Decline in NS&I saver investments

The number of savers using the Government-backed National Savings and Investments have dropped after it removed its inflation-beating products.

Total inflow for the group during the three months to the end of September was £3.6 billion, compared with £5.5 billion invested during the previous quarter.

A record number of investments led the group to pull its index-linked and fixed-interest savings certificates in July, a move which is believed to have caused the drop.

The savings products had grown in popularity as consumers struggled to find returns on traditional savings accounts that were high enough to prevent the value of their deposits being eroded by inflation.

But the group said the high demand for the products had put it at risk of exceeding the annual net financing target set by the Government.

Its current target is to keep the level of savings it holds broadly static, give or take £2 billion, to ensure its Government-backed status does not distort competition in the savings market.

The decision to withdraw the certificates left it with just six savings products in addition to premium bonds, down from 10 previously, although NS&I said savings inflows had returned to more normal levels as a result.

It added that £3.6 billion was withdrawn from the group during the quarter.

Strong outflows are expected to continue during the third quarter as two popular one-year savings bonds that had been paying returns of 3.95% and 3.85% mature, which should help it to get back on track to meet its net financing target.

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