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Frequently asked questions

Sterling ISA Managers Limited

The range of funds made available through our ISA and Investment Accounts are to help meet the needs and expectations of our customers.

We regularly review the range of panel funds we make available to make sure we’re offering a broad range of investments that offer appropriate value for money. If these funds don’t meet your needs, we also offer a range of wider market funds.

Fund managers

Our ISA and Investment Accounts offer direct access to investment funds – these are managed by fund managers.

The role of a fund manager is to seek out the best investment opportunities in line with their fund’s investment objectives.

Fund managers use their knowledge of the companies, markets and territories in which the fund can invest. They use this expertise to decide on where to invest, and when and how to adjust the relative proportions of different asset types.

The fund manager keeps these decisions under constant review, through continuing analysis, research and regular meetings with the companies in which the fund is making or considering investment.

Sterling ISA and Investment Account charges

We take a Sterling Yearly Charge and a Sterling Custodian Charge based on the value of your account. For more information about these, please refer to your yearly statements and the latest terms and conditions.

Fund expenses

These are deducted from the funds to pay for the day-to-day activities of managing each fund and are reflected in the unit price of the fund.

These include expenses, taxes, duties and other charges incurred in the buying, selling, valuation, management and maintenance of the fund’s investments including auditors’ and custodians’ fees.

Fund expenses are not fixed as they change each day based on what the fund has bought or sold on a particular day.

Annual management charges

Some of the funds have an annual management charge, which is a percentage of the value of the units in the fund.

It is deducted from the fund every day before unit prices are calculated.

They could change in the future.

Initial charges

There may be an initial charge on some funds before we buy units. This may be a one off charge or a difference between the daily buying and selling price which is often known as a bid/offer spread.

Fund transaction charges

On a day when you cash in your plan, more money may be moving out of the fund (or any of the funds it invests in) than into it. In this case, some of the assets of the fund (or funds) will have to be sold and the value of your plan may be reduced to reflect the impact on the fund unit price of the costs and charges associated with the sale.


Subject to you not going over your yearly ISA allowance, you will be able to:

  • Continue to make monthly payments.
  • Increase or decrease your monthly payments.
  • Set up a new monthly payment.

You can change your monthly payments at any time subject to the HM Revenue & Customs limits for ISAs. Currently, the minimum increase to your monthly payment amount is £25.

Changing monthly payments

If you want to change an existing monthly payment, you’ll just need to let us know what you want the new amount to be and when you want it to start.

To change the bank account from which you pay the direct debit, we need you to complete a new direct debit mandate. Call us and we’ll send you a form to complete.

We’ll write and let you know we’ve made the change.

Stopping monthly payments

You can stop monthly payments at any time.

However, you must leave at least £2,000 invested. If you don’t, the charges will be high in relation to the account value and this could make it difficult for your investment to grow and we may close your ISA or Investment Account.


You’ll be able to make additional single payments at any time. This is subject to you not going over your yearly ISA allowance. Currently, the minimum additional single payment is £1,000.

How do I make an additional payment?

To make an additional single payment, you’ll need to complete and return a top-up application form, which you can find in ‘Useful Documents and Forms’ on this page.

If you’re making the payment by cheque, please enclose the cheque, made payable to ‘Sterling ISA Managers Limited’ with the form.

We’ll write and let you know we’ve received and invested your cheque.

You can make regular withdrawals or one-off surrenders at any time. If you make withdrawals from your bond or investment account, you need to consider any tax liability you may incur. You should speak to your adviser to find out how a withdrawal or tax may affect your investment.

All we need from you is a completed surrender form, which you can find in ‘Useful Documents and Forms’ on this page. We only accept completed surrender forms by post.

Please always refer to the Terms and Conditions of your policy as there may be exit penalties for taking one-off withdrawals.

We may need further supporting documents to make a payment such as Trust Forms, Power of Attorney Forms or Identification documents depending on your policy.

We may be able to make a payment direct to your bank account by the Banking Automated Clearing System (BACS). Please let us know your bank sort code and account number on the form. Alternatively, we’ll send you a cheque to your address.

We will write to you confirming when the withdrawal has been paid.

Regular Withdrawal Requests

If you want to take regular withdrawals you need to complete a request form for your plan, which you can find in ‘Useful Documents and Forms’ on this page.

You can set up, change or stop regular withdrawals at any time.

The minimum withdrawal you can take is currently £50 per withdrawal. You should bear this in mind when deciding how often to take withdrawals.

The current maximum amount you can set for regular withdrawals is 7.5% of the total fund value of the account each year, unless the account was opened before 6th April 2005, in which case you can withdraw up to 10%.

We are committed to giving you a high standard of service. If you believe we’ve not delivered this we would welcome the opportunity to put this right for you. The first step is to let us know your concerns either by phoning or writing to us explaining your concerns using the contact details below. We’ll be able to deal with your query quicker if you quote your plan number.

Our contact details are:

Sterling Centre
PO Box 1200
Bishops Cleeve
GL52 8ZN

What you can expect from us

Many concerns can be resolved straight away by providing you with an immediate explanation to answer them. If we are unable to resolve your concerns straight away, we will write to you promptly to let you know we have received your complaint and how we intend to deal with it. If you raise your concerns by phone, the initial letter you receive will confirm our understanding of your complaint, so that you have a chance to tell us if we have misunderstood anything.

Resolving your complaint

If we are unable to provide an immediate explanation, we will look into your concerns contacting you if we need any further information.

We’ll keep in touch with you regularly until we’ve completed our investigation.

Our Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, expects complaints to be investigated and resolved within eight weeks, although we will aim to do this as quickly as possible. In the unlikely event your complaint will take longer than eight weeks to resolve, we will write to you at that time to explain why and to confirm whether, and how, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are unhappy with the delay.

Once we’ve completed our investigation, we’ll write to you to explain:

  • the outcome of our investigation
  • where relevant, any offer of compensation the Company is prepared to make
  • if applicable, details of how you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), if you remain dissatisfied with our decision and how long you have to refer your complaint

If you’re not happy with the outcome

If you still feel unhappy with the outcome of our investigation, you may be able to ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to review your case. This is a free and impartial service.

(Please note there is a maximum financial award the Financial Ombudsman Service can offer you for a complaint following an investigation. You can find further details on their website

The contact details for the Financial Ombudsman Service are:

Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
E14 9SR

Tel: 0800 023 4567 – Calls to this number are free on mobile phones and landlines



Complaints overview 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020

Sterling ISA Managers Limited – trading as Sterling ISA Managers, Zurich, Advance by Embark

Product / Service Grouping Number of complaints opened per 1000 policies/accounts at reporting period end Number of complaints opened Number of complaints opened Percentage closed within 3 days Percentage closed after 3 days but within 8 weeks Percentage upheld Main cause of complaints opened
Pensions 3.75 240 204 29% 70% 52% General Admin / Customer Service
Investments 3.16 262 261 28% 71% 50% General Admin / Customer Service

Fund choice

Depending on your investment plan, you may link it to a different fund or funds available to that plan or investment.

You may also change the fund, or funds, for your regular payments and leave the units you have already bought in the fund, or funds, they are in.

Important information

  • You will need to complete a Fund Switch form, which you can find in ‘Useful Documents and Forms’ on this page.
  • Exact details of fund switching for your plan or investment are set out in the terms and conditions.
  • Before you make any decisions about fund switching, we strongly suggest you discuss this with your adviser.
  • If the plan or investment is written in trust, we may need each trustee’s signature – check the provisions of your trust to see who needs to sign the form.
  • We accept emailed forms.
  • We’ll confirm your new fund choice in writing.

We don’t currently make a charge for switching funds. If in future we decide to charge, we’ll tell you. However, switching may result in higher fund charges, depending on the funds you are switching between. If you are switching, you should contact your adviser for the latest fund charges.

If you would like to make a full or partial surrender you need to complete an ISA surrender request form, which you can find on this ‘Useful Documents and Forms’ page. We recommend you speak to your financial adviser before making a decision.