Standard Bank Reviews

Standard Bank Isle of Man is one of the most popular expat-focused banking and financial services companies.  This article reviews some of their most popular products

What are the most commonly sold Standard Bank products?

Optimal accounts are pure current accounts designed for expats. They support everyday transaction needs. Minimum deposits are £4 000/ US$6 000/ €6 000/ AU$6 000

Standard Bank also have many investment-linked options like the Quantum series. Sometimes called Quantum Plus, Quantum Plus 10, 11  and Quantum 22 deposits, they are lump sum products with minimums starting from : £10,000, US$15,000 or AU$15,000. They tend to be a 5-6 year commitment.

Whilst there are many different types of Quantum products, all typically have an  investment component and a saving element.

So as an example, 40% of the account pays out a fixed rate of 1.5%-3% (depending on the currency chosen – Pounds, USD and Australian Dollars are all accepted), and the remaining 60% is linked to Stock Markets like the US S&P. 

Sterling deposits are linked to the performance of the S&P United Kingdom Index.  US dollar deposits are linked to the performance of the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index. Finally Australian dollar deposits are linked to the performance of the S&P / ASX 200 Index

Where are Standard Bank products sold? 

Around the world, but South Africa, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and other expat-focused cities have many Standard Bank clients. Typically, Standard Bank is sold through brokers rather than directly.

What are the positives of Standard Bank’s products?

It is a well-regulated bank and the current accounts are an excellent option for expats.  Optimum Accounts are cheap provided you have a balance of  $4,000 or more, you aren’t charged for account management.  The current account is one of the best options in the market, despite the foreign exchange rates being relatively high and the online system needing improvement. 

Many of the options available in the UK market aren’t available for expats, so when assessing fees and charges, you need to compare apples with apples, and not apples with pears.

What are the negatives of Standard Bank’s products?

When it comes to the investment options, having 40% paying out a  guaranteed 2%-3% sounds good, but it isn’t. 

The US S&P, and other main stock markets in the US, have regularly produced 10% for over 200 years. Some years are good and some are bad, but the long-term direction of the market is clear.  

Having 40% of your money getting just 2%-3% doesn’t make sense, compared to having more money in government bonds and equities. 

Remember $10,000 invested in the US S&P in 1941 would be worth a cool 51 million USD today….having a 60%-40% portfolio would have ensured you missed out on millions.

As the late and great Jack Bogle remarked, cash is one of the few investments that are guaranteed to lose you money.  It struggles to keep pace with inflation. It is just less volatile.  Too many people confuse volatility with stability and safety. 

However, as most people are more focused on avoiding losses rather than maximizing gains, too many DIY investors lose out on returns. 

In addition to that, Standard Bank have many complicated products linked to structured notes, which increases complexity and risks.  

What can you do if you have a Standard Bank product?

 

If you have a Standard Bank investment-linked product, or have been proposed such a solution, don’t hesitate to contact me today on adamfayed@hotmail.co.uk or via WhatsApp.

Further reading

  1. How to become rich by investing 
  2. Turn off CNBN and Bloomberg 
  3. A crash is coming 
  4. Best financial books for beginners

52 finance tips

I have been writing for years now, and it amazes me how much value can be added to people’s lives from sound financial planning.

Whether that is spending more time with the kids, to early retirement or riches, everybody has a reason to want to get better returns or change their spending and investment habits.

However, finance is a boring subject for most, unless it is made interesting.  Therefore, I will be starting a new weekly newsletter, with at least 1 fun and useful financial tip per week, every week, 52 weeks a year.

I will also be including some prizes as well.  To join the 1,050 people who have signed up in the last three months sign up here, or via adamfayed@hotmail.co.uk.

Why most investors are trying to cut their lawn with scissors

I met a British person in China a few years ago. He is terrified of flying, so when he goes home, it takes him one week.

The Trans Siberian Railway to Moscow, and onto Europe, is his favored route.

Pretty crazy. Nobody would understand such a decision, if they didn’t know his fear, in much the same way you wouldn’t cut your lawn with scissors rather than a lawnmower.

It dos get the job done, but 10 times slower than the most efficient route.

However, that is exactly what investors do. Metaphorically speaking, they walk to China or use scissors to cut their lawn, when it comes to their investments.

The biggest way they do this is by failing to invest early.  You can become a millionaire by investing just $200-$300 at age 25. You may need $2,000-$4,00 by age 50 to have the same results.

They also do it by letting political fears and events delay them investing.

I have gotten numerous emails from people in recent months worrying about Brexit and the US Government Shutdown.

Here is the history of how US Markets have performed during shutdowns:

No connection or correlation between markets performing badly and US Government Shutdowns.

Make sure to invest now, and thereby making sure you are taking the most efficient route to wealth, and stop caring about the next flavour of the month geopolitical scandal or event.

Further reading

  1. How to become rich by investing 
  2. Turn off CNBN and Bloomberg 
  3. A crash is coming 
  4. Best financial books for beginners

 

Capital Platforms Review

Capital Platforms offers an investment platform to investors globally, and is based out of the Isle of Man, with additional offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the UK.  This article will review the platform,  and explain why some investors will get good returns and others won’t. Finally I will explain what unhappy clients can do if they have the policy.

Where is the platform sold?

Globally, but often in expat-focused areas such as Dubai, Shanghai, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brussels, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Qatar, Amsterdam, Moscow and various other locations.

What are the account minimums?

Unlike some other options, the minimums aren’t published on the website, but most people start with $10,000 or more.

What is the duration of the investment?

Money can be invested and pulled out, without penalty, at any point. However, as 5,000 funds can be chosen, some funds will have exit charges.

What are the costs of the platform?

As per the Capital Platforms website, the costs can range from a modest 1% per year, all the way through to 5.5% per year, depending on which options are chosen by the advisor and client. This is one of the reason why some clients get better returns than others.

What are the positives of the platform?

Capital Platforms offers an excellent online system, with ease of topping up, withdrawal and other admin done efficiently.  The costs are also reasonable, depending on the charging structure chosen.

What are the negatives of the platform?

The fact numerous fund options can be chosen is great, but that does mean that some clients are in expensive funds, whereas cheaper options exist on the same platform. Two investors who have different funds will get very different results, even on the same platform.

What can you do if you have a Capital Platforms  plan which isn’t performing well?

If you are a client of Capital Platforms and you aren’t satisfied with the returns, there could be two reasons for this. Either markets aren’t performing well, which can’t be helped in the short-term.  In comparison, the second reason is that bad funds have been picked.  In which case, it should be much easier to make the account work more efficiently. If you have this plan, don’t hesitate to contact me below or via my contact form.

Investors Trust Access Portfolio Review

Investors Trust offers a lump sum product, called the Access Portfolio Bond, to global investors .  This article will review the product, explain why some investors will get good returns and others won’t and suggest what unhappy clients can do if they have the policy.

Where is the platform sold?

Worldwide, but often in expat-focused areas such as Dubai, Shanghai, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brussels, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Qatar and various other locations.

What are the account minimums?

$75,000USD, 75,000 Euros and 50,000GBP are the minimum account sizes. The minimum additional investments are 5,000GBP, 7,500USD and 7,500 Euros respectively.

What is the duration of the investment?

5 years, 8 years and open-ended charging structures can be chosen.  There are no early surrender charges if the open charging structure is put in place. In comparison, early surrender charges exist if you wish to leave the investment early on the 5 year and 8 year options.

The three different products are called the Access 5000 series, the Access Portfolio 8,000 Series and the Access Portfolio Plus

What are the costs of the platform?

It depends which option is chosen.  The Access Portfolio Plus only costs 1% per year for admin charges, whereas the Access 500 Series is charged at 1.8% per year and policy fee of 180USD per quarter.

What are the positives of the platform?

Investors Trust offers an excellent online system, with ease of topping up, withdrawal and other admin done efficiently.  The costs are also reasonable, depending on the charging structure chosen.  Passive investments like ETF index trackers can also be picked, thereby reducing cost.

What are the negatives of the platform?

The fact numerous fund options can be chosen is great, but that does mean that some clients are in expensive funds, whereas cheaper options exist on the same platform. Two investors who have different funds will get very different results, even on the same platform.

What can you do if you have an Investors Trust  plan which isn’t performing well?

If you have an Investors Trust Access Portfolio  and you aren’t satisfied with the returns, there could be two reasons for this. Either markets aren’t performing well, which can’t be helped in the short-term.  In comparison, the second reason is that bad funds have been picked.  In which case, it should be much easier to make the account work more efficiently. If you have this plan, don’t hesitate to contact me below or via my contact form.