LOOSE CHANGE

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The Independent Online
Rates available on guaranteed income bonds have rallied this week in spite of the drop in base rates last week, according to Baronworth Investment Services. Rates range from 3.9 per cent for a year net to standard rate taxpayers on amounts from pounds 1,000 to pounds 5,000 from Premium Life, 4.9 per cent for two years rising in steps to 6 per cent for 10 years. Free details are available by phoning 100 and asking for Freephone Bondline.

Chelsea Building Society launches a two year fixed rate bond to savers today, paying 7 per cent gross on amounts over pounds 25,000 and 6.75 per cent gross on between pounds 10,000 and pounds 25,000. Rates will be fixed until June 1998, but withdrawals are not permitted until then. A monthly income option is also available.

TSB has launched its 22nd Guaranteed Stock Market Bond this week, which guarantees that all capital is returned in full even if the FT-SE 100 share index falls over the next five years. If the index rises 25 per cent at any time during the bond's five-year life, that gain is also guaranteed. Any additional rises are also allocated to investors and paid free of tax to standard rate taxpayers. An initial charge of 5 per cent is deducted, minimum investments are pounds 2,000 and cannot be increased after the initial investment.

Market Harborough Building Society is offering education remortgage packages to help parents pay the cost of school and college fees. Parents can draw up to an agreed limit when required and pay interest only on amounts used.

Just over half the home valuations carried out by surveyors for Black Horse Agencies, the Lloyds Bank estate agency, in the first two months of 1996 were for people wanting to buy rather than remortgage a property. At the same time last year 75 per cent of the activity reported was for remortgages. This suggests that at least the real level of activity in the housing market is recovering, even if prices have not yet started to move much.

GT Global is launching a Global Bond Fund, a sterling-based unit trust aimed at income and growth from fixed and floating rate bonds world-wide. Managers expect capital gains as inflation and interest rates fall. Minimum investment is pounds 1,000 plus multiples of pounds 50, but the initial charge is 5 per cent, plus an annual management charge of 1 per cent.

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