Clements says: “The bond has a competitive charging stucture. The
multi manager fund of funds risk-graded managed portfolios are a
good method of diversifying investments and spreading risk.”
Turning to the bond's disadvantages Ferguson says: "Timing
could work for or against depending on events." Clements
thinks that no free fund switches are a disadvantage. He goes on to
say: "The minimum contribution of £50,000 may be a barrier to
some individuals and corporations, although given the other product
features and active portfolio management £50,000 is not an
Coverley says: "It has an unknown administration
capability." He expands on this and says: "It's a new
product and new insurers, both have unknown capabilites."
Looking at the flexibily offered by the bond Coverley says: "It
offers a wide range of funds and some degree of charging
flexibility." Ferguson says: "In these days of reducing
charges I would have prefferred to see a limited number of free
switches a year."
Clements says: "The choice of multi manager managed funds
and preferred external funds provides a high level of investment
flexibility. Early encashment penalties are less stringent than many
similar products. The only major barrier to flexibility is the switching
charge of 0.5 per cent and absense of any free switches."
Commenting on SG's reputation Elms says: "Being French is
not an advantage." Coverley says: "It has visually strong
Ferguson says: "I believe it has a sound reputation backed by
reasonable investment performance. Unfortunately as a company we
have not supported them – yet!"
Turning to SG's past performance Coverley says: "Better than
average." Clements says: "SocGen have an enviable
record of above average performance with several of their own funds.
This product uses a multi-manager approach and the preferred
funds selected also have exceptional pedigrees."
Looking at the bond's main competition the panel mentions offshore
bonds from Skandia, AXA Sun Life, Eagle Star, Scottish Equitable
International, Canada Life International and Clerical Medical
Clements goes on to say: "For individuals wishing to select
external funds Skandia will offer a wider choice."
Assessing whether the charges are fair and reasonable Coverley
and Elms think they are. Clements says: "The charging stucture
is very competitive."
Ferguson says: "Compared to other offshore products they are
fair and reasonable. Compared to onshore products they are
not." He goes on to say: "I believe offshore companies
have to look towards reducing charges to attract more onshore
The panel agree that the commission is fair and reasonable.
Ferguson says: "Most IFAs will make use of the commission
Examing the product literature Coverley says: "It's attractive and
legible." Clements says: "It's simple, concise and
Ferguson says: "Good quality and easliy read, well put together
for ease of use by IFAs." Elms says: "It's unimaginative
Summing up the product Coverley says: "Built on an investment
house reputation it will take time to prove itself."
Elms says: "Anybody who knows about Lombard Odier and
Sarasin is likely to be investing directly with them."