The revamp of Friends Provident International offshore range continues as it adds a multi-currency and external fund choice to its International Investment bond.
One of the additional features offered by the new version of the bond is a choice of bond denomination currencies - sterling, US dollars and euros. There is also access to a range of more than 50 investment funds from managers including Investec, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Fleming; as well as a choice of internal Isis funds.
The annual management charge for any of the Isis internal funds is 1%. Annual management charges for the external funds range from 0.75%pa to 1.5%pa.
Peter Dodds, head of marketing and business planning at Friends Provident International, said: "The new fund links were chosen to complement the Friends Provident existing range. The funds are available in the currency that they ought to be, so investors are not faced with a conversion charge."
The bond's existing features include a minimum initial investment of £5,000, $7,500 or e7,500. There is a choice of charging structures, for example, a reward version for investors who prefer to pay product charges upfront and a loyalty version for investors who choose to pay charges throughout the bond's lifetime. Enhanced allocations are given for larger investments. There are also penalty free withdrawals of up to 7.5% pa of the total investment.
Other changes under consideration include the launching of an offshore term assurance bond next year. This is subject to underwriting, but should be available globally in multiple currencies.
From the Isle of Man, Friends Provident also has plans to revamp its Elite Investment Account and International Investment Account. This will possibly involve changing its charging structure.
The key market for selling its offshore products will remain the UK. Dodds sees this as an area of importance, especially because of the importance of inheritance tax planning for an increasing proportion of the population.
Other areas Friends Provident might investigate are the Singapore and Taiwan markets where the company may consider selling high net worth products. The company already has a base in Hong Kong.
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