RL360 Paragon Savings Plan

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

RL360 Insurance Company Paragon Savings Plan

RL360 is based in the Isle of Man, conducting business in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the UK. RL360 is part of the RL360 Group, which has 60,000 policyholders, in 170 countries in excess of $10 billion in assets under management and 300 staff.

It is no longer part of Royal London (the UK group) separating from it several years ago.

RL360 provides offshore savings, protection and investment products for expats and local nationals around the world.

The RL360 Paragon plan is a contractual offshore regular savings plan.

Overview

RL360 is based in the Isle of Man which is generally held to be a secure and well-regulated jurisdiction independent of the UK (making it a popular offshore financial hub).

Policyholders are protected by the Isle of Man Compensation of Policyholders protection scheme. However, this does not necessarily protect individual investors from poorly suited products.

RL360 products are designed as long term international investment products and are not subject to any ongoing tax in the Isle of Man.

The minimum to invest in Paragon is GBP 100 per month with over 100 funds to chose from.

Plan holders are not required to invest in mirror funds. The AMC of the underlying fund still stands (normally 1%-2% and there can be a bid/offer spread of up to 7%...

RL360 claims the, “unique bonus structure means Paragon tends to come into its own after 10 years or so – making it suitable for clients who have the insight and ambition to look beyond 5-year returns”.

The truth is that the Paragon is highly unlikely to make any investor any money in the first 10 years because of high commissions paid to advisers who sell the plan and passed on to the investor.

Surrender charges are also horrific.

As an example the policy holder can pay up to pay 54% of whatever they put in for the first 4 years if they want to exit.  However, even if you don’t surrender, these initial or establishment charges are taken anyway to cover sales costs. In this example, the 54% is taken over the first 5 years.

The pros

  • Large, expanding life company
  • 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
  • Grossly expensive way to invest
  • Easily and often mis-represented at the point of sale
FAQs
What are the surrender charges if I want to get out of my RL360 Paragon savings plan?

Surrender charges are frankly horrific.

For example, the policy holder can pay up to 54% of whatever they put in for the first 4 years if they want to exit.

However, even if you don’t surrender, these initial or establishment charges are taken anyway to cover sales costs. In this example, the 54% is taken over the first 5 years.

Seek advice if you're thinking about surrendering or cashing in your plan so you understand all your options and the consequences of each.

What are the charges on the RL360 Paragon?

Charges will depend on the type of plan you take out from RL360 as they offer different charging structures largely linked to the amount of commission or earnings being taken by the third party salesman or adviser, but here are some of the key charges.

Establishment charge: an establishment charge will be deducted by cancelling a percentage of the initial units on each policy anniversary for the first 5 years.

The rates at which initial units are cancelled are; 80% year one, 70% year two, 60% year three, 50% year four, all remaining units taken year five.

Premium charge: deducted from the accumulation units and is 7% of each premium paid.

Contract charge: is an on-going charge of 0.375% of the current fund value and is deducted on the quarterly anniversary from accumulation units.

Policy fee: this is taken on the quarterly anniversary from the accumulation unit balance. GBP 10.5, EUR 15.75, USD 21.

Additional charges: the funds that are held within your policy will be subject to an annual management charge, typically between 0.5% and 2%.

In addition, you may appoint an investment adviser, who will charge a fee of around 1%.

Are there early encashment charges?

A full encashment results in penalties being applied through surrender charges linked to the term of the policy.

In effect, this means that with polices with an original term of more than 15 years most, if not all, of the first 18 months - 2 years premiums will be lost upon surrender.

It is important to be aware that the RL360 Paragon is a long term savings plan, if you decided to cancel the plan early you could lose a large proportion of the money you have saved.

In today’s market place, there is absolutely no reason to lock yourself in to a contractual savings plan like this.

Circumstances change, unforeseen events occur, and you may need to access your hard-earned savings.

This, in our view, should be able to be done penalty free.

What are the investment choices and minimum investment amounts?

You choose from over 100 risk-rated funds covering all the major world markets and investment classes.

The funds section contains performance statistics which are updated monthly, fund prices which are updated daily and Fund Fact Sheets on each fund.

Multi-currency: GBP, USD, EURO. Contract term = 5 to 25 years.

Minimums = GBP: 100 monthly, 300 quarterly, 600 half-yearly, 1,000 yearly. EURO: 150 monthly, 450 quarterly, 900 half-yearly, 1,500 yearly. USD: 200 monthly, 600 quarterly, 1,200 half-yearly, 2,000 yearly.

Customer reviews
I'm resentful I ever got talked into believing RL360 was a trustworthy outfit.

I was told this was a FLEXIBLE savings scheme. Right! I lost my job and wanted to get some money out after just 2 years - guess what - computer said no. I resigned myself to paying in the minimum a month and got clobbered in fees. In the end I sacked it off as a bad job and wrote most of my money off. An expensive lesson learned.

I don't know who I am angriest at

 - myself for being sold to, RL360 for creating what's effectively a way to siphon money from unsuspecting expats or the so-called adviser who legged it with my cash…never to be seen again.

Last I heard he was in Thailand so if you're in Thailand watch out for a shiny suit flogging this rubbish

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of RL360 Insurance Company Paragon Savings Plan

In our opinion, the contents of this glossy box is very disappointing.  Paragon is very expensive, inflexible and is easily misrepresented at the point of sale. Anyone considering investing in an RL360 Paragon should read and understand the terms and conditions in great detail.  Even then, we would not recommend it. 

A little like a ring bound road map the type of product should be consigned to history…

If you already have the Paragon from RL360, 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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