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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 19:18 GMT
Caution urged over VCTs
Coins
VCTs have been marketed strongly after generous new tax relief rules

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 26 March, 2005 at 1202 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 27 March, at 2102 BST

Consumers have been warned to exercise caution if considering investing in Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).

The Financial Services Authority is concerned consumers might not fully understand the risks of investing in this highly speculative area.

The government has given VCT investors a tax break of 40% on initial investments held for at least three years. And any profit is also paid tax-free.

But VCTs are not suitable for everyone, and the companies they invest in are young, so their success is by no means guaranteed.

We spoke to Clive Briault, Managing Director of Retail Markets at the FSA about the regulator's concerns.

We were also joined by financial adviser Alan Warner of Douglas Deakin Young and Hugh Rogers, VCT Analyst from Bestinvest.

Further information:


Barclaycard offers new facility

Barclaycard
The interest on the loan is 6.9% and on the card is 9.9%
The UK's most widely-held credit card is to allow some customers to combine card balances and loans.

Barclaycard Combinations will enable customers to borrow on their card and then move the debt from the card to a loan up to three times a year.

Barclaycard claim this will help people save money and borrow more flexibly.

We talked to Barclaycard spokesman Ian Barber.

Further information:


Share clubs
Women members of a share club
These share club members combine investing with stretching

Five years ago share clubs were all the rage, but then came the stock market fall and many folded.

Recently however, there has has been a resurgence of interest.

Money Box's Sarah Parfitt met an all female group who have just won the ProShare Achievement Award.

How did they survive the downturn and what tips they can give to fledgling clubs?

Further information:


OFT forces care contract change

An elderly woman walking with a nurse
Age Concern referred a number of contracts to the OFT
Residents of 800 care homes and their families will get better contracts in future, following action by the Office of Fair Trading.

The OFT investigation has led to 10 care home operators changing their contracts as they were found to be potentially unfair.

Examples of unfair terms included allowing the homes to make frequent or arbitrary increases in fees, and the exclusion of liability for loss or damage to a resident's property.

We spoke to Pauline Thompson of Age Concern about the developments.

Further information:


Other News

The Financial Ombudsman ruled this week that Equitable Life must compensate 1500 investors who took out policies after September 1998 because it should have warned them about possible legal dangers ahead. The ruling only applies to these 'late joiners' who complained to the Ombudsman. Equitable may challenge the ruling.

Further information:


Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Chris A'Court
Reporter: Sarah Parfitt


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24 Mar 05 |  Moneybox


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