News that Norwich Union has expanded its range of Socially Responsible Investment funds is growing evidence that this sector is fast moving into the mainstream.For CIS, ethical investment requires a company to fit into certain criteria.

Planned changes by the government to the way financial products, such as pensions, Isas and unit trusts, are sold could mislead the public and mean the benefits of impartial advice could be lost according to many smaller, independent advisers who are fearful of losing their livelihoods.The move to end so-called polarisation has caused a storm in the independent financial adviser market who fear they will be under threat if the changes are introduced.

An alternative is to use an online mortgage broker.uk Charcol also powers the "mortgage supermarket" available from Tesco.

This week saw an outbreak of fresh hostilities in the home loans war as Halifax and Nationwide announced headline-grabbing cuts in their mortgage rates.And remember that lower mortgage rates usually mean cuts in savings rates.

The insurance company "smooths" the returns each year, with money set aside in good years to finance payouts when the stock market is weak.Critics add that the opacity of the smoothing process allows companies to mask true returns and chronically underpay investors.

No parent can bear to think of their child being hurt, and the idea of benefiting financially from a child's injuries is quite abhorrent.But do you really need an accidental injury policy, especially when your child is likely to be covered at school by the school's or local council's liability cover?

The Co-operative Bank, Triodos Bank and the Ecology Building Society are the three front-runners in ethical banking and offer standard banking products.The Co-operative Bank will not lend to oppressive regimes or companies making weapons.

Things to look out for when buying travellers' cheques are the commission charged and the exchange rate.Some overseas currency exchange outlets don't charge commission but offer a lower rate of exchange.

You can usually borrow up to £15,000 for a period that can range from six months to 10 years.This is made more difficult by the fact that it is not easy to compare personal loan rates because different lenders calculate the total cost of the loan (known as the APR or annual percentage rate) in different ways.

What many people do not realise is that by using special inheritance tax schemes, even those with modest fortunes can obtain relief from inheritance tax - even if they were to die the next day.Some inheritance tax schemes seem very complicated, primarily because they are based on trusts.

There are three main taxes that affect most people - income, capital gains and inheritance.The good news is that most people don't pay inheritance tax - the Inland Revenue says that 96% of estates avoid it.

Every year there are cases where husbands die and the wife presumes the property will automatically pass to her.But, this only happens automatically if a property is registered in both names.

Although there is no inheritance tax charged on a gift made seven years before you die, chargeable transfers can incur tax.These are sums of money transferred typically to trusts for which tax payable at 20% is normally levied on the excess above £234,000.

WHETHER you are buying or selling a home it's important to be specific about what is included in the deal.The term 'fixtures and fittings' is open to interpretation.

A will needs to be updated or changed as circumstances change, for example, if you marry or have children.You also need to consider if you have children under 18 if money should be left in trust for them.

Bequests to a spouse and UK charities are exempt, and outstanding bills together with funeral costs will also be deducted from the inheritance tax amount outstanding.

Then you may benefit from a life coach.Getting a life coach may seem as indulgent as having a personal trainer to drag you out of bed to go jogging every morning, yet life coaching, which originated in the US, is gaining popularity in the UK.

Investing directly in corporate bonds is difficult for retail investors - the minimum purchase is £100,000.But many fund-management companies run unit trusts which invest in corporate bonds and other similar interest-bearing investments.

This is currently £234,000 and if you are liable for the tax, it will be levied at 40%.The sum up to £234,000 is known as the nil-rate band.

A former manager in the aero-engines repair division of Rolls-Royce, he took early retirement at 54, leaving with a monthly pension of about £490.He estimated they would need another £200-£300 a month to live comfortably, so invested £50,000 in the Prudential with-profits bond through a 'back-to-back' arrangement.
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