Hansard International Vantage Savings Plan

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Review summary

Hansard International Vantage Savings Plan

The Hansard Regular Premium Vantage savings plan is a regular contribution unit-linked contract designed for savings and retirement benefit planning from Hansard International and Hansard Europe.

Hansard International is part of the global Hansard Group which has been providing life assurance and investment solutions since 1987.  Hansard now has over GBP 1.06 billion of assets under administration and provide servicing for over 40,000 clients across the globe. From their base in the Isle of Man, Hansard provides a range of life assurance products for internationally based individuals, trustees and companies.

Vantage is an offshore regular savings plan which binds you to save an agreed amount on a regular basis for a pre-agreed number of years. This type of offshore savings plan should never be incepted unless you fully intend to contribute for the entire term agreed.  Here is why.

Overview

Vantage is a regular premium, whole of life, life assurance contract issued by Hansard.  If a Hansard Vantage savings plan is surrendered within its original initial allocation period it will have a nil surrender value – in effect suffering a 100% surrender charge. Once the Hansard Vantage regular savings plan has completed the initial allocation period, if the policy is surrendered in part or in full, then the initial units purchased will be subject to a surrender charge. The charge is based on all the charges which Hansard would collect during the remaining years of the premium term. In effect this means that most, if not indeed all of the first 18 months – 2 years premiums are lost upon surrender.

There are a variety of fees and charges that apply to the plan including the Annual Management Charge, Service Charge, Switching Charge and Additional Unit Allocation Statement: all these will impact on the return you receive from the plan

It is relatively easy for this endowment type of regular savings plan to be mis-represented.  The main area of contention is often to do with a lack of perceived flexibility and difficult to understand charging structures.  However, clients are often also unaware that upon early full encashment most, if not all, of the first 18 months – 2 years premiums are lost through surrender charges.

Simply put, this entire family of regular savings plan (known as Maximum Investment Plans) has now been superseded by other better options.

A little like typewriters being replaced by super-fast computers, the outdated construction of this plan makes it a highly unattractive for international investors who wish to maximise their return.

The pros

  • Size and administrative capability
  • Superficially highly attractive
  • Potential for better than bank rate return if all contributions are made throughout the term
  • Lack of flexibility may encourage discipline of saving

The cons

  • Inflexible
  • Opaque and complex charging structure
  • Expensive way to invest
  • Easily mis-represented at the point of sale
FAQs
What are the charges for the Hansard Vantage savings account?

Annual Management Charge: 1.5% per year for accumulator and initial units (reflected in the quoted unit price).

Initial units are subject to an additional charge of 5.5% per year (reflected in the quoted unit price).

Service Charge: GBP 7.25 per month GBP 12.25 per month for paid-up contracts.

Switching charge per unit fund. All currently free online.

GBP 45 per manual unit fund switch.

In the early years of the contract, charges are carried forward, without interest, until there are sufficient accumulator units to meet them.

Can I surrender my Hansard Vantage or withdraw my money?

On early withdrawal from, or full surrender of a Vantage contract after payment of the first two years’ contributions, the appropriate number of accumulator units are surrendered at their full unit value using the applicable unit bid prices.

In effect this means that most, if not indeed all of the first 2 years premiums are lost upon surrender.

Seek professional advice from a fiduciary before making a decision about what to do.

What's the investment choice and is the Hansard Vantage multi currency?

Units are allocated to a choice of around 180 unit funds from Hansard International’s Series 2 unit fund range.

These are mirror funds from around 30 Asset Managers covering 20 different asset/sector types.

When the contract is taken out, the contract can be linked to a maximum of 20 different unit funds.

Thereafter, there is no maximum.

The contract is available in most major currencies.

Contract holders may change the currency denomination of the contract at any time, at the exchange rate then prevailing.

What are mirror funds?

A mirror fund is a type of mutual fund, typically run by a life insurance company, that enables an investor to access another company's mutual fund through their insurance policies.

These types of funds usually involve extra fees and charges.

Customer reviews
How are products like these allowed?

I signed up thinking I was saving for the long-term…I didn't want to go home with nothing to show from my time in Dubai and I knoew myself well enough which is why I agreed to save long and hard. Otherwise I'd of spent the money!

But when my contract was up I didn't want to stay and wanted my money - I was told it was worth way less than on my statement? I didn't get it? But it's all down to accessing it early. Total ripoff. I know I'm not the only one who feels like this. Thanks for letting me have my say!

Rant over

If you want a regular savings policy stick your money in a bank account

You won't earn anything on it but at least you won't lose money. That's my advice!

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Hansard International Vantage Savings Plan

Substantially more cost effective, more flexible and less complex options are now available for discerning investors.

If you already hold a Hansard savings plan and it is worth £50,000 or more, we recommend you have a free, no obligation X-Ray Review™ conducted to give you the information you need to make a decision on the best way forward.

“Thank you AES International for helping me and my family with your low cost no-nonsense approach. It is refreshing!”

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!”

Jackie Pym

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