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The Independent Online
THE abolition of National Savings yearly plans last January has caused some investors to worry that their plans will be cancelled prematurely. In fact, all plans taken out before the deadline will continue to run full term. After paying 12 equal monthly instalments, investors receive a certificate that can be held for a further four years to earn a tax- free lump sum.

But National Savings will shortly write to all holders to remind those who do not act to cash in their certificates at the end of the five-year term that future interest payments will fall to the general extension rate of 3.51 per cent.

INDEPENDENT DIRECT, a telephone service operated by Manchester-based IFA Financial Options, is offering a cheap mortgage protection plan costing just pounds 4.98 per pounds 100 of interest covered for healthy home- owners under 60, who can wait 30 days after a claim before payment.

If they can wait 60 days before claiming, the premium falls to pounds 3.90 per pounds 100 of cover. It covers sickness, accident and unemployment. Call Freephone 0800 212821.

BARCLAYS UNICORN has introduced a savings scheme called Income Manager Regular Savings Option for investors wanting to contribute to a corpor- ate-bond PEP based on Barclays Unicorn's existing Gilt and Fixed Interest Income Trust.

The minimum contribution is pounds 50 a month, the initial charge is 3.25 per cent, and there is an annual management charge of 0.75 per cent, which is taken from income. But there is no exit charge. Rolled up quarterly, the income yield is currently 8.52 per cent.

PEP DIRECT, part of Liverpool-based broker Neilson Cobbold, is launching a new PEP investing in single companies. The dealing charge to purchase the shares will be 1 per cent, with a minimum pounds 20 and a pounds 40 maximum, plus an annual charge of 0.7 per cent up to pounds 200. There will be no initial charge.

AGE CONCERN has launched a new guide to Safe Home Income Plans, which explains the options. Using Your Home as Capital 1995-96 is available at pounds 4.95 from most bookshops and from Age Concern. A free leaflet is available from SHIP. Call 0181-390 8166.