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REVIEW SUMMARY

Utmost International Choice (formerly known as Generali Choice Account)

Guernsey-based Generali Worldwide has officially been named Utmost International (Utmost International have completed 11 acquisitions over 5 years). 

Utmost International is a life assurance group that provides solutions designed to preserve clients’ assets. Headquartered in London, they operate from eight offices around the world with life insurance entities based in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Guernsey. Their principal business lines are Utmost Wealth Solutions and Utmost Corporate Solutions. 

The Choice is offered by Utmost Wealth Solutions. Utmost Wealth Solutions provides insurance-based solutions aimed at high-net-worth individuals who want to sustain and pass on their wealth. Wealth solutions is essentially their core business. 

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Utmost International's Choice is a single contribution, whole of life, investment-linked insurance scheme.

The plan is designed to pay a death benefit of 101% of the investment value of the plan following the death of the relevant life assured.

Features of the Choice include:

  • Utmost says that it allows you to select from a wide range of investment options corresponding to some of the world’s leading investment funds.
  • The Plan currency can be denominated in US Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar or the Japanese Yen.
  • Utmost allows for a regular withdrawal facility in the Choice plan.
  • A death benefit of 101% of the value of the plan is provided.
  • The plan allows for partial or full surrender.
  • The Choice also allows you to pay a one-off single premium and choose to pay additional single premiums on an ad hoc basis.
  • Utmost claims to provide security through Guernsey’s ‘policyholder protection regime’.
  • The value of your plan is not guaranteed and can go down as well as up. The return and value of your plan will be calculated by Utmost with reference to the performance and value of the underlying funds and may be lower than the return on the underlying funds due to plan charges and market fluctuations.

Investment options:

  • Utmost International claims that the Choice plan gives you the ability to choose from a wide range of investment options, with the ability to tailor your choices to suit your individual circumstances and attitude to risk.
  • At plan commencement, you can select investment options corresponding to underlying funds. Initially, you can select up to ten investment options but these can be changed throughout the life of your plan by use of the switch option.
  • For each investment option selected, you will be allocated sub-fund units corresponding to units in the underlying fund, which represents your investment option. Each of your investment options has a corresponding underlying fund.
  • Utmost Worldwide will purchase or sell units in the underlying fund corresponding to your investment option. As a result, Utmost will allocate or de-allocate sub-fund units of investment options to your plan accordingly.
  • The ownership of the units in the underlying fund resides with Utmost at all times. You are not investing in the underlying funds and you do not have any rights or ownership over these underlying investments.
  • For each unit of an underlying fund purchased or sold, Utmost will allocate or de-allocate a sub-fund unit of investment options corresponding to the underlying fund to/from your plan.

For details of the investment options available under Choice, please refer to the investment options guide attached in the documents section of this review.

Fees and charges:

  • In addition to any fees and charges levied by Utmost International at plan level, the bid/offer spread and annual management charges of the underlying funds will be incurred.
  • The annual management charge of the underlying funds is in the range of 0.5% to 3% p.a. of the net asset value.
  • The maximum bid/offer spread is 5.75% of the underlying fund which, after applying discounts (if any) negotiated by Utmost International, is substantially reduced to a maximum of 2% and a minimum of 0%.
  • Annual performance fees (if applicable), may also be applied at the underlying fund level.
  • In addition, other charges may apply to underlying funds. Please note that the fees and charges at the underlying fund level will be reflected in the “total expense ratio” of the fund which is available from a financial adviser on request.
  • Fund overheads and advisory service fees (advisory service fees of up to 0.75% per annum) are deducted from underlying funds internally managed by Utmost International and reflected in the relevant unit prices.

Fees and charges (if applicable) at underlying fund level may vary and the affected planholders need to be given a written notice in case of any variation. 

NOTE:

We would recommend reading the expert verdict section of this review before making a decision.

Additionally, here's a free guide that can help you achieve better results. In this guide, you'll learn:

  • Academic evidence only shared with a select few firms across the world
  • A real-life example of why you should never try to outguess the market
  • Why a fund's past performance is not enough to predict future returns
  • Why you need to focus on what you can control and why this leads to a better investment experience
  • Why you should accept the markets for what they are
  • What can impact behaviour and make people seek instant gratification

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The Pros

> Popular investment plan

The Cons

> Updated plans available to the market
> High surrender penalties, if still within the establishment period
What are the investment risks in the Choice plan?
  • Each underlying fund is subject to investment risks e.g. market, interest rate and exchange rate fluctuations.
  • The value of investment options and their performance may go up and down.
  • Each investment option will have different features and risk profile and some may be of high risk.
  • We would recommend speaking with a regulated financial planner to chose a product that best suits your needs.
Can I switch my investment options and is there a switch fee?

As a planholder, Utmost allows you to switch your investment options.

Switches out of investment options corresponding to underlying funds are processed using the next available bid price, whereas switches into investment options corresponding to underlying funds are processed using the next available offer price.

Utmost International does not currently charge a plan switch fee.

What is Utmost Wealth Solutions?

Utmost Wealth Solutions is the trading name used by Utmost Worldwide Limited and a number of Utmost companies.

They all come under Utmost Group of Companies.

Can Utmost withdraw an investment option?

Utmost reserves the right to withdraw the availability of any investment option and associated underlying fund from the investment options available.

Fund managers of underlying funds can also withdraw availability of their underlying funds at their discretion.

Utmost will then have to withdraw the availability of the corresponding investment option.

Withdrawal of an investment option and associated underlying fund can either be applicable to future unit holdings only (in which case existing sub-fund unit holdings can continue to be held) or to both future and existing holdings (in which case existing sub-fund unit holdings must be switched to another investment option).

Utmost will then give written notice to all affected planholders. As part of this notice, Utmost will outline clearly to planholders their options in terms of their existing exposure to the withdrawn investment option and future premium allocation, corresponding to the withdrawn investment option.

The options available will reflect the particular circumstances. If no switching instruction or new allocation instruction is received from the planholder before the date specified in the notice, Utmost will switch the existing investment option holdings and redirect their future premium allocations to the designated investment options stated in the notice free of charge.

The period of written notice given will be one month’s advance notice or such other period of notice in compliance with the relevant regulatory requirements.

Have you used Utmost International's Choice (formerly known as Generali Choice Account) before?

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Expert assessment of Utmost International's Choice (formerly known as Generali Choice Account)

Utmost International's Choice (formerly known as Generali Choice Account) has been widely marketed to senior international professionals 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 an Utmost International Choice Plan (formerly known as Generali Choice Account), and it is worth £250,000 or more, we strongly recommend you seek a Second Opinion to ensure you are on track to get and keep the life you want.

GET A SECOND OPINION

Utmost International - Choice Brochure

Utmost International - Choice Investment Options Guide

Utmost International - Choice International Fund Performance

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