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Public are still flummoxed by Isas, says Autif

Public understanding of personal finance has shown no sign of improvement

despite the wealth of information available, according to Autif&#39s monthly

tracking study.

The financial awareness and consumer education tracking study found only

44 per cent of people understand that Isas are tax-free investments.

It also discovered that just 34 per cent realise they can take out one Isa

each year and that the three different components – cash, stocks and shares

and insurance – can be with different providers.

Autif says consumers must start saving as the state withdraws from welfare


It points to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown&#39s speech of 1998

when he said: “Half the population have only £200 or less in savings,

there is broad agreement that we must do more to encourage savings by


Autif has updated its free guide to tax-free savings to help potential

investors get a better idea of what is “clearly a complicated subject” for

some. The guide tries to explain the benefits of Isas in simple terms.

Director of communications Anne McMeehan says: “The lack of improvement in

consumer understanding makes for pretty depressing reading.

“There is a wealth of information available nowadays but somehow the

message simply is not getting through. Month after month, our financial

awareness tracking study shows a worryingly consistent pattern of public



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