Personal finance: Loose change

HOLDEN MEEHAN, the independent financial advice firm, has published a new and substantially updated edition of its guide to green and ethical investments. The 40-page guide comments on the latest development in the market, including "dark", "medium" and "light" green investments, ethical banking, plus key questions for potential investors to consider, and offers a self-diagnostic profile section at the end. Free copies are available by calling 0800 7314505.

NORTHERN ROCK is launching a new mortgage package which combines a home loan with a personal one. The offer allows borrowers to use the money for non-mortgage repayment purposes. Loans are secured against the property. Rates start at 6.49 per cent and are guaranteed to remain at 0.5 per cent below Northern Rock's standard variable rate for the duration of the loan period. Call 0845 6006050 for details.

STANDARD LIFE Investments is cutting annual management charges on Global Advantage, its actively-managed fund, from 1.5 per cent to 1 per cent. The reduction will apply both to new investors and to its existing 82,000 customers. The cut allows Global Advantage, Standard Life's biggest fund, to obtain a Government-backed CAT mark, the benchmark given to funds offering fair terms, low costs and easy access. More details are available from any independent financial adviser.

WITH INTEREST rates coming down fast, it is sometimes more expensive to take out a shorter-term fix in case one is left with a higher rate by the end of the fixed-term period. Manchester Building Society is launching a two-year fix, pegged at 4.49 per cent until March 2001. There is an arrangement fee of pounds 395 applying on minimum loans of pounds 50,000. Call 0161 833 8899.

NORWICH UNION is cutting the initial charge on its European Equity Fund PEP from 5 per cent to 3 per cent, until Monday 5 April. Contact an independent financial adviser for more details.

FIRST ACTIVE, the telephone-based mortgage lender and savings account provider, is launching a range of new euro-denominated offshore accounts, based in Guernsey. They include instant access, 30-day and 60-day notice accounts. Call 01481 710400 for details of interest rates.

FIRST MORTGAGE, the telephone-based home loan company, is launching its cheapest ever three-year fixed rate mortgage, pegged at 3.99 per cent until 31 March 2002. The loan requires a pounds 395 application fee and is available on loans-to-value up to 90 per cent. There are no compulsory insurances. Call 0800 080088 for more details.

SUN BANK, the banking arm of Sun Life of Canada, the insurers, is guaranteeing the rates on its variable Tessas until 5 April. Variable rate Tessas currently pay 6.75 per cent. Call 01438 744656.

SG ASSET Management is launching a PEP-qualifying UK Income unit trust, with a yield marginally above those available in equity markets. It aims to boost income by improving growth. Initial charges are 5.25 per cent, with annual management fees of 1.5 per cent, taken from capital. Call 0800 1007426.

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