A NEW ELECTRONIC ERA is set to dawn next year when the Government launches the new independent savings accounts. To maximise access to ISAs and minimise form-filling, people will be able to open ISA accounts direct with the vendor either via the Internet or telephone. Not only is this significant in its own right, but the ripple effect will give a hefty boost to new communications media like the Net. Even the Inland Revenue, that bastion of Luddite instincts, has accepted the principle, agreeing that 'most communication between the investor and the provider need not be in writing'. The IR is to consult with banks, building societies and financial services providers on anti-fraud and security measures.

In a blatant instance of running with the hare and riding with the hounds, Douglas Flynn, managing director of News International (a media owner), has joined the Aegis Group (a media buyer) as a non-executive director.