Zurich International Vista Savings Plan

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Zurich International Vista Savings Plan

Zurich International Life is part of the Zurich Insurance Group, offering life insurance and investment and protection solutions throughout the world. 

Operating in international markets around the globe for many years, Zurich Insurance Group employs around 60,000 people in 170 countries.

Zurich International provides individual savings, investment and protection products, and has established branches in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

Overview

Zurich International Vista Savings Plan

The Zurich Vista savings plan has been widely marketed to expatriates over many years. 

In our opinion, although this product is better than some of its competitors, it's now been superseded by other, lower cost, higher returning options.

Like London’s black cabs, which are now beaten on price, availability and ease of use by Uber – the now outdated construction of this Zurich savings plan makes it an unattractive option for the international investor who wants to maximise their returns.

Our expert, Chartered advisory team can demonstrate how a number of more cost effective and flexible options should be considered.

Talk to us if you want to find out more – no cost, no obligation, just Chartered financial advice.

Zurich International Vista Savings Plan Key Facts

Vista is an international, unit-linked, life insurance policy.

The policy is designed to be held for the medium to long term, and is subject to minimum premium levels.

Investment Choice – You can select from a range of around 170 funds from the biggest names in global fund management. However they are MIRROR funds, which means additional expense .

Policy Currency - The Zurich Vista Plan can be denominated in USD, GBP, EUR, HKD, SGD, JPY, CHF, AUD.

Policy Term – 5 years to 25 years depending which is selected.

Minimum Premiums – £200 Monthly, £600 Quarterly, £1,200 Half-yearly, £2,400 Yearly (or currency equivalent)

Charges - These will depend on the amount of commission taken by a third party salesman or adviser.  See our FAQ for a full breakdown of all fees and charges levied.

Early encashment - A full early encashment results in penalties being applied through surrender charges linked to the term of the policy.  In effect, this means that on polices with an original term of more than 15 years most, if not all, of the first 18 months to 2 years of premiums will be lost upon surrender.

Here's an article about the financial impact of these Zurich International Vista early encashment penalties.

Learn more from our deep dive into Zurich International's Vista...

The pros

  • Established brand name
  • 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
I want to get out of my Zurich Vista savings plan. Will I pay a penalty?

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

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

What's the investment choice and is the Vista multi currency?

You can select from a range of around 170 funds from the biggest names in global fund management.

However they are MIRROR funds, which means additional expense.

The Zurich Vista Plan can be denominated in USD, GBP, EUR, HKD, SGD, JPY, CHF, AUD, and you can choose a term from 5 years to 25 years.

Minimum premiums are as follows: £200 Monthly, £600 Quarterly, £1,200 Half-yearly, £2,400 Yearly (or currency equivalent).

What are the main issues with the Zurich Vista savings plan?

Zurich Vista is recommended by traditional direct salespeople (IFAs) as an ideal savings product for expats who want to save to reach a long-term financial goal. 

It can also be white labelled (that is: it is a product that other financial institutions can sell with their own logo on, their own product literature relating to the product etc.) 

Zurich Vista is often sold by banks as well. 

If your policy is surrendered early you may get back substantially less than you actually invested, and in the first 18 months you will get nothing back.

As it is a unit linked regular savings plan, Zurich Vista is susceptible to market risks.

Effective management of the investment strategy and expert guidance of an investment adviser may add considerable mileage to the growth in fund values of the plan.

It is not intended as a short-term plan. You should not invest in such a plan if you may need the money for short-term financial goals.

You should not commit to saving a high monthly premium if you are unsure whether you will maintain that level of premium for the duration of the plan, as fees will depend on your initially agreed premium.

You should not commit to saving for a term longer than you realistically expect to be able to save for.

These all sound fairly obvious - but you'll be astounded at some of the premiums and terms people are persuaded to sign up for...often to their detriment.

What are the fees and charges on a Zurich Vista savings plan?

Charges will depend on the amount of commission taken by a third party salesman or adviser.

A charge of 4% each year of the value of the initial units, deducted monthly will be deducted from the value of the initial units held within your policy.

This charge will be deducted throughout the premium term or 25 years if later.

Policy fee: a monthly policy fee of £5.50 will be deducted in arrears from the policy.

Yearly management charge: this charge is based on the policy value and will be deducted on a monthly basis at a rate of 1% each year.

The monthly charge taken is 0.0833% x current policy value.

Fund investment adviser charge – should you appoint a fund investment adviser, this will be between 1% and 1.5%.

Underlying fund charges - the fund charges are made by the fund managers and include (but are not limited to) annual management charge, performance fee, bid-offer spread and/or switching fee.

These can be between 0.5% and 3%.

Mirror fund charge – in addition, Zurich charges 0.75% a year on the net asset value of the underlying fund, for the provision of the mirror.

Why would you pay this when you can do direct!

Customer reviews
I was totally screwed over.

I absolutely fell for the salespatter hook line and stinker! Save as MUCH as you possibly can now, you can always reduce that if you ever need to - but just think, if you put EVERYTHING in now how much it will be worth when you go back to the UK.

But of course...the adviser got his commission based on what I signed up to save in the early months. I don't know where he is now, but I can tell you he did alright out of me.

2 stars AES? Seriously - this is 0 star review…

I KNOW you know how badly people have been burned by the Vista because I've spoken to you about my own. I think you should downgrade it to be a good red flag warning to other readers

In real terms I ended up paying 9% - NINE percent - on the early contributions

No one will ever make money paying 9% in charges. Which is why I gave the Vista up as a bad job pretty quickly. You live and you learn.

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Zurich International Vista Savings Plan

This is an out-dated, expensive and inflexible plan.  Much better options exist.

If you already have a Zurich Vista savings plan from Zurich International, and it is worth £50,000 or more, we recommend you have a free, no obligation X-Ray Review™ to give you the essential information you need about the best way forward for your plan and your financial future.

“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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