Tag Archives: Bonds

Prudential Reveals 1 In 3 UK Couples Know Nothing About Their Partner’s Finances

Prudential has revealed new research that shows UK couples could be risking poverty in old age because they are failing to talk to one another about financial planning for their retirement.

The study found that nearly a third of couples (32 per cent) aged 40 and above but not yet retired* say they don’t know or understand the details of their partner’s retirement savings, with more than a fifth (22 per cent) saying they have never talked to their partner about financial planning for retirement.

The findings from new research commissioned by Prudential reveal that women are even less likely than men to discuss financial planning for retirement with partners, with almost a quarter of women (24 per cent) saying they have never discussed this, compared to almost one in five men (19 per cent).

And a further 12 per cent of women and 11 per cent of men say they know nothing about their spouse or partner’s finances – and they’re not really interested. This lack of interest could be compounding low levels of financial awareness.

To help people prepare for their retirement, Prudential has produced a decade-by-decade guide to the conversations couples need to have at pru.co.uk/couplesconversations. Suggested subjects include making a will, discussing pensions and how much to save, talking about when to retire, working out retirement income, reviewing total savings, researching annuity options and when to buy, checking National Insurance contributions, talking about housing options, leaving an inheritance, and agreeing on long term care.

Andy Brown, investments director at Prudential, said: “It is incredible that so many people do not know the details of their partner’s retirement savings. Essentially, this could mean millions of UK adults are banking on hope as their core retirement strategy and are approaching what is arguably the most important financial decision without a full understanding of their household financial situation.

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Prudential Reports Over A Third Of Women Face Retirement Poverty

Prudential has revealed new research that shows more than a third of women (35 per cent) planning to retire in 2010 will receive an income which is below the poverty line* – £14,000 a year or less – according to the latest findings** from Prudential’s Class of 2010 retirement survey.

Prudential Reports Over A Third Of Women Face Retirement Poverty

By comparison 29 per cent of men will face their retirement on an income of less than £14,000 a year.

The gender gap becomes even starker over the age of 65 where 42 per cent of women over 65 will have incomes below the poverty line compared with 33 per cent of men. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a single person in Britain needs to earn at least £13,900 a year before tax** in order to afford a basic, but acceptable standard of living.

Overall nearly a third (32 per cent) of people planning to retire in 2010 will have an income that falls below the poverty line.

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Prudential Research Shows Advisers Turn To With-Profits Investments

New research* from Prudential shows that up to a third of advisers expect to recommend with-profits products to clients this year with bonds the most popular.

Prudential Research Shows Advisers Turn To With-Profits Investments

30 per cent of financial advisers expect to advise clients to invest in with-profits products during 2010. Of those, 63 per cent say with-profits bonds are the most popular with clients, followed by with-profits pensions and then with-profits annuities.

Prudential, whose with-profits fund returned 18.9 per cent in 2009** and paid out £2 billion to policyholders, believes with-profits are increasing in popularity as advisers look for investment products which aim to deliver long-term and steady returns.

The research went on to show 82 per cent of advisers believe long-term performance is the most important attribute when recommending investment products which reflects the growing concern about stock market volatility – just 40 per cent of advisers say the majority of their clients are happy to be subject to market volatility when making investment decisions. Around 22 per cent of advisers say only a minority of their clients are now happy to be exposed to market volatility following recent stock market peaks and troughs.

Andy Brown, Director of Investment Funds at Prudential, said: “With-profits sales have strengthened in the past 18 months as investors have looked for more cautious alternatives to pure equity investment and the growing interest looks set to continue into 2010 despite the strong recovery in the stock market.

“Clearly not all advisers are convinced by the with-profits investment story, however not all with-profits funds are the same and it’s important that investors are not misled by generalisations about the performance of these products. Our consistent approach to smoothing and bonus setting has served our policyholders well, protecting them from the full impact of volatile investment conditions while giving them the confidence of knowing that their savings are invested in a financially strong and well-managed Fund.”

Of those advisers who would recommend with-profits to their clients, 53 per cent said that financial strength was the most important factor when considering a with-profits provider.

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Prudential Reveals A Return To Stock Market As Interest Rates Prompt Rush For Risk Assets

Prudential has released findings from its latest research which shows that financial advisers are predicting a significant return to the stock market in 2010, with 72% expecting an increase in the number of clients looking to invest in equities over the coming 12 months.

While Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) questioned for the Prudential study predicted a strong return to the stock market in 2010, they also believe that investors will look to adopt a more cautious approach on the back of the worst recession since World War II.

Almost three quarters (73%) of IFAs expect clients to invest in cautious managed growth funds, with 66% expecting to see investment in defensive funds and 70% believing investors will also look to spread risk by buying into multi-manager funds.

In addition, 55% of IFAs expect clients to invest in absolute return funds and 68% expect to see ongoing investment in bonds. In contrast, just 18% expect to see clients looking to invest in individual stocks and shares and 46% expect clients to invest in higher risk growth funds.

Andy Brown, Director of Investment Funds, Prudential said: “Given the performance of the markets in the second half of last year coupled with the ongoing poor rate of return for cash based savings, it is perhaps unsurprising that IFAs expect to see more clients looking to return to the stock market and buy into equity based investments in 2010.

“However, in reality not all equities will show equal growth over the coming 12 months and choosing the right time to invest in the right asset classes is key.”

The survey also found that 71% of IFAs believe the recession will have a long term impact on the way clients look to invest and prompt them to adopt a more cautious investment strategy and be more reliant on professional advice. Of these advisers, 83% said they believe clients will be more cautious with investment decisions and favour more balanced portfolios, with 68% of IFAs expecting investors to utilise independent financial advice when choosing investment funds.

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NS&I Reveal Findings Of Families, Finance And The Future Report

NS&I’s ‘Families, Finance and the Future’ report has shown that before having children, Britons believe you should have an income of at least £25,000 per annum to ensure financial security, while 20% of those surveyed said that they would seriously consider not having children because the cost of having them nowadays is so high.

The NS&I report, Families, Finance and the Future, was written by the Future Foundation and commissioned by NS&I. The report was produced by a combination of desk research and original survey work. Figures taken from a nationally representative sample of 1,049 adults aged 16+. Other sources the report used include the British Household Panel Survey, the ONS, Eurobarometer, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and previous surveys conducted by the Future Foundation.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said people should be financially secure before starting a family, while 78% agreed that the standard of living was an influencing factor when deciding on how many children to have. Just 26% of Britons believe that money shouldn’t be a consideration when deciding to start a family.

Tim Mack, NS&I Savings Spokesman, said: “Starting a family is always going to be much more than a purely economic decision, though for some the financial requirement is clearly an income of £25,000 per year. Britons are also considering their financial future when deciding on the number of children they will have.”

More than one in ten respondents (12%) thought that those thinking of starting a family should be earning between £40,000 and £70,000 before having children, while a similar number (13%) believed that they didn’t need anything as they would always be able to get by. Men were more likely to suggest a bigger financial cushion than women – £27,000 per year, compared to just £23,000 for women – while people without children gave much higher estimates, saying people should be earning at least£30,000.

As well as looking at the situation for individuals, the report also argues that finances and families are linked on a larger, macroeconomic, level.

Barry Clark, Account Director at the Future Foundation, said: “Baby booms tend to follow economic booms and the reverse is true too. Our data suggests that over the past 60 years, GDP growth and the change in birth rates in the UK have been closely linked, so we expect that the coming years will show more than ever that finances and families are related on both a personal and national economic scale.”

The primary consideration influences on the number of children people decide to have appeared to be common:

78% – standard of living they can give their children
73% – meeting the cost of raising their children
51% – size of the house they can afford to raise their family in
39% – education they can make sure their children receive

It is evident that perceived affluence has an effect on the birth rate. In fact, Future Foundation research and the British Household Panel Survey both have shown that in European countries where more people have an income that is either in line with or above their financial expectations, families bear more children.

Barry Clark added: “The highest earners would seem less likely to have larger families owing to the demands of, and devotion to, their careers, or a sharper awareness of just how much children cost to raise.”

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NS&I Has Announced Changes To The Way Customers Can Invest In Its Fixed Rate Bonds

From the end of October, the products will only be available directly from NS&I (by freephone, online or by post) and no longer available through the Post Office.

NS&I and the Post Office have jointly agreed to this change, which is in part a reflection of the development of the Post Office’s own brand of savings products. These include Post Office Growth Bonds – a very similar range of fixed rate savings bonds to the two NS&I products. The decision also reflects NS&I’s desire to develop its direct sales channels.

The Post Office will continue to offer a wide range of other NS&I savings products – including Premium Bonds and Savings Certificates – which can be purchased over the counter.

Existing NS&I Guaranteed Growth Bond and Guaranteed Income Bond customers will not notice any change as all post-sale servicing and support is already carried out directly through NS&I.

Peter Cornish, Director of Customer Offer, NS&I, said: “We are committed to making our products as straightforward as possible and ensuring that customers understand where they are investing their money. The changes we have jointly agreed with the Post Office will do just that. Our Guaranteed Income Bonds and Guaranteed Growth Bonds will continue to offer customers a simple and straightforward saving opportunity.”

“The Post Office is our key distribution partner and we recognise it is a familiar option for many savers looking to invest with NS&I. Therefore, a wide range of our savings products will continue to be available over the counter in Post Office branches.”

Gary Hockey-Morley, Post Office Limited marketing director, said: “NS&I savings products will continue to be a key part of the ever expanding range of value for money financial services available at Post Office branches. We look forward to continuing our long standing partnership with NS&I well into the future, through providing easy access to a wide range of their savings products through our 12,000 branches which lie at the heart of communities across the UK.”

Customers can invest between £500 and £1 million in total in an NS&I fixed term bond, with guaranteed rates of interest. NS&I’s Guaranteed Income Bond offers customers the opportunity to receive their interest as a monthly income, whilst the interest earned on NS&I’s Guaranteed Growth Bonds is credited to the Bond annually.

NS&I’s fixed rate bonds are available in terms of one, two, three and five years. The two-year term was launched in July 2009 and is only available directly from NS&I.

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NS&I Unveils The First Live Vegetable Plot At BBC Good Food Shows

NS&I (National Savings and Investments), one of the UK’s largest savings organisations, is delighted to be working with Matthew Biggs to encourage ‘growing your own’ at this year’s BBC Good Food Show events.

Visitors to this year’s events in Glasgow (SECC, 30 October – 1 November), London (Olympia, 13 – 15 November) and Birmingham (NEC, 25 – 29 November) are encouraged to stop by the ‘Grow Your Own Food with NS&I’ vegetable plot. The plot will be tended to by Gardeners’ Question Time expert Matthew Biggs, who will be on hand to offer visitors helpful hints and tips on growing fruit and vegetables.

Matthew Biggs commented: “I am delighted to be working on the ‘Grow Your Own Food with NS&I’ feature. I’m looking forward to speaking to visitors at this year’s events, offering advice on how they can make the most of growing their own fruit and veg.”

He added: “Growing your own is the perfect way to cut down your shopping bill, as a bumper crop of ingredients such as tomatoes or rocket, can be grown easily for the small cost of a packet of seeds. It’s also fun for the family and a great way to enjoy fresh food with the finest flavour long after you’ve planted the first seed.”

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest savings accounts providers with almost 27 million customers and over £96 billion invested. It is best known for premium bonds, but also offers a Direct ISA, guaranteed growth bondsguaranteed equity bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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National Savings And Investments Is Increasing The ISA Allowance On Both Its Direct ISA And Cash ISA For Its Over 50s Customers

The revised allowance will come into effect from 6 October 2009. This change will enable existing Direct ISA and Cash ISA customers who will be 50 years or over on the 5 April 2010 to deposit up to £5100 into their ISA in the current tax year. From 6 April 2010 more than 400,000 of NS&I’s Direct ISA and more than 231,000 Cash ISA savers will be eligible for the higher allowance.

These changes reflect the Chancellor’s announcement in his 2009 Budget which stated that cash ISA customers aged 50 years or over should have an increase to their tax-free ISA allowance, increasing the maximum investment from £3600 to £5100 from 6 October.

The interest rate paid on NS&I’s Direct ISA is currently 2.50%, and 0.5% per annum on its Cash ISA.  John Prout, Director of Customer Sales and Retention at NS&I, said: “We have contacted the 365,000 of our ISA customers who will be 50 years or over on the 5 April 2010 to let them know that they can make use of their higher allowance from 6 October. They can do this by calling NS&I on our new freephone number, 0500 007 007.

At NS&I we pride ourselves on being straightforward in both our communications and our savings bond range. We urge all of our eligible ISA customers to take full advantage of the increased allowance available to them.”

NS&I has changed its general enquiries number. Customers will now need to call the freephone number 0500 007 007 to contact NS&I directly. The former chargeable enquiries number, 0845 964 5000, will continue to operate but customers may incur a charge from their provider. NS&I’s sales line will continue to operate through 0500 500 000.

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The Japanization of Financial Markets

Saxo Bank predicts that monetary stimuli and government deficits are likely to continue, fostering a “Japanization” of financial markets, whereby the market will see higher price-to-earnings ratios and lower yields on both corporate bonds and treasuries.

Chief Economist at SaxoBank, David Karsbøl, commented: “Because Western economies are more flexible and able to embrace the necessary changes, we do not think that things will get as bad as was the case in Japan. However, it is increasingly evident that the current scenario in the West bears a close resemblance to post-1990 Japan, and it looks progressively like we have entered a new regime in which everyone assumes that large companies will be bailed out. This means that default risk is ‘priced out’, and we see higher price-to-earnings ratios and lower yields on fixed income.”

In its fourth quarter outlook, the Copenhagen-based investment specialist predicts that the American economy will return to positive GDP growth in the second half of the year, but warns that the sustainability of this growth is questionable and will be largely due to government spending and inventory restocking. US unemployment will continue to rise over the coming months, and that this will further hinder debt repayments and consumption.

David Karsbol believes a USD short seems to be a vote for the global recovery and has become the, newer and better carry trade. “The very low US’s yields and need for external financing and increasing reluctance from China to buy greenbacks is a toxic cocktail that could drive the currency even weaker in the near term,” Karsbol said.

Looking towards the end of the year, market dynamics indicate a shift from this year’s equity market rally. Global equity markets rallied 59% from the March lows through to August, and looking ahead, dynamics indicate a shift in performance towards micro trends and sector-specific growth and valuation stories.

Karsbol added: “Most indicators of economic activity are stabilising, but at very depressed levels. We believe investors should continue to take cyclical risk through regional allocations, with particular emphasis on emerging markets over Europe and the US, where it will be difficult to maintain and improve growth.”

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NS&I Finds The Luckiest Premium Bonds Regions

NS&I has released a list of the luckiest regions for winning Premium Bonds prizes showing that those firstly in the South West, and then in the East Midlands, win more Premium Bonds prizes of £1000 or more, than the rest of the UK. Ranking as third luckiest was Wales, while the North East of England emerged as the least lucky of all the regions.

Sally Swait, Premium Bonds manager at NS&I, commented: “Each month ERNIE randomly generates the winning Premium Bonds numbers from his home in Blackpool, where all eligible Bonds – regardless of their age – have an equal chance of winning.

“The last year has seen the South West region receive the greatest luck in having their numbers come up, though all other regions were not without their own significant wins. As the numbers are generated randomly each month, we may very well see a change in the rankings of the luckiest regions in the UK next year.”

NS&I also discovered that there are currently more than 599,000 unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes across the UK, worth over £35 million.

The good news is that there is no time limit for claiming prizes. Premium Bonds results can be found by using the Premium Bonds draw prize checker or writing in to NS&I.

Premium Bonds are an investment where, instead of interest payments, investors have the chance to win tax-free prizes. They were officially launched by Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his 1956 budget.

At the end of June 2009, more than 23 million people had a total of over £40 billion invested in Premium Bonds. There are currently more than one million tax-free prizes from £25 to £1 million being won each month.

Calculations for the luckiest regions data is based on the total value of prizes (£1000 and more) won by counties with at least 100,000 Premium Bond holdings. Information is for the period July 2008 – June 2009.

The current Premium Bonds prize fund rate is 1.0% tax-free. The current odds of each £1 Bond number winning any prize are 36,000 to 1, so with average luck, an investor with £30,000 in Premium Bonds could win 10 tax-free prizes a year.

All Premium Bonds prizes are free of UK Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax!

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NS&I Report Reveals Future Families Founded On Fortune

The new National Savings and Investments (NS&I) commissioned report, ‘Families, Finance and the Future’, suggests the existence of a new institution of British life – the ‘Financial Family’ – a collaborative unit of close friends and family marked by financial interdependence. It does not simply show a steady flow of cash down the generations, or the ‘sandwich generation’ arrangement observed in recent years, but also shows flows of money and advice, up and down the generations as well as between siblings.

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The costs of living and care for the elderly are recognised as rising, and the report suggests that the traditional family unit is shifting – yet family ties will be stronger than ever, and people will rely much more on financial networks. By 2029, there will be more cohabiting couples, and more single-person households than married couples living together** – so the Financial Family will be important even after the traditional family has declined.

According to the new survey research, the majority of people felt financially responsible for family members (54%), while 70% stated that current economic trouble meant families needed to support each other (70%).

Young people are more engaged with the Financial Family, with 50% of 16-24s identified as members of a Financial Family, compared to 30% of 25-34s and 20% of 35-44s. As this generation grows up, the Financial Family will become more and more widespread.

Technology will also mean that people are better equipped to share financial advice – but will also make it more important they do so. As the amount of information that tries to reach consumers increases, people will rely on the insights of their financial network to process this mass of information. This network is likely to revolve around the family as most people feel comfortable discussing financial matters (55%) with close friends and family, or sharing financial tips and advice (60%).

Barry Clark, Associate Director at the Future Foundation said: “We feel we’ve revealed a new way for people to look at British family life – and one that will become increasingly common. When we look at several demographic trends, like the rise of single-person households, the advance of technology and young people’s involvement in financial matters, we can expect the Financial Family to be a very important feature in the future. The Financial Family is here to stay.”

Tim Mack, Savings Spokesman at NS&I, said: “We started from an intuitive feeling that discussing money isn’t taboo any more, but the results far exceeded our expectations. The research shows that the discussion of finances, and our relationship with money, extends beyond the traditional family.”

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the largest UK investments and savings organisations, offering a range of savings accounts and investments products, including fixed rate savings bonds, fixed term investments, Premium Bonds, savings certificates, and ISAs to almost 27 million customers. Established in 1861.

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Securities Based Funding, Inc. Announces A Unique Financing Advantage To Borrowers Against The Value Of Their Securities Portfolio

Securities Based Funding, Inc. announces a unique financing advantage to borrowers against the value of their securities portfolio at below-market, simple interest, fixed rate loans ranging from 2.5% to 4.5%. These non-recourse loans will assist buyers, sellers and developers of properties worldwide. The loan proceeds can be used for any purpose except to buy securities or carry securities in a margin account.

Securities Based Funding, Inc.

Despite the credit crunch and while access to liquidity through traditional capital markets is difficult in today’s uncertain economy, security-based loans enable borrowers to access liquidity at below-market rates by pledging the securities they own as collateral for the loan.

Eligible securities are publicly trades stocks, bonds, tradable mutual funds, unit investment and real estate investment trusts as well as foreign positions on international exchanges. Ineligible securities include, privately held stocks, securities held in retirement accounts, such as, IRAs and 401Ks. The borrower retains all upside market appreciation and receives any dividends or interest to which the securities are entitled. Loan to security values (LTV) range from 35% up to 80%. The more liquid and actively trades the securities, the higher the LTV.

Securities Based Funding, Inc. represents a full-service, private, nonpurpose, direct lender that specializes in securities-based lending with investors in need of prompt funding. Terms are based on the evaluation of the risk and future performance associated with the stocks, bonds or U.S. Treasuries to be pledged as collateral to maximize and maintain complete yet proprietary flexibility of the equity-loan process.

Successful stock-lending transactions have been executed involving the American Stock Exchange, NASDAQ National Stock Market, NASDAQ Small-Cap Stock market, New York Stock Exchange, Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board and foreign exchanges.

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Equity Mix Remains Top Choice For Pension Investments

Prudential has reported that more than one in three people retiring within the next 10 years say they would prefer their pension to be invested partly in the stock market and the remainder in other types of investments, according to new research*.

Equity Mix

The nationwide study shows that consumer confidence in the stock market continues despite recent market and economic upheavals.

Prudential asked 1002 men aged 55 to 64 and women aged 50 to 59 who have a pension how they would want their pension fund invested if they could choose:

– 35% said partly in the stock market and the remainder in other investments (40% men, 29% women)
– 29% said only in cash or very low-risk investments (29% men, 30% women)
– 22% said they did not know (18% men, 28% women)

Since the FTSE 100 index of leading shares hit a five-year low of 3530 in the week of 2nd March this year, it has climbed back up. Currently the FTSE is at 4615 w/c 27 July 2009, compared to 4413 w/c 26 July 2008 so is 202 points higher than this time five years ago.**

Andy Brown, Prudential’s director of investment funds, said: “Despite immense volatility in the stock market over the past year or so, there is still evidence of consumer confidence in equities to deliver a promising return for pension investments over the long-term.

“What is certain as well is that many people have been spooked by the recent economic maelstrom and, unsurprisingly, would prefer their pension to be in cash or lower risk investments as they near retirement.

“We’ve seen a marked increase in the numbers of people looking for a home for their money which they can trust, knowing that it has a solid capital base and a long-standing history which will stand it in good stead for the future.

“I think investors can feel confident in stock market opportunities if they are given a decent choice in how they access real assets such as the equity market. Investors can really capitalise on the markets if they can access funds across a number of asset classes and sectors from a range of different investment managers allowing diversification across assets and manager styles.”

* Survey conducted by Research Plus among 1,002 UK males aged 55-64 and UK females aged 50-59 between 23 and 30 April 2009 using an online methodology
** Source: Yahoo finance FTSE 100 charts – correct as at date of issue: 27th July 2009

About Prudential:
“Prudential” is a trading name of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited, which is registered in England and Wales. This name is also used by other companies within the Prudential Group, which between them provide a range of financial products including life assurance, savings and investment products, such as a bond investment and pensions, including advice on company pensions.

Registered Office at Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0HH. Registered number 15454. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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National Savings And Investments, The Government-Backed Savings And Investments Provider, Today Announced Its Annual Results For The Year To 31 March 2009 And For The First Quarter Of 2009-10

Highlights for the financial year for year ending 31 March 2009 included net financing of £12.5 billion – against a revised November 2008 forecast of £11 billion (within a range of £2 billion either side) – due to unsolicited savings deposits following the ‘flight to safety’ which began in mid-September last year and making sales of £8.5 billion through premium bonds – an increase of almost £2 billion from the previous year.

The ‘flight to safety’ is now over and NS&I is operating in a more challenging savings environment; however, the focus remains on balancing the interests of savers, the taxpayer and supporting stability in the wider financial services marketplace by maintaining an appropriate competitive position

Jane Platt, NS&I’s chief executive, said: “The global financial crisis, which began last September, meant that demand for our products increased dramatically despite us cancelling all discretionary marketing and led to us delivering £12.5 billion of net financing last year. I’m proud of the way the teams at our operations centres responded to this challenge and helped to ensure we remained open for business and maintained our high customer service standards, in spite of the unsolicited inflows of money.

“As the Bank of England base rate continued to fall rapidly and financial markets remained unusually volatile, we agreed with HM Treasury that NS&I’s Value Add target for 2008-09 would be temporarily suspended and no target set for the coming year. Our decision-making is now driven by the need to maintain a balance between offering a fair rate to our customers, delivering cost-effective finance to Government, and the need to support stability across the wider financial services marketplace by maintaining an appropriate competitive position.”

NS&I’s Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09 were presented to the House of Commons on 15 July 2009, pursuant to section 7 of the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000.

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for premium bonds, but also offers inflation-beating savings accountsguaranteed equity bonds and guaranteed growth bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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New Fixed Rate Direct Two Year Bonds By NS&I

NS&I is to launch a new 2-year issue of both its Guaranteed Growth Bonds and Guaranteed Income Bonds. The new 2-year Bonds will only be available direct (via phone or online) from NS&I and will pay an interest rate of 3.75% per annum and 3.65% respectively.

Fixed Rate Direct Two Year Bonds

Customers can invest between £500 and £1 million in total in the fixed rate bonds, with guaranteed rates of interest. The Guaranteed Income Bond offers customers the opportunity to receive their interest as a monthly income, while with the Guaranteed Growth Bond customers will receive their interest at the end of the 2-year term.

The Bonds come with the 100% capital guarantee which NS&I can offer because all of its savings and investments are backed by HM Treasury.

The new Bonds, which are available online and through NS&I’s award winning UK based call centres, are part of NS&I’s strategy to encourage customers to buy and manage their savings with NS&I directly. This enables NS&I to offer a more attractive interest rate to customers.

Peter Cornish, Director of Customer Offer at NS&I, said: “Our Guaranteed Income Bonds and Guaranteed Growth Bonds offer customers a simple and straightforward saving opportunity.

“Money saved in our Guaranteed Income Bonds or our Guaranteed Growth Bonds will earn a competitive and guaranteed rate of interest for the next two years. It is a simple offer and easy to take up, either online at nsandi.com or through our UK based call centres.”

Dr Robin Keyte, Chartered Financial Planner and Director of Towers at Taunton Ltd, which specialises in fee-based financial planning and socially responsible investments, commented on the new issues from NS&I: “NS&I’s Guaranteed Growth Bonds and Guaranteed Income Bonds are an effective way for customers to earn a fixed rate of interest on their investment, either as monthly income or as a lump sum at the end of the term. Like all NS&I investments, they also have the added benefit of a 100% capital guarantee, which is something many people will value highly in the current environment.”

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers Inflation-Beating Savings, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order. They are also available through a network of Post Office branches. Customers can also pick up brochures for NS&I Premium Bonds, Inflation-Beating Savings and Income Bonds at retailer WHSmith in 400 of its High Street stores and 155 of its travel stores.

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NS&I Has Announced The Launch Of A New Issue Of Its Guaranteed Equity Bond That Is Linked To The FTSE 100 Index

National Savings and Investments (NS&I) has announced the launch of a new issue of its Guaranteed Equity Bond. This will offer a potential return that is linked to the FTSE 100 index – up to a maximum of 40% over the 5-year term – without any risk to investors’ capital.

For example, if the averaged index end level is 20% greater than the averaged index start level at the end of the 5-year term, £10,000 invested would earn a gross return of £2,000 at the end of the term. If the index end level was 45% greater than the index start level at the end of the term, £10,000 invested would earn a gross return of £4,000, because the maximum return is 40%. The returns are calculated by comparing the start level of the FTSE 100 index (averaged over the first five days of the investment term) to the end level (averaged over the final six months).

While the returns paid on NS&I Guaranteed Equity Bonds are linked to the FTSE 100 index, NS&I does not invest the money in equities, so investments in the Guaranteed Equity Bond will not be eligible for dividends. Therefore investors may not get as high a return as they might through investing directly in the stock market. However, unlike investments in the stock market, any money invested is guaranteed 100% secure, backed by HM Treasury. If the FTSE 100 index end level is the same as or lower than the start level, investors’ initial capital would be returned in full.

Issue 18 of the Guaranteed Equity Bond will be on sale until 11 August 2009 (although it may close earlier if fully subscribed). Investments will earn interest at 0.5% pa gross until the Bond’s investment term starts on 26 August 2009. This interest will be paid when the Bond matures. The minimum investment level for this Guaranteed Equity Bond remains at £1,000 and the maximum investment is £1 million per person or £2 million for a joint investment.

This latest Guaranteed Equity Bond launch roughly coincides with the maturity of Issue 8 of NS&I’s 5-year Guaranteed Equity Bond on 28 July 2009, which went on sale in June 2004. NS&I has written to investors to inform them that their Bond is about to mature.

NS&I’s previous Guaranteed Equity Bond issue closed two weeks early as a result of customer demand. NS&I Guaranteed Equity Bond key features and further details available from the NS&I website

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers Inflation-Beating Savings, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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NS&I Reveals That Brits Are Failing To Make The Most Of Summer Savings

According to the latest NS&I Quarterly Savings Survey, much of the British population is failing to make the most of money saved on household bills and outgoings during the summer months as the increased sunshine makes them forget their budgets.

More than two-fifths (42%) of Britons think they spend less on outgoings such as utilities and groceries during the summer months, with people expecting these summer savings to average more than £75 (£77.39) a month. However, rather than setting these extra pounds aside, it seems they’re being spent on leisure actives. Nearly half (48%) of the population think they spend more on leisure activities in summer, this is more than likely to be impacted by children’s school holidays. During this season, outgoings on activities like socialising with friends, parties and holidays increase by a monthly average of more than £100 (£109.80). The warmer weather carries much of the blame for this rise in spending as 43% of Britons say improvements in the weather made them feel more relaxed about their outgoings.

While 92% of people say they use less heating in summer, four-fifths (82%) hang washing outdoors rather than use the tumble drier and more than two-thirds (70%) save on transport by walking more – there are other expenditures which outweigh these savings. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of the population confess to spending more on holidays in summer than winter and almost two-fifths (39%) are more likely to spend money going out to bars and restaurants with friends.

Dax Harkins, NS&I‘s savings strategist, said: “Everyone loves to see the sunshine, but people should try not to be so dazzled that they forget their finances. It’s great that many essential household costs are less during the warmer months, but Brits would be wise to try and make the most of these savings by putting some of this money away. Summer fun doesn’t need to be expensive.”

In fact, by taking a careful look at their finances, Britons could make even more seasonal savings. More than a quarter (26%) of the population feel there are more opportunities to set money aside during the summer of which they currently aren’t taking advantage. Further, 23% believe that they could look more carefully at the amount they spend socialising to reduce their outgoings

Harkins continued: “Some people (7%) say that they’re too busy to budget properly. I would urge everyone to try and set aside a small amount of time, even just half an hour each month, to review their incomings and outgoings and to assess how they can better plan their budget – and as a consequence make their longer-term finances healthier.”

NS&I’s Savings Survey
For a copy of NS&I’s Savings Survey, case studies or further information on the statistics supplied in this release please contact the NS&I media team. Previous copies of the survey are available from http://www.nsandi.com/press-room/savingsurvey/index.jsp. Selected regional data is also available on request.

The telephone survey was carried out by TNS among 1003 GB adults aged 16 and above, 1 – 3 May 2009.

About NS&I
National Savings and Investments is one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, offering a range of savings and investments to almost 27 million customers. NS&I is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers a range of savings accounts including easy access savings accounts, savings bonds, investment accounts and high return savings. All products offer 100% capital security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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NS&I Invites Voters To Pick Their Favourite Sustainable Garden At BBC Gardeners World Live

The NS&I sponsored Grow Your Own campaign is to showcase three gardens f r o m 10 June in Birmingham.

NSIgarden

For the second year, three unique and visionary garden designs have been selected to be displayed at the BBC Gardners’ World Live event. The designs all feature modernity, sustainability and growing fruit and veg as key themes.

Visitors to the show will be able to vote for their favourite garden in the Grow Your Own area of the show which is also supported by NSI. The overall winner of the NS&I Growing Gardens Today Competition will be announced live on the Grow Your Own area stage by gardening expert Carol Klein on Sunday 14 June.

Of the competition, Carol Klein said. “I am thrilled to be announcing the overall winner of the NS&I Growing Gardens Today competition this year. This year’s designs are hugely creative, incorporating recycled and sustainable materials while showing different ways to grow your own fruit and vegetables. NS&I is a big supporter of encouraging the public to grow their own in a sustainable and cost effective way.”

Visitors to the show will also have the opportunity to pick up good gardening money-saving tips and ideas for contemporary working gardens. Expert gardeners will be giving practical demonstrations and advice on growing and using fruit, veg and herbs.

The winners:
Sheila Jean Dearing, a former bio-medical scientist, f r o m Devon, has always been deeply interested in gardening and developed her passion further when she began cultivating her own gardens. Her design, ‘Forest to Fork’ (located at Stand GA25), combines creativity with science to produce a space that is both beautiful and practical. Designed using FSC softwood throughout, this garden demonstrates how a small space can be productive, low maintenance and eco-friendly with a modern feel.

Christopher Parry and Rene Humphrey f r o m Bath, both graduated f r o m the Oxford College of Garden Design in 2007 before going on to set up their own garden design business TwentyEightDesigns. ‘Urban Veg’ (located at Stand GA23) is the first show garden built by the duo and aims to show NEC visitors a contemporary space made for today’s city lifestyle. Designed with sustainability in mind, the garden includes many recycling components such as reusable materials, a sleek built in compost bin and reclaimed bricks for walls.

Sally Wilding-Webb f r o m Devon has a certificate in garden design and firmly believes that the roots of good garden design are in horticulture. Sally aims to show visitors that a garden can be a sustainable fruit and veg plot as well as an area of relaxation. Her design ‘Everything in the garden’ (located at Stand GA24), encompasses modern techniques – such as a pond to encourage wildlife, lavender to welcome bees for pollination and an array of fruit and vegetables. 

All three gardens are located in the popular Grow Your Own area at the show. Voting commences at 9am on Wednesday 10 June 2009 and closes at midday on Sunday 14 June 2009.

 

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £92 billion invested. It is best known for Savings Bonds, but also offers Inflation-Beating Savings, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range of savings accounts. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

About the RHS
The RHS is the UK’s leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Its charitable work includes undertaking scientific research into issues affecting gardeners, holding plant trials and educational events and activities.

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NS&I’s June Jackpot Of £1million Has Been Paid To A Surrey Resident, Who Bought His Winning Bond In March 2006

The winner, a gentleman from Surrey who wishes to remain anonymous, became ERNIE’s 233rd Premium Bond millionaire. He said of the win: “When Agent Million knocked on my door and told me that I’d won the jackpot I thought it was a practical joke! I’m still in shock but once the news sinks in I cannot wait to share the good fortune by treating my family to a lovely summer holiday.”

In Surrey, more than 535,300 people hold Premium Bonds worth £1.4 billion. There are more than 13,500 unclaimed Premium Bonds in total worth at least £796,000. This is the 13th time that the £1 million jackpot has been won in Surrey.

In March, NS&I announced that from the April prize draw onwards, one of the two monthly £1 million Premium Bond jackpot prizes will be replaced by a wider mix of other prizes in the monthly draws.

Similarly, a new £25 Premium Bonds prize has been introduced to the draws alongside the existing prizes (ranging from £50 to £1 million). These changes have been introduced because Premium Bond holders say that maintaining the chances of winning tax-free prizes on a regular basis is particularly important to them.

In June’s draw ERNIE paid out more than 1.1 million prizes, amounting to more than £33 million in value. There were 40,520,994,477 eligible numbers in the Premium Bond draw.

1. In June there were 1,125,583 prizes and a total prize fund of £33,767,475.
2. All Premium Bonds prizes are free of UK Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
3. Pictures of ERNIE (including the new ERNIE 4 machine), Agent Million and people buying Premium Bonds are available in high-resolution jpeg format from the NS&I media team.

About NS&I
National Savings and Investments is one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, offering a range of savings and investments to almost 27 million customers. NS&I is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers a range of savings accounts including easy access savings accounts, savings bonds, investment accounts and children’s bonus bonds. All products offer 100% capital security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. Further information and digital images are available from the NS&I media team. An ISDN line is available for interviews.

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