PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS

MORGAN STANLEY UNVEILS GROWTH PLAN
Morgan Stanley this week announced the launch of its new FTSE Defensive Digital Growth Plan, which lasts for six years. The plan offers a fixed return of 60 per cent at maturity if the FTSE 100 rises or even if it falls by less than 20 per cent over the duration of the plan. If the FTSE 100 Index has risen by 10 per cent or more after three years, then investors can choose to exit the plan early and receive a fixed return of 15 per cent plus the initial investment. The plan can be included in both ISAs and Sipps and the minimum investment is £3,000. The deadline for investment is 10 January 2011 or 31 December for ISA transfers.

HSBC ADDS AIRSPACE CLOSURE COVER
HSBC and its subsidiary First Direct have now both added airspace closure cover to their travel insurance, HSBC revealed earlier this week. Disruption to airspace, airport and port closure are now covered and it is provided free to all new and existing travel insurance customers with effect from 1 December. HSBC and First Direct’s travel insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance.

BARCLAYS’ NEW LINKED INCOME NOTE
Barclays Stockbrokers has launched a new structured product based on the FTSE 100 and which is available exclusively to clients until 21 December 2010. The FTSE Linked Income Note is a five-year-and-10-day fixed term investment, providing investors with the opportunity to earn 2 per cent for each quarter that the FTSE 100 is at or above the closing level on 21 December. The maximum potential income is 8 per cent a year. But your capital could be at risk should the FTSE ever close at a level below 60 per cent of the starting level and, at the end of the term, is not at or above that starting level. The product is both ISA and Sipp eligible.

PARENTS SPLASH OUT ON KIDS’ PRESENTS
Research from investment and retirement firm LV= out today shows that parents are shrugging off the financial pressure to shell out a combined £2bn on their kids this year. The survey showed that over half of all parents will spend the same or more on their children than they did last year, with an average of £168 spent per child. But other relatives will get cheaper presents as a result.