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Personal Equity Plan (PEP)

DEFINITION of 'Personal Equity Plan (PEP)' A personal equity plan (PEP) was an investment plan introduced in the U.K. that allowed people over the age of 18 to invest in shares of British companies. It was done through an approved plan, qualifying unit trust, or investment trust. Investors received both income and capital gains free of tax. BREAKING DOWN 'Personal Equity Plan (PEP)' The plan was designed to encourage investment by individuals. Many plans required a minimum amount to be invested, such as 250 pounds or 1,000 pounds, depending on the type of plan and the plan manager’s requirements. Discontinued in 1999, personal equity plans were replaced by Individual Savings Accounts (ISA). Benefits of a Personal Equity Plan Among the incentives presented to the public to encourage their participation in a personal equity plan was the prospect of income and capital growth at a greater rate than certain other investment vehicles, such as if they established a deposit account with a building society. The income from a personal equity plan was tax free, so long as the invested funds remained in the plan. As with other types of equity investments, the value of the shares invested in through a personal equity plan could rise or decline with market fluctuations. It was believed that to see the best return on investment from a personal equity plan, the funds should have remained in place for upwards of five years, if not ten years. Due to certain management fees and other charges that may have been applied, withdrawing funds early could have negated the gains they accrued. There was an annual contribution limit of 6,000 pounds for general, self-select personal equity plans. Single-company personal equity plans had a limit of 3,000 pounds in annual contributions. Under a single-company PEP, only one company could be invested in per tax year. With general self-select plans, individuals had a variety of options for their investments such as shares, open-ended investment companies, corporate bonds, and investment trusts. The investments made under self-select plans were directed by the individual, though a manager or firm was still needed to facilitate the plan, making the plan owner responsible for deciding where their funds should be applied. Managed PEPs, on the other hand, were overseen by a professional manager who put together investment portfolios for the funds. Such readymade plans allowed individuals without market expertise to invest through PEPs. As private equity plans were phased out, all remaining plans were converted by 2008 into individual savings accounts.
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