This month our panel of experts puts the spotlight on Standard Life's revamped bond
Standard Life International offered a significant increase in the range of investment options available when it launched its enhanced offshore bond in March.
In addition to the insured funds available through its first International Bond - launched in January 2006 - advisers and their clients can now choose from a wide range of mutual funds, a panel of discretionary fund managers (DFMs), a selection of deposit accounts and a whole of market option.
The International Bond is a whole of life, lump sum payment, non-qualifying, investment linked contract. It is sold and serviced by Standard Life International (SLI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Life Assurance. SLl is based in Dublin.
Minimum payments into the bond are £20,000 for investments in insured funds, mutual funds and deposit accounts, £60,000 for discounted gift plan (DGP) and £100,000 for investments in DFMs and whole of market funds. Some DFMs and deposit account providers may specify their own minimum investment.
Commission can be taken as a one-off payment for each investment made, enabling advisers to take upfront commission. There are also options for fund based commission (trail) and funded initial commission. A mix of commission types can be used for the initial investment and any subsequent increments.
Commenting on the new offshore bond, Murray Drummond, chief executive of Standard Life International, said: "No longer seen as a niche product, offshore bonds are increasing in popularity as an efficient tax planning tool in certain circumstances and as a vehicle for gaining exposure to a wider fund selection than is available through traditional onshore bonds.
"The new bond should be particularly attractive to individuals likely to spend time abroad, those concerned about potential inheritance tax liability or who are likely to exceed their pension lifetime allowance and for companies looking to make their cash work harder."
The minimum age of life assured at entry is three months and the maximum age is 84 years. Death benefits are 100.1% x total surrender value of investments.
Withdrawals can be paid monthly, quarterly, termly (every four months), half-yearly or yearly. Minimum regular withdrawal is £200 per payment and the client must keep at least £10,000 in their bond if they wish it to remain open.
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