Author Topic: RL360, Zurich International, Generali, Friends Provident... Expats beware  (Read 1730 times)

StockBeard

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Several years after I got out of a contract with RL360 (quantum), I'm finding that it is still as hard as ever to find relevant information about ILAS (“Investment-Linked Assurance Scheme”) easily on the net. I'm opening this topic in the hope that it can increase visibility.

RL360, etc... What are ILAS products, and what's the problem with them?
ILAS are an insurance wrapped investment, sold to expatriates all over the world. The main problem with these products is that they are extremely expensive (up to seven times more than similar products in the UK, according to the Telegraph).
The Telegraph have called it a "rip-off [that] cost British expats billions"

Quote
Telegraph Money has seen documents showing that deVere, which claims to be the biggest financial adviser in the world, sold a British man living in Thailand a pension through insurance firm Royal London 360 (now called Rl360) for which set-up charges came in at £45,554 – or 12% of his £378,675 fund.



Who sells ILAS products:
These products are sold by insurance companies, including:
Zurich International, Generali International, Friends Provident, Royal Skandia (which recently changed its name to Old Mutual), Standard Life, RL360 (formerly known as Royal London 360), and AXA.

Big names in Hong Kong also include AIA, HSBC Life, Manulife, Prudential, Sun Life, FWD Life, Ageas, Aviva, MassMutual, and Ace Life.

(source)

These companies in general do not sell the product directly, instead it is sold to individual investors by "offshore independent financial advisers", a third party. A full list of these companies would be pointless, what's important is to be able to recognize an ILAS when someone tries to sell it to you.

Why do we need to spread the word?
* British expats are of course not the only ones who fall prey to these products, all expats are at risk. There are hundreds of millions of expats around the world
* I have first hand confirmation that the insurance firms behind these products are actively trying to remove negative reviews or comments about their products.

I have been approached by a financial advisor who suggests me to subscribe to an ILAS, is it a good deal?
Most likely no. See the resources below for more details.

I subscribed to an ILAS and realized it's too expensive, what do I do?
First of all, it is very likely that leaving this insurance as soon as possible is your best move. See the resources below for details. Now, there are ways to reduce the financial damage of leaving the contract early (e.g. by making monthly withdrawals instead of leaving the contract instantly), but you will lose money if you leave, and you will lose money if you stay. You have to calculate which one will make you lose the least money, some tools linked in the resources below might help.

It is likely that you cannot take any legal action to get your money back. Everywhere I asked, the answer I get is that these products are legal, just very expensive. If I find more info on that I'll put it there.

In the meantime you can sign the petition on change .org to bring visibility to this issue.

Resources
Stop offshore investment scams holding expatriates' money hostage - a petition on Change.org against these insurance wrappers, specifically directed at  Generali, Friends Provident, Zurich International, Skandia, RL360 and Aviva

http://therapeofhongkong.com, "A Blog Dedicated to Seeking Justice for the Victims of Insurance-Wrapped Investment Scams". Lots of Hong Kong specific information.

http://andrewhallam.com/, an expat teacher who has been regularly calling out ILAS companies such as Friend Provident on his blog. His book "The global expatriate's guide to investing" is also a great resource and he gives precise alternate investment suggestions for expats.

The Telegraph - Article from 2015 that exposes this investment scheme as a "rip-off investment". Specifically calls out RL360, Old Mutual, and DeVere

Various discussions on the Motley fool forum, about possibilities of legal action against the insurance companies selling these products:
RL 360
Generali Vision

http://www.the-great-expat-financial-planning-ripoff.com/ Not that much information on the site itself, they sell an ebook, which I purchased. It gives some good information, but nothing that you won't find on the Internet, and for a similar price I feel Andrew Hallam's book above covers much more. But still relevant.

On MMM:
Royal London 360 - I dun goofed - An in depth conversation from people who have been sold the product, how they got out, etc... Tools are being shared to measure the actual prices of these investment schemes, etc...

Please, if you have more details or information on these products, feel free to share it here. Try to keep it civilized as angry posts will not help anyone :)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 01:52:20 PM by wololo »

MDM

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Re: RL360, Zurich International, Generali, Friends Provident... Expats beware
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2016, 09:52:41 PM »
Thanks for your work to help and inform others.

P0IS0N

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Re: RL360, Zurich International, Generali, Friends Provident... Expats beware
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2016, 10:44:09 PM »
I have to thank RL360 and the financial advisor who offered it to me. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have discovered this forum and learn about passive investing, finally deciding to go for that.
Also, the financial advisor who tried to sell me RL360 Quantum got to hear my opinion after I got myself educated about passive investing and he supported me to go my own way and even recommended Interactive Brokers. He and his wife are now my friends.

Little Bird

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I'm with Poison, however, I'm not sure if I'm ready to remain friends with my "advisor"... But really only have myself to blame.
Excited for the future!!