Frequently asked questions

Below, are some of the most frequently asked questions about GIAs that may help you decide whether a GIA is right for you.

  • A General Investment Account (GIA) is a flexible investment account which you can hold an array of investments; such as Funds, Shares, Investment Trusts and ETFs within a single account.

  • To open a GIA, you need to be a UK resident for tax purposes and aged 18 or over.

  • Single contributions can only be paid by debit card. Regular contributions can be paid by Direct Debit, payments are collected a date of your choosing between 1st and 28th of the month.

    All contributions must be drawn from a bank account in your name. Contributions from a joint bank account will only be accepted provided you are a named holder of that account and are authorised to request debits from the account.

  • There is no annual limit for contributions into a GIA.

  • The minimum contributions are as follows:

    • the minimum single contribution is £25
    • the minimum regular contribution is £25
  • You can choose to invest in a range of investment instruments such as Funds, Shares, Investment Trusts and ETFs, subject to HMRC permitted investment regulations.

  • You can log into your Willis Owen account via our secure website to obtain a current value, at any time.

  • If the total dividends received across all of your unwrapped investments are below your annual dividend allowance then no tax will be due on your dividend income.

    Any dividend income that exceeds your annual allowance will be subject to tax at the applicable dividend tax rate for your personal circumstances. Any interest received will count towards your Personal Savings Allowance. You will need to complete a tax return if any tax is due.

    The selling and buying of holdings when switching investments, or the sale of holdings to make a withdrawal may be liable to Capital Gains Tax.

  • A Consolidated Tax Voucher is issued annually for dividends which are paid within the previous tax year. This will be delivered to your secure ‘messages’ mailbox in your account shortly after the end of each tax year.

  • At any time - there is no minimum period over which it must be held. However, stock market investments are best regarded as a medium to long-term investments.

  • By investing through : invest, you have the flexibility to trade between hundreds of available Funds, Shares, Investment Trusts and Exchange Traded Funds.

  • Yes, our online system allows you to determine which of your investments you wish to receive income from and which you would like reinvested for growth.

    Simply choose the day you want your income to be paid directly to your nominated bank account. You can change your preference in "my reinvestment options" within : invest. Please note that payments can only be made to a verified UK registered bank account.

  • You have a right to cancel your GIA if you change your mind. When your first GIA contribution or transfer is received you will receive a cancellation notice. This will give you the right to cancel during the next 30 days.

    If you have invested in assets during this period, you will need to sell the relevant holdings. Where there has been a fall in the market, you will receive back the original investment less any shortfall. Where a profit has been made, you will receive your original investment amount with the profit being retained by Embark.

  • No. We are not authorised to provide any advice on tax or financial service related matters.

    If you need any advice then you must contact a suitably qualified Independent Financial Adviser. Your adviser will give you details about the cost of advice. 

  • The charges you pay can be categorised into ‘account charges’ and ‘investment charges’. As part of your annual statement we’ll send you a detailed breakdown of the charges you’ve paid, broken down into these categories. For an FAQ on charges relating to the Aegon platform, click here.

    Account charges

    These are the charges you pay to Willis Owen for the services we provide to you, along with certain taxes you pay. This includes (amongst other things) the costs of:

    • administering your ISA, JISA, GIA or SIPP,
    • running and maintaining the Willis Owen :invest platform,
    • arranging to buy or sell investments on your behalf,
    • our independent investment research and insights, along with our ISA Guide,
    • providing you access to independent analysis from our expert research partner Morningstar, and
    • our dedicated customer support services.

    These costs are collected from you in the form of our simple ‘service fee’ which is type of ongoing account charge. If you buy or sell shares (excluding Exchange Traded Funds) or investment trusts you may also pay dealing charges, Stamp Duty and a PTM levy (which are collectively referred to as ‘transactional costs’ in your annual statement).

    Details of all of our ongoing and transactional account charges can be found within the products & services area of our website.

    Investment charges

    These are the charges which relate directly to the investments you buy. They are taken by the fund managers either from the capital or the income generated by the funds you invest in, and are not charged by, or paid to Willis Owen.

    • the services of an expert fund manager (including any performance fees),
    • administration, legal, audit and registration fees incurred by the fund,
    • custodianship costs associated with keeping your investments safe,
    • commissions paid to brokers,
    • producing reports,
    • dealing costs and taxes, such as Stamp Duty incurred by a fund when buying and selling investments.

    Investment charges can be ongoing (for example administration costs), transactional (for example Stamp Duty paid by the fund when dealing in shares) or incidental (for example performance fees) and are referred to as such in your annual statement.

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