THE HI-TECH INVESTOR: All you need to know about stakeholder pensions

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The Independent Online
THE Government is starting to clarify its proposals for stakeholder pensions, the new, low-cost retirement savings plans it hopes to introduce in 2001. But for those planning their retirement, the problem is whether to invest in a personal pension now or wait for a cheaper deal.

Two websites offer good overviews of the issues. Mercury Asset Management has a dedicated site on stakeholders with links to the key government stakeholder proposals.

Legal & General has made the clearest commitment of any insurer that customers taking out a policy now won't lose out if they want to transfer into a stakeholder plan. It has a detailed section on the proposed scheme with some clear question and answer pages. It also has a graph showing the cost of putting off pension planning - a sobering sight for those who are not paying into a pension.


Pick and mix

A new internet-based investment supermarket has been launched, giving investors the chance to buy stock market funds, bonds and pensions at low-cost online. InternetIFA will operate a discount broking service, rebating all the initial commission it receives back to clients, and hopes to make a profit on annual renewal commission. If you know what you want to buy (for example, a stock market ISA savings plan) you can order forms over the net and send them directly to the relevant fund manager.


Motor on

Iron Trades insurance has laun-ched the latest motor cover site. It offers quotes for its policies online and claims customers won't have to deal with a call centre because the site is comprehensive. It is well laid out, with information boxes at every stage, and you can click and buy online. Policies are charged on a monthly basis so the truly keen can keep searching for more competitive quotes.


Promising remortgages

Promise, the mortgage offshoot of life insurer Winterthur Life UK, is offering the whole remortgage process online. Anyone who wants a new mortgage deal can get competitive quotes from the site. Mortgage deals are set up with big lenders and have no extra fees.


n Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: