Home > Investing > What is a Junior Stocks & Shares ISA (JISA)?

Junior stocks and shares ISAs are an investment account for your children where you can invest up to £9,000 a year. Profits from these savings and investments are tax-free and can only be accessed by your child when they turn 18. Junior ISAs are based on the same principle as its adult peers that is it is a government-sponsored tax-free savings vehicle, within which up to a predetermined sum of money can be invested and not be subject to either income or capital gains taxes while it remains in the shelter.

How do Junior Stocks & Shares ISA (JISA) work?

It is important to note that, unlike an adult investment ISA, you can only have one Junior Investment ISA account rather than multiple plans with different providers however you can transfer funds between providers.

ISAs or Individual Savings Accounts were introduced by the government to encourage long-term saving and the Junior ISAs were an extension of those goals.

What can you invest in through a Junior Stocks & Shares ISA?

Unlike the Cash ISA, the Junior Investment ISA has a lot more freedom to invest and indeed it’s specifically designed to allow parents to invest in

  • stocks and shares
  • managed funds
  • ETFs
  • bonds
  • gilts
  • pre-made portfolios

The full list of instruments you can invest in on behalf of your child or loved one will vary from provider to provider and so it is definitely worth checking out what is and isn’t permissible with a particular manager before you apply for a Junior Investment ISA. In order to ensure the type of investments you have in mind are covered by that provider.

For example, Hargreaves Lansdown offers Junior Investment ISA accounts access to 3000 funds, UK and Overseas shares and a range of investment trusts and ETFs. Whilst Nutmeg is more suitable for those not confident enough to pick their own investments by offering Junior Investment ISA accounts a choice of pre-built managed funds with varying risk profiles to invest in.

Benefits of opening a Junior Stocks and Shares ISA account

  • Tax free-profits – The main benefit of Junior Investment ISA is undoubtedly the tax-free shelter it provides for savings. Long term capital growth could see the money invested into Junior Investment ISA appreciate over the lifetime of the account which can run to 18 years. With regular investment and the right market, a Junior Investment ISA could grow very nicely indeed, if it’s invested correctly and all those gains will be made free of taxes. Something that would be very difficult to achieve outside of the vehicle.
  • Money when they need it – What’s more, the Junior Investment ISA is specifically designed to allow minors to save money for a time in their life when they may need a lump sum perhaps to help towards university tuition fees, to fund driving lessons or the purchase of the car. The funds invested grow inside the tax-free shelter and can’t be accessed until the child’s 18 birthday and remain beyond temptations reach until then.
  • Better potential returns – The Junior Investment ISA provides much more flexibility than its savings counterpart, meaning the funds invested in the ISA can be optimised for long-term capital growth which is likely to be the investment strategy most applicable for a minor investing for the future.

Risks of investing in a Junior Stocks & Shares ISA

  • Poor performance – The main risk in using Junior Investment ISA is the market risk of the investments within it. Stock and shares and associated funds can rise as well as fall in value and if financial markets take a turn for the worse then it’s possible that you could lose money rather than grow it for your children.
  • Account fees – Unlike cash ISAs yo have to pay a fee to hold you investments. That said risk and reward are two sides of the same coin and regular saving for the longer term has been shown to be an effective way to grow our money and a well-diversified strategy can often outperform cash on deposit, which is usually seen as the risk-free alternative to stock market investment and saving.
  • Money locked away – The other consideration is that money invested in a Junior Investment ISA is locked away for the full term of the plan that is until the 18th birthday of the beneficiary. So, you won’t be able to dip into those funds on a rainy day and top them up later, as they are completely ring-fenced from you.

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