Are your savings at risk?

Good news for British savers in troubled Spanish bank Santander. Tim Bennett rounds up this week’s personal finance news.

Three years ago Spanish banks were seen as a safe haven, says Emma Simon in The Daily Telegraph. Now that the country's third biggest bank (Bankia) has had to be bailed out, that view has changed. So what should nervous savers do?

For British customers of Spanish-owned Santander, the good news is your money should be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for up to £85,000 should that bank hit trouble. That's because, according to Santander, its British operation is ring-fenced from its Spanish parent.

If you have money with another EU-based bank, the best bet is to check whether it is also fully covered by the FSCS, or whether a 'passport' operates that means you are protected by the home country's financial safety net. Either way, there's no need to panic provided you keep your savings balance with any one bank below the relevant compensation scheme limit.

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Many workers risk being thousands of pounds worse off in retirement because their contributions are automatically channelled into middle-of-the-road funds via a defined contribution scheme, says Teresa Hunter in The Sunday Times.

Research by broker Hargreaves Lansdowne suggests £10,000 invested 15 years ago in the Axa Framlington Managed Fund would be worth £8k (or about 40%) more now than if you'd selected the average fund. So check where your money is going and be prepared to switch funds to get a better return.

Investors in film finance schemes face a nervous wait to see whether the tax office will try to claw back millions in tax breaks. Last month investors in the Eclipse 35 film scheme found out they are to lose an estimated £117m because the scheme was deemed by a tribunal to have been set up solely for the purpose of avoiding tax and not as a legitimate business.

Do your best to minimise budget airline extras, warns Patrick Collinson in The Guardian. Overweight bags and extra luggage could result in a nasty shock to your wallet at check-in this summer.

Tim graduated with a history degree from Cambridge University in 1989 and, after a year of travelling, joined the financial services firm Ernst and Young in 1990, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1994.

He then moved into financial markets training, designing and running a variety of courses at graduate level and beyond for a range of organisations including the Securities and Investment Institute and UBS. He joined MoneyWeek in 2007.