Investors Trust Access Portfolio Review 2021

This article was last updated on July 29, 2021

Investors Trust (IT) offers a lump sum product, called the Access Portfolio Bond, to global investors.

This article will review the product and explain why some investors will get good returns compared to others, making the advisor you pick essential to your investing success.

It will also list some of the funds, stocks and ETFs available, alongside answering some FAQs.

If you have an Investors Trust Access Portfolio, or have been proposed one and want a second opinion, you can email me on advice@adamfayed.com, or contact me on the WhatsApp function below.

I can also offer discounts on the stated online price, and probably discounts on what your broker is offering you.

The article will also briefly review the fixed income and platinum portfolios as well – two other lump sum options available on Investors Trust.

Who are Investors Trust

Investors Trust are a firm based out of Puerto Rico, Malaysia and Cayman Islands, with service officers in the United States and Latin America.

They have been in the market since the early 1990s and have about $2 billion assets under management (AUM).

They have both local and expert clients globally, with a big reach in Latin America and the Asia Pacific in particular.

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.

For locals, Latin America, Japan, China, Russia and South Korea are probably the biggest markets.

What are the account minimums?

For the Access Portfolio, $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, for top ups.

What is the duration of the investment?

Different periods can be chosen.  5 years, 8 years and open-ended charging structures can be picked on day one.

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 8000 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?

The main positives are:

  • 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.
  • In general, they have excellent and varied fund choices.  Perhaps less than 1-2 other platforms, but more than some other options in the market
  • There is a borrowing facility although this is expensive.
  • Regardless of the option you pick, it is quite flexible, in terms of withdrawals. Within 5 years, it is usually 100% flexible.
  • Multi jurisdictions is a key advantage of the Investors Trust system. You have the option between Malaysia, Puerto Rico or Cayman.
  • Even though you need to pay in USD, Pounds or Euros, countless currency options are available on Access Portfolio once the money is on there. This includes the Turkish Lira, South African Rand, Swiss Franc, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Singaporean Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar and Mexican Peso.
  • Importantly, each of the three locations offers checks and balances.  So your assets are always separate to the companies assets. This is very different to investing with a bank, where the institution uses your money to lend to depositors.  This lowers risk a lot.
  • Good banking system with HSBC used for the USD bank accounts.
  • You can pay online, even for lump sums, or via bank transfer. Of course, with bigger lump sums, it isn’t very practical to invest $200,000 by card, unless you pay $10,000 per time.  For smaller amounts, this feature is excellent, as it lowers the cost  in most cases.
  • It is possible to do your own trades as well as have an advisor help you. Even though this isn’t a do it yourself (DIY) platform, and therefore  need to be introduced by an advisor, you do get a client login once your account has been approved. This means that you can make your own trades. Some clients, as an example, want to make some of their own trades and have an advisor manage half of the portfolio. It is much easier to do this on this investment solution compared to most others.
  • It is usually a tax efficient option. Investors Trust don’t give out tax advice, and indeed tax rules can always change quickly.  What is true though is that they are based in tax efficient locations. Therefore, especially for expats that are living in low or 0% capital gains environments, this is a good option. In comparison, if you use a platform located in a high-tax country which decides to apply capital gains even to non residents, you could get hit by taxes.
  • Compared to some of the typical investments in the expat market like those discussed below, this is a very good option.

What are the negatives associated with this option?

The main negatives are:

  • 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.
  • The minimums are higher than some other options
  • American expats can’t be accepted for this platform and there are additional restrictions, such as Hong Kong residents, and those in places under US sanctions, such as Iran. However, this is still much more flexible than some providers, that have a huge list of countries they can’t accept for.
  • Only USD, Euros and Pounds are available. This is a small issue though, in this day and age, with countless ultra cheap options available for Australian, Japanese and other investors.
  • Over time, there is more restrictions on investment funds compared to the past. Whilst this can be a good thing (to limit the investors risk), in certain cases, it can affect the investor.  In general, however, a good advisor has more than enough investment choices for any investor.

Are the majority of clients happy?

I have met countless happy clients who are in this lump sum option.

I have also met numerous people that have lost contact with their advisor, or been put into unsuitable investment options within the platform.

What have been some of the best performing funds on this investment platform?  

That depends on which timeframes you look at.  In recent years, US markets have done best, with emerging and energy-linked ETFs, facing downward pressure, with a lower oil price.

Sometimes today’s winners are tomorrow’s losers, and vice versa, though.

A great example of this is if you compare US and international stocks.

Historically, each has a period of over performance, according to work from Fidelity:

So it always pays to have a well diversified portfolio.

What are the full list of investment managers available?

On the access portfolio, there are too many options to list here, but the most popular ones include:

  • Ishares
  • Blackrock
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Pimco
  • Janus Henderson
  • Franklin Templeton
  • MFS
  • Investec
  • Fidelity
  • AllianceBernstein
  • Vanguard 

Vanguard isn’t available on the Platinum portfolio but it is available on the Access Portfolio.  

What about if you don’t have $75,000 or currency equivalent?

Investors Trust do have a smaller lump sum product called the Platinum.

It starts from $10,000/10,000GBP/10,000 Euros.  This product has less investment choices than the access portfolio, but does have some of the better fund options, such as the S&P500 index fund.

In general, the fees associated with the Platinum can be higher than the Access portfolio, but that depends on which option you select, as there are three options associated with the Platinum portfolios.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Investors Trust?

The three biggest ones are that they are only in the Cayman Islands, are a relatively small company and don’t have great investor protections.

To the contrary they are an A-rated institution which is now in Puerto Rico and Malaysia.

They also don’t use offshore banks, and instead only use A-rated onshore banks like HSBC (US) and Standard Chartered (UK) to hold the funds, even though they are domiciled offshore as an organisation.  

Together with the segregated account system, these protections are top notch. For that reason, it is perhaps unsurprising that they have been one of the fastest growing companies in their niche in recent years, and are thus no longer a small company.

Many older views fail to take account of this.

Are there any other lump sum options?

For people looking for pure income, Investors Trust have a fixed income portfolio.

This portfolio gives you the option to invest for 3, 5 and 15 years.  The 3 and 5 year rates are fixed, with a minimum contribution of $10,000.

The rates on offer are very low though – 1.75% for 3 years and rising to up to 3.6% for 10 year plans, so this should only be considered as a slightly better option than keeping your money in the bank.

The positives about this plan is that the investments are backed up by Investors Trust’s assets and only cost $7 a month.

That means Investors Trust invests the money (it is the only product they offer where they invest the money rather than the advisor) and hope to make more money than they are giving the client in return.

If they don’t achieve that, they need to repay the client from their own assets.  

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. 

Which Vanguard funds and ETFs are available on this option?

Countless are available on the Access Portfolio, but none are available on the Platinum.

If we focus on the USD ones to begin with, the following Vanguard funds are currently available:

  • Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF
  • Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF
  • Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF
  • Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF
  • Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Energy ETF
  • Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF
  • Vanguard ESG US Stock ETF
  • Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF
  • Vanguard Extended Market ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE All World ex-US Small-Cap ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF USD
  • Vanguard FTSE All-World High Dividend Yield UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF USD
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed World UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Pacific ETF
  • Vanguard Global Aggregate Bond UCITS ETF USD
  • Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate ETF
  • Vanguard Global Momentum Factor UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard Health Care ETF
  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF
  • Vanguard Information Technology ETF
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury ETF
  • Vanguard International Dividend Appreciation ETF
  • Vanguard International High Dividend Yield ETF
  • Vanguard Large-Cap ETF
  • Vanguard Long-Term Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Long-Term Treasury ETF
  • Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF
  • Vanguard REIT ETF
  • Vanguard Russell 1000 Growth ETF
  • Vanguard Russell 3000
  • Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
  • Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD
  • Vanguard S&P Small-Cap 600 ETF
  • Vanguard S&P Small-Cap 600 Value ETF
  • Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Short-Term Treasury ETF
  • Vanguard Small-Cap ETF
  • Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF
  • Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund
  • Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF
  • Vanguard Total Corporate Bond Fund ETF
  • Vanguard Total International Bond ETF
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
  • Vanguard Total World Stock ETF
  • Vanguard USD Corporate 1-3 Year Bond UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard USD Corporate Bond ETF
  • Vanguard USD Treasury Bond UCITS ETF USD
  • Vanguard Utilities ETF
  • Vanguard Value ETF

There are also Vanguard ETFs offered in Euros, Pounds and some other currencies. That includes the GBP and Euro versions of the S&P500 index.  

Here is the complete Vanguard ETFs available in Euros

  • Vanguard EUR Eurozone Government Bond UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Europe ex UK UCITS ETF EUR
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets UCITS ETF EUR
  • Vanguard Global Bond Class Acc 
  • Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF EUR

Here is the complete Vanguard ETFs available in Pounds

  • Vanguard EUR Corporate Bond UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE 100 UCITS ETF GBP
  • Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF GBP
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Europe ex UK UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Europe UCITS ETF GBP
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard Global Aggregate Bond UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard Global Corporate Bond Index Class Hedged Acc GBP
  • Vanguard Global Minimum Volatility UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF GBP
  • Vanguard UK Government Bond UCITS ETF
  • Vanguard USD Corporate Bond UCITS ETF GBP
  • Vanguard USD Treasury Bond UCITS ETF GBP

Here is the complete Vanguard ETFs available in AUD

  • Vanguard Australian Corporate Fixed Interest Index ETF
  • Vanguard Australian Fixed Interest Index ETF
  • Vanguard Australian Property Securities Index ETF
  • Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Asia ex-Japan Shares Index ETF

There is a range of Vanguard equivalents as well, such as iShares, BlackRock and so on.

This allows clients to get access to Nasdaq ETFs and a range of other options which aren’t usually available in the expat market.

US-domiciled ETFs can’t be onboarded, but this is a positive thing due to the tax implications of doing so. 

At the bottom of this article I have included some of the funds available in some of the other currencies such as Canadian, Singapore and Hong Kong Dollars.

Can new shares like AirBnb be added?

Yes.  Pre-IPOs can’t be added, but once they have listed, they are available.

Stocks like Apple, Amazon and other big names are already onboarded.

Most individual shares on public markets can be added if requested.

Assets such as Bitcoin, alongside high risk and illiquid assets, usually can’t be onboarded.

Conclusion 

In general, Investors Trust are an excellent option in the expat market, but only if it is used in the right way.

Investor A, with advisory firm A, can do much better than investor B, with advisory company B, on the same platform.

So in many ways the advisor you pick is more important than the platform itself.

Overall, the Access Portfolio is a superior product to the fixed income and platinum options, but those options have their place, especially for cautious investors.

Funds available in other currencies.

This isn’t a complete list of the funds available on Access Portfolio, but it includes some options available.

Some of the funds, shares and ETFs available on Access Portfolio in Canadian Dollars

  • Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF
  • IAMGOLD Corp CAD
  • Leviatthan Gold LTD – 4 MONTH
  • Leviatthan Gold LTD – 12 MONTH
  • Leviatthan Gold LTD – 16 MONTH 
  • Leviatthan Gold LTD – 8 MONTH
  • Maple Leaf Green World Inc
  • Pan Orient Energy Corp
  • Score Media and Gaming Inc
  • Very Good Food Co Inc/The
  • Weedmd Inc
  • AcuityAds Holdings Inc CAD
  • Canada Cobalt Works Inc
  • Charlottes Web Holdings Inc
  • Equinox Gold Corp
  • First Quantum Minerals Ltd CAD
  • Fortune Minerals Ltd
  • Fosterville South Exploration Ltd CAD
  • Goldgroup Mining Inc
  • HEXO Corp
  • Hive Blockchain Technologies Ltd

Some of the funds, shares and ETFs available on Access Portfolio in Mexican Peso

  • Concentradora Hipotecaria SAPI de CV
  • Macquarie Mexico Real Estate Management SA de CV
  • Vista Oil & Gas SAB de CV

Some of the funds, shares and ETf available on Access Portfolio in Singaporean Dollars

  • DBS Group Holdings Ltd
  • DBS Group Holdings Ltd

Some of the funds, shares and ETf available on Access Portfolio in Hong Kong dollars

  • Tencent Holdings Ltd
  • Xiaomi Corp
  • Xtrackers CSI300 Swap UCITS ETF
  • Agricultural Bank of China Ltd
  • Bank of China Ltd
  • BYD Co Ltd
  • China Construction Bank Corp
  • China Life Insurance Co Ltd
  • China Merchants Bank Co Ltd
  • Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd
  • Lotus Horizon Holdings Ltd
  • MGM China Holdings Ltd
  • Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd

Some of the funds, shares and ETf available on Access Portfolio in South African Rand

  • Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd

Some of the funds, shares and ETf available on Access Portfolio in Turkish Lira

  • Kent Gida Maddeleri Sanayii ve Ticaret AS
  • QNB Finansbank AS
  • Turkiye Is Bankasi AS Equity
  • Turkiye Is Bankasi AS Equity II

Some of the funds, shares and ETf available on Access Portfolio in Japanese Yen

  • ITOCHU Corp
  • Jalux Inc
  • Japan Physical Silver ETF
  • Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd
  • Japan Tobacco Inc
  • Mitsubishi Corp
  • Mitsubishi Motors Corp
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
  • Mizuho Financial Group Inc
  • MS 3Y JPY Worst Of HSCEI, NDX, SX5E & SX7E
  • UACJ Corp
  • Unicharm Corp
  • Yorozu Corp
  • New Constructor’s Network Co Ltd
  • Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp
  • Nissan Motor Co Ltd
  • Nomura Real Estate Holdings Inc
  • Okano Valve Manufacturing Co Ltd
  • Ooedo Onsen Reit Investment Corp
  • Oriental Land Co Ltd/Japan
  • Osaka Steel Co Ltd
  • Rakuten Inc
  • Resona Holdings Inc
  • Sanoh Industrial Co Ltd
  • Shizuki Electric Co Inc
  • SoftBank Group Corp JPY
  • St Marc Holdings Co Ltd
  • Sumitomo Corp
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc
  • Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings Inc
  • Tokyo Gas Co Ltd
  • Torii Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
  • Toyota Motor Corp JPY
  • Airport Facilities Co Ltd
  • CellSource Co Ltd
  • Dexerials Corp
  • Eisai Co Ltd
  • Euglena Co Ltd
  • Fudo Tetra Corp
  • Hoosiers Holdings
  • IID Inc
  • Imamura Securities Co Ltd
  • Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd

Some of the funds, shares and ETf available on Access Portfolio in Swiss Franc

  • iShares Core DAX UCITS ETF DE CHF
  • iShares Core Global Aggregate Bond UCITS ETF CHF
  • iShares SMI ETF CH
  • iShares Swiss Dividend ETF CH
  • Lonza Group AG
  • Nestle SA – Reg
  • Pictet CH Precious Metals Physical Gold Class P CHF
  • Roche Holding AG
  • SPDR Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond UCITS ETF CHF
  • UBS ETF CH-SMIM
  • UBS MSCI EMU Socially Responsible UCITS ETF
  • UBS MSCI United Kingdom IMI Socially Responsible UCITS ETF
  • UBS MSCI USA Socially Responsible UCITS ETF
  • ZKB Gold ETF CHF
  • ZKB Silver ETF CHF

Some of the funds, shares and ETfs available on Access Portfolio in Australian Dollars (not including the Vanguard ETFs mentioned earlier)

  • Altium Ltd
  • Appen Ltd
  • Australian Foundation Investment Co Ltd
  • Banner Income Fund Class R AUD
  • iShares Government Inflation ETF
  • Hansen Technologies Ltd
  • Dominos Pizza Enterprises Ltd
  • CSL Ltd
  • Momentum Australian Dollar Growth Class D AUD
  • Momentum Australian Dollar Growth Fund Class A AUD
  • VanEck Vectors Aus Equal Weight ETF

As you can see, the investments in these other currencies is primarily in individual shares.

Swiss Franc’s is one of the exceptions to that rule, alongside the Australian Dollar

September 16 update – I will be having a client event on November 2 with Dragon’s Den star Kevin O’Leary. To have the chance to attend, click here. All existing clients will automatically be invited.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

Financial Planner - Adam Fayed

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 256.2 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon.

Further Reading

In the article below I discuss the following topics

  • Most people, at least in developed countries, assume that getting rich is more difficult than before. But is that really true? I speak about how our perspective influences our approach to this question.
  • What do people understand in their 30s that they don’t in their 20s?
  • What should people know about investing in stocks? What are the opportunities, risks and what is the bottom line?

Here is a preview of the article

The biggest things we shouldn’t forget are:

  1. Stocks as an asset class do go up long-term. The Dow was at 66 in 1900, 2,000 about 30–32 years ago and 31,000 today.
  2. Yet individual stocks don’t always go up. Individual industries don’t always go up either. The banks have never recovered from 2008 even though the general market has.
  3. Despite the fact that the market goes up long-term, there can be long periods of stagnation. 2000–2011 and 1965–1982 saw many markets stay still. The long-term investor shouldn’t be afraid of such periods. It allows you to buy lower for longer! When markets come up, you will make more money than if they had been rising however.
  4. Dividends are key. Over 35% of many stock market returns have been from reinvesting dividends. What’s more, reinvesting dividends protects you in stagnant or falling markets as well. The UK FTSE100 hasn’t done as well as the FTSE250 or S&P500 in recent decades. Yet look at the graph if you had reinvested the dividends:

As you can see, it all compounds. Over a 30 year period, the person who reinvested the dividends has about 5x more.

Likewise, many people know the Japanese Nikkei market is the only major market which is down on its height.

It is now 28,850. It’s height was briefly 38,916. Even if we ignore the fact that it is highly unlikely that you would have invested 100% at the very peak, you could still be up slightly in 2020 if you bought only once at the peak and reinvested dividends.

5. It doesn’t make sense to be 100% in stocks forever. At a young age that can work and if you are willing to see big volatility. Having a bond market index works long-term, because bonds tend to rise during periods when stocks fall. At least that is the case with short-term Treasuries.

6. US Stocks have beaten most International ones long-term, including emerging markets. Yet every dog has its day. There have been numerous periods where international has beaten US Stocks. It makes sense to own at least 2–3 indexes for this reason.

7. Nobody can consistently time markets. The only safe way to invest is long-term. Time is one of the only free lunches in investing because it lowers your risk and compounds your gains.

8. You should never speculate or panic.

9. Don’t blindly follow trends which are pushed by the media and others.

10. You need to invest a lot of money to get wealthy investing if you start late. If you start early, you don’t need to invest much. 

To read more click here.

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