ISA

The government’s new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) offers an attractive investment opportunity for savers – but hardly any are aware it exists, according to new research.

The survey, which focused on understanding investors’ intentions for the year ahead, found priorities for savers included a fixed income (17%), the opportunity to self-select how and where their money is invested (18%) and tax efficiency (24%) were top of their list of investment priorities.

Whilst the IFISA aims to meet all of these needs, half of investors questioned said they had never heard of it. 29 percent said they do know the name but don’t know what it is and only one in 20 said they know enough about what an IFISA is to be able to explain it clearly to other people.

Despite the growing number of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms in the UK, only a small number are licensed to offer the IFISA. One of these is Crowdstacker, a peer to peer lending platform that makes available lending opportunities to great British businesses in the UK.

“We believe our own success in year one of offering the Innovative Finance ISA – we take an average £1 million per month in ISA investment – is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. We can see from this new data there is an appetite for it, and that investors want all the things it can offer such as better returns, tax efficiency, transparency, and fixed income,” explained Karteek Patel, CEO of Crowdstacker.

“But what our research also shows is that not enough people have heard of it yet, let alone understand what it is. This is probably, at least in part, explained by the fact that most of the P2P industry cannot yet offer IFISAs because they do not have the necessary FCA permissions in place to do so. 

“Once this changes and more of the industry launches their own IFISAs, we believe, there will be more noise about it, and consequently more awareness – good news for the industry, and great for investors.”

However, the survey also found that those that do know about IFISAs and have invested in them have invested more on averagethan in traditional Cash ISAs.  The average amount of £7,013 per person has been invested in Crowdstacker’s IFISA to date; this is compared to £5,810 in cash ISAs between 2015 and 2016.