The Sheperds Friendly Society is offering three stars in the constellation Ursa Major as prizes in a competition. Winners will be able to name a star after themselves or anyone they choose. Entrants will be required to name the greatest wish they can make for the person after whom they would name the star. Call 0800 526249 for an entry form.

Skipton Building Society is launching two fixed-rate bonds. Both will pay 7.3 per cent gross, either over one or two years. On the two-year bond, interest is paid at the end of year one and at maturity. Call 0800 446776.

NetPEP, the provider of a FT-SE 100 tracker fund offered on the Internet, is offering to waive all initial charges on investments made before december 31. The PEP has annual charges of 0.35 per cent. Access to the NetPEP website is on: www.netpep.co.uk

Birmingham Midshires is launching a savings account, the Double Bonus Bond, which splits the investment between a variable rate of return, linked to Bank of England base rates, and the FT-SE 100 share index. The bond pays a return of up to 7.5 per cent on the variable half of the investment and is guaranteed to match base rates until January 1999. The stock market element guarantees a minimum of 20 per cent, up to a maximum of 100 per cent. Call 01902 302323.

Leeds & Holbeck Building Society is offering visitors to its new Internet site the chance to win cross-Channel ferry crossings from Dover or Portsmouth in a free monthly prize draw. Access is on: www.leeds-holbeck.co.uk

Colonial, the financial services provider, has re-priced its standard term assurance rates. A non-smoking male aged 30 next birthday now pays pounds 7.85 a month for pounds 50,000 of cover over 25 years, compared to pounds 8.72 from Allied Dunbar or pounds 11.50 from Prudential. Call 0800 828501.

Pearl, the insurance company, is cutting from 6 to 4 per cent the initial charges on investments into its range of unit trusts and PEPs, including its Equity Income and Equity Growth trusts. Annual management charges are 1.5 per cent. Call Leo Thomas or Ruth Weighill on 0171 3699333.

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