ISA Transfers – don’t neglect your old ISA contributions

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    If you’ve already saved your ISA allowance for this year, you probably shopped around to find a competitive rate first. The ISA rules allow you to choose a different ISA manager for your contribution each year if you want to; you don’t have to save with the same ISA manager each year. 

    Whilst this flexibility gives you the freedom to find the best rate for the current year’s allowance, it can also leave your finances fragmented, with your ISAs spread across several providers – and that could mean that you’re losing out overall. The rate you managed to find a few years ago may have been competitive at the time, but that might not be the case now.

    This is where the ISA Transfer option can prove to be beneficial. ISAs accumulated in previous tax years can be moved about independently of the ISA manager that you’ve chosen for this year’s allowance – allowing you to shop around for the best interest rates for the contributions you’ve made in previous years, as well as this year.

    The transfer of a cash ISA is normally very simple – you instruct the new manager to request the transfer from the old one (via the application form, usually), and the cash value is then applied for, and moved across on your behalf.

    Stocks & Shares ISAs are a little different.  Whilst the process for requesting the transfer is the same, the actual ISA value can be transferred in one of two ways. The first is as per a cash ISA; any assets held within the stocks and shares ISA are encashed, and the cash value is then transferred to the new ISA manager.

    The second is known as an in-specie transfer and here the actual assets, rather than their cash value, are transferred to the new ISA manager. These types of transfer can only be arranged if the new ISA manager is able to accept and hold the assets, and there may be charges involved in facilitating the transfer. The main benefit of an in-specie transfer is that the assets will remain invested throughout the process and will therefore avoid the risk of the re-purchase price being higher than the price achieved when the assets were sold.

    It is essential to remember that, for an ISA value to retain its ISA status, any transfer must be made using the formal transfer process.  If you cash your ISA in and then try to forward the value to a new ISA manager, you have effectively withdrawn your money from the ISA and so any subsequent contribution paid to the new ISA manager would be counted as part of your current tax year’s ISA contribution allowance.

    You can find out more about ISAs by viewing our ISAs Explained Q&A Guide article. If you’re interested in finding out more about Castle Trust’s Fortress Bond ISAs, there’s more information on our Investments Information page.

    Jeremy Stevens
    Investment Marketing Team

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