Over 50s call for simplification of the ISA system

Wednesday 8 February 2017

  • Research among 10,000 over 50s shows great confusion over ISA rules
  • Over half of over 50s say the ISA rules are too complex

People over 50 say that the ISA system is too complex and there are too many different types of ISA available according to research from Saga Investment Services.  Almost half say that there should be one ISA account, whether that is in cash or investments, that people can have which can be spent on whatever they like rather than making specific ISAs for housing and pensions.


There is much confusion amongst over 50s about the various ISA’s on offer and to whom they are available.  Just 14% of over 50s knew that Cash ISAs were available to people over 16, with one in five saying they didn’t know who could open one.  While a third of people knew that an investment ISA was available only to over 18s, a quarter were unaware who could open one.  There was more confusion over innovative finance ISAs, introduced last year, as 51% said they had no idea who could open one.


The over 50s could find themselves disappointed this ISA season as just 8% realise that the new Lifetime ISA is only available to people under 40, indicating they do not realise that they cannot take advantage of the latest ISA introduced by the Chancellor with it’s added Government bonus.


When it comes to the rules around holding and transferring between ISA accounts there is even more perplexity.  Just 14% know that children can only hold one JISA account with one provider at a time, they cannot open a new one each year as is the norm with adult ISAs.  Half of over 50s are not  aware that it is possible to transfer Cash ISAs into investment ISAs and vice-versa and half were not aware of the requirement to transfer between ISA providers – rather than closing and reopening a new one – in order to preserve the tax free status of the savings with it.


Differing terminology amongst ISA providers could also been adding to the confusion as just six in ten over 50s know that Investment ISAs and Stock and Shares ISAs are different labels for the same type of account.


Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Managing Director, Saga Investment Services, commented: “So many changes have been made to the ISA system over recent years that people are struggling to understand the rules. Britain needs savers of all ages and keeping things simple is the best way to encourage understanding and action.  We are in danger of every good idea resulting in a new type of savings plan and in doing so we end up with a Heath Robinson savings model.  So we are calling for a wholesale simplification of savings - one ISA account for all ages, the same terms and benefits for any purpose.”


As one of few providers offering both cash and investment ISAs, Saga Money welcomes any enquiries about either type of product and is happy to help direct people to the right place to get either (or indeed both) elements of their ISA done as quickly and easily as possible. In order to combat the confusion Saga has also introduced a handy myth buster to explain some key customer queries.



Notes to editors

*Populus interviewed 9,998 people aged 50 over, online between 17th and 23rd January 2017. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


About Saga Investment Services

Saga Investment Services has been developed to open up the world of investing and financial planning to the UK’s over 50s in the run up to and throughout retirement, and to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible. Customers can invest from just £100, and have access to investment advice and financial planning services. Saga Investment Services champions a straight forward and transparent approach to investing, and is a proud member of the Plain English Campaign. It is a joint venture between Saga, the leading provider of services to the nation’s over 50s, and Tilney Bestinvest, the expert investment and financial planning group.



The value of investments, and the income derived from them, can go down as well as up and you can get back less than you originally invested.  This press release does not constitute personal advice. If you are in doubt as to the suitability of an investment please contact one of our advisers. Past performance is not a guide to future performance


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