Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Generali, RL360, Skandia & Friends Provident 2015 Investment Review

Planning an investment or having issues with your existing investments? Talk to me first - Contact Me

I speak to many clients day to day who have existing investments. Often in the EEA or international market they are investing with one of the major insurance linked platforms such as Generali International (or Generali Pan Europe or Generali Worldwide), RL360 (previously Royal London 360), Skandia (or Royal Skandia or Skandia International), Old Mutual, Hansard, Prudential and/or Friends Provident (or Friends Provident International). They may also hold these kind of platforms through their QROPS or SIPP pension investments.

Many advisers in the offshore market sell these platforms to clients using their insurance licence with no real understanding of how to actually manage the assets within the portfolio. We help many of these clients all over the world by managing the assets and investments within their portfolio's to ensure their investments are appropriate to their long term goals, their attitude to risk and their current financial, tax and/or residency position. We find many clients who have been sold these investments then left to make their own decisions or confused about how their policies actually work.

The key to successful financial planning is to constantly review your approach to the management of your wealth and ask how, why, where and how much you are investing. The investment plans with Generali, RL360, Skandia, Prudential, Hansard, Old Mutual and Friends Provident (or with QROPS / SIPP investments) can be a useful tool for clients but sometimes can lead to missed opportunities or be unsuitable for the client.

We offer potential clients a free review of their investment portfolio. This will show potential new clients the current geographical spread of their investments, the asset class spread and overall risk grading of the current portfolio along with detailing any specific issues with individual fund holdings or overweight / underweight concerns. The kind of information that we provide to our clients on a regular basis. We can also provide advice on alternate investment platforms that may be better suited to your needs if required.

This time of year is perfect to ensure you are positioned correctly. See how your portfolio's current holdings fit with your needs and financial goals.

I don't have my investments with one of these companies! Can I still contact you regarding my portfolio? - Of course, just use the e-mail below or the contact link to the right ----->

Contact me via:

Have a great day! Andrew Lumley-Holmes


  1. Hi Andrew,
    We have a Friends Provident account and live in KL. Just to clarify – are you saying that we can inform Friends Provident to change our portfolio allocation at any time? Will there be charges associated with this?
    Apologies but I have to ask you because I no longer trust the person who sold us this fund due to his poor advice…

  2. Hi Neil,

    - You can change the allocation of your investments within your account at any time.
    - Depending on the type of account you have with Friends Provident and what you want to buy / sell there may be a small charge for changing the investments. Usually if you are buying / selling from their recommended fund list there is no charge.
    - It is possible to make changes directly with Friends Provident, however, you can also move the account over to a new financial adviser / investment manager if you no longer trust the original person.

    If you need further advice I suggest you contact me via and I can talk you through your options in more detail.

    Andrew Lumley-Holmes

  3. I have a Generali Vision investment that i started in 2012. I started investing US$2,000 per month into the plan, however, i find that the value of my account never seems to get much above the amount i have paid into it - this despite the fact that the funds i have invested in seem to be doing reasonably ok. What investments would you suggest i should look at? Or how can i start to get some better returns?

  4. Hi,

    If the underlying investment funds are performing well and its not being reflected in the value of your account it could be due to a number of reasons:

    - Too many switches - a fund switch costs around 0.5 - 2% when it is made, this could be causing a drag on the performance.
    - Payment holidays. If you have stopped or reduced your payments the net charges on the account will increase, this could be causing a loss of performance.

    Without knowing more about your specific circumstances its difficult to recommend a relevant investment portfolio for your account but there are a number of good quality funds available through the Vision investment platform with strong, predictable returns. Check the risk analysis on this blog and work out an appropriate allocation within the available fund range. I suggest if you no longer speak with your adviser that you either go to the Generali website yourself and look at the funds or speak with a new adviser. I would, of course, be happy to help.

    Andrew Lumley-Holmes

  5. I started a royal london 360 PIMS (personal investment management service) (now rl360 PIMS) account with US$250,000 in March 2013. The performance has been pretty average so far (+3% so far) and the charges seem to be taking quite a large part of the money. I seem to be paying 4 or 5 sets of charges. Is there any way for me to check how much the charges should be?

  6. The charges applied on the account will depend on which fee structure you chose at the time you started the plan and how much commission the adviser took so its difficult to say without knowing more information. There will normally be a mix of some or all of the following fee's depending which charging structure you selected:
    - Establishment Fee - charged on the premium invested
    - Percentage Administration Fee - charged on the value of the investment
    - Flat Administration Fee - charged irrelevant of value usually quite low
    Plus incidental fee's that could be charged such as:
    - Investment Fee - an initial or exit charge when buying some funds (usually one-off)
    - Custodian Fee - charged for holding certain funds in the portfolio (usually one-off)
    - Stockbroker Fee - (charged if buying certain shares, bonds, listed funds - usually one-off)
    - Advice Fee - regular percentage fee on investment value added by the financial adviser
    - Discretionary Manager Fee - regular percentage fee on value added by the investment adviser
    - Foreign Exchange Fee - sometimes charged for changing currencies for sale/purchase (usually one-off)

    On a $250k investment there is no reason your total charges should be more than 1% per year for the platform. I would look out for adviser and discretionary manager fee's being added by unscrupulous advisers as i have seen it added without investors being told what it is with charges as high as 2% per year for 'managing' the portfolio.

    Hope this helps, if you need specific advice contact me and we can discuss things further we may be able to re-broke the account and reduce the fee's significantly.

  7. Hi Andrew,

    Me and my wife have a regular saving plan with Generali sold via deVere. We are not happy with the performance and the terms were not explained to us properly. You say in another post you can re-broker such deals. Can you help us? We pay $1500 a month and are 4 years into a 20 year plan.

  8. Thanks for the contact via e-mail. Hopefully we get this sorted out for you both.

  9. Hi Andrew, our case is relatively simple. 2 agents operating in Thailand without an SEC licence (which is mandatory for anyone selling or advising financial services in Thailand) advised and sold RL360 , wrappers for which they received 8% commission, the RL360 contract is for 10 years at 1% per year, plus plus. Both the individuals unbeknown to us at the time have previous records of scamming customers in Sth Africa, Cyprus, Spain and the UK (the company operated was prosecuted by the FSA)
    So an illegal sale. RL360 maintain that they "accept business written by agents provided it is legal"
    Off course when confronted on this issue RL360 totally ignore this fact and threaten legal action for slander and liable (scare tactics) RL360 knew full well that these 2 agents had "form" but ignored that fact for one reason, greed.
    Having spoken to a number of insurance companies in the UK, if they discover rogue agents they simply cancel the policy rather than receiving bad publicity. Because RL360 are registered in the IOM there seems to be no recourse, and looking at the web seem oblivious to bad press.
    We as a group would appreciate any advice you can offer.

  10. Hi,
    From what you have said I guess you have something like the rl360 pims flexible on the 10yr annual percentage administration fee? How long have you had the policy and do you hold any restricted/closed funds or assets in the wrapper?

    We have had success in the past rebroking accounts for clients in similar situations. This either results in an uplift to the clients premium as you would expect to receive when investing in a capital investment bond in the UK or helps by reducing fees down significantly but its really difficult to say whether this would be possible without a little more info as above.

    If it's easier we can have a chat by email or by skype and go from there (just let me know) but I will leave the ball in your court. You can also use the contact me form on the right.

    Regards, Andrew.

  11. I have a Generali Vision Account that i have been paying into for the last 8 years, however, having paid in a litlle over $130,000 its currently worth less than $100,000. What can i do to change this? Should i find something new?

    1. Sue your adviser. There is never ever any benefit whatsoever into owning investments through a wrapper like Generali, the fees will destroy you and you cannot touch your money until the end. Even with all of the illusiory bonuses you end up paying a fortune in fees. Run away, run fast far way from these.

  12. That depends on the situation, if you have maintained all your premiums at the initial level since the start then the loss you are seeing is purely down to poor fund selection by yourself / your financial adviser (at a guess i would say you must have had lots of emerging markets / commodities exposure). If you have stopped paying into your account or have reduced your premiums significantly some of the loss may be down to the effect of policy charges eating into your initial investment. Its difficult to say without more information. I'm happy to take a look at this for you if you want:

  13. I have invested in friends provident funds for 10 years and made nothing
    I am glad I have sinned surrendered a major portion of this product
    I would have sold it all if not for the penalty

    1. Same here invested 10 years and made nothing have since cashed it in and was best decision I have made

  14. One of the biggest problems in the offshore market is advisers not doing fact finds and suitability checks to ensure clients get the right advice or simply 'advising' clients on the best product for the advisers needs (eg. commission!).

    Unfortunately they often are told to go out and sell as many 25 year savings plans as possible. The only way to avoid getting ripped off is to do your due dilligence on both the company and the adviser to ensure the company is regulated for the area they operate in (ie. not providing investment advice using just an insurance licence) and that the adviser themselves is duly qualified.