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Bristol & West go for family affair

BRISTOL & WEST

Family Protected Savings Plan

Type:
Capital-protected unit-linked endowment

Aim:
Growth linked to the performance of the FTSE 100, S&P 500, Nikkei 225 and Swiss Market Index

Minimum sum assured/premium investment:
£2,250/£25 a month

Term:
10 years

Return:
Up to 85% growth in the indices
Guarantee:
Original capital returned in full at end of term regardless of performance of indices

Closing date:
March 15, 2004

Commission:
£80

Tel: 0845 111 0011

Bristol & West has teamed up with Family Assurance to establish the Family protected savings plan, a capital-protected unit-linked endowment linked to the performance of four stockmarket indices.

Capital Trust Financial Management partner Bruce MacFarlane is irritated by the marketing literature. He says: “The whole contract seems to be aimed at the lower end of the savings market, in terms of those they are trying to get to sell and to buy the contract. The assertion in the marketing document that the plan pays &#39£80 up-front commission &#45 that&#39s £320 for a family of four&#39 would seem to suggest they think the people they are asking to recommend the product can&#39t even count.”

MacFarlane feels that this product will not appeal to IFAs and their clients, despite the tax privileges available to Friendly Societies that benefit investors who want to save a small amount of money on a regular basis. He explains: “I think most people will see through the marketing hype associated with the product and realise the returns are likely to be very unexciting over the 10-year investment term.”

Warming to his subject, MacFarlane says there is little in this product that would make me want to recommend it to my clients. He adds: “The product is expensive and even if the stockmarket indices to which the contract is linked perform well, investors will only receive 85 per cent of the average growth. Furthermore, one of the greatest benefits of longer-term regular savings &#45 pound cost averaging &#45 will not apply to this product.”

Regular savings Isas are favoured by MacFarlane as a better alternative to this product. For children, he suggests a regular savings unit trust such as Invesco&#39s Rupert the Bear, which he says should provide higher returns over 10 years.

BROKER RATINGS

Suitability to market: Poor
Investment strategy: Poor
Charges: Poor
Adviser remuneration: Poor

Overall 3/10

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