Few providers to offer Lifetime Isa at launch

21 March 2017
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Savers looking to build up a deposit for a first home or to top up a workplace pension will be disappointed to learn that only a minority of providers will have a Lifetime Isa (Lisa) available from launch.

The Lisa enables savers to deposit up to £4,000 a year with the government topping up savings by 25% - up to a maximum of £1,000 – each year. The money saved can be put towards a first home, or accessed when you reach 60.

But just over two weeks until the Lisa launches on 6 April, very few providers have committed to offering the product.

 

In the cash savings realm, five of the major banks we asked – Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, Santander and TSB – said they would not have a Lisa available from 6 April. They mostly stated that they are still looking into the regulations surrounding the product and don’t know at this stage if they’ll even launch a Lisa in the future. 

Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) only announced its Lisa rules on 7 March, while the government is yet to announce its final Lisa regulations. A Treasury spokesperson told Moneywise these are due to be published “soon”.

Skipton Building Society says it’s the first – and only at the time of writing – savings provider on the high street to confirm it will offer a Lisa, and even that won’t be until June. It says more details will be announced nearer the time.

 

When it comes to stocks and shares Lisas, just two of the seven major platforms Moneywise asked will definitely have a Lisa available from 6 April – Hargreaves Lansdown and The Share Centre. Savers taking out Hargreaves Lansdown’s Lisa will have to pay a minimum lump sum investment of £100 and make minimum regular monthly savings of £25, while The Share Centre has no minimum Lisa savings requirements.

However, unlike cash savings providers, a further four stock brokers – AJ Bell, Charles Stanley Direct, Fidelity and Nutmeg – all said they’d be launching a Lisa at various stages from April onwards. See the tables below for the full details.

‘We anticipate that the market will continue to grow,’ says government

 

The government, however, seems unconcerned by the lack of providers committed to offering a Lisa, believing the market will grow in future.

 

Jane Ellison MP, financial secretary to the Treasury, says: “We know that the number of providers of the Lifetime Isa may be small to start with, but we expect a number of stocks and shares providers to be signed up from the outset so people can begin to open accounts from 6 April this year, and the first bonuses will be paid by April 2018.

“We anticipate that the market will continue to grow, with more providers, including cash providers, joining over the course of the year as they put their systems in place and develop their products.

“But as all savers know, even if you start small the rewards come back to you over time. I believe the Lifetime Isa will be a welcome new addition to the UK savings family.”

 

Will the major banks offer Lisas from 6 April?

ProviderWill it offer the Lisa from 6 April 2017?Will it offer the Lisa at a later date?
BarclaysNoUncertain. A spokesperson says: "We are continuing to review the recently issued Lifetime Isa rules and guidance"
HSBCUncertainUncertain. The provider says it's neither a yes or a no that it will provide a Lisa by 6 April or after, as it's still working through the details. A spokesperson says: “We are continuing to work through the details of the product”
LloydsNoUncertain. A spokesperson says: "We are continuing to work closely with the regulatory bodies as part of their industry consultations around Lisas and will review our participation when regulations are finalised"
RBSNoUncertain. It's still looking into whether to offer it
SantanderNoUncertain. A spokesperson says: "At this point in time Santander has no plans to launch the Lisa… we will continue to keep our position under review"
Skipton Building SocietyNoYes, from June
TSBNoUncertain. A spokesperson says: "We have no current plans to offer a Lifetime Isa. However, as with any new initiative we may decide to review our plans once we have clarity on the final rules"

 

Will the major investment platforms offer Lisas from 6 April?

ProviderWill it offer the Lisa from 6 April 2017?Will it offer the Lisa at a later date?
AJ BellNoYes. It is "aiming to launch its LISA later in April"
Charles Stanley DirectNoYes. It is expected to launch within six months
FidelityNoYes. It is planning to launch one for the end of the 2017/18 tax year
Hargreaves LansdownYesN/A
Interactive Investor (i)NoUncertain. A spokesperson says: "We are keeping the introduction of a Lisa under close review but will not be launching a when it first becomes available this April"
NutmegUncertain - it is aiming for this dateYes. If the LISA isn't ready for 6 April it will be launched later in April
The Share CentreYesN/A

(i) Moneywise's parent company

Source: Moneywise as at 20 March 2017.

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