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A hart of gold

Hartford Lifes gold flexible investment bond is a unit-linked bond providing access to five ready-made portfolios and a self-select range of 37 investment funds from fund management groups.

The Hartford is a US-based company, established in 1810, and provides unit-linked bonds to countries including Brazil and Japan, It is now offering products to the UK from its London and Dublin offices.

This first offering gives investors the choice of five risk-graded portfolios income, rising income, cautious managed, growth and aggressive growth. These portfolios are made up of the 37 funds that investors can choose through the self-select option as an alternative to the portfolios.

The fund range has been screened and selected by Old Broad Street Research, a company which assesses and rates investment funds. From this panel of funds, Hartfords asset allocation partner, Ibbotson Associates, creates the risk-graded portfolios to meet different objectives. These portfolios are rebalanced to the original weighting on an annual basis. Clients who want their IFA to create the portfolio can opt for the self-select option.

One-off or regular withdrawals may be made at any time, up to 5% of the total amount invested a year over 20 years or until the investor has received back his or her original investment. If this limited is exceeded an early withdrawal charge may be applied.

An additional option is the safetynet feature. For an extra 0.5 per cent on top of the 0.85 per cent annual management charge, investors will receive back the amount they invested as regular withdrawals regardless of investment performance, as long as withdrawals do not exceed the 5 per cent a year limit.

This products most attractive feature is its ability to adapt with investors changing needs. However, the safetynet feature applies only where the balanced funds are selected, so its appeal may be limited.


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