Goodness me what a blast this week has been. We launched our 2021 Best Buys Awards. We went live with our new improved comparison tables for ISAs and pensions. I caught up with BBC Radio 4’s Evan Davies on this week’s programme The Bottom Line. And I also had an outing to Dobbies and treated myself to 4 sackfuls of chicken poo! Yes people, welcome to your weekly dose of financial rock and roll.
Best Buys winners
There are just 37 days left of this tax year. 37 days to make any ISA contributions (from £1 to £20k per adult into a tax-free environment.) Or pension contributions (typically up to £40k each year which will generate extra Government top-ups and reductions off this year’s tax bill for higher rate taxpayers).
And also up to £9k per child into a tax-free Junior ISA for any of you still feeling affluent and /or benevolent to your children after lockdown!
This year the Boring Money team have been working away behind the scenes to bring you what we think are the cream of the crop in 2021. (Tweet this). We consider customer reviews, fees, service levels, the websites, apps and more in what is an extremely robust, independent analysis of the market. We understand people are sceptical so we are pretty open about the criteria behind these awards, which are increasingly led by the 3,000 customer reviews we’ve collected.
The 5 winners of the ISA Best Buy 2021 Award are:
You can read full details on why they won here.
If you’re after a pension, then the winners of the Pension Best Buy 2021 award are:
Details on these winners can be read here.
Flavours and nuances
One thing we have learnt over the years is that there is nowt so queer as folk. One person’s 10 out of 10 is another person’s nightmare. We’ve also catered for other preferences to try and help you pick the right option for you:
If you find this helpful, please share with friends or family. We’re growing fast and word of mouth saves us from excessive feeding of the voracious Google advertising mouth!
Gamestop and hedge funds
For those of you interested in the recent phenomena of social media creating bodies of people who have tangibly stuck it to the hedge funds – and ultimately changed the risks in short-selling - you can listen to this week’s The Bottom Line on catch-up or live on Radio 4 tomorrow at 5.30pm. This is not a simple case of black and white. As much as I fundamentally dislike most hedge funds, there is also an argument that the Reddit ringleaders are similar creatures, intent on manipulation and personal gain above any greater social purpose. Leaving many retail investors injured in their wake. Across the world regulators will be scratching their heads on how to deal with this.
When hedge funds emerged in the 1950s, you could only collude with someone, or plot to manipulate markets, if you knew their office address or had their telephone number. Power rested in the hands of very few men. I think it’s more broadly interesting to reflect on how the ability to message someone you don’t know is fundamentally testing the foundations that financial markets are built on. My suspicion is that regulation is a pretty blunt tool - and this is not a race which a regulator can win.
On a final note, my inner feminist heads into the weekend much encouraged. In breaking news today, toy maker Hasbro has confirmed that Mr Potato Head will from now on be gender neutral, and be known simply as Potato Head. As a mother, I am so proud and relieved that my daughter can now freely aspire to become a Potato Head. Germain-ating Greer? #boomboom
Have a lovely weekend everyone. Just 5 more days of home schooling – YAYYYYYYYYYYYY :0)