FPI Premier Advance Review

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Friends Provident International FPI Premier AdvanceFriends Provident International (FPI) Premier Advance Review:-
Friends Provident International – FPI – has over 35 years of international experience and is part of the Aviva group which has a heritage that dates back over 300 years.
FPI provide savings, investment and protection products to customers in Asia and the UAE. With offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Isle of Man, FPI have more than 500 staff worldwide .

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    FPI Premier Advance Summary

    FPI Premier Advance Review

    The Friends Provident International (FPI) Premier Advance is an expensive option compared with a pure platform custodian plan and supposed tax benefits can be outweighed by charges and lost through penalties. Those penalties in the first 12 months are extremely high effectively wiping out any money saved in that time.

    When considering a Friends Provident International (FPI) Premier Advance then ensure you fully understand the local taxation position and weigh any benefits against its lack of flexibility, access and charges which are often not explained. It does not offer a full range of discounted funds, direct equities or trackers to invest in.


    • Widely available and sold
    • Offers some tax protection in certain jurisdictions
    • If kept running to original planned term then may promote savings concept (but statistics from many other companies show that less than 20% of regular savings plans are maintained to term)


    • No flexibility of full withdrawal or full access in the early years without penalty
    • Many countries do not recognise any tax concessions
    • Commission wipes out all initial investments made making this an extremely expensive option
    • Does not provide full access to lowest cost funds and passive trackers

    Policy Currency: The FPI Premier Advance may be denominated in US dollar, GB pound, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen, Swedish krona (SEK) or Euro. Benefits will be paid in the plan currency.
    Why choose the FPI Premier Advance: Leading Fund Houses offer a wide choice of investment funds. You choose from over 100* risk-rated funds covering all the major world markets and investment classes. The funds section contains performance statistics which are updated monthly, fund prices which are updated daily and Fund Fact Sheets on each fund.

    Expat Money Expert Verdict on Funds 

    FPI Premier Advance promotion: What does FPI write about their own FPI Premier Advance? the FPI Premier Advance is an international investment product that offers potential for capital growth over the medium to long term (five years +).It gives you access to the world’s investment markets through unit trusts, investment trusts and open-ended investment companies. The personalised assets version could also include international equities, fixed interest securities, structured notes and deposits. There is also an option to use FPI’s own funds however, these are “Mirror funds” which are a copy of the underlying fund and therefore may give different returns than the underlying fund it is mirrored from.
    Eligibility: FPI Premier Advance is a regular premium, whole of life, life assurance contract issued by Friends Provident International. It is available to most international investors outside of main regulated territories such as the UK, the U.S.A. and Australia.
    Minimums: Minimum £300 per month. You can pay additional amounts via a number of different methods including credit card. Payment by credit card into the FPI Premier Advance will result in a charge of between 1% and 1.95% of each payment additional cost.

    An initial charge of 1.5% is taken each quarter from your initial unit holding over the term of the plan.
    A monthly plan charge of £4 ( or equivalent currency)

    Annual Policy Charge Structure:
    An annual fund administration charge of 1.2% of the plan value.

    Other Charges:
    Annual management charges and other fund expenses are imposed by the underlying fund manager and the amount depends on which fund is chosen.

    Full details of charges can be found FPI Charging Structures.

    Are FPI Premier Advance charges explicit: By explicit, it means that it is clear to see not only the charges for taking out the plan but also the cost of funds annually, any upfront fund costs, penalties on access, etc. Yes, in the main the FPI Premier Advance charges are clearly shown and any professional should be able to interpret them. We have had feedback from clients though that they find it extremely difficult to interpret charges such as how any early access penalties would be calculated.

    Expat Money Expert Verdict on Charges 

    Surrender of the FPI Premier Advance: Your plan will not have a cash-in value until you have paid at least 12 months’ worth of payments. We understand from clients who have taken out these plans that there are also heavy encashment penalties after 12 months depending on the original term of the policy and when you want to access it. These penalties pay for the commissions earned up front by your salesman.

    Expat Money Expert Verdict on Accessibility

    Expat Money Expert Assessment of the FPI Premier Advance

    We think there are several other better options available, but you may disagree

    We are going to repeat the section on surrender, otherwise known as accessing your money when you want or need it! Your FPI Premier Advance plan will not have a cash-in value until you have paid at least 12 months’ worth of payments. We understand from clients who have taken out these plans that there are also heavy encashment penalties after 12 months depending on the original term of the policy and when you want to access it. These penalties pay for the commissions earned up front by your salesman.

    Commission (that charge which is paid by a bond provider to a salesman and is often not fully disclosed) plays a big part in the charges that a client will suffer.

    The standard FPI Premier Advance funds have high ongoing fees when directly compared to platform or direct offerings from fund houses via the UK or the USA. The FPI Premier Advance can have high charges on early access and an attempt to take proceeds early in the plans life, will result in access penalties or higher charges on the remaining invested funds, or both.

    NOTE: Not all distributing agents have regulation or financial qualifications and may not be aware of the other options available.

    WARNING: Costs and information is correct as of July 2016. Please refer to a brochure from the company for current up to date information and any changes on costs or information. You should not buy based purely on information contained within this article and EME do not accept liability for purchases. If you have any doubts then please speak with your financial adviser or a representative of the company for further advice.

    If the provider improves or amends its terms then EME would like to hear from them to amend the review page accordingly, and providers are encouraged to comment on errors or omissions to ensure that readers have the latest and correct information.

    Comments 40

    1. Dear Alex, in our experience sadly, the onus is mostly deemed to be on customers to read and understand the terms and conditions and that’s how it viewed by the providers. You can always raise the issue with the advisory firm to see if any omissions exist in the advice process regarding not fully disclosing commissions and fees. It is always worth raising the issue but we believe it is advisable to manage your expectations, and the time and effort you put in to getting anything back from the provider.

    2. Has anyone had success getting more money back? I’ve just enquirer and looking at getting back 7k out of 23 that I paid in. Absolutely shocking.

    3. @Alex – When complaints are made about these plans, you may find that responsibility for not fully understanding the terms and conditions when starting the plan will be placed on you. On that basis, taking action against the institution and receiving compensation back is unlikely. However, if you believe you were mis-sold the policy there may be a case to raise with the advisory firm. In our experience, you may want to assess whether the considerable time, stress and potentially costs would be worth it, more so with the time that has elapsed since. Thank you for your comment.

    4. @Celso – Your experience is absolutely typical sadly. It is unlikely the three financial advisors that have managed your policy could have made much difference as the policy charges are such that only sustained extraordinary fund performance, from the limited range of funds on offer would make a significant difference. It is important however, to understand that many financial advisers have studied for many years, maintain CPD records, adhere to strict investment regimes and continue to satisfy rigorous screening policies to ensure only compliant, flexible and fee-based options are used to allow customers to benefit from their expertise. In regard to only trusting related advisors, we also advise caution as we would when selecting any adviser. Thank you for your comment.

    5. Same here, got suckered into 25 year plan with them, contributed for a good 8 years. Found out that the so called financial advisor collects a large bonus upon signing, the longer the better, very high fees from the plan and on top of that the (word removed by admin) advisor also charges his fee on top. I’ve now had 3 financial advisors all of them terrible. I was too busy working hard at my job, trusting these snakes. I don’t think I’ll ever trust any financial advisor ever again, scum of the earth they are. And really what do they do for your money nothing, the so called investment firm they work for applies a standard basked of investments, risky, medium or careful, to all of their clients, exactly the same for each one. They do nothing. I’ve now stopped paying unfortunately I have a few of these plans and no good way to get out of this. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH, NEVER EVER GET INVOLVED WITH ANY OF THESE PLANS AND NEVER TRUST A FINANCIAL ADVISOR UNLESS YOU ARE RELATED

    6. This is a scam, it must be, impossible to describe it any other way. I got lured in my 20s, while working in the UAE as a fresh expat. Got (company name removed) selling me this product. I did pay premiums for around 18months and then stopped. I could not comprehend what i signed for, being honest I though I made a good decision at the time. These guys were selling these plans like pancakes in my office… in hindsight now i know I was not the only fool.

      I put in 10kUSD, my plan is worth now 9k…. 15 years later! in one of the greatest stock appreciations in our history (with multiple dips to buy even at lower prices. had i followed what i know know I would be close to 500kUSD. Which is what I am doing now with liquid, low fee funds, managed by myself (S&P600…etc…).

      Is this legal at all? I have been charged around 15k in fees already, every month I keep on being charged… It can not be, there must be some legal route to recoup some of it? Disgust is what i feel. There must be some legal protection, we have all been under undue influence, taken advantage of our lack of financial understanding…. there is a clear breach of duty of care, these contracts should not be legal.

      Lesson learnt the hard way…but at least I stopped soon. Anyone can help re-coup my money?

    7. @ James – It is very unfortunate that having the good sense to start saving for your retirement at an early age, you were sold a contractual savings plan. If you would like to learn more about low-cost, non-contractual savings options please advise and we’ll be happy to help.

    8. Same experience as many have had with Friends Provident. DO NOT INVEST WITH THEM. Horrendous fees, not properly disclosed, terrible performance, and all round useless and harmful product. Don’t believe any “adviser” who tries to sell you anything from this company.

      I’m now trying to redeem after paying excessive fees for the past ~10 years for dismal performance, and they are trying to charge me a 65% “surrender penalty”. This was a mistake I made in my 20s and luckily I stopped contributing to the policy and the problem.

      Surprised they have 2 stars – even 1 star is generous.

    9. @Bala
      We would advise you to assess the investment value of your policy against the surrender value. You can then decide if the difference is small enough to consider starting again with a new low-cost and liquid investment using the proceeds. If the losses are too great to cancel, there are now some lower-cost index trackers funds available for purchase. This is not advice, the past cannot be relied upon as a measure for future returns, and you need to consider your attitude to risk, but it is one way of reducing the ongoing costs.

    10. My opinion after 8yrs in to FPI is worry some. It is ruining my savings and no clue how to exit from it this stage.

    11. Hi Tristan,
      Sadly, your story is a common one. The 18 month initial period is designed to pay many of the policy charges for the whole term. Reducing or ceasing the premiums after the initial period can result in the worst possible outcomes. As you suggest, it is vital to do your research and ensure you understand the terms and conditions of any investment. Being complex and difficult to understand, mistakes are easily made using this type of policy. Many non-contractual investments are now entering the market and creating great results for customers. Please get in touch if you would like to further guidance.

    12. Hi Franziska,
      We are very sorry to hear of your experience. Our ratings are based the value the we believe the product offers but only subject to all of the terms and conditions being fully understood. However, we know the structure of these products is complicated, allowing for important details regarding the full consequences of early policy termination to be obfuscated in the pursuit of commission. There are many liquid, non-contractual options now available that we would recommend and can help you with should you require transparent guidance.

    13. Sincerely hope many more people will end reading this thread. I naively ended up on an FPI Premier Advance Savings plan and only recently realized what a bad mistake this has been. Was honestly under the impression that the initial 18 Month period was just a commitment and “freedom”after that as sold by the advisor. Stay away ! Now taking the money out at a huge 75% loss 19 months in the plan. Should have done my research. Please, please do yours

    14. EME, why do you rate this product with 2.5 stars? all I see here is people who are not unhappy, but absolutely disgusted by FPI and (advisor removed) and the likes. I have the same story than most people here… after 10 years out of 25 years into the plan, the surrender value is about 35%(!) of what I originally paid in. Thank god, I immediately stopped paying after the 18m initial period and it was immediately obvious that it’s only going downward since then (despite a good market development): they are taking 6% !!! annual fees (why did I sign this?) plus around 2% fees for the – not very well selected – funds they have in the list. how in the world are you supposed to make money with this? if the fund (not the stock exchange – funds usually don’t beat the stock exchange) makes 8% plus in a year, it’s a good performance, but for an FPI customer that means you merely keep your value – and that is BEFORE inflation. it’s a really bad joke, no wonder they are not allowed to operate in many many Western European countries.

      The really mean thing is that they make people give out phone numbers of their friends and colleagues and then call them and say “your friend xyz is a really happy customer with us and thinks you should also consider investing with us”. That’s my only explanation why I signed this (removed by invigilator) – because I am normally not an idiot when it’s about keeping my money alive. But they came highly recommended from friends (which had only been with them for a few months and before they realised the ripp off themselves).

      btw – I told them I could only give out phone numbers of friends after getting their consent to that. the agent got really tough and (removed by invigilator) with me, putting enormous pressure for a while. unfortunately I had already signed the papers by then. otherwise this might have been my wakeup call… they know nothing about finances, but a lot about selling psychology.

      DO NOT INVEST WITH FPI! not even if you found the money on the street.

    15. Dear Rob, we understand your frustration. The restrictions associated with long-term regular savings plans can cause difficulties. You obviously understand that surrendering your policy will incur fees. We can explain your options to help get the best out your situation or quantify if taking a loss and using an alternative arrangement would be worthwhile. An advisor will be in touch.

    16. Dear Mark, we are sorry to hear your situation. Liberating your funds from FPI can be done relatively easily with the right guidance. In terms of moving your assets to a Dollar-based investment account as an expat in the Philippines, there are many secure options available with daily liquidity, low fees and zero exit charges. We’ll be happy to help and an advisor can contact you to explain more.

    17. Does anyone have any advise on how to get money out of FPI investments? I have money stuck, premiums 100% paid full, continue to loose money to fees, more than 10 years into the account, and surrender fees of my own money is more that 60% of the funds, and worst the gains have not followed the 11 year bear market or the markets the funds are invested in. I am willing to take a loss; however, not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Bad investment, looking for any feedback.

    18. As a new expat 15 years ago, FPI was brought in by my company and of course, I thought, what a great way to save money and invest. Talk about naivety. So, 15 years later and with a 1.8% annual return, ughh, I am at my maturity date. What is the best way to get the money out of Friends Provident International, and does anyone have suggestions where to put it? I now live in the Philippines as an expat. Can I transfer that money to a US Dollar account in the Philippines so I can live off that money and then I could send my salary home?

    19. Hi Zeeshan, really sorry to hear you are in that position. Please contact us direct and we will try to put you in contact with an adviser who may be able to assist you.

    20. Hi everyone, I’m unfortunately another one who has had a regretful time with this FPI plan. I started my plan 7 years ago (25 year plan) and my financial advisor basically didn’t care to manage my plan at all after the 18 months were over. A few months back I removed the advisor and managed my own funds directly with FPI, saving the advisor fee. My plan has a higher focus towards low-cost funds, and from this month I’ve also decided to not put in any further investments into the plan as there are a lot better places I could put that money towards. Now the issue I face is that surrendering the plan will result in a net loss, once all surrender fees have been factored in, of about $14-15k. This is a lot of money! Any advise on what I could do here? Let the plan go on till the loss becomes less, or bite the bullet and take the money elsewhere completely?

    21. @Alison Chadwick – A month later, how is this going? Have you taken this to the Financial Ombudsman or had other feedback?

    22. @James – Throwing good money after bad is one of the most common things we hear. I think your advice to others should be read with interest.
      @Karl – 25 year plans are sold for commission only. The earnings of advisers are directly linked to the length of the plan. Put simply a 25 year plan pays 5 times more commission than a 5 year plan.

      The incentive from a salesperson’s perspective is to sell longer plans even where it is not necessary for clients.

      All that commission has to be paid from somewhere – hence the larger charges and surrender penalties that apply on longer plans. The insurance companies also take their bit as well often leaving the consumer with less than they expected.

    23. Agree with all of the advice above. Avoid FPI at all costs! My story is that i joined up in c.2012 and the sell was the ‘great returns’ but also that FPI would award me free additional ‘Initial Units’ of value c.25% of what i invested in the first 18 months but there is a nasty sting in the tail as the total value of ‘Initial units’ is the basis for most of the fees calculations as well as any surrender fee should we want out. FPI quickly makes their bonus back in fees which are at an extremely high % compared to most investment vehicles. Then over the course of the plan the levels of returns are weaker also versus most other long term accumulative investment vehicles. I stopped paying premiums about 3 years ago as I could not bear the notion of throwing good money after bad and hoped that I could still get an increase in plan value but this did not really eventuate. In the end and only last month I bit the bullet and pulled the plug on this. Net result is that I am 3kGBP down against the investment which may not seem too bad but also need to take into account the loss of the gain that we did have and also the loss of any potential higher gain we may have had elsewhere. Don’t go anywhere near FPI! Bad news!

    24. Before I continue writing this review, I would like to say to everyone: I beg you, DO NOT INVEST with them.

      I signed for 25 years with FPI (worse mistake of my life). The “financial advisors” are clearly unexperienced. They have no idea of the financial markets, nor a good assessment of the fluctuations in the market. They will sell you what their boss tell them to sell you, not based on your personal needs or whatever. A new fund on the market? They will do their best to make you invest in it, even if it’s the worst fund ever created.

      I’ve been with them for about 7 years and I lost around 4800 US$, because of the lack of expertise of the so called “financial advisors”.
      I decided to manage my funds myself, and since then I am recovering slowly.

      One last thing, once you sign with them, they forget about you and treat you with the worse customer service ever. I sent them an email asking for an advise about life insurance. A certain Paul XXXXXX, replies to me with a link to FPI’s home page, literally asking me to search by myself.

      Final verdict, avoid FPI and if you’re already with them and you have to deal with Paul XXXXXXX, my advise is to ask for a different customer administrator.

    25. My 10 year premier plan with FPI has just ended, with a loss of course of about $1600 less than I have paid in. I have proceeded with a serious complaint firstly to the self appointed financial advisor. They have responded with a letter and their Complaint Procedures. The investment will stay where it is until such time that the situation is resolved one way or another. I am told by FPI that no more premiums will be paid or fees taken, leaving the funds is sort of escrow until I ask for encashment as I would never have anything else to do with FPI under any circumstances.

      In the event there is no agreement reached or their response not to my satisfaction then it is off to Financial Ombudsman. I have already demanded and received a statement of all commission payments received during the full 10 years and it is quite alarming. I feel the financial advisors have not performed with any kind of duty of care with regards to the funds or even the currencies they are in. Surely if a fund is in a weak currency (my policy was in US$) so sterling funds were losing on exchange rate alone and yet they obviously could care less or did not even bother to act accordingly but they were very efficient regarding the taking of their own fees. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out and I remain very cautiously optimistic.

    26. Agree with all the above. I have been stung myself.
      Read ‘Millionaire Expat’ by Andrew Hallam.
      You won’t regret it.

    27. Friends Provident is the most dishonest bunch of thieves I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with! So is our broker who surely knows that there is no way of making a decent investment with them. On top of this trying to get any form of decent communication going with them is impossible. DO NOT INVEST WITH FRIENDS PROVIDENT!!!!

    28. Sorry to hear about your experience. Actually, in our experience a 60% loss after access charges is not that bad (it can be 100%).

      There are new type accessible plans with low charges now available as a result of the UK and the USA making the types of plans available in those countries more widely available now. I hope you do not give up on the whole financial services industry as a result of your experiences in the UAE.

    29. The worst ever investment plan I came across. Regrettably the agents just want the clients to join
      They urge to pay the premiums up to the lock- in period viz 18 months. Most of them don’t clearly know about the charges involved and have no commitments towards the investments. I was trapped by the agents called Omega in Abudhabi, UAE whom I felt the worst in the field , not faithful nor having any idea about what they are selling .Even their head office in the region is also not supportive to the clients. Luckily I came out of it after 12 months with loss of 60% of my investment, the least one could suffer

    30. FP and Devere are basically thieves. The only difference is they are not breaking in to steal your money, they instead lie and cheat your money away from you with false promises and lies about their account fees etc. In some cases they are selling products that Devere own, there should be a class action against them to put these parasites out of business and in jail where they belong.

    31. I had a policy for 11 months. I was lucky in that they mismanaged my payments on 2 occasions and after taking a long and lengthy complaint procedure (I did this directly to FPI, it through the financial advisor) they offered to give me back all of my premiums with no fees deducted.

      I cannot be clearer or more candid – do not take this product. I only wish I had seen this web page before I even considered it!

    32. I agree with all the above comments. Sad part is even for poor performance of the funds; customers levied excessive charges. Customer trusts FPI manage funds very well. But in my case it is not true!! I think FPI charges are highest in the world!!!

    33. The only person making money from Friends Provident is the so called financial planner who signed you up. These guys are vultures. Fees are outrageous and your money is locked in with severe penalties for early withdrawal. They do not reply to emails. All products like this are worthless.

    34. I am a customer and have been so since Feb 2010. I was living in South America and payed premiums of $1000 for 20 months and then moved to Central America and had to stop further monthly payments. I was surprised to see how bad the performance was even though I had a good selection of mutual funds. The commissions and administration fees eats up most of the growth, which was very obvious to me from the time I stopped making additional payments. Others might not realize this as they keep “saving” monthly… Now after eight years I must say that my agent at CI Associates in Chile has lost interest, probably because I am no longer paying monthly premiums, as email answers are delayed with constant promises about having a chat to discuss my Premier, chats which of course never takes place. I had the need to get professional help to make strategic changes to the funds selection at least twice a year or even quarterly but having the agent in a different country has not been good in my case. As many expats tend to move from country to country I suggest to take that into consideration as your agent is your interface between FPI and yourself. Also, FPI can´t give any recommendations of agents in the central american country where I am now living, or elsewhere and suggested me to search for an agent of my choice on the Internet (!!!). Now the the worst part showing real numbers: The surrender value in Feb 2018, after eight years, is only $10,991 USD or ~55% of the premiums paid. The gross value of the plan is only 21,461 USD which is a very bad performance after so many years. I would not recommend FPI to my worst enemies and I am getting out as soon as I can to invest this money in ETFs to try to gain back my lost money in a few years. The alternative would be to stay until the Maturity Date in year 2030 but I have no interest in giving away more of my fund´s gains as fees to these people. The only penalty free amount which can be withdrawed at this time is $2,072 USD, not even 10% of the Premier´s current gross value.

    35. I also own a policy with FP. as it was not performing well, i thought to terminate it. Its almost 4 months pased i applied for cancellation. Since then I am trying to get my money back, but all tries gone in vein. Thinking to take help of UAE insurance authority. FP are very active in collecting premiums. Thats all. When it comes to pay back money, they are facing problems with banks. Its very bad option to go with FP.

    36. Awful product. Hugely expensive. Part of an evil industry which preys on the legitimate savings concerns of recently arrived ex-pats.

    37. I have a policy with FPLI. They are charging 3 times more than the fees quoted in the application I signed. When I asked about I got the most unhelpful answer imaginable.

      “We are unable to divulge any information, or comment ,on any agreement you have made with the Trustees when setting up this policy.”

      So they won’t discuss, instead they just plan to continue overcharging me.

    38. In UAE, agents are selling for 25 years, suggest avoid this. As Surrender Charges ‘eat up’ substantial amount if you surrender in early years.

    39. I would in the strongest sense discourage anyone from considering an investment with FPI or similar outfits. The annual fees can approximate 4% (hidden, albeit declared) coupled with very high surrender fees. Think of the impact of a 4% fee over a decades long period. This is a mistake I made in my 20s that I imagine many expats around the world have shared. I would also rate them as *. The bright side is I have learned a lot about what not to do early enough to catch the problem.

    40. As a customer I must say that FPI is a company I would avoid. I have had nothing but problems and issues with their level of communication. I am currently trying to move my money else where. I am surprised they have 2 stars here as I would rate them 1 star.

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