2011 ISA deadline dates
Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: "The ongoing turmoil in Japan and the Middle East has meant some people will have left investing in an ISA until the last minute. Others will simply be topping up their existing investments before the end of the tax year.
"The key message for investors is that while you need to secure this year’s allowance before the deadline next Tuesday, you don’t need to invest in the market immediately, you can simply deposit cash and invest when you’re ready. This money can then either be invested as a lump sum or month by month into the market."
Deadlines differ between providers so make sure you know when the relevant deadlines are for you.
Online and telephone applications
At Northern Rock you can apply for a new ISA online until 6pm on 5 April or top up your existing account until midnight. At HSBC the deadline for online applications is 4 April.
Online applications for both Lloyds and Halifax will be accepted until 11.59pm on 5 April via internet banking.
For telephone applications the deadlines vary from 25 March (West Brom) to 4 April (HSBC). At Lloyds, telephone applications can be made up until 12 noon on 5 April.
At Interactive Investor, existing ISA customers can fund their account online - or by phone - up until the midnight deadline on 5 April.
New customers at Interactive Investor wanting to open an ISA account can also fund by phone and online up to the midnight deadline - but they first have to apply for an account online. This can usually be done within 10 minutes, and funding can be done online or by phone on 0845 880 0267.
For branch applications HSBC's deadline is 1 April while Yorkshire Building Society, West Bromwich Building Society and Santander all accept applications until 5 April as long as customers have the necessary forms of identification. Santander says pre-booked appointments may be necessary. Northern Rock accepts applications up to 4pm on 4 April.
At Lloyd's and Halifax you can apply at a branch during normal opening hours until closing time on 5 April (usually 5pm).
If you were planning on submitting an application by post you may be too late as the general rule is to allow at least two or three days for the application to be received and at least one week for it to be processed. However, some providers are accepting until 5 April so check with yours.
Stocks and shares ISAs
Again, deadlines will vary.
For example, Aberdeen Asset Managers the cut off for postal applications was 29 March, but it will accept them up to the 4 April if customers are willing to waive their cooling off period. The same applies to online applications.
For the Scottish Investment Trust PLC, the deadline for postal applications is by noon 5 April and there is no online facility.
Jupiter Asset Management will accept postal applications until 5 April. Baillie Gifford will accept applications by post until 4pm on 4 April and online until 10pm on 4 April.
Check with your provider to make sure you meet its deadline.
Investment trusts are companies that invest money in other companies and whose shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange. As with unit trusts, private investors buying shares in an investment trust are buying into a diversified portfolio of assets (to reduce risk), which is managed by a professional fund manager. Investment trusts differ from unit trusts in two important ways: they are listed on the stockmarket and so are owned by their shareholders and are closed-ended funds with a finite number of shares in issue. This means the share price of investment trusts might not reflect the true value of the assets in the company (known as the net asset value, or NAV) and if the NAV value of a share is £1 and the share price in the market is 90p, the trust is said to be running a discount of 10% to NAV. But this means the investor is paying 90p to gain exposure to £1 of assets. Investment trusts can also borrow money and use this money to buy investments. This is known as gearing and a geared trust is thought to be more of an investment risk than an ungeared one.
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.