Investors show increased interest in Stocks and Shares ISAs

03 March 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
As interest rates continue on their fall towards zero, Fairinvestment.co.uk data reveals that Brits are showing an increased interest in Stocks and Shares ISAs through online searches

In a survey of 2,000 Brits back in December, Fairinvestment.co.uk* found that 26 per cent of survey respondents chose to keep their money in a Cash ISA, compared to 2.5 per cent who said their money was in a Stocks and Shares ISA.

Since then, interest rates have fallen by a further percentage point and now stand at one per cent, while the average Cash ISA rate now stands at 1.38 per cent ** and could soon fall further depending on future interest rate decisions.

As a result, it seems that Brits with money to put aside are changing their minds about the usually safe Cash ISAs, and looking into the potential of Stocks and Shares ISAs as an investment.

Search volume around ISA terms always increases on the approach to the ISA deadline of April 5, and it is usually Cash ISAs that would expect to see the greatest boost in interest.

But, data taken from Fairinvestment.co.uk traffic has found that while interest in Cash ISAs grew by 80 per cent for the first two weeks of February, compared with the first two weeks of December 2008, interest in Stocks and Shares ISAs leapt by 116 per cent in the same period.

Commenting, chartered financial planner at Fairinvestment.co.uk, Sharon Bratley said: "The fact that Stocks and Shares ISAs have seen more of an increase in interest than Cash ISAs reflects the fact that interest rates on Cash ISAs have fallen significantly.

"When interest rates were high, investors could expect to receive a fairly good income from a Cash ISA, tax free with little or no risk and comparatively good growth in the long term.

"But now, investors are realising that to get the same level of income or growth from their investments, they need to be prepared to take on a bit more risk.

"Obviously there is more risk involved with Stocks and Shares ISAs than Cash ISAs, but there is also the potential for higher returns over the long term and as long as investors understand the risk involved, it can be the right move for many people looking to make more of their current investments.

"Now stock markets are so low, this could be a great time for those who wish to invest on a regular basis to do so, because in times of falling stock markets a fixed monthly contribution will buy more units than when fund prices are rising, which means they will really start to cash in once markets begin to rise again," Mrs Bratley added.

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*Survey conducted by OnePoll for Fairinvestment.co.uk, with 2,000 respondents in December 2008

** According to Bank of England statistics

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