May 27th, 2017
Premium bonds marked their fiftieth anniversary in November 2006. They have been the most popular form of investment in British history. Premium bonds are bought and kept by over 40% of Great Britain's populations. Where traditional investments yield a small return over time, premium bonds yield no return at all but give the investor a chance to win a monthly lottery. This popular investment strategy have made millionaires out many British citizens and at the same time provided the investors that didn't win a secure place to save their money and help out the national treasury. They have the option of pulling out the money at any time without loss. Here are some bizarre facts that surround these popular bonds.
From its conception until the late eighties there was even a beauty contest to celebrate the premium bonds program. The National Saving and Investment agency, the department in charge of the bond program, held an annual Miss Premium Bond competition in which employees of the agency entered during the annual Civil Service Sports and Social Club Day held in Lytham St. Annes. Just like regular beauty pageants, the competitors would walk down the catwalk flaunting their looks and style. They would smile politely to the judges and then answer questions related to the pageant. No other investment company has ever sponsored such an event.
Similar to the American lottery there has been some weird stats derived from the program. Similarities from the statistics include that Hannah is the most frequent name that has won a premium bonds lottery and Sean was the most frequent male name. The ten top readers were all female except for one. Some winners don't even claim their prizes. There is an unclaimed prize for twenty five thousand pounds waiting patiently for the owner to claim. There are also more than five hundred thousand pounds stored at the agency just waiting for somebody to come and take it home.
There are even conspiracy theories that call the premium bonds program a scam. There are people who will cash in their bonds and then buy new them so that they will have modern numbers. The first bond ever bought is still in the system, but these people believe that only new numbers will be generated from ERNIE the famous number generating machine.
Other conspiracy theorists have come up with ideas that the machine is prejudiced to what region of Great Britain the winners will be chose from. One man in Wales even has said that the bonds were rigged because Wales had the fewest amount of winners. What he failed to realize was that fewer people in Wales bought premium bonds and that naturally the statistics would favor a larger buying population.
As there is winners there are also losers. You can't really loose because the bonds are cashed in at the same amount they were bought at. One gentleman reported that he had never won in twenty years. He states he has even stopped looking at the monthly numbers. He could be one of the people who has never claimed the over five hundred thousand pounds that have never claimed.