Child Trust Fund: Your FAQs Answered
Saving for your child’s future is a relatively simple step that could have a huge impact on their lives. There are lots of options out there for children’s savings plans, including the Child Trust Fund (CTF). By saving regularly over the long-term, you’re giving your child a valuable head start. With the money you save, they’ll be ready to take on life’s milestones; whether it’s university, travel, a first home or car, a child savings account could help make it happen.
At Shepherds Friendly, we pride ourselves on keeping things simple, so we want to make sure that you have all the information you need about our plans. If you have a query about our CTF, we hope that the frequently asked questions below will help you find the answers you were looking for!
What is a Child Trust Fund?
Introduced in 2005, the Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a tax-free savings plan for children who were born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011. It was designed to help parents or guardians save long-term for their child’s future and to encourage children to save for themselves, too. Each fund that was taken out also got a boost in the form of a government contribution.
In January 2011, the scheme was closed, which means you can no longer take out a CTF. However, if you already have a CTF, you can continue to save or transfer your CTF. If you don’t already have a CTF and would like to start saving towards your child’s future, a Junior ISA may be a suitable alternative.
How do I find out more about the Child Trust Fund?
If you have an Child Trust Fund with us and would like to learn more about the features of the plan, or if you would like to transfer an existing CTF to us, you can find all the information here.
Please note that you can no longer take out a new CTF for your child as the scheme was closed in January 2011. However, we do offer a range of children’s savings plans to help you save for their future:
How much can I pay into my CTF?
You can save up to the maximum annual limit – this is set by the Government annually, for the most up to date allowance, please click here. For CTFs, a year begins on the child’s birthday and ends one day before the following birthday. You cannot carry over your allowance into the next year if you have not used all of it.
How can I make payments into my CTF?
Parents, guardians and relatives can make payments into a CTF up to the maximum annual allowance. (See also: How much can I pay into my CTF?)
You have a few different payment options for adding money to the plan:
- Direct Debit: You can set up a Direct Debit if you would like to make set, regular payments into the plan. Please contact our Member Services team on 0800 526 249 and they can help to arrange this for you.
- One-off payments: If you would prefer to add to the plan as and when you can, you can make one-off deposits, too. Our Member Services team can either arrange payment over the phone or can send you a secure payment link to pay online.
- Cheque: To contribute to the plan via cheque, you will need to make your cheque payable to Shepherds Friendly Society Limited and, on the reverse of the cheque, please write the child’s name, date of birth and Unique Reference Number clearly. You can send this to our Head Office: Shepherds Friendly, Haw Bank House, High Street, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 1AL.
How do I find the unit price?
You will find the most up to date unit price for our CTFs on our website.
How can I find out the value of my child’s CTF?
Our Member Services team can let you know the current balance of your plan. Simply give them a call on 0800 526 249 or you can also send an email to: [email protected]. Alternatively, you can wait until you receive your CTF statement which is sent out annually. This includes all the information about your CTF including its current value.
Can I calculate the value of my child’s CTF?
The money you have invested in a CTF buys units in the fund. To calculate the value of your CTF yourself, you can use the below formula:
The number of units you have x current unit price = value of CTF
You will find the most up to date unit price for our CTFs on our website.
When do I get a statement?
You will receive a statement via post annually. This will include the current value of your CTF and, if the fund has matured, your statement will also include details of what you need to do next. (See also: ‘What happens when the child is 18?’).
Can I receive my statements via email?
Statements are usually sent out via post however if you would prefer to receive yours via email, please let us know and we can arrange this for you. Don’t forget to make sure that we always have your most up to date email address and inform us of any changes to your address or contact details.
Can a child have a CTF and a Junior ISA at the same time?
No, you cannot have a CTF and a Junior ISA at the same time; this is due to tax rules. If you’re hoping to open another savings account to boost the amount you can save for your child, your child can hold our Young Saver Plan or our Junior Money Maker at the same time as a CTF.
Alternatively, you can transfer the CTF to a Junior ISA. (See also: How do I transfer a CTF to a Junior ISA?)
How do I transfer a CTF to a Junior ISA?
An existing CTF can be easily transferred to a Shepherds Friendly Junior ISA. To get started, simply follow the step-by-step instructions on our website and complete the CTF transfer form. Alternatively, please contact our Member Services team who will be happy to guide you through the process. You can reach them on 0800 526 249.
An added benefit of our Junior ISA is that you can manage your plan online. However, there are several very important differences between the CTF and the Junior ISA that you need to be aware of. You can read more about these differences here.
As the CTF scheme is closed, if you choose to transfer your child’s CTF to a Junior ISA, you will not be able to transfer back again.
How do I make a withdrawal?
The CTF is intended to be a long-term savings plan and only the child it was opened for can access the final lump sum when they are 18 years old. That means that you cannot make withdrawals from a CTF before the plan matures, at which point, only the account holder (i.e., the child) can withdraw or transfer the funds. (See also: What happens when the child is 18?)
What happens when the child is 18?
When the child is 18 years old, the CTF becomes a Matured CTF. Once the fund matures, you can no longer add to the plan and the value will continue to fluctuate in line with market performance. In your final statement before your plan matures, we will outline the three choices that are available for the next steps. These are:
- Full transfer to an adult ISA (such as our Stocks and Shares ISA or Sustainable Stocks and Shares ISA)
- Partial transfer
- Full withdrawal
Please note that the decision is ultimately the account holder’s (i.e., the child’s) to make.
If your CTF has matured, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss what you would like to do next You can reach our Member Services team on 0800 526 249 or via email to [email protected].
What happens if my child is unable to make financial decisions?
Shepherds Friendly aims to provide a supportive and inclusive experience for all of our members. Please be assured that if you feel that your child is unable to make sound financial decisions due to disability or another condition, we are here to support you through the maturity process. If this is the case, we ask that the child’s parent/guardian contacts us in advance of the plan’s maturity to discuss the options that are available.
Why haven’t I received more from Government?
The first CTFs that were opened from April 2005 received an initial £250 standard contribution from the Government. For some children, whose parents were receiving certain means-tested benefits at that time, an additional £250 enhanced payment into the CTF (so, a total of £500) was offered.
In 2006, the Government announced that an additional standard or enhanced contribution would be made on the child’s seventh birthday. This additional payment was stopped in August 2010 and the initial contributions were reduced. In January 2011, all government contributions to CTFs stopped completely but plan holders and relatives of the child were still able to continue adding to the funds.
If you have any queries about government contributions to your CTF, please be advised that this is not something we are able to assist you with. Instead, you will need to speak to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Can I manage my child’s CTF online?
At present, there isn’t the option to manage your Shepherds Friendly CTF online. In the meantime, our Member Services team is always happy to help you manage your CTF and can help with any queries you may have about your plan. Simply give them a call on 0800 526 249 or get in touch via email: [email protected]
How can I manage my child’s CTF?
Our Member Services team is here to assist you; they can help with all aspects of managing your CTF and can help with any queries you may have about the plan. You can call us on 0800 526 249 or email us: [email protected]
Please note that we can only discuss a plan with the Registered Contact or the Account Holder of the plan if they are the Registered Contact. There can only be one Registered Contact and the Account Holder (i.e., the child) can become the Registered Contact of their own CTF, when they are aged 16 or above.
If you have not set up a Registered Contact for your CTF, you can fill in the Registered Contact Form online (www.shepherdsfriendly.co.uk/rc-apply) or Member Services can send one out to you via post or email upon request.
How and where is the CTF invested?
We invest in a responsible and sensible manner in a unit-linked fund that invests in the L&G UK Index Fund. The UK Index Fund invests in shares in UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The way we invest the money aims to achieve greater returns on your child’s investment over the long-term.
I can’t find my child’s CTF Unique Reference Number – what do I do?
Whenever you communicate with us about your CTF, you’ll need to quote the Unique Reference Number for the fund. Please note the URN will be the same as the child’s National Insurance (NI) number. If you aren’t sure what this is or can’t locate it, we can help if you contact us with child’s name and date of birth.
What if my child dies?
In the unfortunate event that your child passes away before the maturity of the plan, the account can be closed and the child’s estate will receive 101% of the fund’s value. If this does happen, you will need to contact us to let us know and our Member Services team will guide you through the steps. As we understand that this is a difficult time, we aim to make this process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
I still have questions about the CTF – who can help?
Our members matter to us, so we’re always happy to talk to you and answer any questions you may have about any of our plans. If you haven’t found the answer to your question about your Child Trust Fund in the FAQs above, then you are more than welcome to contact our friendly Member Services Team. Here’s how you can get in touch:
Phone: 0800 526 249
Email: [email protected]
Please note that our office hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 4.00pm on Fridays.