Unlike ISAs, pensions or bonds, a General Investment Account (GIA) does not offer any tax benefits. You pay income tax and capital gains tax in accordance with your personal tax situation.
So why would I invest in a GIA?
When you have utilised your ISA allowance, or if an ISA is not suitable for you, then you may wish to utilise a General Investment Account to invest your money.
A General Investment Account allows you to access Collective Investment Schemes, most commonly known as investment funds, that bring the following benefits:
- They offer diversification benefits, because your money can be ‘pooled’ into a much larger fund with other investors’ money
- Risk is reduced by the wide spread of investments in the underlying portfolio because the fund manager can afford to purchase more investments by pooling everyone’s money together. The wider spread of investments accessed through a ‘pooled’ fund means that if one investment was to perform poorly, there is expected to be a smaller impact on a collective fund because your money is spread across more investments
- Professional fund managers make the underlying investment decisions
- They offer the ability to pursue particular objectives or speacialise in particular markets that you might avoid if your money was not ‘pooled’ with other investors’ money
- The pooling of resources enables the fund to invest at a lower cost compared to an individual investor
There are other advantages to investing in a General Investment Account as follows:
- You can invest as much or as little as you want in a GIA, with no yearly upper limit
- You can access your investments in a GIA at any time without restriction
- You can hold your GIA jointly with other people – you’re not able to do this with ISAs and Pensions
- You can open GIAs for different purposes, so that you can keep your investments organised
- The money you have saved in a GIA can be transferred to someone else at a later date
The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.
Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstance and is subject to change.