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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.

Introduction to Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

What is an ISA?

There are 4 types of Individual Savings Account (ISAs) currently available to UK investors. ISAs act as ‘tax wrappers’ allowing you to earn tax-free returns on your savings and investments. In each tax-year, you can open and pay into up to one of each type of ISA. Total savings across all ISAs are currently limited to £20,000 in any tax year although the Lifetime ISA has a lower annual limit of £4,000. The four types of ISA are:

  • Cash ISAs – Savings accounts where any interest earned is tax-free
  • Stocks & shares ISAs – Designed for those who want to invest for the longer term and who want tax-free investment income and gains
  • Innovative Finance ISAs – A type of ISA which allows you to earn tax-free interest on peer-to-peer lending (which matches up investors, who are willing to lend, with borrowers, including individuals and businesses).
  • Lifetime ISAs – A special type of ISA designed for savings or investing for retirement or for your first home. With a Lifetime ISA, the government adds a 25% bonus on top of your contributions each month, up to a maximum of £1,000 each year.

By far the most popular types of ISA in the UK are currently cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs. At Willis Owen, we offer the stocks & shares ISA which enables you to invest your money in a wide range of investment options. We look at the differences between cash and stocks and shares ISAs below.

Differences between a stocks & shares ISA and a cash ISA

What to consider Stocks and Shares ISA Cash ISA
Time horizon Good for investing for five years or more, and if you want a share in the stock markets’ growth, though not guaranteed. Good for investing for less than five years, and if you’d like to avoid investment risk. But remember, there is inflation risk that can affect the buying power of your money .
Maximum investment allowance in 2024/25 tax year £20,000
You can split the allowance across all of your ISAs as long as you don't go over the annual allowance.
You can split the allowance across all of your ISAs as long as you don't go over the annual allowance.
Investment options You can choose from a wide range of investments options including funds, shares, investment trusts and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Offered mainly by banks and building societies, you will receive interest on your savings at a fixed or variable rate.
What you can get back Your capital is a risk. The value of your ISA and any investment income can rise and fall depending on how your investments perform. Interest will be added to your cash balance.
Taking your money out You can take your money out at any time. You will normally sell your investments and then withdraw cash from your account. This usually takes between 8 and 10 days. Variable interest accounts normally give you instant access. While with fixed-term accounts you could lose interest if you withdraw money before the term finishes.


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