VISION SAVINGS PLAN
(FORMERLY GENERALI WORLDWIDE)
Guernsey-based Generali Worldwide has officially been named Utmost International (Utmost International have completed 11 acquisitions over 5 years).
Utmost International is a life assurance group that provides solutions designed to preserve clients’ assets. 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.
Utmost International says that they seek to be the leading provider of insurance products to wealthy individuals in countries where insurance offers a planning advantage.
> Widely available and marketed.
> 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.
NOTE: Utmost International has taken over any existing policies sold by Generali, including the Vision Savings Plan's existing customers. However, for new investors in the UAE, this plan is no longer available (pulled in March 2019).
If you hold the old product, do not hesitate to get in touch for a second opinion.
The Vision Savings Plan is a regular premium, whole of life, life assurance contract.
Many plan holders are usually unaware that upon early full encashment, most, if not all of the first 18 months – 2 years premiums are lost through surrender charges.
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.
The charges of the Vision Savings Plan can be summarised below. Charges will vary according to the type of plan taken out from Utmost International (formerly known as Generali Worldwide) as they offer different charging structures largely linked to the amount of commission or earnings being taken by the third party salesman or adviser.
INITIAL PERIOD CHARGE
It is determined by the premium payment term of your plan. It is the period after the plan commencement during which initial units are allocated.
The initial period (in years) is equal to the total administration fees due over the premium payment term divided by the initial annualised regular premium (if the premium payment frequency of your plan is monthly, your annualised regular premium is the monthly premium multiplied by 12).
In summary, Initial Units incur additional charges at commencement, and then throughout the term and may be worthless if you cancel the policy early.
Where a premium payment term of five years or more is selected at plan commencement:
Payable up to year 5 - 2.75% per annum of total regular premiums.
Payable after year 5 -2% per annum of total regular premiums.
Where a premium payment term of ten years or more is selected at plan commencement:
Payable up to year 10 - 2% per annum of total regular premiums.
Payable after year 10 - 0.3% per annum of total regular premiums.
The plan fee is £3 per month or currency equivalent.
Applies only to single premiums and levied at 1.5%.
INVESTMENT ADMINISTRATION CHARGE
1.5% per annum is deducted annually in arrears from the accumulation units allocated to the plan.
CHARGES WITHIN THE UNDERLYING FUND
Internal funds bid/offer spread - 0% to 1%, external funds bid/offer spread - 0% to 2%.
Internal funds AMC – 0%, external funds AMC – 0.5% to 3%.
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.
Early encashment warning:
A full encashment results in penalties being applied through surrender charges linked to the term of the policy. In essence, all your premiums are forfeited if surrendered during the initial period. For a 25 year plan, this period would be 23 months.
It is important to be aware that the Vision Plan is a long-term savings plan, if you decided to cancel the plan early it is likely that you will lose a large proportion of the money you have saved.
The fees and the structure look outrageously high.
Inflation and currency exchange rate (depending on which country you move to) can further affect the value.
This plan is no longer available for new investors in the UAE.
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 Vision 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.
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