ZURICH INTERNATIONAL

VISTA SAVINGS PLAN

Summary

Zurich Middle East is part of Zurich Insurance Group, one of the largest insurers (with 140 years' experience).

Zurich International provides individual savings, investment and protection products, and have established branches in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Zurich Middle East is regulated by UAE Insurance Authority, Central Bank of Bahrain and Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

> Lack of flexibility promotes concept of saving if all contributions are made throughout the term.

> Established brand name.

> No flexibility of full withdrawal or full access in the early years without penalty. Surrender charges mean you may get back less than your premiums paid.

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

> Opaque and complex charging structure.

> Commonly mis-sold.

Key Features

  • The Zurich International Vista allows you to check the value of your savings plan any time by logging in to Zurich International Online.

  • The minimum savings amount is USD300 a month and the minimum term is five years. 

  • Zurich International offer access to a wide range of investments under the Vista, including their Zurich Target Dated Funds, Zurich Allocated Passive Funds or Zurich Managed Funds. Alternatively you can choose from their range of Mirror Funds.

  • Zurich International says that you can tailor the Vista to suit your preferences – the length of your plan, the amount you pay in, the frequency of your payments and your currency. 

  • It is free to move between funds and you can actively manage your fund choice.

  • The plan currencies include: USD, GBP, EUR, HKD, SGD, JPY, CHF, AUD. Benefits will be paid in the plan currency.

  • Your Zurich International Vista savings plan can be structured in two ways:

  1. Just for you (single life only): If you are a single person or the main wage earner in a family.

  2. For you and someone else (joint life first death): A joint plan provides protection for two people, with a single payout occurring when a policyholder dies. This could work out better for you and your partner compared to two single policies.

Charges

Charge Type

Expense recoupment charge

Monthly plan charge

Yearly management charge

Underlying fund charges

Zurich mirror fund charge

Applicable Rate

4% yearly taken from regular premiums paid during an ‘initial contribution period’. This is usually the first 18 months of regular premiums or any regular premium increase.

This is a fixed charge of USD8.25 and is taken each month.

1% yearly of the value of your plan.

The fund charges are made by the fund managers and will vary for different types of funds.

Where Zurich mirror funds are selected, an additional 0.75% yearly fund management charge is applicable.

How and when this charge is taken

This charge is taken from your investments at the
start of each month up until the maturity date of the plan.

This charge is taken from your investments at the start of each month throughout the term of your plan.

This charge is taken from your investments at the
start of each month throughout the term of your plan.

You do not pay these directly as the charges will be deducted daily before calculating the daily price of each fund.

You do not pay these charges directly as they will be deducted before calculating the price of each fund.

Zurich International says that your savings are kick started with a welcome bonus during the first 12 months of your plan.

The amount of bonus depends on how much you are saving.

 

They will also pay you a loyalty bonus every five years and at the end of your plan. The loyalty bonus is dependent on all expected regular savings amounts being received up to when the loyalty bonus payment is due. 

Changing or cancelling the Zurich Visa Plan:

  • You have 30 days from the date of receipt of your policy documents to write to Zurich International and ask them to cancel the policy.

  • You can cancel before you receive any documents by contacting either your financial adviser or Zurich International directly.

  • If your plan is being paid by regular premiums and you decide to cancel, they will refund the regular premiums paid.

  • If you have paid in a single premium and there has been a fall in the value of your investments between the time your policy was issued and when they receive your request to cancel, they will deduct this amount from any refund.

NOTE:

  • A full early encashment results in penalties being applied through surrender charges linked to the term of the policy. In effect, this means that on polices with an original term of more than 15 years, most, if not all, of the first 18 months to 2 years of premiums will be lost upon surrender.

Final Verdict

This is an outdated, costly and inflexible plan. Substantially more cost effective, flexible and less complex options are now available for international professionals wanting to save.

The Hansard Vantage Platinum II is an expensive option. The standard Zurich funds have high ongoing fees when directly compared to a platform. The Zurich Vista Savings Plan can have high charges on early access. You may not get back all of your savings with an Zurich Vista Savings Plan and there are no guarantees that the portfolio will give you the returns you are expecting, but any attempt to take proceeds early in the plans life, or make it paid up, will result in access penalties or higher charges on the remaining invested funds, or both.

 

The Zurich Vista Savings Plan pays high up-front commissions to its distributors and it has a successful network of distributing agents throughout the world excluding the main regulated territories. 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.

Himalaya

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