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Keep it simple, stupid - and KISS your PEP worries away.

DON'T worry about your PEP investments, just give them the "kiss" treatment - which stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Stick to a few simple rules when choosing your tax-free personal equity plan and you will reduce your risk, sleep soundly - and should make some money too.

Here are four tips from PEP "kiss" experts Chase de Vere (tel: 0800 526 091):

AIM to invest for at least five years - and ideally longer.

SPREAD your investment across more than one country but don't go too wild or you'll go crazy keeping track of it all.

CHOOSE a global fund with a good balance of UK, European and other countries' shares.

PICK a fund management group whose annual performance is consistently good, as well as its five-year performance.

Best performers over the past five years include PEPs offered by INVESCO, Jupiter and Fidelity. The British have more than pounds 40 BILLION stashed in PEPs - but so far not everyone has made a mint.

If you are not happy with your PEP's growth you can either switch it to a different PEP run by the same managers or transfer your whole PEP to a completely different fund manager.

Everyone over 18 has had the right to put money, or add money, into a PEP each tax year since 1986-87.

This is the last year that you can do this. From next spring you will be able to keep existing PEPs going but any new tax-free investment has to go into an Individual Savings Account (ISA). These will replace both PEPS and tax-free TESSA savings accounts from 1999-2000.

So if you want to salt up to pounds 9,000 away permanently tax-free into shares before April, look lively.

You can narrow the field of choice by consulting Chase de Vere's PEP Guide (see examples below) and twice-yearly updates including performance charts, which cost pounds 12.95 (tel: 0800 526 092).

If you buy a PEP using Chase as a result they will refund your pounds 12.95.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Gunn, Cathy
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jul 26, 1998
Words:333
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