ISAs  

The Share Centre to launch Lisa in April

The Share Centre to launch Lisa in April

The Share Centre has confirmed it will have a Lifetime Isa ready in April, making it only the second provider to commit to having a product in place for the official launch date.

According to the legislation, which passed into law last week, providers will be able to offer a Lifetime Isa, or Lisa, from 6 April.

However, as FTAdviser revealed yesterday (25 January), the vast majority of providers are unlikely to have a product ready by then. 

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Only Hargreaves Lansdown and now The Share Centre have said they will be ready, raising the prospect that the market could be limited to two providers.

AJ Bell, meanwhile, has promised it will have a Lisa "soon after the product becomes available in April", but would give no firm launch date.

Darren Cornish, director of customer experience The Share Centre, told FTAdviser his firm "intend[s]" to have a Lisa ready by 6 April, and is "working flat out to deliver to that date".

He said Lisa customers would have a choice of investing in three funds, aimed at the "cautious", the "positive" and the "adventurous" investor.

He said the lower-risk "cautious" fund would be suited to people using the Lisa to buy a house, while the higher risk "positive" and "adventurous" funds would be more suitable for people using the Lisa as a retirement savings vehicle.

He said The Share Centre hoped to add to these three options later in the year.

“We believe this is a great product for an age group (18 to 40) that will benefit from the 25 per cent annual government bonus as they save for a house deposit or their retirement," Mr Cornish said. 

"We also see many of our present customers, who are parents and grandparents, being keen to help fund their children or grandchildren’s Lifetime Isa."

He added it would be "wrong" not to offer a Lisa when there was demand for it, regardless of the concerns that it could lead reduce people's retirement prospect. 

“Critics of the Lifetime Isa have said that the ease of withdrawing funds may encourage people to squander their retirement savings.

"However, there are incentives in place to keep your investment locked in for the long term, which is precisely why parents and grandparents like it.

"We have already had strong levels of interest expressed by customers who see the Lisa as perfect for helping the younger generations of their family get started on their own investing plans," he said. 

As FTAdviser recently reported, advisers have not responded with enthusiasm to the Lisa, many saying it would not be appropriate for their clients, who are over 40 and therefore ineligible.

However Sean Irwin, an IFA with DFP Wealth Management, said many of his clients are, like him, in their early 30s. For them, he said the Lisa is ideal. 

He said the reluctance of a product providers to bring a Lisa to market as soon as possible was a mistake.