National Savings and Investments
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (October 2012)|
|Type||An Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer|
|Headquarters||1 Drummond Gate,
London SW1V 2QX
|Products||Savings and Investments|
National Savings and Investments (NS&I), formerly called the Post Office Savings Bank and National Savings, is a state-owned savings bank in the United Kingdom. It is an executive agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Historically the aim of NS&I has been to attract funds from individual savers in the UK for the purpose of funding the government’s public sector borrowing requirement (i.e. the funds in excess of taxation that the government requires to fund its expenditure). NS&I attracts savers through offering savings products with tax free elements on some products, and a 100% guarantee from HM Treasury on all deposits. However, its interest rates are often low.
National Savings and Investments was founded by the Palmerston Government in 1861 as the Post Office Savings Bank, the world's first postal savings system. The aim of the bank was to allow ordinary workers a facility "to provide for themselves against adversity and ill-health", and to provide the government with access to debt funding. As an example, savings certificates were issued in World Wars I and II to help finance the war effort. On June 1, 1957, the Premium Bonds draws were inaugurated, using E.R.N.I.E - the Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment machine (now located in the Science Museum).
NS&I manages around £98 billion in savings, 9% of the UK savings market. This accounts for 16% of the UK's national debt. As funds from NS&I have historically been a relatively cheap source of government borrowing, the bank has set interest rates both to attract savers and provide low-cost finance for the government. 100% of savings are government guaranteed.
NS&I's head office is in Pimlico, London, with operational sites in Blackpool, Glasgow and Durham. However, its entire back office operation is contracted out to a French company, Atos IT Solutions and Services. Until July 2011 the contract was held by Siemens IT and Solutions. In the past it offered many of its services through post offices, and was founded in 1861 as a postal savings system. In November 2011, it was announced that most products would only be available by telephone, on line, or by post. Premium Bonds would be the only remaining product sold in post offices.
NS&I offers a wide range of savings and investment products, specialising in tax-free and income generating products. Besides the very popular Premium Bond, NS&I's range of products includes:
- Premium Bonds
- Individual Savings Account (ISAs) (Direct ISA or Cash ISA)
- Inflation Index-Linked Savings Certificates
- Fixed Interest Savings Certificates
- Income Bonds
- Guaranteed Growth Bonds
- Guaranteed Equity Bonds
- Children's Bonds
- Direct Saver Account
- Investment Account
NS&I's most popular product, Premium Bonds, celebrated its 50th anniversary in November 2006 when a special 5× £1m jackpot draw was announced. A second 5× £1m jackpot anniversary draw in June 2007 celebrated 50 years since the very first prize draw.
Products which are no longer on sale with NS&I include:
- Cash ISA
- TESSA-only ISA
- Fixed Rate Savings Bonds
- Pensioners Bonds and Capital Bonds
- Ordinary Account/Treasurer's Account/SAYE/Yearly Plan/Deposit Bonds
- FIRST Option Bonds
- National Savings Stamps and Gift Tokens
- Easy Access Savings Account
- Children's Bonus Bonds
All savings and investment products are 100% backed by HM Treasury.
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