UTMOST INTERNATIONAL

PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO PLAN

(FORMERLY GENERALI WORLDWIDE)

Summary

Guernsey-based Generali Worldwide has officially been named Utmost International.

Utmost International is a life assurance group headquartered in London. They operate from eight offices around the world with life insurance entities based in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Guernsey. Their principal business lines are Utmost Wealth Solutions and Utmost Corporate Solutions. 

The Professional Portfolio Plan is offered by Utmost Wealth Solutions.

Utmost Wealth Solutions provides insurance-based solutions aimed at high-net-worth individuals who want to sustain and pass on their wealth. 'Wealth solutions' is essentially their core business. 

> Part of a growing brand which has made various acquisitions over the past several years.

> With high commissions and other charges, this is an overly expensive option.

> Potentially very inflexible.

> Many countries do not recognise any tax concessions.

> Commonly mis-sold. Too many expats with the Generali PPB have had negative experiences with their advisers understating the costs involved and poorly managing the investments.

The Generali Worldwide Professional Portfolio Bond has been widely mis-sold to expats around the world and excessive commissions have been taken with little to no extra benefit to clients. The charges outlined below detail what holders of this bond are paying, and in the thousands of policies Expat Money has seen over the years, we have found that advisers tend more often than not to sell these bonds on the highest commission structure available, particularly in less regulated jurisdictions.

Key Features

  • It has a capital redemption and whole of life variation.

  • There are no fixed investment or notice periods imposed by Utmost Wealth Solutions but you must be aware that certain charges, e.g. early discontinuance charges, may apply on partial and/or full surrender and, in exceptional circumstances, delays may arise in the payment of benefits.

  • You have access to your plan via the Online Service Center.

  • The bond can provide you with regular withdrawals, although please note this will reduce your capital value. If the capital redemption version has been chosen, withdrawals will also reduce the guaranteed maturity value.

Charges

The following charges represent the Generali Worldwide Professional Portfolio Bond maximum commission charges, has been widely sold over the years by "financial advisers" and which many expats currently still hold, but perhaps are not aware of the fees they are paying.

Name

Establishment Charge

 

 

 

Administration Charge

Surrender Charge

Dealing Charge

Investment Instrument Charges

Other charges that could apply

Explanation

The establishment charge is a percentage of each Investment Amount paid. It is deducted in arrears on each of the first 4 Charge Dates following payment of each Investment Amount. Establishment charges will always be based on the Investment Amounts originally received irrespective of any partial surrenders or regular withdrawal payments previously taken.

 

The administration charge is a percentage of the higher of

 

1) each Investment Amount; and

2) its associated Investment Value,

 

deducted on each of the first 20 Charge Dates, following payment of each Investment Amount. 

The early discontinuance charge only applies on full surrender and only in relation to Investment Amounts for which less than 20 Charge Dates have passed since payment.

 

Partial surrenders are free of surrender charges and penalties, however, establishment charges and administration charges will continue to apply, based on the Investment Amounts originally received irrespective of any partial surrenders or regular withdrawal payments previously taken.

A dealing charge in the Plan Currency is deducted on each sale, purchase or reregistration of Investment Instruments.

 

Any charges or expenses incurred by when buying, selling or valuing Investment Instruments will be passed on to you. These charges include, but may not be limited to, purchase and redemption charges and stockbroker fees.

With products like Professional Portfolio it is common for charges to be applied to the underlying Investment Instruments (including but not limited to bid/ offer spreads or annual management charges).

External fund charges.

Financial adviser service management fee.

Discretionary Fund Manager charge.

Charge

0.5% of each Investment Amount on each of the first 4 Charge Dates, following payment of each Investment Amount (total of 2% per annum for 1 year).

0.375% on each of the first 20 Charge Dates, following payment of each Investment Amount (1.5% per annum for 5 years).

8% of the higher of

 

(1) each Investment Amount; and

(2) its associated Investment

Value prior to the first Charge Date, following payment of the Investment Amount.

 

This early discontinuance charge reduces by 0.4% on each Charge Date to 0% after the 20th Plan Charge Date following payment of the Investment Amount.

USD 52.50/ GBP 35.00/ EUR 42.00/ HKD 409.50/ JPY 5,250/ SEK 430.00 depending upon the Plan Currency.

Variable.

Variable (often 1% - 2.5% p.a)

Variable (often 1%-1.5% p.a)

Variable (often 1% - 2% p.a)

Tax Implications and Use Within a QROPS or SIPP

Offshore investment bonds, like the FPI Reserve, are sometimes wrapped within a pension. Like many other offshore investment bonds, we have seen (all too often) the FPI Reserve Bond being used or sold to investors within QROPS and SIPPs. The pension is a tax wrapper, the bond is an investment platform (albeit another tax wrapper normally too), and this is sold as a solution for a flexible and tax effective way of managing retirement income.

However, this bond should not be used within a QROPS or a SIPP, because when you start to drawdown your pension, the charges on the bond can remain based on the original investment, which means that charges will effectively rise pro rata as your capital decreases. The effect is an erosion of your remaining capital at an exponential rate. 

Further to this, there will be additional set up and ongoing fees for the life of the policy, which, along with the bond charges, make for an extremely expensive option.

For clients in the USA, this option should definitely not be taken within a SIPP, as there are many more cost effective options.

Tax Implications

As stated by Utmost, because Professional Portfolio allows access to an extensive range of underlying investments, it can be classified as a ‘Personal Portfolio Bond’ under UK legislation and this can have implications for your tax position particularly if you become resident in the UK.

However, you can manage this risk by restricting the selection of underlying assets to the choice of investment instruments available which are permissible for a ‘pooled product’. 

Utmost says that the tax consequences that apply to your Professional Portfolio Plan will depend on many factors including your personal circumstances and the tax laws in your current (or future) country of residence and/or domicile.

We would recommend getting a second opinion from a qualified adviser.

Final Verdict

Historically, the Generali PPB has been mis-sold by many so-called "financial advisers". This has left countless numbers of expats complaining about the product and the subsequent service. Excessive fees can be put on the bond and are not explained properly, leaving the client to find out that they have lost money when they need access. Unfortunately, Utmost have no real control over adviser who determine charges and investments within the bond, so it is up to the client to make sure their adviser is experienced, trusted and qualified.

When used correctly, the Utmost International Professional Portfolio Plan (formerly known as Generali Worldwide Professional Portfolio Bond) is a reasonable product, but lacks the transparency of some of the alternatives available. In the majority of cases, this product ends up being an expensive option when you compare it with an investment platform.

You should only incept such a plan after receiving advice from a trusted and qualified planner and to opt for a cleanly priced option. Make sure you are aware of all of the fees before you invest. Make sure that you adviser or whoever managing the investments is doing so diligently.

Advisers selling this bond often do not have the investment management expertise to create a well structured investment strategy and often rely on adviser funds which pay them further commissions and perform extremely poorly.

 

If you already have an Utmost International Professional Portfolio Plan (formerly known as Generali Worldwide Professional Portfolio Bond), we suggest you get a second opinion so you can make sure your adviser is not taking you for a ride.

Himalaya

Get in touch

Whether you need a second opinion, want to find a qualified adviser, or just have some questions, Expat Money is here to help.

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