Tessas to watch for takeover windfalls

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TESSA savers can be windfall hunters too. Financial adviser Johnson Fry has produced a list called Takeover Tips, a selection of good-value Tessas from building societies which have the potential to be takeover targets or to convert into banks.

The Johnson Fry list, which is available free to callers on 0171-451 1200, covers Tessas which qualify as share accounts, this being the type of account which makes savers eligible for any windfalls that come along.

Among the accounts the company recommends for Tessa 2s - for people reinvesting maturing Tessa money - are Nationwide's, paying 6.85 per cent, Skipton's (6.75 per cent), Dunfermline's (6.75 per cent) and Principality's (7.25 per cent). All these pay interest at a variable rate.

Britannia's 7 per cent fixed-rate Tessa is also highlighted, as is a Tessa offered by Bristol & West, whose returns are linked to the performance of the stock market. Our table shows the highest Tessa 2 rates currently available for those with maturing accounts.

Last week, interest on variable-rate Tessas was pared down by a number of societies and banks. The highest rate, from Northern Rock, which this week announced its flotation, remains at 8 per cent, although new savers will not qualify for the proposed free share windfall.

Fixed-rate Tessa deals, by comparison, have been edging up in recent weeks, reflecting the expectation of higher interest rates beyond the next general election. At 7.65 per cent, Norwich & Peterborough is the highest. Savers may nevertheless want to think twice before locking in now to these fixed rates. They may go even higher.