What Future Awaits the New £20?

At a launch event during October, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney revealed the latest in the Bank’s new series of polymer banknotes, a £20 featuring the artist JMW Turner.

Cash no longer king

The polymer notes are certainly more resilient and secure than their paper predecessors, but isn’t the cashless society gathering pace and poised to push the banknote to near extinction? According to trade body UK Finance, debit card payment numbers caught up with cash transactions in 2017 and along with other contactless methods these are racing ahead as cash use declines1.

But hold on. Aren’t reports of the death of cash, being greatly exaggerated? Maybe. Even the UK Finance projections suggest that 2027 will see around six billion cash transactions. That would be well down on the 2007 figure of some 22 billion, but you’d still need plenty of banknotes (and Royal Mint coins) in circulation to cover six billion payments, plus those under people’s mattresses.

Fake news

Bank of England figures show there are over 3.8 billion banknotes out there, the £20 accounting for around half of them 2. The most-used banknote is also the most-forged; last year 88% of the 228,000 forgeries found were twenties. Forgery was once a capital offence; the last hanging for faking a financial instrument was in 1829. Penalties are less harsh nowadays, so when the new £20 comes out in February its security features need to be effective.

Wisely, you don’t keep cash under your mattress, but funds in the bank at low rates are being eroded. Yes, everyone needs a cushion of ready money, but long-term savings deserve the opportunity to grow in a way that suits your risk profile. We can help identify a strategy that suits.

1UK Finance, 2018
2Bank of England, Oct 2019

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated.

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The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated. If you withdraw from an investment in the early years, you may not get back the full amount you invested. Changes in the rates of exchange may have an adverse effect on the value or price of an investment in sterling terms if it is denominated in a foreign currency. Taxation depends on individual circumstances as well as tax law and HMRC practice which can change.

The information contained within this newsletter is for information only purposes and does not constitute financial advice. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide technical and general guidance and should not be interpreted as a personal recommendation or advice.

In the News


Figures released by HMRC show a record amount of Inheritance Tax (IHT) was collected in the last financial year. In total, UK citizens paid £5.4bn in death duties in 2018/19, an increase of 3% on the previous year. This rise continues a long-term trend, with IHT receipts having doubled in the last nine years, partly as a result of the £325,000 nil-rate threshold being frozen since April 2009.


According to the Natixis Investment Managers' Global Retirement Index, the UK lags behind many global counterparts in terms of retirement security3. The index uses data from a number of sources to collate a comparable score across countries and, in 2019, ranked the UK 17th out of 44 nations. The lowest score was recorded in assessment of finances in retirement, where the UK languished 34th in the rankings.


A new survey4 suggests a significant proportion of the older generation are set to shun family in their Wills. The research, conducted by Responsible Life, found that over a quarter of retirees are planning to leave money to charities, friends or neighbours in preference to their children or grandchildren.

3Natixis, 2019 4Responsible Life, 2019