The Government-backed National Savings & Investments is launching a regular-saver version of its Premium Bonds product next week. The tax-free bonds will be available for consumers setting up a standing order of £50 each month.
NS&I has also announced a deadline of November 1 for applications from retailers such as supermarkets, petrol stations or membership organisations wishing to become distribution partners for all of its products. It says the partnerships could be on a co-branded or co-marketed basis, and claims to have been approached by a variety of retailers.
The new Premium Bonds product will be backed by a press advertising campaign, with work created by Walsh Trott Chick Smith. It will also be promoted on Classic FM through its sponsorship of the breakfast show.
NS&I, created out of the Post Office Savings Bank in 1971, has only sold products through Post Office branches or direct for the past 20 years. However, the Post Office this week launched its own rival savings products that will be sold under its own brand in partnership with Bank of Ireland.
The commercialisation of NS&I has stoked controversy. It was accused last month of having an unfair advantage by the Association of British Insurers, which said that the NS&I’s freedom from regulation undermined private sector financial services companies.
NS&I’s sales for 2003 to 2004 totalled £12.7bn, of which £7.5bn were Premium Bonds.