any company associated with the plan may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated. In addition, you may not get back the full amount of your initial investment if the plan is not held for the full term. The past performance of the FTSE 100 Index is not a guide to its future performance.

Fixed rate bond holders face significant falls: our roundup of the latest fixed rate options

Written by Tags: , , , , ,

Last updated: 17/01/2017

For those bond holders with maturing accounts, many are facing significant falls in the level of returns on offer when comparing their maturing account with the current crop of fixed term deposits on offer, especially those coming out of four or five year fixed rate bonds. And yet despite this low interest rate environment, fixed rate bonds continue to play an important role for many savers. With this in mind, we give you a roundup of our latest fixed rate bond offers, as well as take a look at some of our most popular alternatives.

Fixed rate bonds a popular choice

With interest rates looking set to continue at their record lows for some time to come, and whilst top instant access accounts only offer around 1.0% AER, savers looking for the certainty of knowing exactly how much they will receive, when and for how long, still look towards the fixed rate bond which remains a popular choice for those wanting to combine a fixed return with full capital protection.

Short term: up to 2 years

Fixed rate bonds

For those looking at the shortest fixed terms, Habib Bank offer a 6 Month Fixed Rate Deposit paying 0.80% AER, whilst new entrants Zenith Bank and Masthaven Bank offer 1.30% AER and 1.35% AER respectively if you can tie your money up for a year with their 1 Year Fixed Term Deposit. Minimum deposits start as low as £500 and your deposits are eligible for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Interest is paid at maturity and as is standard with most fixed term deposits, no withdrawals are permitted during the term of the bond. Zenith Bank also offers a top rate of 1.52% AER if you fix for 2 years with their 2 Year Fixed Term Deposit account, with deposits available from £1,000, whilst Masthaven’s 2 Year Fixed Term Bond is slightly more competitive at 1.53% AER with a £500 minimum balance.

Fixed rate Cash ISAs

Bank of Cyprus UK offer market leading rates in this category, with their 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA paying 1.05%, and marginally higher at 1.10% AER if you want to fix for 2 years, both with a low minimum deposit of just £500. These accounts are available to anyone aged 16 or over and interest is paid annually into your Cash ISA. ISA transfers are permitted and eligible deposits are covered by the UK FSCS. Aldermore Bank offers a market leading 1.20% AER on their 2 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA but the minimum is slightly higher at £1,000. Aldermore Bank is the five time winner of the Consumer Moneyfacts ISA Provider of the Year Award (2011-2015).

Medium term: 3 to 4 years

Fixed rate bonds

In the three to four year space, our top deal comes from the new kid on the block, Masthaven Bank, and their 3 Year Fixed Term Deposit, currently paying 1.67% AER. The minimum deposit is £500 and interest can be paid monthly or annually. For those looking specifically for monthly interest, United Bank UK’s 3 Year Fixed Term Deposit pays a slightly lower rate of 1.55% AER, but also offers a monthly interest option, in addition to having it paid annually or at maturity. No withdrawals are permitted from these accounts.

Leading our tables over 4 years is Vanquis Bank offering 1.85% AER and Masthaven Bank offering 1.84% AER with their 4 Year Fixed Term Bond, for those with between £500 and £250,000 to deposit. Both accounts have annual or monthly interest options, but no withdrawals are permitted during the term. Accounts can be opened in sole or joint names.

Fixed rate Cash ISAs

Bank of Cyprus UK continues to be very competitive in the fixed rate Cash ISA market with their 3 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA, currently paying 1.20% AER and with a respectable minimum deposit of just £500. Aldermore are offering a higher rate of 1.25% AER fixed over 3 years with their 3 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA whilst both of these accounts allow you to transfer in existing ISAs from other providers, and can be set up easily online.

Longer term: 5 years+

Fixed rate bonds

Although the highest rates are still rewarded with higher savings rates in return for locking your money away for longer, the interest rate gap between short term and longer term is also at record lows. For those prepared to commit their savings for five years, Vanquis Bank’s 5 Year Fixed Rate Bond is paying 2.00% AER with a minimum deposit is £1,000 whilst Masthaven Bank’s 2.01% AER is currently market leading and interest can be paid monthly or annually.

Fixed rate bond holders facing significant falls

Just over a year ago we were talking about savings rates of around 2.10% for a 1 year fixed rate, 2.35% for a 2 year fixed whilst a 3 year would get you 2.70% AER fixed. Our best rates above will earn you 1.35%, 1.53% and 1.61% AER respectively, equivalent to reductions of between 35% and 40%. And the situation is even worse for longer term bond holders. We have many customers who are coming out of five year fixed rates where the rate on offer was around 4.60%. Now, they are looking at 2.01% as the market leading five year fixed rate, a significant reduction in interest of 56%. For someone with a maturing lump sum of £50,000, this is equivalent to their income dropping from £2,300 per year to £1,005.

Investing for fixed income

It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that many fixed rate savers have had to consider a wider range of options than ever before in the search for higher levels of income, and in doing so this inevitably involves considering investments and the associated risk to your capital. One of the main issues facing those in this situation is that most traditional income investments only offer a variable income, and so comparing with a fixed rate bond can be more difficult. This is perhaps one reason which helps to explain why the Enhanced Income Plan from Investec has been such a popular plan with our customers.

Fixed income, fixed term

The plan offers a fixed income, which is paid to you regardless of the performance of the stock market, whilst the investment also has a fixed term, so you know exactly how much you will be paid and for how long. The current issue offers 5.04% fixed income each year, which is paid as 0.42% each month.

In addition to offering a fixed income, this plan is different to most investment funds in that is also offers some capital protection against a falling stock market. Known as conditional capital protection, this means that your original investment is retuned in full unless the FTSE 100 Index falls by more than 50% during the plan term. If it does, and also finishes the fixed term lower than its value at the start of the plan, your initial investment will be reduced by 1% for every 1% fall, so you could lose some or all of your initial investment.

The Enhanced Income Plan is also available as an ISA and accepts ISA transfers with a minimum investment of £3,000.

Cash versus investment – understand the risks first

One of the main differences between the fixed rate bond and the fixed income investment is that with the former, your capital is treated as a deposit and is therefore protected and returned to you at the end of the term, subject to the bank in question remaining solvent. You also have access to the deposit protection available from the UK FSCS.

An investment into the Enhanced Income Plan is used to purchase securities issued by Investec Bank plc, which means the bank’s ability to meet and repay their financial obligations is equally an important consideration. However, since this is not a deposit, you are not eligible for compensation under the FSCS for default alone, and as highlighted above, the return of your capital is also dependent on the performance of the FTSE 100 Index and so is at risk.

Risk v reward

The principle of risk versus reward means that the search for higher fixed returns usually leads to the need to consider putting your capital at risk. A good benchmark for assessing your fixed rate investment is to compare what you could get from a fixed rate deposit over a similar timeframe, and then consider whether you are prepared to accept the level of risk to your capital in return for the higher fixed rate.

Our best five year fixed rate is currently offering 1.90%. By accepting risk to your capital, the Investec plan offers 5.04% over six years, thereby offering more than two and half times the level of income each year. The main risk is that your capital is at risk if the FTSE 100 Index falls below 50% and so once you have understood how the plan works, the decision then is whether you are comfortable with putting your capital at risk in return for the higher fixed return on offer.

 

Compare fixed rate bonds »

Compare fixed rate Cash ISAs »

Find out more about the Investec Enhanced Income Plan »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. Always remember to check whether any charges apply before transferring an ISA.

The Investec Enhanced Income Plan is a structured investment plan which is not capital protected and is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for default alone. There is a risk of losing some or all of your initial investment. There is a risk that the company backing the plan or any company associated with the plan may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated. In addition, you may not get back the full amount of your initial investment if the plan is not held for the full term. The past performance of the FTSE 100 Index is not a guide to its future performance.

AER stands for the Annual Equivalent Rate and illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once each year.

Top 10 tips for ISA savers and investors

Written by Tags: , , , ,

Since we have just passed the halfway point in the tax year, now is the perfect opportunity to review your ISA planning, whilst you still have plenty of time to do so. There are plenty of ISA opportunities out there, and since each of us (over the age of 16 for a Cash ISA, and 18 for an Investment ISA) has a healthy ISA allowance each and every year, this really should be a top priority for all savers and investors to review all existing ISAs as well as the wide range of options open to them. To help you act and act fast, our head of savings and investments, Oliver Roylance-Smith, has put together his Top 10 ISA tips, so there can be no excuse for missing out on valuable tax-efficient returns well before the end of the tax year…

Tip 1 – Know your limits…

At the start of each financial year, HMRC set a limit on the amount each individual can put into an ISA over the course of the next twelve months, between 6th April and the following 5th April. This is known as the ISA allowance. The ISA allowance for the current tax year (2016/17) stands at £15,240, which is the highest it has ever been. Also remember that this allowance is per person (over the age of 16 for a Cash ISA, and age 18 for an Investment ISA), so a couple can invest up to £30,480 in total this tax year.

Tip 2 – Consider the impact of current ISA savings rates

However, despite this generous ISA allowance it is not all good news, especially for cash ISA savers. This is because the increases to the ISA allowance in recent years has coincided with some of the lowest interest rates on record, so although there is the incentive to save, the deals on offer are far less attractive than the cash-based returns of yester-year. Therefore it is more important than ever to consider the potential impact of this on the overall returns from our capital and what impact this might have.

Tip 3 – Take a risk check

Cash ISAs protect your initial capital (and your initial deposit is normally covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme) and offer either a fixed or variable return, whilst Investment ISAs offer the opportunity for higher returns but place your capital at risk. Generally the greater risk you take with your capital, the higher the potential rewards and capital losses are.

Further to the Bank of England’s first base rate cut in seven years back in August, savers have again realised that the likelihood of any significant change to savings rates is very unlikely, and even when interest rates do start to rise there is no guarantee that this will be passed on to savers. Times have definitely changed, and this has resulted in the continued trend of record Investment ISA subscriptions as more and more ISA savers are in the hunt for higher returns. So now would be a good time to review the risk versus reward on offer from both your existing ISAs and any new ISAs you are considering.

Tip 4 – Think about tax free income

Although the personal savings allowance has resulted in many savers not having to worry as much about the impact of tax on their overall returns, there are still other considerations and those who have existing ISAs, are higher (and additional) rate tax payers, or anyone who is or may in the future take a high amount of non-dividend income from their capital, should all think about using ISAs to receive tax free income. Not only does this income not need to be declared on a tax return, but income from ISAs is not included in the personal savings allowance, so you can use additional further funds towards this.

Tip 5 – Make full use of the ISA’s flexibility

Gone are the days when there was a different limit for Cash ISAs and Investment ISAs, and for the last couple of years there has been no restriction on the amount you can put into either type – so Cash ISA savers have enjoyed the full ISA allowance. This greater flexibility means that you can put the full ISA allowance into a Cash ISA, an Investment ISA, or a mixture of the two in any proportion you choose. This allows ISA savers to give careful consideration to balancing the risk versus reward of their ISA portfolio, whilst remaining safe in the knowledge that the benefits of not paying any tax increases over time – so the more you can put away each year, the more you are likely to benefit.

Tip 6 – Get ahead of the game

Despite it being only half way through the tax year, you should always have half an eye on the 5th April end of tax year deadline. We can all be guilty of putting off until tomorrow those things which could be done today, and we all know how quickly time can fly. Remember, you cannot backdate your allowance so if you don’t use it, you lose it. In addition, the earlier in the tax year you act, the more time your cash has the potential to benefit from the tax efficient returns.

Tip 7 – Think to the future

Needless to say that in the current financial climate, every penny counts – so why pay tax on money that you can protect from the tax man, both now and in the future? Money held in an ISA has the opportunity to build on the tax-efficient returns year on year. If you had invested the maximum into a Cash ISA since they were first introduced in 1999, and you had received 2.5% per year, at the end of this tax year you would have a savings pot of almost £120,000. If you put the maximum into an Investment ISA every year, and that had grown at 6% each year, you would see a lump sum of almost £279,000. Both are sizeable amounts, none of which would be subject to income tax or capital gains tax. Please note that the tax efficiency of ISAs is based on current tax law which is subject to change in the future.

Tip 8 – Always check your current interest rate

Rates change frequently and once you’ve deposited your hard earned cash, your ISA provider knows from experience that some of you are unlikely to get round to switching providers, even if your rate ceases to be competitive. Don’t be that person! Always check the rate you are currently receiving (this should be detailed on each statement) and compare it with a wide range of other options on offer. However good your ISA deal seems at the outset, it is likely that you will need to transfer your ISA fairly frequently in order for it to remain competitive.

Tip 9 – Take advantage of ISA transfers

Many of us already have existing ISAs, however, like so many other savers and investors, you may find that your ISA is no longer paying a competitive rate or your investments are underperforming – this is where the ISA transfer can help. You can transfer all previous ISA holdings and most allow you to do this without charge, although don’t forget to check whether there are penalties from your existing provider. Remember that now you can transfer between Cash ISAs and Stocks & Shares ISAs without any restriction, which means that you can choose to keep all of your ISA savings and/or your investments in one place.

With such low interest rates, much of the increase in the numbers of Investment ISAs in the last couple of years has come from ISA transfers. The upside here is the potential for higher returns whilst the downside is that such returns are not guaranteed and your capital is at risk. Either way, don’t waste your ISA by keeping it in a low paying savings plan or poorly performing investment. There is a wide choice available.

Tip 10 – Maintain your ISA at all costs

Whilst your savings and investments remain in their tax-efficient ISA ‘wrapper’, the benefits become more and more valuable over time as the compound effect of not paying tax each year builds and builds. This is why not only should you try and maximise your ISA allowance each year, but you should also aim to make sure your ISA is the last money you dip into since as soon as you take money out of your ISA it loses these benefits.

Start a new ISA or transfer your current ISA now

The current ISA allowance is available now and many of the savings accounts and investments available through Fair Investment Company are available as new ISAs and accept ISA transfers. So start as you mean to go on, review your options carefully and make sure you benefit from up to a half a year of extra tax-efficient returns by taking action now. This also means one less thing to worry about until 6th April next year…

 

Compare Cash ISAs »

Compare Income ISA investments »

Compare Growth ISA investments »

Compare ISA transfers »

 

Please note that this information is based on current law and practice which is subject to change.

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. Always remember to check whether any charges apply before transferring an ISA.

The value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. Different types of investment carry different levels of risk and may not be suitable for all investors.

Lifetime ISAs explained – the story so far

Written by Tags: , , , ,

One of the most interesting developments to come out of this year’s Budget is the announcement of a new category of ISA, the Lifetime ISA. Although some of the detail is yet to be finalised, we should all take note of the potential for a bonus of up to £32,000 in cash from the government, and so here we take a quick tour of what we know so far…

ISA allowance

Lifetime ISAs are due to launch in April 2017, which coincides with another significant increase in the ISA allowance, as it rises from its current level of £15,240 to £20,000 from the start of the next tax year. So whilst all contributions into a Lifetime ISA will count towards the total amount you can contribute into an ISA, savers will have another £4,760 of ISA allowance at their disposal.

Lifetime ISAs

The Lifetime ISA will provide a new way for those aged between 18 and 40 to save for both the purchase of their first property and their retirement simultaneously, with both cash and investment versions to be available. In addition to benefitting from the tax-advantages of an ISA, savers who use the account in certain ways could also retain a 25% bonus from the government on their contributions.

Who can use them?

To qualify you simply need to be aged 18 or over and under 40 on the date you open an account. They can be taken out in addition to a standard Cash or Investment ISA, as well as the current Help-to-Buy ISA. You can also open a Lifetime ISA even if you already own a property.

How will they work?

From its launch eligible savers will be able to contribute up to a maximum of £4,000 a year into a Lifetime ISA, however contributions made into the account before the holder’s 50th birthday will be eligible to receive the 25% government bonus – this essentially means they could gain an additional £1 for every £4 saved. This bonus element is not included as part of your annual ISA allowance.

The account will therefore have a maximum individual contribution limit of up to £128,000 (if you put in the maximum amount of £4,000 for every year between ages 18 and 50) which can be matched by the government bonus to a maximum of £32,000, giving a total of £160,000. The bonus will also be added each year, so you can earn interest or investment growth on it thereafter.

Getting the bonus payment

In order to retain the 25% bonus payments there are specific rules about how and when the savers need to use the capital within the account. Two scenarios are eligible, the first being anyone under the age of 60 using the proceeds towards purchasing their first property, and the second is anyone over the age of 60 using the funds to support their retirement.

Property purchase

Before the account holder is aged 60 years or over the only way to receive the bonus on their savings is to use the money within the account to purchase a property as a first-time buyer, either outright or using it for the deposit on a mortgage. In this instance the money will be paid directly to the person carrying out the conveyancing for the new home.

A first-time buyer is considered someone who has never owned property before whether in the UK or elsewhere, and in order to receive the bonus the property is also restricted to having a maximum value of £450,000 no matter where it is in the country. This is different to the current Help-to-Buy ISA which limits the property value to £250,000 if outside of London. The buyer must also be intending to live within the property so investment properties such as Buy to Lets would not be eligible for the bonus.

As the Lifetime ISA is an individual product couples are permitted to have one each, which means that a couple could generate up to £64,000 in a bonus payment towards the acquisition cost of their first home. In cases where one member of a couple has previously owned property but the other has not, they will still be able to benefit from one member using their Lifetime ISA to help fund the purchase.

In ‘retirement’

Once the account holder reaches 60 years old they will be able to receive the bonus upon any full or partial withdrawal. The account proceeds can be used for any purpose and will be paid free of tax. Funds can also remain invested and any interest and investment growth will continue to be tax-free – this includes any capital left over in the account if the Lifetime ISA holder already used it to fund a ‘bonus-eligible’ first property purchase.

Other withdrawals

Savers looking to make a withdrawal before their 60th birthday for reasons other than their first property purchase will be permitted to do so, but they will have to repay all the money added to the account by the government. They will also incur a 5% charge upon the amount withdrawn – an early redemption penalty.

Lifetime ISAs and Help-to-Buy ISAs

You can have both a Help-to-Buy ISA and a Lifetime ISA, however you are only permitted to use the bonus of one of the accounts to purchase property. Before Lifetime ISA’s launch it is also possible to save with a Help-to-Buy ISA in the meantime and then transfer it into a Lifetime ISA when they launch.

Fair Investment view

Commenting on the Lifetime ISA, Oliver Roylance-Smith, head of savings and investment at Fair Investment Company Limited said: “The idea of a 25% uplift towards a deposit for buying your first home will be attractive to some, but it is those with half an eye on their retirement years that could really benefit. Building up a pot in a tax-efficient environment over which you have complete control as to how much you take out and when is an attractive proposition. Add in the 25% bonus and the fact that any interest or investment growth will be compounded over time, and you could potentially end up with a sizeable tax-free pot to complement any other retirement provision.”

He continued: “Assuming you started your Lifetime ISA at age 35 and paid in £4,000 each year for the next 15 years, which would have another £1,000 per year added to it by the government. Not only would you have received £15,000 in bonus payments, but if your fund had grown at 5% each year (net of charges), at age 60 your pot would be worth almost £200,000, all of which would be available to take completely tax free, as and when you wish.”

 

Click here to compare our selection of Cash ISAs »

Click here to compare our selection of Help-to-Buy ISAs »

Click here to compare our selection of Investment ISAs »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular plan. The example used in this newsletter is for indicative purposes only and all funds will contain their own risk element in relation to growth and performance. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular product, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice. Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. Always remember to check whether any charges apply before transferring an ISA.

60 second ISA savers guide to the 2016 Budget

Written by Tags: , , , , ,

Following last month’s speech by the Chancellor, George Osbourne, we give our 60 second guide to the Budget for ISA savers, offering a quick round up of the main changes and what this will mean for both cash savers and investors alike.

Your ISA Allowance

While Chancellor George Osborne may have taken the decision to maintain the Individual Savings Account (ISA) Allowance at £15,240 for this new tax year (2016/17), the chancellor also announced that from 6th April 2017, it will see a significant increase of £4,760 giving savers and investors a total allowance of £20,000 to spread between their ISA accounts over the 2017/18 tax year. The Junior ISA limit will remain at its current rate of £4,080.

Innovative Finance ISA

The recent Budget also introduced a new type of ISA which has launched for this current tax year. Announced in the Summer Budget of 2015, this has fallen slightly under the radar for many but this new savings option, entitled the ‘Innovative Finance ISA’, is designed to provide a tax-free wrapper for investors in Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P). This ISA allows individuals to lend to others by using Peer to Peer Lending platforms but without paying tax on the interest they earn.

As this is a new distinct category of ISA, savers can open an IFISA along with a Cash ISA and a Stocks and Shares ISA (or Investment ISA), all within the same tax year – so any contributions into this type of ISA does count towards the £15,240 current tax year allowance. Although at present there are only a small number of P2P providers who have been authorised to offer their products within an ISA, there are a significant number who are awaiting authorisation. The area of P2P lending has seen significant growth in recent years and there will be more to follow on this later in the year…

Lifetime ISA

Possibly one of the biggest headlines for this year’s budget was the announcement by Mr Osborne of another kind of ISA which will launch in April 2017 – the Lifetime ISA. The Lifetime ISA will allow individuals aged between 18 and 40 to simultaneously save for both the purchase of their first home and their retirement. The ISA will work similarly to the current Help to Buy ISA, in that savers will be granted a 25% bonus on their contributions when used to purchase all, or part, of a new home (up to a maximum property value of £450,000 nationwide), with a maximum annual contribution limit of £4,000.

However, savers will not be limited in how much they can contribute each month and in addition to this, money withdrawn after the account holder’s 60th birthday will also enjoy the same bonus and can be used for any means. Savers will be able to receive their bonus on contributions made up until their 50th birthday, leaving the possibility to make a maximum individual contribution of £128,000 which would be matched by the government to a value of £32,000. Partial withdrawals from the account for other uses before the age of 60 will be allowed but will not benefit from the bonus or any interest upon it and incur a 5% charge.

Help to Buy ISA

With much of its function being replicated with the new Lifetime ISA, it was also announced that Help to Buy ISAs will be made unavailable to new savers from the 30th November 2019. Savers who opened a Help to Buy ISA before this date will be able to keep saving into the account, but they must claim the bonus by 1st December 2030. However savers waiting for the Lifetime ISA to launch should be aware that it is possible to open a Help to Buy ISA and then merge it with a Lifetime ISA when it launches in April next year. It is also possible to have both a Help to Buy ISA and a Lifetime ISA but individuals will only be able to benefit from one of the bonus payments when used to purchase a property.

Helping savers plan for the future

All in all this was a good budget for ISA savers, but we must not also overlook the significant reforms which have taken place since the New ISA (NISA) was introduced in April 2014 and which remain unchanged, including:

  • Increased flexibility – savers can divide their ISA allowance between Cash ISA and Stocks and Shares ISAs in whatever proportion they wish, especially welcome news for those who want to use their entire ISA allowance for cash savings which had been previously capped.
  • Increased ISA transfer potential – savers can transfer from a Stocks and Shares ISA to a Cash ISA, or the other way around. Previously, transfers from Stocks and Shares ISAs to Cash ISA were not permitted.
  • Tax-free interest in Stocks and Shares ISAs – interest is now earned tax free in a Stocks and Shares ISA whereas previously, with the exception of a Cash ISA, any cash held within the Stocks and Shares element of an ISA was subject to a 20% charge on the interest earned – paid to HMRC.
  • Withdrawals permitted – since last year savers may now withdraw and replace money in the same tax year, without it counting towards their annual ISA allowance provided that it is paid back in to the account by the end of the financial year in which the withdrawal is made. Previously money taken out of an ISA lost its tax free status, meaning that additional payments would count towards your allowance for that year.
  • Junior ISA flexibility – those who have taken out a Child Trust Fund (CTF) for their child are now permitted to convert the fund into a Junior ISA.
  • Passing on an ISA allowance – married couples can pass an extra ISA allowance, equal to the value of their ISA savings on death, to their surviving spouse. This means that couples can now pass the ISA tax breaks to each other however, passing the ISA tax status from parent’s to children is still not permitted. When the surviving partner dies, they will continue to fall inside the family estate for inheritance tax purposes.

Combined, these ISA reforms give savers every opportunity to plan for the future, regardless of their stage of life.

Fair Investment View

Commenting on the Budget, Oliver Roylance-Smith, head of savings and investment at Fair Investment Company Limited said: “Along with the changes made to existing rules surrounding ISAs in the last two years, the 2016 Budget’s announcement of several new types of Individual Savings Account means that individuals may now utilise their personal ISA allowance with far greater flexibility than ever before, spreading their allowance between a variety of savings and investment plans to meet their needs.”

He continued: “But perhaps the most significant move is the increase to a £20,000 ISA allowance in 2017. Remember that just 2 years ago, the allowance stood at just £11,880, with a boost from 1st July of that year to £15,000. This recent announcement sees the limit rise from £11,880 on 6th April 2014 to £20,000 on 6th April 2017, a rise of £8,120 in just 3 years. This means that a couple could save up to £30,480 during this current tax year, increasing to £40,000 from 6th April next year, offering the potential to accrue considerable sums within their ISA accounts in a relatively small timeframe. Good news indeed for savers.”

For more information, see some of our most popular ISA pages below:

Click here for our Top 10 Investment ISA Plans »

Click here to compare our selection of Cash ISAs »

Click here to compare our selection of Investment ISAs »

Click here to compare our selection of Share Dealing and Self-select ISAs »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular plan. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular product, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice. Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. Always remember to check whether any charges apply before transferring an ISA.

Our 10 best last minute ISA ideas

Written by Tags: , , , , , , ,

With just one week to go until the deadline for using your 2015/16 ISA allowance of £15,240, this really is your last opportunity to make use of this valuable tax break and help protect your returns from the taxman. If you are yet to make use of some or all of your allowance, here we give you our 10 best last minute ISA ideas. Including both Cash ISA and Investment ISAs, as well as opportunities where you can include your 2016/17 ISA allowance (£15,240) as well, there should be something for everyone.

1.   Our best-selling Investment ISA

For those looking for growth but also with the opportunity to mature early or ‘kick out’ each year, the Enhanced Kick Out Plan offers 11.50% for each year invested provided the FTSE 100 Index at the end of each year is higher than its value at the start of the plan (subject to averaging). Capital is at risk if the FTSE falls by more than 50%. This is our best selling Investment ISA during the current ISA season and also features a Double ISA option.  Click here for more information »

2.   Fixed income Investment ISA

The Enhanced Income Plan is a regular ISA season top seller, paying a fixed income of 5.28% per year regardless of what happens to the stock market. The plan also has monthly income payments, so you know exactly how much you will paid, when, and for how long. Capital is at risk if the FTSE 100 Index falls by more than 50%. This plan features a Double ISA option.  Click here for more information »

3.   Self-select Investment ISA top seller

Barclays Stockbrokers has been voted ‘Best Execution-Only Broker’ at the Shares Awards 2015 whilst they have also been voted Self Select ISA Provider of the Year 2016 at the ADVFN International Financial Awards. Their investment ISA offers over 2,000 funds as well as a wide range of other investments including shares, exchange traded funds, investment trust, gilts and bonds.  Click here for more information »

4.   Defensive Investment ISA best seller

The Defensive Growth Plan from Investec offers a fixed return of 36% (equivalent to 5.25% compound annual growth) plus a return of your original capital, provided the FTSE 100 Index has not fallen by 50% or more at the end of the investment term. If it has, no growth will be achieved and your capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall. This plan also features a Double ISA option.  Click here for more information »

5.   Income Investment ISA top seller

The FTSE Quarterly Contingent Income Plan pays a quarterly income of 1.875% for each quarter the FTSE 100 Index does not end less than 25% below its value at the start of the plan. So even if the FTSE falls up to 25% each quarter, you would still achieve 7.50% annual income. Capital is at risk if the FTSE has fallen by more than 40% at the end of the investment term. This plan features a Double ISA option.  Click here for more information »

6.   Managed and regular saver Investment ISA

The Standard Life Stocks & Shares ISA includes their ‘Easy Option ISA’, which allows investors to invest in one of their MyFolio Managed Funds run by a team of experts at Standard Life Investment Ltd. You can manage your account online and your ISA can be opened from just £50 per month with transfers from other ISAs permitted.  Click here for more information »

7.   Defensive supertracker Investment ISA

Defensive plans remain popular and the FTSE Defensive Supertracker from Meteor tracks any growth in the FTSE during the plan term and then trebles it, subject to a maximum growth return of 60%. The plan is defensive since the growth is based on any rise above 80% of the FTSE’s value at the start of the plan – that’s a 60% return even if the FTSE ends the same. Capital is at risk if the FTSE has fallen by more than 40%. This plan also features a Double ISA option.  Click here for more information »

8.   Instant access Cash ISA

For savers looking to combine a top interest rate with access to their money at all times, the Easy Access ISA from AA offers a simple, bonus-free savings rate of 1.25% AER variable. The account can be opened and managed online with just £100 and there are unlimited free withdrawals. The account also accepts transfers in. There are no penalties, notice periods or tiered interest rates, whilst interest is calculated daily and paid in March each year.  Click here for more information »

9.   Fixed rate Cash ISA

If you are looking for the reassurance of a fixed savings rate and don’t need access for your money for at least a year, fixed rate Cash ISAs are a popular option. The 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA from AA currently offers 1.35% AER fixed and can be opened with a single deposit of £500. The account also accepts transfers in. Withdrawals are not permitted and 90 days loss of interest will apply if you access your money during the fixed term. You can apply and manage your account online whilst interest is calculated daily and paid at the end of your 12 month fixed rate period.  Click here for more information »

10.  Help to Buy Cash ISA

First time buyers can benefit from a 25% bonus of their Help to Buy ISA balance with a minimum bonus of £400 (so you need at least £1,600 saved) and a maximum of £3,000 (on a savings balance of £12,000) although you can have more saved. That means for every £200 you save HM Government will add £50, up to a maximum of £3,000. Eligibility criteria and Help to Buy: ISA Scheme Rules apply. Also note that any funds withdrawn before closing the account will not count towards the Government Bonus. The Nationwide Help to Buy: ISA is currently offering 2.00% AER variable with a minimum opening balance of £1.  Click here for more information »

 

Click here to compare Cash ISAs »

Click here to compare Investment ISAs »

Click here to compare our Top 10 Investment ISA plans »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. Fair Investment Company does not offer advice and any investment transacted through us in on a non-advised basis. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

The value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. Different types of investment carry different levels of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. The past performance of the FTSE 100 Index is not a guide to its future performance.

Some of the investments mentioned are structured investment plans that are not capital protected and are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for default alone. There is a risk of losing some or all of your initial investment. There is a risk that the company backing the plan or any company associated with the plan may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated. In addition, you may not get back the full amount of your initial investment if the plan is not held for the full term.

Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

2016 ISA season selections – our Top 5 Investment ISAs

Written by Tags: , , , , ,

With well under a month to go, time is running out to maximise the valuable tax benefit of your ISA allowance before the deadline on 5th April 2016, otherwise it will be lost forever. This has already been a very busy ISA season, and with Cash ISA savings rates continuing at uninspiring levels, it is perhaps not surprising that last season’s rise in the number of Stocks & Shares ISAs is a continuing trend. With the need to review existing ISAs, as well as making sure any new ISA investments offer the opportunity for competitive returns, we bring you our most popular Investment ISAs.

Our Top 5 Selections

Below we have listed some of our most popular Investment ISA plans, featuring both income and growth investments. With income needs continuing to play a critical role for many investors, the attraction of having tax free income is understandable. Whilst for investors looking for growth, included are those plans which take a defensive view on the stock market, as well as investments with the opportunity to mature early or ‘kick out’. Our head of savings and investment, Oliver Roylance-Smith, also offers a Fair Investment view for each plan.

Your ISA allowance

The ISA allowance for the current tax year is £15,240, whilst all of the plans detailed below accept Cash ISA and Stocks & Shares ISA transfers. Each plan also offers a Double ISA option, whereby you can invest the current tax year ISA allowance and next tax year’s ISA allowance (2016/17 tax year ISA allowance is also £15,240) via one application form – thereby offering the opportunity to invest up to £30,480 into new ISAs. Please check the individual plan for further details and for any application deadlines that apply.

Potential for 11.50% annual growth

With the potential for double digit returns and the opportunity to mature early from year one onwards, the Investec Enhanced Kick Out Plan has been our best selling Investment ISA this year. The plan will return 11.50% annual growth (not compounded) provided the value of the FTSE 100 Index at the end of each year is higher than its value at the start of the plan (subject to averaging). Your initial capital is at risk if the Index falls by more than 50% during the term, and also finishes below its starting value, in which case your capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall.

Fair Investment view: “Depending on your view of what will happen to the FTSE, the ability to achieve 11.50% annual growth, even if the Index stays relatively flat, perhaps helps to explain why this plan has proved so popular. The current issue also sees the highest potential return on offer from this plan since 2012, so if the combination of high growth returns, the ability to mature early, as well as some capital protection against a falling market sounds appealing, this might make for a compelling opportunity in the current investment climate.”

Click here for more information »

 

Up to 7.50% annual income

The FTSE Quarterly Contingent Income Plan from Focus offers a quarterly payment of 1.75% during the plan if at the end of each quarter, the value of the FTSE 100 index has not fallen more than 25% from its value at the start of the plan. Therefore, the Index can fall up to 25% at the end of each quarter and you would still receive 7.50% annual income, but if the Index falls by more than this, no income would be paid for that quarter.

Your initial investment is returned at the end of the plan provided the FTSE has not fallen by more than 40%, measured at the end of the fixed term only. If it has fallen below this level, capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall, so you could lose some or all of your initial investment.

Fair Investment view: “Those seeking income from their investments often put the potential yield and frequency of payments as their top priorities, so the headline yield of up to 7.50% is attractive and the cap on any income is balanced against the conditional capital protection thereby offering an attractive balance of risk v reward. It’s has been a while since we’ve been able to talk about the potential for up to 7.50% income from a plan based on the performance of the FTSE, and compared to other income alternatives available in the market, this plan could offer an attractive option.”

Click here for more information »

 

5.28% fixed income each year

Our next plan is from Investec and is our best selling income investment this year, for both ISA and non-ISA investors. The current issue of the Enhanced Income Plan pays a fixed income of 5.28% per year, with monthly payments of 0.44% paid to you regardless of the performance of FTSE.  Capital is at risk if the FTSE falls by more than 50% during the investment term. If it does, and the Index also finishes below its starting level then your original capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall, so you could lose some or all of your original investment.

Fair Investment view:One of the attractions of an ISA is that it allows income to be generated that would otherwise be subject to income tax, whilst the Enhanced Income Plan offers a high fixed income that is paid to you regardless of the performance of the stock market. Knowing exactly how much you will be paid, when and for how long are clearly features that could appeal, whilst the monthly payment frequency is usually the most sought after. The combination of a regular fixed income and a return of capital unless the FTSE 100 Index falls by more than 50%, could offer a competitive balance of risk versus reward that might be considered by both savers and investors.”

Click here for more information »

 

36% return even if the FTSE falls up to 50%

Defensive plans offer investors a competitive return on their capital even if the stock market fails to go up. As a result, they have risen in popularity in the last few years and the recently launched Defensive Growth Plan from Investec is no exception. The plan offers a fixed return of 36%, provided the FTSE 100 Index at the end of the term, is more than half of its value at the start of the plan (subject to averaging). So the FTSE can fall up to 50% and you still receive a fixed growth return of 36%, equivalent to 5.25% compound annual growth. If the FTSE falls by 50% or more, no growth will be achieved and your initial capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall, so you could lose some or all of your initial investment.

Fair Investment view: “Whilst the FTSE continues at what are still historically high levels, it is understandable why many investors are considering defensive investment plans and with a product headline of a 36% growth return unless the FTSE 100 Index falls by 50% or more, the risk versus reward of this plan is relatively easy to understand. So depending on your view of what might happen to the FTSE in the medium term, the ability to produce over 5% compound annual growth provided the market does not fall 50%, could make for an innovative investment opportunity.”

Click here for more information »

 

Triple the rise in the FTSE above 80% of its starting value

Following this defensive theme is our most popular ‘supertracker’ plan, the FTSE Defensive Supertracker from Meteor. The ‘supertracker’ part means your investment tracks any growth in the FTSE 100 Index during the term of the plan and then triples it, whilst the plan is ‘defensive’ since this growth is based on any rise above 80% of the FTSE’s starting value. Therefore, provided the FTSE has not fallen by more than 20%, you will receive triple any growth, subject to a maximum return of 60%. Therefore, this maximum return is achieved provided the FTSE ends the same or higher than its value at the start of the plan.

If the FTSE has fallen by more than 20%, no growth will be paid and your original investment will be returned in full unless the FTSE has fallen by more than 40%. If it has, your capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall, so you could lose some or all of your initial investment.

Fair Investment view: “For those investors concerned about the historically high level of the FTSE and would therefore like to include a defensive element to their investment, this plan offers the opportunity for investment level returns not only if the FTSE goes up, but also if it stays flat or even goes falls up to 20%. By combining this with some capital protection should the stock market fall, this plan could offer a compelling balance of risk versus reward for those who are not confident that the FTSE will rise significantly in the medium term.”

Click here for more information »

 

Important reminder – why do an ISA?

One of the main reasons for using an ISA is it’s tax treatment since no tax is payable on the income you receive, or any capital gains that you make, and there is also no need to declare any ISA income or capital gains on your tax return. They therefore provide tax efficient income or growth on your investment, the benefit of which can be compounded over time. See our Top 10 Tips for ISA season for further help and tips on how to make the most from this important time of year. Please also note that with all of these investments, our experienced Investment Customer Services team is available on 0845 308 2525 to answer any questions you may have.

How to apply

When you click for more information on any of the above plans you will be able to request a brochure pack which will be sent to you by post and email. This will include everything you need to invest, whether applying for an ISA, transferring existing Cash ISAs and/or Stocks & Shares ISAs or making on-ISA investments. Also note that these plans have different application deadlines, and may also close early so it is important to submit your application as soon as possible. Minimum investments and arrangement fees also apply.

Click here to compare Investment ISAs »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and is based on current law which may be subject to change in the future. Always remember to check whether any charges apply before transferring an ISA.

These are structured investment plans which are not capital protected and are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for default alone. There is a risk of losing some or all of your initial investment. There is a risk that the company backing the plan or any company associated with the plan may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated. In addition, you may not get back the full amount of your initial investment if the plan is not held for the full term. The past performance of the FTSE 100 Index is not a guide to its future performance.

Tax free income using your ISA allowance

Written by Tags: , , , ,

With only 5 weeks until the end of the tax year, time is running out to maximise the valuable tax benefit of your 2015/16 ISA allowance, before it is lost forever. We have been helping ISA savers for well over a decade, and history shows us that many investors will be looking for the opportunity to receive tax-free income from their ISA allowance. With the current tax year ISA limit of £15,240 only available to use before 5th April, now could be a great time to make the most of tax-free income opportunities, as well as looking towards income ISA options for the new tax year ahead.

Why seek income from your ISA allowance?

When it comes to investing, generating an income is one of the most common demands we put on our capital, and so the opportunity to receive tax-free income is one that investors will not want to miss out on. As record low interest rates continue, and the returns available from fixed rate bonds remain largely unappealing, many are considering taking on more risk with their capital. Therefore, it is perhaps understandable why many investors are turning to income generating investment opportunities. Using your ISA allowance allows you to receive this income tax-free, thereby protecting more of your hard-earned capital from the taxman.

Take advantage of ISA transfers

Another priority at this time of year is to review your ISA transfer options. Reviewing any existing ISAs is sensible to do at regular intervals, to make sure you don’t squander the valuable tax efficient benefits of your ISA savings. Checking for low interest bearing Cash ISAs or poorly performing Investment ISAs is a prudent measure, and if you find that your current ISA is no longer offering a competitive deal, most ISAs permit you to transfer existing ISAs to them without charge – although don’t forget to check whether there are any penalties from your existing provider.

Frequency of income payments

There are many options to consider when seeking income from your capital via an ISA, including the level of income offered, degree of risk, and frequency of income payments. Investments can offer the option of annual, bi-annual or quarterly payments, but for those seeking regular income, a plan which offers monthly income payments is often the most appealing.

Defined return, defined risk

We feature two plans below, both of which offer you a defined return for a defined level of risk, which means that you know the exact terms of each plan prior to investing, and exactly what needs to happen in order to provide you with the stated returns. They also include what is known as conditional capital protection, whereby your original capital is returned at the end of the plan term, as long as the underlying investment has not fallen by more than a specified amount, normally a percentage of its starting value.

Investors can then decide based on the likelihood of this happening in combination with the income on offer. This is a unique feature of structured investments and is in contrast to other income investments where your capital is exposed to day to day stock market risk and fluctuations in value. As savers continue to face the impact of record low savings rates, this feature could be an attractive option for those considering taking on investment risk with some of their capital.

Tax-free income options using your ISA allowance

All of the investment plans featured on www.fairinvestment.co.uk are available as New ISAs and accept ISA transfers (as well as non-ISA investments) although note any application deadlines that may apply. The income paid from an investment held within an ISA is not then subject to tax, thereby resulting in the potential for an attractive stream of tax free income. To help you compare ISA investment options for income, here are two of our ISA season income best-sellers:

5.28% fixed income, monthly payments

The FTSE 100 Enhanced Income Plan from Investec has been one of our best selling income investments for a number of years, and it is particularly popular during the ISA season. The main appeal of the plan is that it offers a fixed income which is paid to you each month, regardless of the performance of the FTSE 100 Index. The annual income is currently 5.28% (paid as 0.44% each month).

The plan will also return your initial capital at the end of the term unless the FTSE falls by more than 50% during the plan term. If it does, and fails to recover by the end of the term, your initial capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall, so you could some or all of your initial investment.

Fair Investment view: “One of the attractions of an ISA is that it allows income to be generated that would otherwise be subject to income tax. Should you invest in this plan directly (i.e. outside of an ISA), the income would normally be subject to income tax. Using your ISA allowance therefore offers basic rate tax payers the equivalent of 6.60% each year, and for higher rate taxpayers this rises to 8.80%.

The high level of fixed income and the monthly payment frequency are popular features and combined with a fixed term, means the investor knows exactly how much they will be paid, when, and for how long, whilst also having some capital protection against a falling stock market. The current issue of the plan also offers a Double ISA option, with the opportunity to invest using both your 2015/16 and 2016/17 ISA allowances.”

Click here for more information on the Investec FTSE 100 Enhanced Income Plan »

 

Up to 7.0% yield, quarterly payments

The Focus FTSE Quarterly Contingent Income Plan offers the potential for up to 7.0% annual income dependent on the performance of the FTSE 100 Index. The plans pays a quarterly income of 1.75% provided the value of the Index at the end of each quarter has not fallen by more than 25% from its value at the start of the plan. If the Index is below this level, no income would be paid for that quarter.

Your initial capital is returned at the end of the plan provided the FTSE has not fallen by more than 40%, measured at the end of the fixed term only. If it has fallen below this level, your capital will be reduced by 1% for each 1% fall, so you could lose some or all of your initial investment.

Fair Investment view: “It’s has been a while since we’ve been able to talk about the potential for up to 7.0% income from a plan based on the performance of the FTSE, but the latest issue of this popular income investment offers exactly that. The 25% barrier means that the FTSE can fall up to 25% at the end of each quarter and you would still receive 7.0% annual income. With typical yields on UK equity income funds feeling the strain at the moment, this investment could be a timely addition to those seeking high yield investment opportunities.”

Click here for more information on the Focus FTSE Quarterly Contingent Income Plan »

 

Don’t miss out – use it or lose it…

For those looking for income it has perhaps never been more important to manage your savings and investments carefully, and making the most of your tax-free ISA allowance should be a top priority. With only 5 weeks to go until the end of the tax year and the ISA investment deadline, it’s important to make the most of this opportunity, as well as planning ahead to maximise your tax-free income for the forthcoming tax year.

The income investments detailed above are available for individuals to use their ISA allowance and will also accept ISA transfers (from both Cash ISAs and Stocks & Shares ISAs) and non-ISA investments, with minimum investments from £3,000. The current issues of both plans also offer a double ISA option, so investors can use this year’s and next year’s ISA allowance on one application form. For the current tax year (2015/16) the annual New ISA allowance is £15,240 and this is also the limit for the next tax year (2016/17) which starts on 6th April 2016. You can therefore invest up to £30,480 into new ISAs that give you the opportunity to receive a regular tax free income.


Click here to find out more about the Investec Enhanced Income Plan »

Click here to find out more about the Focus FTSE Quarterly Contingent Income Plan »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and legislation which are subject to change in the future. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

Structured investment plans are not capital protected and are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for default alone. There is a risk of losing some or all of your initial investment. There is a risk that the company backing the plan or any company associated with the plan may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated. In addition, you may not get back the full amount of your initial investment if the plan is not held for the full term. The past performance of the FTSE 100 Index is not a guide to their future performance. These investments do not include the same security of capital as a deposit account.

Top 10 Tips for 2016 ISA season

Written by Tags: , , ,

With only 7 weeks until the end of the tax year, now is the time to consider making good use of your ISA allowance if you have not done so already. Considering ways to shelter your hard earned cash from the tax man should be a top priority, and so there’s no time to waste in making sure you review existing ISAs as well as maximise any New ISA opportunities. This makes the period between now and the end of the tax year an important time for savers and investors, so to help you make the most of your ISA allowance, we’ve put together our Top 10 tips for the 2016 ISA season.

Tip 1 – Don’t miss the ISA deadline

Before you do anything else ISA-related, make sure you know all the relevant deadlines. The main deadline to remember is 5th April since this marks the end of the tax year and is the latest date for using your ISA allowance within the current tax year (2015/16). Remember that you cannot backdate your 2013/14 ISA allowance once this deadline has passed – if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Tip 2 – Don’t miss any other deadlines

Also look out for other deadlines which may apply. Many ISA providers will need your application – and possibly your cleared funds – before this date. Additionally, some ISA plans have an earlier deadline for ISA transfers whilst some offer limited funding and may close early if they become oversubscribed.

Tip 3 – Maximise your ISA allowance

Your total ISA allowance for 2015/16 is £15,240. You can put the entire allowance into an Investment ISA (Stocks & Shares ISA), or the entire allowance into a Cash ISA. If you decide to use some of the allowance in one type of ISA, you can also put any remaining balance into the other type. Also remember that these allowances are per person, so a couple can invest up to £30,480 in total before midnight on 5th April 2016.

Tip 4 – Consider maximising next year’s ISA allowance

Some of the deposit and investment plans available from Fair Investment have an application offer period which ends after the new tax year has begun. Investec for example have Double ISA functionality on all of their current plans which means you can apply for both 2015/16 and 2016/17 tax years through one application. The 2016/17 ISA allowance remains unchanged at £15,240 so you could invest up to £30,480 per individual if you are yet to use your current year allowance. That’s £60,960 per couple, so why not make the most of your ISA and maximise your allowance at the earliest opportunity.

Tip 5 – Understand what your ISA could achieve

When considering why to try and maximise your ISA allowance, apart from sheltering your income or growth from the tax man, it is important to understand how much you could achieve over time. For example, if you had invested the maximum into an Investment ISA since the 1999/2000 tax year, and it had grown at 7% each year, you would now have a lump sum of over £270,000. This is a significant amount, a large part of which would normally have been subject to income tax and/or capital gains tax.

Tip 6 – Think about tax free income

Income is a top priority for many considering the options available with their capital, and so the ability to receive tax free income from ISA investments is an obvious route to consider. For those subject to the minimum 20% income tax rate for example, this takes a headline return of 5% down to 4%, which based on £10,000 over 5 years equates to a difference of nearly £600 in your pocket. For a higher rate taxpayer the situation is even worse, taking your 5% down to 3%, which equates to a difference of nearly £1,200. Please note that the tax efficiency of ISAs is based on your individual circumstances and current tax law which are subject to change in the future.

Tip 7 – Check your existing ISAs

It’s not in your ISA provider’s best interests to offer you the best deal year after year, and don’t rely on them making sure you are aware that your introductory or fixed rate has gone down or that a better account or alternative investment is available because it probably won’t happen, even if it is available from the same provider. Savings rates still remain at record lows and once you’ve deposited your hard earned cash, your ISA provider knows from experience that you’re unlikely to get round to switching providers even if your rate ceases to be competitive. Don’t be that person! It’s down to you to review your existing ISAs, check the rates you are receiving and how your investments have performed, and then compare it with a wide range of other options on offer.

Tip 8 – Take a risk check

Cash ISAs protect your initial capital (and your initial deposit is normally covered by the FSCS) and offer either a fixed or variable return, whilst Investment ISAs put your capital at risk but with the opportunity to achieve higher returns. Generally the greater risk you take with your capital, the higher the potential rewards. With record low interest rates forcing many ISA savers to consider taking on more risk with their capital in the hunt for higher returns, now is also a good time to review the risk versus reward on offer from both your existing ISAs and any new ISAs you are considering.

Tip 9 – Don’t forget the transfer option

Whilst for many years you could only transfer from Cash ISAs to Investment ISAs, this limitation has now been removed. This greater flexibility brings with it a wider range of options to consider since you can now transfer all previous ISA holdings, regardless of whether they are in a Cash ISA or an Investment ISA, into a single ISA. Remember though to never simply take your money out of an Investment ISA as you will lose all of the tax benefits and moving it back into an ISA will count as a new subscription, even if this is done in the same tax year. Please also check with your existing ISA provider whether any charges apply on transferring.

Tip 10 – Maintain your ISA at all costs

Whilst your savings and investments remain in their tax-efficient ISA ‘wrapper’, the benefits become more and more valuable over time as the compound effect of not paying tax each year builds and builds. This is why not only should you try and maximise your ISA allowance each year, but you should also aim to make sure your ISA is the last money you dip into since as soon as you take money out of your ISA, it loses these benefits and starts to become subject to tax.

Review ALL of your options

The range of ISA options to choose from is significant and growing day by day in the run up to 5th April. As the end of the tax year approaches, Cash ISA providers in particular will try and persuade you that their offering is the best destination for your hard-earned money, despite this being a period of record low savings. With an increased allowance, wider investment options and greater transfer flexibility, making sure you do your research and consider ALL of your options very carefully indeed is as important as it’s ever been. Fair Investment provides opportunities across both Cash ISAs and Investment ISAs and our wide range of options is constantly being updated to reflect a selection of the best the market has to offer.

Compare our latest Cash ISA selections »

Compare our latest Income Investment ISA selections »

Compare our latest Growth Investment ISA selections »

Compare our Top 10 NISA Investment Plans »

 

No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal recommendation to invest. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment. If you are at all unsure of the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your individual circumstances and legislation which are subject to change in the future. ISA transfer charges may apply, please check with your provider.

The value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. Different types of investment carry different levels of risk and may not be suitable for all investors.