New ISA rules will make no difference to two-thirds of people
- 64% of people without an ISA don’t understand the ISA rule changes coming on 1 July
- 43% of people don’t understand the difference between cash and stocks and shares ISAs
- 60% of people lack a good understanding of stocks and shares ISAs
Virgin Money has revealed the results of some new research1 which starkly illustrate that the new ISA rules coming into effect on 1 July will make little difference to many savers. The research has also revealed a general lack of understanding over the different types of ISA that are available, and particularly a lack of understanding of stocks and shares ISAs.
There was a generally positive reaction to the announcement of the changes to ISA rules coming into effect on 1 July, which increase the annual ISA limit to £15,000 and introduce much more flexibility over how it can be invested. However, with the new rules about to come into effect, four in ten people said they still did not understand the upcoming changes.
Understanding among those who do not already have an ISA was even lower, with just one in three understanding the changes.
In addition, two thirds of people (67%) said the changes on 1 July would make no difference to how likely they were to take out an ISA, or increase the amount they have in an ISA, perhaps reflecting the lack of understanding of what is changing.
The research shows 43% of people do not understand the difference between cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs, despite the fundamental differences between the two. The level of understanding for people without an ISA currently is even higher, with 66% admitting that they don’t understand the differences.
Even though they potentially offer a higher return for the saver in the current economic environment, one of the reasons for the lower take up of stocks and shares ISAs is the perceived complexity these products bring. 60% of people surveyed said they did not find it easy to understand how their money would be invested and what fees are involved. Of those who already hold a stocks and shares ISA, one in five admitted that they don’t really understand how they work.
ISAs remain a popular way to save due to the tax-efficiency they offer. According to HMRC2 over 23 million people have ISAs in the UK, totalling over £440 billion. Cash ISAs are by far the most popular, with four times as many cash ISAs as stocks and shares ISAs opened in 2012/13.
However, this new research shows that more needs to be done to help savers understand how ISAs work so they can take full advantage of what they offer. The latest in the series of 3 Minute Money videos from Virgin Money aims to help address this by explaining the new ISA rules. It can be viewed at http://virg.in/isa3mm
Anthony Mooney, Director of Financial Services at Virgin Money said: “The imminent changes to ISA rules are really positive for savers, enabling them to invest more money tax-efficiently and providing increased flexibility on how their money is invested. However, it’s clear that a large proportion of people don’t understand the different options available and what the new rules mean for them, which will put many people off. People shouldn’t invest in things they don’t understand, and we want to help open the door for more people with our straightforward products and latest ‘3 Minute Money’ video, which we hope will prove to be a helpful tool.”
Other videos in the 3 Minute Money series, including on mortgages, pensions and credit cards, can be found at virginmoney.com/3mm
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Virgin Money Press Office
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NOTES TO EDITORS
1 Virgin Money commissioned Populus to undertake the research, who interviewed 2,036 GB adults in June 2014.
2 HM Revenue and Customs Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) Statistics, September 2013.
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