FRIENDS PROVIDENT INTERNATIONAL

PREMIER ADVANCED SAVINGS PLAN

Summary

Friends Provident International has over 40 years of experience in the international life assurance market. They provide savings, investment and protection solutions to customers in Asia and the UAE.

They have offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Isle of Man. 

Friends Provident International is part of IFGL.

IFGL provides investment, savings and protection solutions to international investors around the world and the group comprises RL360, RL360 Services, Ardan International and Friends Provident International.

> Widely available and marketed.

> Size and administrative capability.

> Offers some tax protection in certain jurisdictions.

> Inflexible and high penalties.

> Opaque and complex charging structure.

> High commissions make this an expensive way to save.

> Commonly mis-sold.

> Does not provide access to a range of assets and lowest cost funds.

> Many countries do not recognise any tax concessions.

> Long term contracts often sold which pays high commissions to salespeople.

Key Features

  • The contract is available in GBP, USD, EUR, or HKD.

  • You can surrender your policy at any time, but during the premium term it will be subject to a surrender charge and you may get back less than your premiums paid.

  • It includes an element of life cover.

  • You can set up the plan on your own life, on another person’s life, or jointly on up to four lives.

  • It allows you to switch between funds.

  • It offers an ongoing loyalty bonus after the tenth year, provided you continue to make your payments.

  • You can invest in up to ten funds at any one time. The funds are denominated in GBP, USD or EUR.

  • Your payments for the first 18 months (and the first 18 months of any payment increase) are allocated to initial units. After this 18 month period, payments are allocated to accumulation units.

  • FPI Funds are "mirror" funds meaning they are a copy of the underlying fund and therefore charges may be higher and there is often a discrepancy of performance. 

Charges

The charges of RL360's Quantum Savings Plan can be summarised below:

Charge

Initial Charge

Monthly Plan Charge

Annual Administration Charge

Credit Card Charge

Other

Description

 

An initial charge of 1.5% is taken each quarter from your initial unit holding over the term of your plan. This charge is taken by cancelling initial units on the quarterly anniversary of the plan commencement date.

There is a monthly plan charge of USD 6 (GBP 4, EUR 6, HKD 48). This charge is taken by cancellation of accumulation units at monthly intervals based on the plan commencement date. 

An annual fund administration charge of 1.2% of the plan value is applicable. Annual management charges and other fund expenses are imposed by the underlying fund manager and the amount depends on which fund is chosen.

If you make a payment by credit card, they will make a charge of between 1% and 1.95% of each payment to cover the charges imposed by the credit card company. The exact amount of the charge depends on your country of residence.

If you make a lump sum payment, a one-off initial charge of 7% will be taken.

Withdrawals

Your plan is designed to run until the end of the payment term. If you cash-in your plan before the end of the term a cash-in charge will apply.

You’ll get back the value of the plan at the time you decide to cash it in. However, this value would depend on several factors and they do not guarantee you the money back.

Withdrawals from FPI's Premier Advance savings plan:

  • You can make one-off or regular withdrawals that would be taken from your plan, depending on your needs.

  • Regular withdrawals can be taken monthly, quarterly, termly (every four months), half-yearly or yearly.

  • Withdrawals can only be taken from accumulation units.

  • The withdrawal will not be made if there are insufficient accumulation units, or if the plan falls below the minimum plan value as a result of the proposed withdrawal.

NOTE:

  • The value of the plan can go up and down. You may get back less than you’ve paid in.

  • Inflation and currency exchange rate (depending on which country you move to) can further affect the value.

Final Verdict

This product has been mis-sold for many years in the offshore market and it is no surprise that many expats have complained that the terms of this product were not explained to them properly, resulting in huge losses of life savings. It is important you speak to a qualified adviser when considering this plan, not a salesperson.

The outdated construction of this plan makes it unattractive for international investors who wish to maximise their returns. More cost effective, more flexible and less complex options are now available.

There are heavy encashment penalties depending on the original term of the policy and when you want to access it. These penalties pay for the commissions earned up front by your salesman.

The standard FPI Premier Advance funds have high ongoing fees when directly compared to a platform, and the "mirror" funds may have higher charges than the funds they are copying as well as underperform those same funds.

The FPI Premier Advanced Savings Plan pays high up-front commissions to its distributors and it has a successful network of distributing agents throughout the world. The amount the distributor earns is linked to the length of the policy; the longer the policy term the longer the surrender penalty incurred on early access, the more money the distributor or adviser earns. Many offshore advisers tend to only sell long term (15, 20, 25 year) plans in an attempt to maximise the amount they get paid and may use various sales tactics to make you believe you need a longer term plan. Proceed with caution.

Himalaya

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