Internet Investor

I HAVE never been one to be easily seduced by so-called special offers and last chances to buy, but we really have seen the last chance to buy PEPs and Tessas. One small question springs to mind on the subject of PEPs. If someone has a couple of thousand pounds sitting around doing nothing, and not sheltered in a tax-efficient haven, why haven't they got around to putting it in a PEP before now?

Let us be honest, the last minute rush for PEPs is not of those people opening up monthly saving schemes - if it is then the financial service providers who sold them are sailing perilously close to the rocks of mis- selling. However, if you do have funds sitting in a bank or building society account earning taxed interest, it is still not too late to do something about it.

If this weekend's focus on Easter eggs has helped turn your thoughts to nest eggs, you are still in with a chance of organising your last-ever PEP, thanks to the latest marketing wheeze from Virgin Direct.

On the Virgin Direct website you can call up an online application form which takes you through the following steps: reading the Key Features document, reading the conditions and then filling out the actual form. Once you have filled the form out on-screen you need to print it out. However, it will not have escaped your notice that you have only until midnight Monday before the current tax year and thus PEPs and Tessas come to an end.

Virgin Direct is not offering the facility of online PEP purchases but has organised the next best thing for the last few days of the tax year. PEP applications may be handed in at one of 10 Virgin Megastores dotted around the UK. Staff will be on hand to check your application forms until 7pm on Monday 5 April at the music and video stores in London's Oxford Street, Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Kingston, Manchester, Oxford and Southampton.

If you cannot get along to one of these Virgin Megastores with your form, then you may call Speed Couriers - the number is on the Virgin Direct website - and they will collect the form from you free of charge. The courier service is available up until 8pm on Sunday. Of course, if you really want to cut it fine and get into the record books,Virgin Direct's office in Norwich will be taking hand-delivered applications right up until midnight on April 5.

ONCE IN to the new tax year it will be back to business as usual - but the meaning of "business as usual" continues to evolve. Analysis by market research group Datamonitor for Reuters Business Insight suggests that almost a third of us are already prepared to use the Internet in dealing with a financial services provider, with one in 10 now willing to buy life insurance, mortgages or endowments online. Datamonitor forecasts 21 per cent of households will have a PC and a modem by next year, rising to 30 per cent in 2002.

Datamonitor's findings are pitched at the service provider rather than the consumer. The report "UK Financial Services on the Internet" highlights the expectation we now have for the provision of quality financial services online. It warns product providers that they will "compromise their reputation for consumer service" if they do not offer Internet facilities.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that regulation is lagging behind Internet developments. This month HM Treasury issued a consultation document reviewing the legislation covering financial promotion and proposed changes in the Financial Services & Markets Bill. You can view the document on the Treasury website and you can read my comments on it here next time.

Virgin Direct: www.virgin-direct.co.uk; Datamonitor: www.datamonitor.com; HM Treasury: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk

Robin can be reached at RobinAmlot@aol.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

    £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

    £13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there