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ISAs Explained

How to get started with ISAs

ISAs are an excellent way to put money aside for the future while enjoying the advantage of tax-free interest. By familiarising yourself with the ins and outs of these tax-efficient savings and investment options, you can enjoy the full range of benefits available.

Investment Fund Supermarket ISAs

Stocks & Shares ISA

from Legal & General

Allows ISA Transfers
  • Protection Scheme: FSCS
  • Fund Choice: Choose from 50+ L&G funds including low cost index tracker funds, multi asset, fixed income, property & equity funds. Alternatively let L&G managed your funds for you based on your risk profile.
  • Invest From: £20 per month or £100 single

Why we like it: With L&G there is no platform service fee. Legal & General can help you save for a brighter future with their stocks and shares ISA. Choose from over 50 funds, including ready-made investment options that spread your money across different investments for you and sustainable funds that seek to make a positive difference without compromising financial returns. 

Important: Please remember the value of your investment and any income from it may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you invest.

Stocks & Shares ISA

from Interactive Investor

Allows ISA Transfers
  • Protection Scheme: FSCS
  • Fund Choice: Access 40,000+ UK, US and international shares on 17 global exchanges. Choose from over 3,000 funds or select a ready made portfolio. Investment trusts, ETFs, Bonds & Gilts. Option to invest in 6 low cost funds selected by experts to get you started.
  • Invest From: £25 a month or any lump sum

Why we like it: An award-winning ISA that gives you complete control. The second largest platform in the UK with the widest choice of investment options in the market including funds, investment trusts, ETF’s and more. Strong ethical investment proposition with more than 140 investment options. Open online in less than 10 minutes. Access to expert independent ideas and analysis. Low cost fees and trading.

Important: The value of your investments can rise as well as fall. You may get back less than you invested. If you’re unsure, we recommend you ask for independent advice.

Stocks & Shares ISA

from Hargreaves Lansdown

Allows ISA Transfers
  • Protection Scheme: FSCS
  • Fund Choice: 2,500+ Funds
  • Invest From: £25 pm

Why we like it: Choose your own funds or alternatively a ready made portfolio. Market-beating savings and discounts of up to 5.5%. No charge to buy and sell funds. Low, tiered annual charges for holding funds, with a maximum of just 0.45% per annum. Free fund updates and analysis from experienced research team. Invest with a financially secure, FTSE 100 company.

Important: The value of your investments can rise as well as fall. You may get back less than you invested. If you’re unsure, we recommend you ask for independent advice.

Stocks & Shares ISA

from Fidelity

Allows ISA Transfers
  • Protection Scheme: FSCS
  • Fund Choice: Select from over 4,000 funds. Large selection of UK shares. Investment trusts, ETFs and investment portfolios put together by experts.
  • Invest From: £25 per month or lump sum from £1,000

Why we like it: Investment choice from over 100 fund providers, giving you access to 4,000+ funds. Great service – from investment guidance on website through to UK-based phones team. PathFinder, Select 50, Investment Finder - investing tools for beginners to advanced investors. 24/7 access via online Account Management system.

Important: The value of your investments can rise as well as fall. You may get back less than you invested. If you’re unsure, we recommend you ask for independent advice.

Selected ISAs

Core FTSE 100 ETF Tracker Fund

from iShares

ISA Option
Allows ISA Transfers
Regular Savings
  • Fund Choice: Tracks the FTSE 100 Index
  • Invest From: £25 pm
  • Investment Options: Provides exposure to the FTSE 100 index of the largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange at a highly competitive price.

A super low cost FTSE 100 tracker ETF fund with a 0.07% pa annual charge. The product has a record of tracking its benchmark to a high degree of accuracy and scored ahead of rivals on this measure.

This fund is available via: Interactive Investor platform »

Important: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invested. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.

Core MSCI World ETF

from iShares

ISA Option
Allows ISA Transfers
Regular Savings
  • Fund Choice: Tracks the MSCI World Index
  • Invest From: £25 pm
  • Investment Options: Provides exposure to large and mid capitalisation companies in developed countries worldwide.

One of the cheapest world equity exchange-traded funds available makes this a great way for investors to generate performance in line with the world’s major stock markets. This ETF seeks to track the performance of the MSCI World index, comprised mainly of large companies from 23 developed markets. It invests in 85% of the listed equities in each country – more than 1,600 constituents. The ETF buys most of the underlying stocks but optimizes its holdings of some of the smaller companies to generate performance that matches the index, while keeping costs to a minimum. Ongoing charges are 0.2%.

This fund is available via: Interactive Investor platform »

Important: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invested. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.

Ethical ISAs

Future World Sustainable Opportunities Fund

from Legal & General

ISA Option
Allows ISA Transfers
Regular Savings
  • Fund Choice: Invests in a wide range of company shares, bonds, property and real assets (including property, land and infrastructure) which meet our long term sustainable investment criteria, based on environmental, social and governance factors.
  • Invest From: £20 per month or £100 single

Why we like it: Actively managed, with wide discretion to invest across different types of investment which the manager believes offer sustainable long term investment opportunities. As part of the Future World* range, the fund incorporates the L&G Climate Impact Pledge, a targeted engagement process, and may exclude companies if engagement proves unsuccessful.

The investment objective of the Fund is to seek to provide positive returns of both capital growth and income. The Fund selects investments which the Manager believes offer sustainable investment opportunities for the future based on environmental, social and governance related criteria.The Fund will seek to provide returns of 5% above the Bank of England Base Rate per annum over rolling five year periods. There is no guarantee that the objective will be met over any period and capital invested in the fund is at risk. This objective is before the deduction of any charges.

This fund is available via: Legal and General investment platform »

Important: Please remember the value of your investment and any income from it may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you invest.

Investment Growth Plan ISAs

FTSE 100 Enhanced Kick Out Plan

from Investec

Allow ISA Transfers
Maximum Potential Return 6.45% per annum
  • Counterparty: BNP Paribas
  • Term: Up to 6 years

Kick out plans seem to attract particular interest when markets are repetitively flat since they can provide competitive returns even if the FTSE stays relatively flat with the potential for 6.45% annual growth.

Important: 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 due to the performance of the underlying investment. There is also a risk that the company backing the plan known as the Counterparty may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated.

  • 6.45% for each year (not compounded) provided the FTSE 100 finishes the same or higher than its starting value (subject to averaging)
  • Potential to mature early, from year 1 onwards
  • Available for ISA, ISA transfer and direct investment
  • Capital is at risk if the FTSE 100 Index has fallen by more than 40% at maturity from it's initial level, in which case your initial investment will reduce by 1% for each 1% fall
  • Minimum investment £3,000
  • If you withdraw your money during the plan you may get back less than you originally invested

Important Information: 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 due to the performance of the underlying investment. There is also a risk that the company backing the plan known as the Counterparty may be unable to repay your initial investment and any returns stated.

ISAs Explained

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are a way of saving and investing without paying any tax on the returns you make. ISAs were launched in the UK in 1999 to encourage people to save.

They allow you to earn interest on your savings without paying tax on it, and to invest in stocks and shares without being liable for tax on any returns you make.

ISAs were introduced to replace Personal Equity Plans (PEPs). Initially savers had the option of a mini ISA, which allowed investments in either cash or stocks and shares, or a maxi ISA, which combined both elements in one account.

The two current types of ISA , cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs, which replaced the mini and maxi ISAs in 2008. There are also innovative finance ISAs which involves lending to small business and the lifetime ISA which will be released in 2017. The lifetime ISA can help you save for a new home or your retirement and offers government bonuses to help you reach your goal.

What are the Benefits of an ISA?

For UK residents, ISAs are an excellent way of saving - in fact, they should be your first savings port of call in order to avoid paying tax unnecessarily on your investments.

  1. The primary benefit of ISAs is the tax advantage that allows individuals to profit from savings or shares without paying income or capital gains tax on that return
  2. The secondary benefit is that you are saving some of your income

Whether you've a particular savings goal in mind or you just want to ensure you've got an emergency fund tucked away, an ISA can provide a simple way to help achieve this.

There are many ISA’s to choose from so it’s easy to be left wondering which ISA is right for you. Comparison tables can be a great way to start. Follow the links provided to find more information on any of the products mentioned on our tables.

How do I Choose an ISA?

When choosing an ISA, there are a number of things to consider. We’ve highlighted some of the most important factors below:

  1. Timescale of your investment - If you need access to your money and you are not looking to invest for the long term you should consider a Cash ISA. Many of these are easy to manage and allow you to withdraw money at any point. However, if you are happy to tie up capital for the medium to longer term you may wish to consider a Stocks and Shares ISA which has the potential to provide better returns then a Cash ISA over the longer term
  2. Attitude to investment risk - If you are not prepared to lose money then a Cash ISA is probably the better option for you. It good to remember that, over the long term, inflation can erode your capital in real terms so getting a good rate of interest on your cash ISA should be a priority. If you are prepared to risk capital to achieve higher potential returns then a stocks and shares ISA may be the best option for you.
  3. Charges - Different ISA plans will have different charges. It is important that you are aware of what these are and how they could affect your ISA performance. These could be charges for transferring or closing an account early or a management charge which is applied to most stocks and shares ISAs. 

Which ISA is Right for You?

This depends on your savings goal and the amount or risk you’re willing to take. It’s generally advised that if you have debts, don’t have any other form of savings or will need to withdraw your cash in an emergency then you shouldn’t invest as your capital is at risk. It’s also difficult to withdraw your money quickly as you will need to sell your assets, even transferring can take 30 days or more.

If you do have some spare income, however, investing is a good way to see high returns on your money, as long as you are aware of the risks.

As another option, with certain types of Cash ISAs, you have instant access to your money, which makes it a flexible way to plan your finances. Alternatively, fixed rate ISAs are a good way to see guaranteed returns on your capital, if you can tie up your money for a year or more.

Is there a Charge for Transferring an ISA?

Your existing ISA manager cannot stop you transferring, but they may charge you for it. However, this is becoming less common, particularly with cash ISAs. You should contact your current ISA provider and confirm their policy on this before making a decision.

Are there any ISA Rules?

The rules on ISAs have been relaxed since April 2016 and you can now choose how you split your savings. While ISAs can be straight forward, there are some rules to follow and it’s useful to know before you get started:

  • Some accounts have penalties if you withdraw early, particularly fixed rate accounts. Be careful to check your provider’s rules as you could leave with less than you invested if you close early
  • You must use a transfer form if you want to transfer accounts. If you don’t follow the transfer procedure and simply withdraw the money yourself then you lose all tax benefits for that year
  • Transferring your ISAs should take no more than 15 days although transferring from a cash ISA to a stocks and shares ISA can take longer
  • You can’t have more than one account of the same type
  • ISAs are a good idea whatever your savings goal. With certain types of cash ISAs, you have instant access to your money, which makes it a flexible way to plan your finances. Otherwise you can potentially receive higher returns by tying up your money or investing.

It’s also important to remember that ISA allowance limits apply to everyone on an individual basis, so if you’re married or in a relationship, you can both hold your own ISA, each with the full allowance. This can make them an excellent way to save for large expenses such as a property, a holiday or a new car.

Types of ISAs

ISAs are available in two main types; within each type of ISA you can choose from a range of products to create a savings portfolio tailored to meet your needs. The two types of ISAs are:

  • Cash ISAs, which work like a regular savings account and feature the added benefit of tax-free interest.
  • Stocks and shares ISAs, which allow you to invest in funds, structured investments, or in the stock market. This extra risk can make for a potentially higher return.

Within the two types of ISA there are a range of options to choose from. For example, Cash ISA providers, such as banks and building societies, may offer both instant access and fixed-rate cash ISAs. This allows savers to select the product that best fits their requirements.

Stocks and shares ISAs can be invested into many different types of funds, structured investments, and directly into shares. This allows you to choose where you want to invest and how much risk you want to take with your money.

Important Risk Information:

The value of investments can go down in value as well as up, so you could get back less than you invest. It is therefore important that you understand the risks and commitments. This website aims to provide information to help you make your own informed decisions. It does not provide personal advice based on your circumstances. If you are unsure of how suitable an investment is for you, please seek personal advice.

High Income ISAs

High income ISA ideas:

ISAs Products

Cash ISAs

Fixed Rate & Instant Access ISAs:

Cash ISAs: 

Stocks & Shares ISAs

Types of Stocks and Shares ISA include: 

Stocks and Shares ISAs

Latest News

Can I Put £20000 In A ISA Every Year?

25th January 2021

If you are looking for tax efficient ideas for investing then an ISA is a perfect place to start. Currently UK residents can put up to £20,000 in a ISA every year.

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