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ISA benchmarks to be extended

THE GOVERNMENT is today expected to back away from its controversial refusal to endorse City fund managers as providers of Individual Savings Accounts when they come on stream next April.

Full details will be unveiled of the Treasury's plans to make saving easier by giving its so-called "CAT" benchmark to ISAs meeting its standards of cost, access and terms. Fund managers have fought against a proposal, supported by Richard Branson's life company Virgin Direct, to endorse unit trusts within an ISA only if they track an index such as the FTSE All-Share. Initial proposals would have refused the government's CAT- mark to ISAs run by active fund managers. However, fund managers may instead be forced to trim their charges.