Money: Tax Planning and Saving: Wrapping up a package to include the top performers

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The Independent Online
People commonly talk about investing in a PEP. But strictly speaking, a personal equity plan is simply a form of packaging for other investments. Most of the PEPs that you see advertised are packaged plans that invest in shares through unit and investment trusts.

If you want to understand how well particular PEPs are performing, you need to look at the underlying assets.

But while most PEPs invest in unit trusts, not all unit trusts can be held in a PEP. This is because the rules allowing up to pounds 6,000 a year in a general PEP apply only to investment "in qualifying assets", in simple terms UK and European shares.

Unit trusts are grouped into various sectors, depending on where and how they invest. Some of these unit trusts, such as funds investing in the US or the Far East, do not qualify under the PEP rules.

The table alongside shows the top-performing unit trusts in some of the most popular sectors, based on performance over the past 12 months.

More detailed tables, ranking all the funds in all the sectors, are given on the unit trust page in the Saturday editions of the Independent. This page also includes the sector averages table, summarising the performance of each sector.

Over the past 12 months, the top-performing funds have been those investing in smaller UK companies, and the general UK growth sector.

Whatever type of packaged PEP is chosen, the underlying fund should always be examined to make sure that it does fit with your long-term aims as an investor. But always remember that, like any other stock market investment, a PEP's value will rise and fall in line with the performance of companies and of the stock market. So you should regard PEPs as a long- term investment and have emergency funds available in a savings account.

SECTOR Date Minimum Fund Value

fund investment size Offer pounds 100 over

Fund established pounds pounds m price 1 year

UK growth & income

Family United Charities 3/82 500 6.5 374.5 124.0

Fleming Select UK Income 12/69 1000 19.4 179.4 121.3

Laurence Keen Inc & Growth 9/89 1000 15.8 79.36 119.4

UK growth

Johnson Fry Slater Growth 11/87 1000 33.6 224.30 155.4

Mercury Recovery 3/81 1000 116.4 540.6 128.0

Standard Life UK Eq Growth Acc 5/86 1000 32.2 119.4 123.6

UK equity income

M&G Charifund 2/60 25 570.1 847.0 118.7

Jupiter Income 7/87 500 361.7 255.35 118.2

BWD UK Equity Income 10/85 500 2.5 121.55 117.0

UK equity & bond

BWD Balanced Portfolio 1/90 500 13.4 222.10 118.3

NPI UK Extra Income Acc 8/91 500 45.2 128.50 112.4

NPI UK Extra Income Inc 8/91 500 45.2 106.60 112.0

UK equity & bond income

CU PPT High Yield 6/74 500 41.5 159.99 112.9

N&P Higher Income 10/77 500 43.0 281 112.2

Barclays Uni Distribution 1/95 3000 42.7 120.1 111.8

Investment trust units

Quilter Investment Trusts Inc 2/90 1000 12.6 131.88 112.3

Quilter High Inc Inv Tst Acc 4/92 1000 9.0 113.09 110.8

M&G Fund of Inv Trusts 4/68 500 65.5 812.3 106.1

Financial & property shares

Save & Prosper Fncl Secs 12/69 1000 202.3 389.9 129.3

Abtrust Property Share 10/90 500 18.0 84.10 122.6

Hill Samuel Financial 11/70 500 24.7 1272.1 119.4

Europe

Jupiter European 7/87 500 60.8 245.56 135.8

Old Mutual European 4/85 500 140.7 428.70 131.8

INVESCO Euro Growth Acc 8/85 1000 90.6 291.40 129.4

UK smaller companies

Gartmore UK Smaller Cos 9/81 1000 51.6 246.58 139.8

NatWest UK Smaller Cos 12/94 1000 33.3 133.10 138.5

Schroder Smaller Cos Inc 5/79 1000 104.2 395.72 131.9

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