“Granny bonds” stampede crashes treasury website

Pensioner bonds paying an annual interest rate of up to 4% went on sale online in the UK today – but unexpectedly high demand caused website servers to crash within an hour.

The bonds, which offer market-leading rates, are only available to investors over 65. They are issued by National Savings and Investments, an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and used by the Treasury to “manage the national debt cost-effectively, contributing to the Government’s financing needs,” according to the website.

Investment is limited to £10,000 for each bond and £20,000 per individual. Customers had been asked to take their time over applications and advised that there is no shortage or need to rush, as the bonds are likely to be available for months. However, it seems the message was ignored by Britain’s internet-savvy octogenarians.

Now that a rise in interest rates looks even less likely this year, these new bonds look even more attractive and I expect them to sell like hotcakes,” Danny Cox, of investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown told the BBC.

Back in 2011, the popular NS&I index-linked certificates sold £5bn in four months before being closed. This year’s bonds are a different product, but I would be highly surprised if the £10bn allocation lasts until the new tax year in April.”