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Zurich Vista Quantum Friends Provident Hansard RL360 Reviews

(This article was last updated on Jan. 5, 2023)

I have often been asked to write an article focusing on expat investments.

What is my review of RL360 PIMS, Zurich Vista and similar products? This is a timely question in the age where most expats are focusing on getting a yield on their money.

In this article I will review some common expat investments, such as RL360 Personal Investment Management Service (PIMS) and Zurich Vista, whilst discussing whether people should keep investing into them or seek an alternative arrangement.

Whilst investing is much wiser than keeping money in the bank, not all plans are made equally.

A case in point is savings plans (sometimes called offshore regular savings plans) and offshore bonds.  

In the offshore expat markets, savings plans are one of the most commonly sold financial products.  Few people seem happy with them. 

For those that prefer visual content, I made the video below:

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

This includes if you have a policy and aren’t happy.

What are expat savings plans? 

Most expat savings plans are insurance-investment plans, offered by expat financial advisers and wealth managers, locals and banks.  If you die you will get 101% of the value of the account.  For example, if the value of the investment is $100,000, your offspring will get $101,000 upon your death. 

Typically, the plans have a contribution period.  5 years is often the shortest time you can save, with 25-30 years being the longest plans. Typically, the 20-30 year savings plans are sold more widely in the expat markets.

These plans are generally coming from Isle of Man, Jersey, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Guernsey and numerous other offshore locations.

That isn’t the problem with these plans.  All locations these days, whether offshore and onshore, have strict investment rules in the wake of the financial crisis. It does also make sense for expats to invest offshore, for tax reasons, with the exception of Americans.

The issue is more the investments within the plans, and the terms and conditions, not the locations where the money is held.

Who buys these plans?

People from all around the world.  In general, I find British expats are most likely to buy the plans, followed by Nordic, French, Indian, Chinese, Australian and numerous other nationalities.  

What can you do if you have one of these plans and are worried about them?

Seek advice.  Depending on the terms and conditions associated with your account, it may be possible to go for a cheaper alternative or reduce the existing fee structure in the account.  I hope this article helps in that process.

RL360 advice
Seek professional advice. Image from Shutterstock

Major Providers and Products

Who are the major providers and products and where are they sold?

These plans are sold all over the world.  Some typical destinations where the plans are sold include Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Thailand especially in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in Vietnam, Spain, France, Tokyo, South Africa, Seoul, Germany, Switzerland and Brussels. 

The plans are also sold in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Manila, Laos, India and countless other emerging destinations, where expat numbers are rising.

The lump-sum products associated with these life companies are also sold extensively in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, due to qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS) and self-invested personal pension (SIPP) for British expats.

Due to the fact that most of these insurance companies are based in the Isle of Man or other overseas British territories, it is common for British expats to buy the policies.

How do they typically work?

The cost of the plans is typically levied upfront, due to sales and admin costs. The client is then reimbursed some of that cost at the end of the plan, in the form of bonuses.

Let’s take a simple example of a person who buys a 10-year savings plan.  If he or she pays the premium over 120 months, the total costs of the plans are often 1%-2% per year.

Sounds reasonable enough. But if the client stops paying halfway through the contract, the actual cost is closer to 4% per year, because the end of contract bonuses is usually not given back to the client. 

Premium holidays are possible, but they don’t come cost-free.  

Can the client make good money on these plans? 

A small percentage do, but almost all those small percentage of success stories are people who keep contributing to the end of the term.  

However, only 3%-4% of people contribute to the full 25-year terms. I have seen several people make quite reasonable returns from 10- or 15-year plans.  

But even then, many people stop contributing because in the first few years the charging structure is high. Unless the client knows that they will get a big bonus at the end of the contract, they often stop contributing. 

What makes this particularly confusing is that the charges aren’t levied consistently.  On the Generali plans, for example, the charging structure gets very high in years 7, 8 and 9.  So high that it isn’t easy to make any on-paper returns. 

But after year 10, the charging structure falls dramatically, to approximately 0.2% per year. Many people, therefore, stop contributing after 6, 7, 8 or 9 years.

In general, the old-school plans should be avoided like the plague unless you can contribute every single month. 

rl360 money
Making money from expat investments. Image by D-Keine / GETTY

How many years does the typical person invest in these plans for?

7 years is about the average, statistically speaking, for the 25-year product.  A higher percentage of people investing in the shorter 10-year plans contribute until maturity.

Has anyone attempted to cancel Zurich Vista and similar policy before the end of tenure?

Of course, countless have.  

So, if somebody wants to stop contributing what can they do?

There are numerous options. People can go for a maximum surrender value and just stop the accounts.  However, the surrender value can be quite low, depending on how close the client is to maturity.  

For example, let’s say a client has invested in a regular savings plan.  It is a 25-year plan and after 5 years the value is $100,000.  There are still 20 years to go, and therefore, the surrender value might be extremely low.  In comparison, if person B has $100,000 in a 10-year plan, and we are now in year 8, the surrender value may be 90%+ of the account value. 

A second option is a maximum penalty-free surrender and withdrawal, which can be reinvested elsewhere, in a more productive way.

A final option is to stop paying but take no money out of the policy.  

Can somebody make money if they stop contributing?

It depends on many factors, including which funds are selected within the savings plans. In general, if people stop contributing, they either lose money yearly on the plans, break-even or at best make 4% per year.  It is a numbers game.  As the cost of the account will shoot up to over 4% per year, in some cases, due to non-contribution, if markets are performing at 8%-9%, the client’s account may go up by 4% if the right funds are selected. 

What are the biggest mistakes most people make in this situation?

Researchers call it loss-aversion.  People find losses more painful than gains.  That is one reason why some people are terrified of investing in the first place, despite the fact the Dow Jones has gone from 66 in 1900 to about 37,000 in 2022. 

In terms of savings plans, typically consumers will make the following mistakes:

  • Keep contributing and wait until the value reaches a certain level 
  • Never consider alternatives 
  • Bury their heads in the sand 

Sometimes, it is rational to accept a loss.  Typical example: let’s say your account is worth $100,000, but you can only get $80,000 back.  Getting out of the account will cost you $20,000.  A tough pill to swallow.

But let’s work something out.  If markets perform at their average historical rate of return, your $80,000 will be worth over $100,000 in three years and about $207,000 in 10 years.  

Of course, nobody knows what will happen to markets. In the last nine years, markets in the US have increased by about 300%, whereas they produced bad returns from 2000 until 2009. 

However, statistically speaking, accepting losses can sometimes be rational if it leads to a better outcome.

Can I lose all my money if I stop contributing early?

Typically, these savings plans have an 18 month `indemnity period`.  That means if you stop contributing before the first 18 months you will lose all your money.  On the Generali plans, the 5- and 10-year plans both have indemnity periods of less than a year. 

If you stop contributing after 18 months, it is a misconception that you are likely to literally lose all your money.  What will happen instead is that the high fees will eat into the returns. 

Are the plans flexible? 

The days of the career expat are largely over, with expats needing to move from city to city more often.

Most of these plans aren’t very flexible.  It is true that after the initial period is up, you can stop contributing, decrease or increase your premium, but each option comes with ramifications.  Decreasing your premium will still potentially lead to very low returns or losses. 

This is because the charging structure is based on the initial premium.  So, if you started with a $2,000 per month premium and then reduce your premium to $300 a month, the charging structure (percentage-wise) will still be linked to the $2,000 premium. 

Do they all work in the same way? 

I have been asked one question commonly from readers of that blog posts and in-person: do other savings plans usually work in the same way?

The answer, at least for the old school plans, is yes.  Different providers have different fees, but all of them:

  •  Have high fees.  Some have higher fees in other years than others, but overall, they are remarkably similar.
  •  Have especially high fees if you don’t pay in every time.  The way the accounts work is that you are reimbursed some of the costs of the account if you pay in every month until maturity.  If you even miss 1 month, you often can’t get the bonuses.
  • Are much more expensive than various lump sum and newer savings products.

Are there some circumstances when you should continue to contribute? 

Yes.  If you are 110 months into a 10-year savings plan, it clearly makes sense to contribute for the final 10 months, as you will be given bonuses which will reduce the average cost of the account. Likewise, if you have invested for only 5, 10 or 15 years it may be worth continuing.

This will especially be the case if you have invested a small percentage of your income.  It is common sense that an expat making $10,000 after tax will probably be able to afford a $500 to $1000 monthly premium.  An expat making $3,000 a month might struggle to maintain the premium level.

Are there tax implications of coming out early?

Sometimes. If you deposit $30,000 into your home countries bank account, questions may be asked. That is one reason why seeking an alternative investment solution for the money often makes sense unless you are close to retirement.

Are there additional outsourced costs for investing?

Sometimes advisor firms outsource the management of the accounts for a 1% yearly fee. For example, Tilney BestInvest is widely used in Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Qatar and China – due to the fact they are sold by W1 Investment Group and Infinity Financial Solutions.

The problem is, investing in BestInvest from a UK platform and investing from an offshore base is quite different.  Using BestInvest in the UK can be up to 5-10 cheaper than buying the same funds through an offshore life company.  So, typing in BestInvest reviews or Tilney BestInvest reviews into Google will often lead to reviews relating to UK SIPPS and regulated products.

Other outsourced services include Purple Asset Management in Singapore used by the Fry Group and Brewin Dolphin are also used in the expat market.

What other insurance-related products are typically sold? 

Offshore portfolio bonds are also widely sold.  These are lump sum products which are typically shorter in length – for example 5- or 10-year charging structures.  Such bonds are also used for British, Irish, Dutch and Belgium expats who want to transfer their pensions overseas. They are typically more flexible as 70% or more of the money can be withdrawn without penalty on day 1.

What are the provider and product names?

Some of the most popular and widely sold names are:

  • Friends Provident International Reserve Investment Bond
  • Friends Provident International Summit Bond
  • Friends Provident International Zenith
  • Generali International Choice Account
  • Generali Worldwide Professional Portfolio Bond
  • Hansard International Capital Investment Bond
  • Quilter International (used to be called Royal Skandia) Collective Investment Bond
  • Quilter International Collective Redemption Bond
  • Quilter International Executive Redemption Bond
  • RL360 PIMS
  • RL360 Oracle
  • Investors Trust Access Portfolio
  • Investors Trust Fixed Income Portfolio
  • AXA Evolution Bond
  • Premier Trust Global Premier
  • Canada Life Wealth Preservation Account
  • Prudential International Portfolio Bond

Some of the biggest banks such as HSBC Expat, Standard Bank, Santander International, Swissquote, Lloyds International, Nedbank Private Wealth and Barclays International also offer products and funds.  They tend to be slightly different lump sum products to portfolios bonds, but the fees tend to be high nonetheless.

Standard Bank has the Quantum series investments. Standard Bank Quantum Plus 10, 11, 20 and 23 are all part of the investment series. This investment seeks to cap the upside, whilst limiting the downside. Sounds good on paper, but the terms and conditions often mean you will get much lower than market returns.

Fees and charges within offshore bonds

Fees within offshore bonds are much more reasonable than savings plans as a generalization. That doesn’t automatically mean that is automatically explained in the application form and key feature, in a transparent way.

Also, many hidden fees eat into returns. This is especially the case with offshore pension transfers for expats, as the trustee fees can eat into the returns. 

Once again it makes sense to get a second opinion on these accounts, especially if your returns are low.

As portfolio bond values can typically be higher, the fees become even more important. 

Let’s take an example of an investor who has a $500,000 lump sum.  The fund fees are 2% per annum, in addition to the broker management fee of 1% and the life insurance firms fees. Markets rise 8% and the investor gets a 4% per year return.

Ultimately, if the fees could even be reduced by 0.5% to 1% per annum, that can make a huge compounded difference over time.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it is $2,500 to $5,000 in year one alone, and potentially close to $100,000 over a period of 10 to 15 years. 

Remember as percentage fees go up if markets rise, a 1% fee in cash terms will become bigger and bigger over the years.  

Some offshore bonds do have more low-cost fund options, including tracker funds.  This means that many expats out there have plans which could be reduced in price dramatically. 

As offshore bonds aren’t as long-term as savings plans and don’t have the same contractual dimension to them, they tend to attract fewer complaints.  

Often in year 1, 70%+ of these accounts are liquid on day 1, rising to 100% within 5 to 8 years.

Funds within offshore bonds 

The biggest mistake is to have many illiquid funds held within the offshore bonds.  Several of these illiquid funds, such as LM Investment Management in Australia, collapsed due to liquidity problems or fraud.

There have been recent changes to the fund lists/fund center which make it harder for advisers to pick such funds.

RL360 Review

The performance of these bonds can vary differently depending on the funds that are chosen. For example, the Old Mutual Executive Investment Bond and RL360 PIMS all have low-fee funds available, which can make a huge difference to the performance.

Fund performances and fact sheets are all available online.

Please click here for an RL360 review with a more in-depth analysis or keep reading to see the comparisons.

Is the RL360 platform safe?

Yes, the platform in and of itself is secure, and it benefits from a favorable location; in addition, it is a member of a larger family of International Financial Group Ltd. (IFGL) platforms that collectively has more than $26 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Where do we stand with the fees?

Because this is a commission lead platform, you will have the ability to have commissions built into the purchase of this product. Because of this, there will be a significant increase in the price of the platform.

In addition, it enables funds to bill upfront and trail fees for advisers, thereby providing the advisers with an additional kickback. Because of this, you should be extremely cautious about it, and you should be on the lookout if you are just being proposed this platform.

What are the charges involved with the RL360 Personal Investment Management Service?

There are a few additional fees that must be paid in addition to the monthly premium for the RL360 PIMS plan. These fees are not based on a percentage of the total cost. These fees are associated with the maintenance of your plan, and the most recent fees are detailed down below (for plans issued from 2019).

When you make an investment in PIMS, you will be given a plan schedule that provides details regarding the charges that are particular to the charging framework that you and your financial adviser did agree upon.

Costs associated with dealing as well as custodial duties

These fees are assessed both during the buying and selling processes of an asset. If the assets that are connected to your plan are handled by a discretionary manager or through a third-party platform, then the dealing and custodian fees may not be applicable to your situation.

It is recommended that you discuss the matter with your financial adviser, as well as the provider of the platform or the discretionary manager, in order to confirm the costs that you will incur.

The dealing fee is 28 US dollars, 36 Australian dollars, 24 euros, 20 pounds, 26 Swiss francs, 200 Hong Kong dollars, or 3,100 Japanese yen. On the other hand, the custodian charge is 56 US dollars, 72 Australian dollars, 48 euros, 40 pounds, 52 francs, 400 Hong Kong dollars, or 6,200 yen. 

Fees associated with servicing 

When you sign up for a new plan, you will be subject to the following servicing charges at the time of your enrollment. The rate of inflation causes an annual increase in their total cost.  The charge is deducted from your account every three months beginning on the date that your plan went into effect, and it will continue doing so up until the date that the plan expires.

The amount of the servicing charge, expressed in US dollars, is $140. Meanwhile, it costs 180 in Australian dollars, 120 in euros, 100 in pounds, 1,00 in Hong Kong dollars, 130 in francs, and 15,500 in yen. 

Charges on valuation

In the event that you require a paper valuation to be mailed to you, you will be subject to the same fees that are associated with servicing.

What about RL360 Quantum Savings Plan?

RL360 has provided investors with the opportunity to save money offshore through their Quantum policy issued in the Isle of Man.  The value of the policy is tied to the performance of investment funds, and it can jump midway or in the long run.

What plans can you choose from under the RL360 Quantum Savings Plan?

Life assurance option

The life assurance option can be purchased on the basis of a single life or a joint life, with the proceeds going to the survivor.  In a lot of situations, the life or lives assured are the same as the applicants. Even so, if necessary, they can be different as well.  When the policy is first issued, the youngest life that can be insured cannot be more than 65 years old.

The policy will continue to be in effect until either all lives covered by it have passed away or the policy has been canceled.

Capital redemption option

The lives of any participants are not tied to the capital redemption option. The policy can be kept active for an aggregate of 99 years, including the term of the premium, at which point the fund value on top of 160 US dollars (or its currency equivalent) will be payable. Then, the policy will be terminated.

In the event that the insurance policy is returned early, the fund value will be paid out to the policyholder, minus any applicable early surrender charges that may be incurred.

What are the features of the RL360 Quantum Savings Plan?

  • At any time that you desire, you will always have the ability to switch between funds and reroute any future premiums.
  • According to the terms and conditions, you are permitted to make withdrawals on a recurring basis as well as a one-time withdrawal.
  • You are free to surrender your policy at any time; however, if you do so while the premium term is still in effect, you will be liable for a surrender charge and it is possible that you will receive a refund that is lower than the total amount of premiums paid.
  • Your policy will be rewarded with a loyalty bonus at the conclusion of the term if your premium term is ten years or if it is longer than that. Your bonus will be calculated as 0.25% of the fund value that is comprised solely of the regular premiums that you have paid into your policy. This percentage will then be multiplied by the number of full years that you have paid premiums into your plan.
  • Any periods in which the policy is put on a premium holiday or paid in full will not be counted for the loyalty bonus that will be given.  Additionally, there is no provision made for the payment of a loyalty bonus on the fund value that is mainly owing to supplemental single premiums.

Which different kinds of currencies can I choose to invest in with the RL360 Quantum Savings Plan?

The Quantum plan could use various currencies, such as the British pound sterling (GBP), the Euro (EUR), the United States dollar (USD), the Swiss franc (CHF), the Australian dollar (AUD), the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), and the Japanese yen.

How do premiums work?

It is required that any and all premiums be paid within the first thirty days after the due date.

If either you or your financial adviser have enrolled for online switching of funds, you will have the opportunity to invest in a wide variety of funds offered by a variety of UK-authorized and global collective investment vehicles.

If you do not have online access, you will be restricted to investing the total premium you pay into no more than 10 different funds.

Do I have the option of taking a break in paying into the plan?

Following the conclusion of the initial allocation period for your original premiums, you have the option of taking a premium holiday for a period of two years max, so long as the following conditions are met:

  • The value of the fund is greater than the required minimum
  • RL360 has obtained all of the premiums that were anticipated.

The standard fees will continue to be assessed, except that there will be an increase in the policy fee that will be in effect for the length of such premium holiday.

What about paying the appropriate taxes?

RL360 is required to comply with the tax regulations of the Isle of Man. Your policy’s growth or income is not subject to taxation on the Isle of Man, regardless of how much it brings in.

Even so, RL360 said that a withholding tax may be deducted at source against income that results from investments held in certain countries. This tax cannot be reclaimed by the countries holding the investments.

What charges are applied to the RL360 Quantum Savings Plan?

Initial unit charge

In the event that preliminary units are canceled, a fee equal to 0.50% each month of the value of those units will be deducted from the customer’s account. This charge will remain outstanding for the duration of the premium term, or until the thirty-year policy anniversary, whichever comes first.

Contract charge

A contract charge will be deducted from the value of the fund every month, and this charge will be equivalent to a defined percentage of the fund’s value on an annual basis. The current fee for the contract is 1.5% per annum; this amount is deducted from the total value of the fund every month in the amount of 0.125%. It will be subtracted from the total through the cancellation of an equivalent number of initial and accumulation units.

Policy fee

Through the discontinuation of accumulation units, a policy fee in the amount of 5 pounds, 6 euros, 7.5 francs, 8 US dollars, 9 Australian dollars, 62.5 Hong Kong dollars, and 850 yen will be subtracted from the policy on a monthly basis. 

Charges levied on external fund management

An annual management fee will be deducted from each of the external funds by their respective managers. This will be accounted for within the costing of the specific funds, at a rate that will be ascertained by each of the specific fund’s manager.

What are the steps that need to be taken in order to withdraw funds?

For withdrawals made on a regular basis

So as to make withdrawals from your policy, the initial allocation time frame for your original premiums must have passed, and you must have raised accumulation unit value. It is possible that you will not be able to make withdrawals right off the bat due to the fact that your regular premiums will not be used to acquire accumulation units unless the initial allocation time frame has come to an end.

It is possible to make recurring withdrawals based either on a predetermined amount or on a predetermined percentage of the value of the fund. Withdrawals made on a regular basis are subject to minimum amounts — 400 US dollars, 450 Australian dollars, 250 pounds, 300 euros, 375 francs, 3,125 Hong Kong dollars, as well as 42,500 yen.

Within one policy year, you are only allowed to take a maximum of 10% of the fund’s value during the beginning of the policy year. You can execute this in the form of regular withdrawals. The percentage given includes any fees that may have been charged by your investment adviser. 

The policy currency will be used to process regular withdrawals, which can be executed per month, per quarter, per term, per half a year, or per annum, depending on your preferences.

For withdrawals made only once (one-time withdrawals)

The max withdrawal will be restricted to the value of the accumulation units held in your policy. This amount cannot be higher than the surrender value of the plan or it can push the fund’s value lower than the 8,000 US dollar minimum amount.

What will happen after I pass away?

For life assurance policies:

The life assurance policy will be terminated as soon as the last surviving life assured passes away. Before RL360 makes a payout, they need to receive a written notice of the death plus the appropriate documentation for legal entitlement that should be delivered to the address of their head office. The percentage of the fund’s value that will be distributed will be equivalent to 101%.

The personal representatives of your estate are eligible to receive the ownership of the policy after you pass away, according to RL360.

Do note that the amount paid will be the fund value minus any applicable charges for early surrender, if the policy is surrendered before the end of the premium term. 

If the policy was issued on the basis of joint ownership, then ownership of such plan will be transferred to the policyholder who is still alive after the other owner pass away.

For capital redemption policies:

On the passing of the policyholder, the capital redemption policy will not be terminated automatically.

The personal representatives of your estate have the authority to make a determination regarding ownership.

Please take note that the amount paid will be 100% of the fund value minus any applicable charges for early surrender, if the policy is ceded before the end of the premium term. 

What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of participating in the RL360 Quantum Savings Plan?

rl360 pros and cons
Pros and cons of RL360. Image from Roc Logic
The Pros
  • Commonly accessible and sold, with a good company rating
  • Offers some tax buffer in certain territories
  • If maintained to the term that was originally planned, then a savings concept could be promoted
The Cons
  • Full withdrawal is not flexible and complete access to funds when needed during the early years of the policy are always subject to certain penalties
  • There are many countries that do not recognize any tax breaks
  • There is a commission that cancels out all preliminary investments made, which makes it an incredibly costly alternative
  • Does not offer complete access to the funds with the lowest possible costs or passive trackers

Please take note that the RL360 Quantum Savings Plan is no longer accepting new customers as of July 2019, according to the provider.

Whatever the case may be, international investors now have more access to options that are more convenient, flexible, and easy to understand.

Should people complain to the regulators if they feel mis-sold?

It depends on the market. Markets in highly regulated markets like the EU, Hong Kong or Singapore may get some luck going down this avenue, but it depends on what documents were signed on day 1, and what you can prove.

In most expat markets, financial services aren’t as well-regulated as in developed countries, and it is highly unlikely the regulators will care about any expat complaints.   

In the majority of cases, therefore, complaining isn’t productive.

What are some of the other platforms that are typically used in the expat market?

Interactive Brokers and Internaxx are two of the most popular ones.  Others that are commonly used include:

Some of these platforms are quite good and others aren’t.  What is more important is which investments are sold within these platforms.  

Funds, Discretionary Managers, and Pension Trustees

What funds and discretionary fund managers are typically sold within bonds, savings plans and platforms? 

In terms of funds, GAM Star Portfolios and Tilney BestInvest have been commonly used in Dubai, Cambodia, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.  Both funds contain high fees.

In addition, the following funds are widely sold; both inside these plans and outside on independent platforms:

  • Guinness funds – Guinness Global Equity Income and Guinness Global Investors
  • VAM funds, including US microchip growth a and VAM managed funds such as cautious A and B.
  • Commerzbank structured notes
  • Valartis Group
  • Momentum Investment Management.
  • Harmony portfolios, including sterling balanced, sterling growth, usd balanced fund and Euro diversified 
  • Jumbo Alliance Funds
  • Premier Asset Management plc
  • SAM Group funds
  • Brooks Macdonald strategic growth
  • dVAM funds
  • Sanlam funds
  • Various AXA, iShares and BlackRock funds
  • Franklin Templeton funds 
  • Pimco bond funds
  • Castlestone low volatility income fund + faang fund
  • St James Place alternative assets fund; greater European progressive unit trust, balanced portfolio and equity income fund
  • TAM Asset Management 
  • ARIA Capital Management 
  • NEBA structured notes/products 
  • ABSA Structured Notes
  • Portman structured notes/products 
  • Chronus structured notes/products
  • Cornhill asset management Luxembourg 
  • Pacific Asset Management 
  • Allan Gray South Africa
  • Investec
  • Canaccord Group fund
  • Rudolf Wolff funds 
  • Dominion Funds
  • Mariana Capital structured notes 
  • iDAD
  • The Hinton Group
  • Jool Life 

Historically, various suspended funds have been sold as well, including the Brandeaux Student Accommodation and LM Investment Management.

Some of these funds have performed well, whilst others have not, for a whole range of reasons.

What Pension Trustees are often used together with offshore bonds?

For British expats, popular SIPPs and QROPS trustees are Momentum Pensions, STM Group, Forthplus pensions and the Sovereign Group. Others include:

  • Pantheon Pension Trustees
  • Trireme Pension Services
  • New Zealand Endeavour
  • Hornbuckle Mitchell Group
  • The Concept Group
  • Brooklands Pensions/IVCM Heritage Pensions Limited
  • Bourse Pension Trustees
  • Baker Tilly Isle of Man/RSM

In many cases, you can lower your fees and improve your performance by making changes to these plans.

Should Americans buy these plans?

Before the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted in the US in 2010, it did make sense for American expats to invest offshore, although in a sensible way like everybody else. 

These days, it is tough for Americans to invest productively offshore.  Investing in an unproductive way can lead to tax problems.  

For Americans who have already bought these plans, however, it makes sense to seek a solution like any other nationality, and get the plans working more efficiently.

How have these plans performed during the 2022 stock market falls?

Most of these plans have performed poorly, which is to be expected. Most stock markets are down 10% to 15%, with the Nasdaq 25% below its peak.

Why do investors fail in general?

We have previously looked at how emotions can lead to lower investment returns when it comes to greed, fear and egoism and also how some investor seem to like lower returns.

So often what happens is that people get emotionally connected to their existing accounts (not wanting a paper loss or waiting until it hits a certain level before selling) instead of just looking at the math and academic evidence.

How about US taxation of Friends Provident paid-up plans?

This is complicated and depends on several factors which I can’t elaborate on fully here.

Do you have any case studies?

One of the people who posted in the comments section below this article (Graham), has produced a case study for me.  It can be accessed here.

Moreover, numerous of my 28 LinkedIn recommendations came from cases like this, and one from Dubai has specifically mentioned Friends Provident in his recommendation.

You can see it here. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, I have posted a picture of a section of the review.

Rl360 review comment
Zurich Vista Quantum Friends Provident Hansard RL360 Reviews 6

As he has specifically mentioned the name of the financial advisory firm that sold him the Friends Provident in the first place, I have cut that part out, but it can be accessed on the original Linkedin post.

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