Chelsea Building Society has brought in its first individual savings account (Isa), the Chelsea Mini Cash Isa.
Previously, the Chelsea has avoided the new Isa market because of its self-imposed minimum investment limit of £2,500. This was brought in to fend off carpetbaggers at a time when they were targeting the building society as a prime candidate to surrender its mutual status to obtain windfall payments. As the maximum investment limit for an Isa is £3,000 it was felt that this did not make it worthwhile for investors.
However in March 2000, the Chelsea introduced the charitable foundation scheme which deterred carpetbagging by assigning any windfall conversion benefits to the foundation for five years. This is similar to schemes that were brought in by other building societies.
The mini cash Isa meets the Government's CAT standards. However, as a first venture into the Isa market, the Chelsea has come up with a standard mini cash Isa which resembles all the others.