I am a great fan of Future Value Consultants, the independent organisation which evaluates stockmarket-linked plans. The average rating of over 100 plans analysed is only 5.7 out of 10 but the new GE Life high income & growth plan VI is an exception.
It scores eight out of 10 for higher-rate taxpayers and seven out of 10 for basic-rate taxpayers. It is particularly recommended because of its high annual income of 10.25 per cent a year or 33 per cent growth and because of its low downside risk. The EuroStoxx 50 index, to which it is linked, can fall by up to 20 per cent during the investment term before investors sustain any capital loss.
Even if it does fall by more than 20 per cent but then recovers to or above the initial level, the capital is returned in full.
Leading European investment managers, such as Anthony Bolton of Fidelity, Michael Joynson of Invesco Perpetual, Darrell O'Dea of Threadneedle and Simon Chisholm of Henderson, expect that the European markets will be up in three years time.
The plan is much safer than investing directly into European equities because of the 20 per cent safety net before investors can lose money.
Although the upside is limited, it is unlikely that the EuroStoxx50 will go up by much more than 10 per cent a year.
A return of 10.25 per cent a year cannot be bettered by any conventional fixed-interest investment. In addition to Isas, many big investors are investing substantial amounts into plans of this type of investment because basic-rate taxpayers are paying only 10 per cent tax and higher-rate taxpayers only 32.5 per cent on income. Growth investors can use their capital gains tax allowance. This makes this plan highly attractive compared with other similarly secure investments.
In current market conditions, this plan is strongly recommended.