Generali Worldwide Choice Account

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Generali Worldwide Choice Account

Generali Worldwide is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Generali Group.  Founded on the strength of this international presence and wide-ranging expertise, Generali Worldwide specialises in offering life-insurance-based wealth management and employee benefit solutions to a global audience, including multi-national organisations, international expatriates and local resident populations in licensed territories.

The company’s head office is based in Guernsey, a premier international financial centre, and is a Registered Insurer under the Insurance Business (Bailiwick of Guernsey) law, 2002 (as amended).  It is also an authorised insurer in the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Jersey and Singapore.

Generali offers a range of individual unit-linked regular and single premium-based savings, retirement and investment plans and an open-architecture portfolio bond along with group retirement and savings products, group life and disability and healthcare products.

Overview

Choice, from Generali Worldwide is a single premium unit linked, life assurance plan. This means there are a limited range of investment options in the funds which Generali has selected for international investors. 

These plans are sometimes known as baby bonds because they enable clients with relatively small amounts (the currency equivalent of £20,000) to invest on a tax-efficient international platform.

The charges within this type of product type are very high.  These combine with a lock-in period where it is punitive to access your money if required. 

Whilst a traditional commission-based salesperson may well direct you to this type of investment plan, the world has moved on and there are now substantially more cost effective, more flexible and arguably better-performing offshore investment products available to the first time international investor. 

Lower charges with wider, more cost effective investment options combined with no lock-in periods mean higher returns are potentially available via other forms of investment vehicle. 

Generali Worldwide Choice Plan Key Features  

Access to around 150 funds from Generali some of the world’s leading Fund Managers – offering a reasonable choice of investments, although the underlying annual management fees can be expensive and certainly higher than if accessing the fund manager directly. The funds are risk rated and cover all of the major markets and asset classes and Generali produces a comprehensive guide on the funds available called the International Fund Selection.

Plan holders maybe invested in a maximum of 20 funds at anyone time.

Choice of Currencies - Choice offers investing in 4 different currencies ( USD, EURO, GBP and YEN); providing some freedom in choosing the most suitable currency depending on what you are earning as an expat, or favoring the currency of the country of your origin.

Eligibility – Generali Personal Portfolio Bond is a whole of life, life assurance contract issued by Generali Worldwide. It is available to most international investors outside of the main regulated territories such as the UK, the USA and Australia.

Charges: high and affected by adviser commissions - see the FAQ for a full break down of the potentially runious charges.

WARNING - Early Surrender Penalty:

If the Plan is fully surrendered, early discontinuance charges may be deducted from the Investment Value. This charge will be equal to any establishment charges that would have been deducted had you not surrendered your plan.

The pros

  • Popular expat investment plan
  • Preferred choice of expat financial advisers
  • Strong brand of parent company

The cons

  • Risk of hidden commission
  • Potentially inflexible
  • Commonly mis-used
FAQs
What are the fees and charges on the Generali Choice Account?

The full fees and charges oyu've been exposed to if you have a Generali Worldwide Choice Account may be too opaque to fathom without a deep dive and an X-Ray Review™.  All too often we find what people hav epaid and what they think they have paid are very different...

Establishment Charge:
 
The establishment charge is a percentage of each investment amount paid and amounts to 0.375% of the initial investment amount contributed, deducted from units quarterly in arrears (i.e. 1.5% p.a.) and payable for the first five years following allocation.

Establishment Charges will also apply in respect of additional investment amounts.
 
Investment Management Charge:
 
Levied at 1% per annum on the units allocated
 
Fund Management Charges:
 
0.5.% to 3% depending on the funds chosen.
 
Bid / Offer Spread:
 
0% to 2%


Adviser charges:

Additionally there may be an adviser charge to manage the portfolio, this typically can be between 1 and 1.5% per annum depending on the chosen advisers charging structure and service provided.

Who can take out a Choice Account from Generali?

An individual who is aged between 19 next birthday and 75 next birthday may take out the Choice account. A company or a trust may also take out a Choice account.

As the Planholder you may nominate one or more Beneciaries to receive the Death Benefit payable on the death of the relevant Life Assured. A Beneficiary nomination may be made when a Plan is taken out or at any time during the life of a Plan.

As Planholder, you may also assign your Plan to a third party.

Notice of any such Assignment must be sent to Generali Worldwide.

What is the life assurance benefit available with Generali's Choice Account?

Plans are available on a single life, joint life or multiple lives basis. The maximum number of Lives Assured under a Plan is six.

The minimum age at outset for any Life Assured is 19 next birthday.

The maximum age at outset for a Life Assured is 75 next birthday.

For “Joint Life, First Death” cases, this requirement relates to the older Life Assured.

For “Multiple Lives, Last Survivor” cases, this relates to the youngest Life Assured.

The Death Benefit will be paid out following our receipt of proper notification of the Relevant Death, being:

For a “Single Life” Plan – the death of the only Life Assured;
For a “Joint Life First Death” Plan – the death of the rst of the two Lives Assured to die;
For a “Multiple Lives Last Survivor” Plan – the death of the last surviving of the, two or more, Lives Assured.

Death Benefit:

As a Planholder you may, at outset or at any time during the life of your Plan, nominate one or more Beneficiaries to receive the Death Benefit.

If the Relevant Death occurs before your Plan has been fully surrendered we will pay the Death Benefit.

The amount of the Death Benefit will normally be 101% of the Investment Value (which is 101% of the total Units held multiplied by the available Bid Price for each selected Fund).

On settlement of the claim for Death Benedit, the Plan will terminate and all Generali's liabilities under that Plan will cease.

What are the full and partial surrender options with the Choice?

A Plan, or part of a Plan or one or more specific Policies within a Plan, may be surrendered at any time.

Full Surrender

The Surrender Value of a Plan is the current Investment Value less any pro rata investment management charges due, any applicable early discontinuance charges and any applicable third party charges.

Proceeds will usually be remitted within 15 Business Days of receipt of the proper written request but may take longer if, for example, the next dealing date of one or more Funds in which Units are held is outside this timeframe (e.g. as in the case of monthly priced Funds).

In exceptional circumstances, such as extreme stock market conditions, or to protect the interests of other Planholders, payments from a Plan may be delayed by Generali Worldwide.

Partial Surrenders:

A Plan may be partially surrendered at any time following receipt of written instructions from you, subject to a minimum amount of a partial surrender payment of USD 1,350/ GBP 750/ EUR 1,125/ HKD 11,250/ JPY 150,000 and provided the Investment Value of the Plan after the partial surrender does not fall below 10% of all Investment Amounts paid.

Partial surrenders are free of surrender charges and penalties; establishment charges will continue to apply to the Investment Amounts received.

Customer reviews
Sold a pup

I bought in to the Choice Account because I thought it was flexible. I was told that I could get money out if I needed to (partial surrender or whatever) but I WASN'T told that if I DID that the charges I'd pay would still be linked to the amount I invested at the outset...ended up being a very expensive lesson in being careful who you trust and reading the small print.

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Generali Worldwide Choice Account

The Generali Choice Plan has been widely marketed to expatriates over many years.  In our opinion, although this product ranks reasonably within its direct peer group (Investment-linked Assurance Scheme or ILAS), the entire product set is now superseded by better options.

If you already have a Generali Choice Account we recommend you have a free, no obligation X-Ray Review™  to give you the information you need to make a decision.

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Kristian Petersson

“With this sort of service you also expect to be paying very high fees, but it’s just not the case. I would definitely recommend AES.”

Jake van den Dries

“In the short time that I’ve been using AES I’ve made nearly ten thousand pounds and couldn’t be happier!”

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