December 2010

A year in the life of a CTF Provider By Family Investments

October 2009

Party conference time and we’d better listen to what the Conservatives are saying as they have a decent chance of forming the next government.

OMG! George Osborne has just stood up and announced their intention to stop better off families from receiving a CTF. That’s come out of the blue as they were originally very supportive of the CTF when first introduced by Labour.


Lots of time being spent meeting with shadow Treasury members in an attempt to convince them of the error of their ways. We submit plans for a lower cost version of the CTF and receive earnest nods and assurances that they really do like the CTF and will do their best to protect it. That’s a relief!


Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas is a tax-free savings plan for all children.


The Conservatives have just issued a press release stating that, in their opinion, the CTF is failing to be taken up by poorer households. This is worrying as it is a calculated effort to influence journalists and other commentators.

Gordon Brown stands up at Prime Minister’s Questions and rigorously defends the CTF. The battle lines are starting to be drawn. At our annual business strategy meeting, some bright spark suggests we go down to the local bookmaker to check the odds on who will win the next election!


With an election looming, the media are increasingly trying to fathom out what will get cut and what will be protected. Fast developing a persecution complex here. It seems every time Cameron or Osborne are pressed in interview about where the axe will fall, the CTF seems to be the only specific saving they are willing to name.

Can’t they pick on someone else for a while?


On the train journey back from another meeting at Westminster and we spot a huge Conservative poster being unveiled with the headline “We’re the party supporting families”.  We are left to contemplate what this really means.


The date of the election has been set for a month away. Our best hope of keeping the CTF intact is for a Labour election victory, which seems less and less likely. We’re biting our nails waiting for the Conservative manifesto. As soon as published, we scan every last word - they are still saying that the CTF will be cut for wealthier families but not for the poor. No need to read the Lib/Dem manifesto though as they’ll never get a look in.

We meet with a local prospective Conservative MP to ask him to support the CTF and thereby defend local jobs. He is not sympathetic, saying that the CTF needs to be sacrificed even if that means job losses in his constituency.


Election night – can Labour win outright or at least form the largest party? Will they – won’t they – will they – they won’t…

The Conservatives have done a deal with those CTF-haters, the Lib Dems. This could spell trouble.

Good news - after some swift behind the scenes negotiations, the new coalition government has issued a paper outlining their joint policy commitments and there’s an unambiguous pledge to retain the CTF except for wealthier families. After all the months of uncertainty, we can relax just a little as we know have clarity for both our customers and our business.

May 24th - a day that will live in infamy and our very own Pearl Harbour! Staff reading the Sun on the way in to work read that the whole CTF scheme is going to be scrapped. That morning, we get a rather apologetic call from a government official confirming that the story is indeed true.


Our unsupportive local Conservative, now officially an MP, is embroiled in an early scandal. According to the press, his wife has been exposed as a part time prostitute. How unfortunate!

We ask government for the CTF scheme to be extended but without the government contribution, so that new parents can still save for their children. The government have saved their £500m per annum. The least they could do is throw us a few crumbs.


Fearing a public row about scrapping the CTF, the new government starts talking to us about the possibility of introducing a replacement product. It wouldn’t have any government contribution but its innovative features would allow family and friends to save tax-free for their child in either cash or shares with all monies locked away until the child reaches 18. “That’s just a CTF with another name!” we cry.


Increasingly, other CTF providers are losing interest in the product and start to pull away from new business, which means more comes our way. There’s an irony that we’re experiencing record sales now the scheme is due to end!


On the day the Bill to scrap the CTF is due to be debated, The Minister announces that they plan to launch a Junior ISA product. Is that good news or bad news? Our web team point out that we own the URL and .com so we decide it’s good news after all and brilliant foresight by us.

So after a rollercoaster ride, it looks like we’ll be getting a shiny new savings vehicle to work with, due for this time next year. We’re bracing ourselves for another unpredictable twelve months ahead!

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