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Seven years of 0.5% rates - Gulf between cash and investments laid bare

The Investment Association | Investment Association

2 min read Partner content

The gulf between returns from cash and investments in the era of record-low rates has been laid bare in Investment Association research.

The research has found savers who left £100,000 languishing in cash accounts paying the Bank of England base rate, since it was cut to 0.5% in March 2009, would have gained just £3,500 overall.

But thanks to the higher income levels that can be received from investing in stocks and shares, as well as the roaring bull market that followed on from the crisis, those who invested have fared better.

Savers putting £100,000 into the average fund in the IA UK Equity Income sector, of funds that invest in dividend-paying companies, would today be sitting on returns of £132,400 on top of their initial investment.

That's enough to pay university tuition fees for four children or grandchildren, a secondary education at an independent school or the deposit on a first-time buy property - and still retain the initial £100,000.

Those who bought the average IA Sterling Corporate Bond fund instead of holding cash would have made a £68,100 return on the same investment over the seven years.

Even by investing in the average UK gilt fund, which trades in government bonds and is seen as one of the lowest risk investments available, savers netted a £43,400 return in the period.

Those lucky savers who put their money in the average fund in the IA UK Smaller Companies sector would have added a remarkable £234,200 to their pots.

Guy Sears, Interim CEO at the Investment Association, said:

"Investing your savings rather than holding them as cash in a bank account comes with a degree of risk, and in the past seven years savers who bought funds have been rewarded for taking the risk.

"Even without any investment growth, the yields reported by funds targeting income-paying stocks have rewarded investors far better than the Bank of England's 0.5% base rate.

"It is of course impossible to predict what the next seven years may bring, but with good-quality advice and a long-term horizon, more savers may be able to benefit from the profits that investing your savings can offer. In addition, investment managers have innovated in recent years and now offer product ranges that can help savers to back the markets with controlled levels of risk.

"All savers should consider these benefits as the deadline for filling out your tax-free ISA allowance for 2015/16 fast approaches." 

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