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Offshore sales get bond boost

Offshore investment business surged by 20 per cent to £199m in annual premium equivalent in the first quarter of this year from £165m for the same period last year.

Single-premium business saw the biggest increase, up by 30 per cent to £1.4bn from £1.07bn, according to the Association of International Life Offices.

Total new regular-premium business rose by 1.8 per cent to £60m from £58.5m, according to the Ailo figures which cover over 30 companies across seven offshore jurisdictions.

Ailo says the increase in single-premium business primarily relates to growth in personalised bonds linking to external funds for investors wanting the flexibility to invest in funds not available in the UK, such as hedge funds. It also says that awareness of tax benefits for expatriate investors and for those people using inheritance tax trusts has grown.

Chief executive Stuart Fairclough says: “With rises in stockmarkets over 2003 and early 2004, investor confidence is returning and this is reflected particularly in the growth of single-premium bonds. Additionally, advisers are using offshore investments as a solution to everyday financial planning situations.

“There is no mistaking this trend. Offshore is quite definitely on the rise and Ailo is working with advisers around the world to help sustain this growth. We have launched a number of initiatives to help advisers and their clients become more familiar with the offshore market.”

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