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Web round-up: the ups and downs of investment ISAs

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With ISA season coming to an end in less than a month, investors need to act sooner rather than later to make the most of the tax-free benefits on offer. You can not carry your annual allowance of 7,200 pounds into the next tax year, so it is a simple case of ‘use it or lose it’.

But with interest rates plummeting to an all time low, returns on cash individual savings accounts are miserly. So are stocks and shares ISAs a better home for your money? Financial experts certainly seem to think so – and so it would appear do investors.

A report by Barclays Stockbrokers says that the Bank of England’s decision to cut interest rates to 0.5 percent has led to a change in outlook for savers, with 63 percent saying that equities will provide the best returns this year. Of those planning to invest in a stocks and share ISAs in the 2009 tax year, 74 percent say they intend to maintain the same level of investment as 2008 and 20 percent plan to increase their investment.

Barbara-Ann King, Head of Investment Strategy at Barclays Stockbrokers said the report shows that “cash is no longer king.”

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