Free valuation of endowments

THE Office of Fair Trading's report on endowment mortgages confirming that many of the endowment policies sold since the mid-1980s may not have been good investments, especially if they are cashed in early, has aroused at least as many fears as it has eased.

But those who fear they could end up with not enough money to repay their mortgage when the endowment matures, and those who worry about being forced to cash in an endowment policy before it reaches maturity might just sleep easier if they had a better idea what their with-profit policies are likely to be worth when they mature, or what they could expect to get if they take the option of selling their policy on the second-hand (or traded) endowment market.

Until the end of May Policy Portfolio plc, one of the market-makers that buys and sells endowment policies, is offering to value policies for readers of the Independent and Independent on Sunday free of charge.

Policy holders whose policies mature in five years or less will receive an estimate of the policy's value at maturity. This will be based on the current bonus rates, and an indication of the effect of any further falls in annual bonus rates.

Policy holders who have more than five years to run on their policies will be offered a free valuation and performance evaluation plus an estimate of its market value if it is sold rather than traded.

q Contact Policy Portfolio on 0181 343 4567 or write to Gadd House, Arcadia Avenue, London N3 2JU.