A determined reader has written to me on a number of occasions this year asking me to campaign for the major investment platforms – Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), interactive investor and AJ Bell (AJB) – to offer flexible individual savings accounts (Isas) to customers.
The key difference between flexible and regular Isas is that the former allow you to add money to your Isa, withdraw it and replace it again – all within the same tax year without affecting your allowance. The legislation for this flexibility was introduced in 2016 but it is not mandatory for providers to offer it. And while flexible Isas have been widely adopted by banks, they have been largely ignored by investment platforms.
The platforms say they see very little demand for flexible Isas, as stocks-and-shares Isas are supposed to be long-term holdings and people adding to them shouldn’t need access to the money within 12 months anyway.