Spread the risk and make the most of tax free savings with a mix of cash and stocks and shares ISAs

24 March 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
The ISA deadline is fast approaching, and as interest rates remain at historic lows, Fairinvestment.co.uk is urging Brits to consider making the most of both cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs

The ISA deadline is April 5, and as finances are stretched and interest rates near zero, making the most of the annual ISA allowance could offer some relief for both savers and investors.

Recent research from Fairinvestment.co.uk* has found that more than half (57 per cent) of both savers and investors have split their money into more than one investment or savings product, potentially both reducing risk and maximising returns.

The results imply that people are keen to make their cash go further, but are unwilling to take unnecessary risks.

But, by splitting money between a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA, an investor can have the best of both worlds with a maximum cash ISA value of £3,600, which can be topped up to £7,200 in a stocks and shares ISA.

Commenting, chartered financial planner at Fairinvestment.co.uk Sharon Bratley said: "Investing in both cash and stocks and shares ISAs can reduce the overall level of risk, and boost income for investors in a time when interest rates are near zero.

"People can invest up to £3,600 in a cash ISA and know that their cash is secure. However, because interest rates on savings accounts, including cash ISAs, are at historically low levels, it could be a smart move to top this up with a stocks and shares ISA.

"There are a number of structured funds that can be used as an ISA, which offer some sense of security, including both total and partial capital protection."

Both savers and investors have until April 5 to make the most of their tax free ISA allowance for 2008/9.

Mrs Bratley added: "In the past, most savers would probably have chosen a cash ISA over stocks and shares because of the security they offer. But as interest rates remain low, investors need to consider other options, potentially ones that they wouldn’t have previously considered.

“Utilising both cash and stocks and shares ISA options opens up a whole world of choice so that investors should find something out there that both combines what they want their investment to do with a level of investment risk that they are happy to undertake.

"Within a balanced portfolio, options such as structured investment products for example - provided investors are aware of the associated risks - can make real sense in today’s economic climate."


*Research conducted by OnePoll for Fairinvestment.co.uk, with 2,000 respondents