17 October 1999
Friendly societies are a popular way for parents and grandparents to save for children, and the Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society's Baby Bond now has its own website.
It's easy to understand, and explains how the bond and its tax breaks work. There's a calculator so that parents can estimate how much an investment may grow: £10 a month over 25 years is forecast to become £4,430 to £7,260, depending on performance. The maximum investment is £25 a month.
There's an online application form, and the site has links to other parent-friendly websites. There are even electronic birth announcements and electronic first birthday cards.
Tunbridge Wells has also revamped its main website, which has details of its other insurance and savings offerings.
*Babybond, www.babybond.co.uk; Tunbridge Wells Equitable, www.twefs.co.uk
Dial up for charity
Care4Free is a new net service for users who want their online time to benefit a charity, as well as filling phone firms' coffers. Almost all the "free" net services take a cut of call charges, but Care4Free is a free internet service provider run for 20 charities that share in its profits - including the NSPCC, Cancer Research Campaign and RSPB. Users can nominate the cause their "call" money goes to. Care4Free promises to give 75 per cent of its profits from advertising, phone calls and trade referrals to charity. It'll also give £1 to charity for a new user's first 10 hours online.
Care4Free provides a full internet service from UUNet, one of Britain's largest ISPs, offering users five e-mail add- resses and 15 megabytes of web space. Content and services come from Football 365, the BBC, Yahoo!, stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley and Moneynet. Users can also give online to a charity.
Broker reports online
Brokerlink was set up in 1995 to give information on firms mainly to smaller stockbrokers. It has now launched a website, making its reports available directly to investors. Currently there are 30 firms on the site, but it aims to have 60 online by the year's end - focusing on firms outside the FT-SE 100.
The reports, written by Brokerlink, are commissioned by the firms themselves, so investors can't view them as totally impartial. Brokerlink concedes that firms tend not to commission reports if their results are poor. But the site should be a useful research tool on less well-known companies.
*Brokerlink: www.brokerlink.co.uk * Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: Hifirstname.lastname@example.org