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Cash interest explained

You will receive interest on balances in your platform cash account at the prevailing rate.

Embark Investment Services Limited acts as the custodian for investments on the Willis Owen platform and is one of our strategic partners that provides our Willis Owen ISA, GIA, Junior ISA and SIPP.

Embark places cash with a number of banking partners for safekeeping and to provide the potential for you to earn interest on money in your platform cash account. By managing cash in this way, it aims to provide better protection and a higher overall level of interest than if all funds were placed with a single bank.

The rates of interest paid by banks will vary. Embark retains a portion of the interest earned to cover its costs in managing platform cash.

Current Interest Rate

The table below shows the current customer interest rate payable on cash balances along with the amount of interest retained by Embark. The customer interest rate shown is that after accounting for interest retained by Embark:

Date From Customer Interest Rate Interest retained by Embark
25th March 2024 2.46% 1.75% - 2.00%

Embark can change the rate of interest at any time and it reviews the position at least quarterly. Interest is calculated and accrued daily and is credited to your account on the first of each month. If you transfer out, accrued interest is applied at the point of transfer. We will inform you if and when the interest rate changes as soon as is practicable.

Interest retained

The table below shows the yearly equivalent rates of interest Embark expects to pay based on a range of possible yearly interest rates it may earn.

Interest Embark expects to earn Customer Interest Rate Interest retained by Embark
0-1% 0 – 0.46% 0 – 0.54%
1-2% 0.46% – 0.94% 0.54% – 1.06%
2-3% 0.94% – 1.46% 1.06% – 1.54%
3-4% 1.46% – 2.02% 1.54% – 1.98%
4-5% 2.02% – 2.61% 1.98% – 2.39%
5%+ 2.61%+ 2.39%+

Historic Interest Rates

To see details of historic customer interest rates, along with the amount of interest retained by Embark, click here.

Protecting your money

What is the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is a fund of last resort available to compensate consumers if an authorised financial services provider cannot meet claims against it. This will generally be because a firm has stopped trading and has insufficient assets to meet claims, or is insolvent.

As a quick overview the Financial Services Compensation Scheme pays out:

  • Investments: up to £85,000
  • Bank deposits: up to £85,000

The amount is per-customer and per bank or provider so the maximum you can claim is up to £85,000 per provider regardless of whether your funds are held through the Willis Owen Platform or another platform. So for example, if you have an investment with Henderson and Jupiter and both Henderson and Jupiter were to collapse, you may be able to claim up to £85,000 from each fund provider.

How is your money protected with Willis Owen?

As a point of note, Willis Owen does not hold customer monies, so in the very unlikely event the Willis Owen business fails, you as a customer will not suffer.

Your investments through Willis Owen are held via the Willis Owen Platform (administered by Embark; powered by FNZ). The Willis Owen Individual Savings Account (ISA), Junior Individual Savings Account (JISA), Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and General Investment Account (GIA) are provided by Embark. Embark is authorised and regulated by our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and as such are covered by the FSCS. Embark holds (through a custodian) the cash either awaiting investment, or awaiting payment to an investor, it does not hold the investment directly. FNZ hold, for a short period, the money being invested into a fund, and a cash account. In the unlikely event that the Embark or FNZ business fails, your cash deposit will be covered under the FSCS.

Protection for cash desposits

Cash deposits you may hold whether through UK Banks, Building Societies or on a platform (such as the Willis Owen Platform) fall under the protection of the FSCS. If one of these institutions become insolvent and couldn’t return your money, you would be protected for 100% of the first £85,000 held with each financial institution.

Temporary high balances will be covered up to £1 million for six months from the date that monies are available in your account.

How are your investments protected by fund providers?

Fund providers offering Unit Trusts or OEICS operate under well-defined FCA rules that require them to have robust controls in place to ensure the interest of investors are protected. These include:

  • The requirement for a fund provider to appoint a trustee (for Unit Trusts) or depository (for OEICs) to oversee their actions and ensure investors’ cash is held in a separate ‘ring-fenced’ account that cannot be accessed by the fund provider. This account is held under the strict control of the trustee/depositary, the fund provider has no authority over it
  • The requirement for the trustee/depository to notify the FCA if it believes that the fund provider is not meeting its obligations in terms of its dealing and income distribution
  • The trustee/depository has the power to remove the fund provider if it believes it is in the best interest of investors. In the event that a fund provider was to become insolvent, the trustee/depository would take over the running of the funds and it’s their duty to find another management company.

These protections exist to reunite you with your money as quickly as possible in the event that a fund closes unexpectedly. There is however a possibility that some of the ring-fenced money from customers assets could be used to cover administration costs where the fund provider fails and the administrator can’t recoup those costs from the management company themselves.

Protection for money invested

You’re most likely to benefit from the FSCS protection if a fund fails and has had to meet some of its administration costs from its client money pool. The FSCS can be used to claim back some or all of those costs and there’s more detail below on how this works.

In the unlikely event you were to suffer financial loss because a fund provider became insolvent you may be able to claim under the investment section of the FSCS.

It’s important to note that if a fund provider became insolvent and you hold investments from the same fund provider through different platforms or directly, you can only claim up to £85,000 for all the affected holdings.

If you require any further information you can visit the FSCS website at Financial Services Compensation Scheme. You can also contact the FSCS by writing to: Financial Services Compensation Scheme, 10th Floor, Beaufort House, St Botolph Street, London EC3A 7QU. Alternatively, call them on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

Offshore funds

Most of the funds on the Willis Owen Platform are UK based, which means that FSCS protection is in place. However, some funds on our platform are based outside the UK, more information on how to identify those can be found on our dedicated FCA recognised funds page.

FSCS eligibility is more complicated for funds which are based outside the UK. Those with a UK branch are protected by the compensation scheme but those without a UK branch won’t usually be covered. You can check whether a fund has FSCS protection by looking up the fund manager on the FCA’s register and searching the name.

If the fund is authorised under the FCA’s temporary permission regime (a transitional regime established following Brexit to allow non-UK funds to continue to be sold in the UK), then it is possible that the FSCS will provide protection.

If this is the case, a message which states that the fund is regulated as a “UCITS” or “AIF” will be shown alongside text which explains it is part of the “Temporary Permissions Regime”. If the register also shows the fund has a UK branch, then it will be protected.

It’s worth bearing in mind that although a fund might not be covered by the UK FSCS, it may be covered by a compensation scheme in the country of origin. It’s important to note though, that the protection is likely to be less generous than that offered by the FSCS.

For example, the Investor Compensation Scheme (ICS) in Ireland covers foreign investors in firms which are authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland (90% of net loss up to €20,000), but the scheme is unlikely to cover losses from collective investments like the funds on our platform.

More information can be found on the FSCS website but if you’ve got any questions please contact us and we’d be more than happy to help.


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