April 25 2014 Latest news:

The growing importance and popularity of Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) means they are now a core savings product for nearly half - 42pc - of all UK households.

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Key findings of the report include:

● Lower income groups (annual earnings less than £30,000) accounted for 79pc of all cash Isa subscribers and 59pc of all stocks/shares Isas.

● 26pc of all Isas have balances over £15,000 and 31pc hold less than £3,000.

● Three quarters of those with Isas of more than £15,000 are aged 45 and over.

● Equal numbers of men and women subscribe to Isas, however men are more likely to buy a stocks/shares Isa.

● Cash Isas are four times more popular than stocks/shares Isas.

The Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa) has published a report into Isas to provide an assessment of the market.

Analysts at Tisa say that at a time when there is still a pressing need to encourage higher levels of saving among a greater proportion of the population, the report is needed to ensure the debate is fully informed.

Subscription growth in the ten years since 1999 when Isas replaced Tessas and Peps has seen 15 million people investing £45bn in the 2009/10 tax year alone.

Since 2006 subscription levels have grown by an average of 10pc per year and by April 2010 total Isa funds amounted to £350bn, split in broadly equal proportions between cash and stocks/shares Isas.

Tisa director general Tony Vine-Lott said: “A great part of the success of Isas is due to the simple design and stable rules which have enabled Isas to become highly valued by investors and providers alike.

“Such is the strength of the Isa brand that the government is planning a junior Isa to replace Child Trust Funds and a ‘social Isa’ to support the Big Society initiatives.

“However the report does reveal a growing concern that the Isa brand is under threat and could be undermined by the potential inclusion of structured products in cash Isas.”

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