Generali Vision Plan Savings Review
Generali Vision Plan Savings Review :-
Generali Worldwide is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Generali Group. Founded on the strength of this international presence and wide-ranging expertise, Generali Worldwide specialises in offering life-insurance-based wealth management and employee benefit solutions to a global audience, including multi-national organisations, international expatriates and local resident populations in licensed territories. This review is focused on the Generali Vision Plan.
The company’s head office is based in Guernsey, a premier international financial centre, and is a Registered Insurer under the Insurance Business (Bailiwick of Guernsey) law, 2002 (as amended). It is also an authorised insurer in the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Jersey and Singapore.
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Generali Vision Plan Savings Review
The Generali Vision Savings Plan is good if you can guarantee that you will maintain your savings at the same level for the whole term that has been selected (maybe as long as 25 years). If you cannot guarantee this then early access will result in severe penalties.
When considering a General Vision Plan 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. The General Vision Savings Plan is an expensive option compared with a pure platform custodian plan and supposed tax benefits are usually outweighed by charges and lost through penalties.
We think there are other better options.
- Widely available and sold
- Offers some tax protection in certain jurisdictions
- It could be considered for a 5 years investment term where no withdrawals required
- If kept running to original planned term then may promote savings concept
- 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 Generali Vision Plan may be denominated in US dollar, GB pound, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen or Euro. Benefits will be paid in the plan currency.|
|Why choose the Generali Vision Plan: Leading Fund Houses offer a wide choice of investment funds. Investment choice through a selection of more than 200 top performing investment options, from leading fund houses, to match a wide variety of investment profiles. Over 750 funds, external funds can be selected for additional fees.|
|Generali Vision Plan promotion: What does Generali write about their own Generali Vision Plan? Whatever you plan for your future, you will need financial resources available at the right time to be able to achieve the things you want. Vision is a regular premium investment solution that is designed to meet your changing needs throughout your life.So, if you are interested in building a brighter future for you and your family, look no further than than the Generali Vision Plan.|
|Eligibility: Generali Vision Savings Plan is a regular premium, whole of life, life assurance contract issued by Generali International. It is available to most international investors outside of main regulated territories such as the UK, the U.S.A. and Australia. Generali also offer a range of individual unit-linked regular and single premium-based savings, retirement and investment plans and an open-architecture portfolio bond along with Group retirement and savings products, Group Life and Disability and Healthcare products.|
|Minimums: The minimum regular premiums for terms of more than 10 years are USD150 monthly, USD450 quarterly or USD1,800 annually. The minimum premiums of the Generali Vision Plan for terms of less than 10 years are three times these amounts.For Singapore residents the minimum premiums increase to USD417 monthly, USD1,250 quarterly, or USD5,000 annually. For a Generali Vision Plan with a premium payment term of less than 10 years the minimum annualised regular premium is USD50,000 divided by the premium payment term. The payment term is selected at outset for a minimum of five years although contributions may be continued after this time.|
|Charges: This will depend on the type of plan you take out from Generali as they offer different charging structures largely linked to the amount of commission or earnings being taken by the third party salesman or adviser.|
In summary, Initial Units incur additional charges at commencement, and then throughout the term and may be worthless if you cancel the policy early.
Where a Premium Payment Term of five years or more is selected at Plan commencement
|Are charges explicit: Well, if you can understand all of the above, then yes! The issue is that a bit like a new mobile phone contract, there are so many options then it becomes information overload.|
Generali Vision Plan Terms
|Surrender of the Generali Vision Plan: A partial surrender on your Generali Vision Plan may be treated as a one-off withdrawal. Further details on how it is treated is available in the relevant brochure. A full encashment results in penalties being applied through surrender charges linked to the term of the policy. In essence, all your premiums are forfeited if surrendered during the initial period. For a 25 year plan, this period would be 23 months.|
It is important to be aware that the Generali Vision Plan is a long term savings plan, if you decided to cancel the plan early you could lose a large proportion of the money you have saved, we have heard that as much as 50% of the value of the plan value can be lost by surrendering the Generali Vision Plan early.
Expat Money Expert Assessment of the Generali Vision Plan
A predominantly commission-based advisers product.
We think that this product is summarised by understanding that, in essence, all your premiums are forfeited if surrendered during the initial period. For a 25 year plan, this period would be 23 months. So if you are recommended to take out a 25 year policy, and then attempt to access your money after 2 years, you will receive back nothing.
As these types of plans go, the Generali Vision Plan is similar to many in the offshore market place. In the 1990s this may have been a top option but in 2016 it lacks the transparency of the latest plans available from territories such as the UK, the USA and parts of Europe; ultimately, the Generali Vision Plan is an expensive option when compared with a pure platform plan. The standard Generali Vision funds have high ongoing fees when directly compared to platform or direct offerings from fund houses via the UK or the USA.
There is no doubt that a Generali Vision Plan will do exactly what it says it will do if held to maturity, but any attempt to take proceeds early in the plans life, or make it paid up, will result in access penalties or higher charges on the remaining invested funds, or both.
However, some people require help when making disciplined decisions and will welcome the fact that a plan is written to a set target date and cannot be accessed; some people wish to deliberately lock-up their funds. Therefore, potential investors have to weigh up the benefits of locking up their investments and not having the flexibility to access their investment earlier without surrender charges applied.
NOTE: The Generali Vision Plan provides the option of lump sum commission to its distributors ( in the industry this is called indemnified or up-front commission) and it has a successful network of distributing agents throughout the world excluding the main regulated territories. Not all distributing agents have regulation or financial qualifications and may not be aware of the other saving plan 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.
@HK-Scammed – We are sorry to hear your issues. Providing for your children’s education is obviously very important and personal, and to discover these plans often do more harm than good is a shock. Waiting for the 10 year ‘bonus’ will depend on how close you are to it and in essence, only pays back a small element of the extortionate fees that have been paid already. If you would like us to review the policy for you and explain your options, an adviser will get in touch to assist you.
I was sold this plan by a “mate” who worked in finance in Hong Kong. I got signed up for a 15-year plan, I told him it was to help with my kid’s college fund. This piece (removed) sat there listening to all this and signed me up nonetheless for 1,000 quid a month. I have never spoken to him again once I realised how he got paid immediately and I got screwed for 15 years. I was gullible and not financially savvy, since then I have invested in low-cost EFTs, this learning experience is the only positive out of this ordeal.
My question is this: I have 5 years and 10 months left on the 15-year plan. Is it worth waiting until the 10-year “bonus” and then withdrawing? Is there any easy way out at this stage? If I take a loss on the investment, maybe it can be made up by putting it into the EFT’s instead?
Tales of woe. I am similar to most people here – was looking to save money and help it grow. sold the vision plan and didnt do my homework – signed up for 20 year plan! short story:
1. Start out putting 100 pounds a month in vision in 2010.
2. after 6 years upped amount investing to 600 pounds a month
3. gains very little in this time.
4. stockmarkets had soared in this time, and up to now
5. 2017 realised wasnt right and dropped premium to 100 pounds
6. realised then that the fees charged still get charged at your highest premium, not what you paying currently
7. now paying 1200 pounds a year and fees are 1400 pounds a year!
i am the fool for getting scammed. still have 9 years to go on this. should i pull out? should i lose 7000 pounds now or hope funds increase over next 9 years to offset fees – stand to lose 10000 pound approx and then also stand to get out what i put in hence no benefit?
@ DJM – Thank you for your comments. Disclaimers regarding liquidity may be down to either the potential penalties for surrendering your entire policy, or any funds within the Generali (Utmost) fund range that have been gated and have restricted redemptions. Unfortunately, we do not believe there would be any discernible benefit to switching the assets into one fund as the high policy charges will continue to be deducted. The fund range also tends to include the more expensive share classes of individual securities and we believe there are no ETF available for investment. We have arranged for an adviser to contact you to discuss your options, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require assistance.
I am about to go ahead shutting down a 20 year plan 7 years in. I am wondering if there are any preparatory moves I could do before hand? On the Utmost dashboard there are disclaimers around the surrender value indication citing liquidity issues etc. I wondered about perhaps moving all existing holdings into a single fund and reallocating 100% to it for a month or two ahead of actual cancellation. Would anyone think this is a good idea? I would also consider having a lawyer handle the entire thing if anyone thinks this course of action would result in a better exit result. Basically I am looking for advice after waking up the the complete and utter scam that this saving plan really is.
@JD – As you suggested, if you see a policy through to maturity you might have protected your cash from inflation, with some returns possible if you are an aggressive investor and lucky with market movements. Sadly that doesn’t distract from the point of what could have been achieved with a non-contractual scheme. The Vision policy fees increase up to year 10 and then the 5% ‘bonus’ only reimburses a fraction of what has been paid in costs. Using online platforms can be much cheaper but taking local tax advice is advised. There are many non-contractual platforms available in tax-neutral locations which can also be advised, constantly updating investors with the latest technology and improved returns, which effectively funds the advice element.
Generali Vision is a scam. “You can make good money in the plan” is highly misleading. You can put the same money into and index fund or ETF (Robinhood, trading with your bank or interactivebrokers…. basically ANYWHERE online) and achieve far far higher returns. You do not need to know anything about investing to hold those long term and enjoy the market growth gains. Generali Vision charge very unattractive to ridiculous fee structure with no real benefit, with only exception that your life insurance equals your investment value. But plainly put, through their fee structure, you are paying over 6% in annual fees, bonuses are pure marketing nonsense and d not cause a dent in the amount they rob from you. The penalties for withdrawing early means, anything you paid in the first 2 years, Generali keeps; you will not get that money back Depending on the fund value, it can add up to receiving around 50% of what you paid in, forget the market gains and first 2 years of premium you paid. And if you complete the plan, even worse. Just do the math on losing over 6% in annual compounding, no matter how the market does. Good luck if your plan was to protect your savings from inflation. By keeping it there, you sped up the devaluation of your savings by a factor of two. It is simple math, which an actuary designed to get the most out of you. Well played Generali, your Vision manages to sip through legal loopholes with preying on expats that are not protected legally. Shame on you!
@ Russ Jones – Thank you for your comments Russ. The convoluted charging schedules are extremely difficult to calculate for even the most astute investors. The principal beneficiaries of these plans are the investment provider and the financial advisor who sold you the plan. If you compare this policy the alternative option of paying a transparent fee on the value of funds invested, and not on funds you are contracted to pay in over the policy term, the differences are staggering.
I’ve just cashed in my plan after the full 10 year term and noticed that the loyalty bonus only just covered the fees. When I queried why the Administration fee was nearer 4% that the 2% advertised I received the following:
From the Policyholder’s perspective the fee is taken by Unit deduction, based on cancellation factors derived from Discounted Offer Prices during the Initial Period, and is recalculated each year following the allocation of any dividends.
It is represented by the number of initial Units held on the Policy, which reduce annually as the administration fee is applied.
In order to work out the value of the charge deducted on any anniversary, therefore, a 3 step calculation is required a follows:
Work out the Administration Fee Due using the 2%/0.3% per annum formula.
Divide this by the average offer price at which units were created during the initial period to give the number of units to cancel. This is equivalent to working out the Cancellation Factors below and applying to the initial units held at the anniversary in question.
Multiply the number of units to cancel by the last bid price at time of deduction.
The value of the charge deducted under 3 will always be greater than the value calculated under 1 assuming fund prices are higher than the offer prices applicable during the initial period and vice versa.
During the time the Plan has been in existence, the units set aside for the Admin fee, and which are kept on the Plan to calculate the Death Benefit, have increased in value.
So when they are removed, it looks like the amounts taken from the Plan have increased.
However it is vital to understand that when these Initial Units are removed from the Plan, they are not taken from the surrender value. They are removed from the Plan Value, and this brings the Plan Value and Surrender Value closer together each year until they will align at the end of the Premium Payment Term. The Surrender Value is not affected by this charge.
My financial advisor doesn’t understand it either. They have made a lot of money out of me over the years and I’ve made very little.
EME Invigilator – thanks for your responce
@ Rodger-UK – It is possible to make adjustments to the policy yourself if you have the knowledge to do so. The Vision policy usually gets a little cheaper after the 10th year, although you are still limited to Generali’s fund range which consists largely of more expensive share classes of funds. We will arrange for an adviser to contact you and talk you through your options.
Hello – I have taken out a Vision plan about 10 years ago – for the moment I plan to keep it to avoid the exist charges. Could I ask to those of you who still have the plan if they are managing it themselves or if they have some trusted advisors that do it for them? I recently got rid of mine (for various reasons some of which you can easily guess) but now I am a bit unsure on how to proceed
@Steve – We would strongly recommend seeking professional tax advice specific to your circumstances if you are already in the UK. If you are still yet to return, you could consider surrendering the policy but this would obviously depend on the length of the term and the potential exit fees.
What are the tax implications when surrendering a vision policy if in the UK?
@ David Harper – The Vision policy is sadly very expensive and the range of funds in use are not always the ‘clean’ share class, further increasing the costs. The charging structure can results in up to 20% of annual premiums being taken in charges in the years up to 10th anniversary. Thereafter, the charges reduce but are still far beyond what a non-contractual investment would cost.
Don’t touch this policy and get rid of any financial advisor who recommends it. You pay the full charges (which are excessive in themselves, and very well tucked away in the brochure) whether you try to recover you money early or convert to a paid up policy. Charges are currently running at more than 10% of my investment per year. Non flexibility whatsoever and any correspondence is met with a detailed description of how they’ve worked out how much to extract from you but no explanation as to why. Clearly engineered to maximise the return to Utmost and the Financial Advisor while minimising ay risk to themselves.
@Martin Yes, the company was sold and took over the policies sold by Generali
I purchased my Vision policy from Generali, not Utmost. Is it automatic that I am forced to now contract with Utmost? Do I not get a choice to decline?
@ Andrew Eden – The product is more inflexible the longer the term contracted. If your policy is 25 years, after 2 years of investing the surrender value will be almost zero. The fee structure is the reason for the inflexibility as it facilitates the payment of large upfront commissions to advisers. Please let us know how you progress.
@Deen – if you had contracted a 6 year plan and completed it, you should receive all of your funds back unless the fund performance has eroded the value. If you had contracted a longer term plan and only completed 6 years, most of the value will have been taken in initial units. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, I would approach your adviser first and the t’s & c’s were fully explained.
I’m pursuing a complaint against Utmost and further to the Channel Islands Ombudsman if required (most likely outcome, I feel). I understand the fee structuring is a long-term benefit for customers: my complaint is about the lack of flexibility. The brochure highlights flexibility to account for changes in lifestyle etc, and all references are that changes are supported. The supporting Policy Details Guide describes in general terms the fee structure (noting fees are ‘set aside’, not taken as a fee) but makes no reference to the customer’s inability to reduce premiums. This is covered in only one short sentence in the T&Cs, which were incidentally issued after the policy was opened. I think (hope) I have a good chance of prevailing here, and will report back in due course.
Just finished a 6-year plan with Generali Vision and only get back 1/30 of the supposed cash value of my account. What action can I take to get my money back?
@Rahul – You are correct in saying that one of the principal charges are based on what you are contracted to invest, not what you have invested. This means that as the ‘relevant anniversary’ is actually the 10th year, at least 20% of your contributions in the 10th year is taken in charges.
This fund is fleecing investors through their administrative charges. whatever market gains you have they take it away through the fees.
I have some serious concerns with how the annual admin fees that I see on the policy.
ANNUAL ADMIN CHARGES: Based on the section 23.1 clause of the contract, 2% of the total premium due from the outset until the plan anniversary. In reality they have been charging more than the 2% of as annual admin fees.
As its a % of the annual premiums which are fixed its should be a straight forward % calculation on the premiums paid. However when I made the calculation and compared it to the schedule they themselves had sent me it see significant deviations every year. in the past three years the excess they charged was amounting to more than 866 euros. I have this fund for 8 years now and I am calculating now what overcharged in the past 8 years.
The below is an illustration for only the past three years taken from the statements provided and based on the unit values.
Per Schedule Actual Diff
2018 388.8 596.17 207
2019 496.8 744.48 248
2020 604.8 1015.85 411
When I objected to this and sought an explanation this is what they said “Utmost have actuaries that work out the fee structure on the average price of units held within the policy at the time, every time a fee is taken, hence it is incredibly complicated to pin point the exact basis for each fee due to the underlying nature of variable asset prices”
This is such a bullshit and ridiculous explanation – it only sows that they cannot explain the over charges. They might be doing this to so many other investors who trust that their calculations are correct.
If you are invested in the General Vision plan then please see and validate the annual charges.
I had a Vision policy for 10 years and paying 400 $ per month.. Now after 10 years I have a total loss of 1000 $ but that was ok to me considering
The problem is they were hyping this 5 % bonus non stop every time I mentioned stopping the contribution or surrendering the policy early..
They have never mentioned that they will put exorbitant charges that look designed to wipe out the bonus completely..
Don’t be fooled.. These people are living off your money.. Their charges are unbelievable and if you complain they tell you it was
mentioned in the fine print in the contract that you signed 10 years ago..
I have told them that if no compensation I will raise a review on every available website on the net.. But they won’t budge.. So this potentially will
cause them to lose much more.. I also have access to thousands of emails and will let the people know what kind of policy is this..
Once in you can’t stop because of the steep charges and will be painful to continue contributing while they are taxing you for every premium
and every month and year.. They have many type of charges and they made it complicated on purpose.. No transparency..
Steer clear from and put it in the safe.. It is much better and safer..
Hello, i am amongst others a victim of the generali vision plan. Without a financial background and understanding i trusted their advisor who “sold” me the generali vision plan. After a few years with no returns i had a call with the advisor and they said that fluctuating prices are actually a good thing because it allows you to buy units at a lower price, which will generate higher yields on the long run. I fell for their sales tactics and even increased my monthly contributions. Later i found out that they received a 4500 EURO commission for this upgrade. Again a few years later i wanted to surrender and out of the 21K contributed (with the MCSI world index showing 105% growth since the period i started with Generali) my surrender value at Generali is approx 1200 euro. I found out that they charge 1.5% on the total amount saved every year, while the funds i participate in already have their management cost calculated within the stock price of that fund. So double cost. And what is the value add form Generali anyhow? how are they better than investing in those funds myself directly? I think it is a pure fraud with agressive sales techniques targeting people with limited financial knowledge. Instead of financial experts they employ sales people. I am considering to investigate a class action suit and i wonder who would be interested in joining.
@ribz – The Generali Vision Plan is a heavily front-end loaded policy which exposes you to significant penalties if you surrender before the policy term ends. The closure of a fund is further bad news which we are sorry to hear. The Vision policy pays bonuses at years 10 and every subsequent 5 years thereafter but it does little to reduce the exit charges. Although a difficult decision to take, having an adviser look into the possibility of cutting your losses and moving into a more cost-effective platform, may leave you far better off over the same period of your current contracted term. We’ll be happy to look into this with you if you would like to do so.
My plan started in 2008 with indeed aggressive selling from an IFA.
After few years I complained for no follow up/ advices.
I changed once, and after 1 year same issue. Also had connection issues for long time. It s true that IFAs are useless and that generali service is very bad.
My plan was down by 14K USD as a major fund had ceased, never understood how this has happened without any mitigations..
I have been always underperforming for 12 years..
after 10/11 years, i understood that the only way was for me to , alone, search for best funds and switch till, after trial & errors, i find at the moment a better situation.
For first time i broke even which is a miracle, but can t stay if this will continue.. It is risky indeed, i have to follow up very closely and not sure what would be the outcome at the end of this 25 years plan..
If I had to do again, i would have gone for another plan / service.
The surrender penalties and duration left on the policy will determine whether the closing the policy and moving the funds elsewhere is in your best interests. We do know however, that the cost of non-contractual plans is significantly lower, in addition to the range of underlying funds on offer and the sizeable reduction in underlying fund fees possible. An adviser will be happy to contact you and make comparisons to confirm the likelihood of exit charges being recoverable over the duration of the policy term.
Has anybody done any calculations comparing what they can make with this plan (given fees) vs what they would have made against a global equity ETF or similar? I would like to calculate how much I will lose over a 15 yr plan and compare that to moving the money elsewhere and losing the surrender value. Would appreciate any advice on making the calculations.
@Vince – The Vision policy charges can be very difficult to understand. Many packaged product charges are complicated to facilitate upfront commissions, as opposed to non-contractual policies which are simple to understand, transparent investments in which you ‘pay-as-you-go’. Complex charges can be easily overlooked using the sales techniques of some advisers and sadly, there is little motivation to manage the policy after commissions have been paid. For your information, regulators are historically very slow to respond to the issues surrounding these types of investments, if at all and investors are expected to take responsibility for contracting the policy.
The biggest scam of switzerland,
same for me once i studied how “generali” and now “utmost” were charging for this saving plan called “vision plan”, i went to the so-called ombudsman that they us send to, who is definitely someone paid by them, but they just denied the fact that 1) fees are “hidden” 2) sales methods are aggressive
I’ve alerted the swiss regulator but still waiting.
I was sold this plan by (name removed by invigilator) in Geneva, guys rolling from one company to another.
They are small Madofs …
@Andrew Hoppe. Did you get the advice you needed? There are many options now available that offer full flexibility, low fees and access to capital without restrictions or penalties. An adviser can contact you to explain your options and how to invest on a fee-only basis.
Hi Rhonda, Generali has changed its name to Utmost. If you are having difficulties contacting the adviser firm or Utmost, we can arrange for an adviser to discuss your options with you going forward.
I am 61 ready to get my monies from Generali, DeVere, Worldwide–the company name keeps changing. They will not respond to email and will not accept all of the mail I sent. If there is a lawsuit, I am ready to join in.
Last year I surrendered my Vision plan after realizing that the expenses were outrageously higher than the deVere adviser, Andrea XXXXXXXX (edited by Invigilator), had explained to me to convince me to subscribe this plan. Basically the fact that most yearly expenses are calculated each time over the total plan value and not on the yearly value increase (as the adviser had made me believe) is against any common sense logic, but, unfortunately, it is the harsh reality.
When I started realizing that there was something wrong, since my portfolio was increasing of value but yet my plan value was getting lower and lower than the actual premium paid, I looked at the Vision terms and I realized that, despite some definitions were quite unclear and intentionally fuzzy, yes, the terms could have been read both ways. So, what a commonsense person would read as expenses as a percentage of the stock value purchased during the year, it is actually a percentage on the value of your total portfolio accumulated to date.
I had subscribed a 23-year policy for 600 euros a month and after seven years I’ve lost, with a full surrender, around 12.000 on a total premium paid of 49.000. I was also relatively lucky since my portfolio was doing good but, if this hadn’t been the case, I might have lost much more. For the last year expenses (what they define as “Total costs”) were around 4% of the total portfolio. After the first ten years they decrease to about 2%, however, as your portfolio value grows, the yearly cost percentage will be applied to an amount which is continuously increasing. I calculated that, if I had kept the plan for all 23 years, in the best scenario I would have gone even, which is not exactly what I would subscribe a financial plan this size for.
I work in a big company and Mr. XXXXXXXX, behaving as a nice and reliable guy, has fooled several of my colleagues as well. I have to say that both Generali and deVere have taught me a tough lesson: Don’t trust strangers.
I signed onto this plan in 2004. When I first got a look online in 2014 I was shocked at how far behind I was. I studied all the options and made some switches. I am about 16 years into a 20 year plan. I have had a premium holiday for 2 years. Total investment about $92k and surrender now $110k. It’s far from great and am now getting tax advice as I need to surrender it . I was surprised there is no online forum for users to discuss where best to put there money as you can make changes
So disappointed on the way I discovered this plan really works, be careful. Ran away of Devere. Incredible final answers when I discovered how they work and their commissions. Now waiting someone to contact me, agent run away.
“I have forwarded your email to our compliance department and they will be InTouch” …. once you discover how they work and all commissions hided, info, … then not even a proper answer.
I am also stuck into a Generali (now Utmost) vision Plan since 10yrs, with 15 more to go… Despite no premium-breaks, loyalty bonuses and good performances from the funds, I am still looking into losses… I would love to drop the Plan – I am paying in over 1100EUR/month – and I understand from googling that this was not even legit to be sold in Switzerland when I signed back in 2008. I am unsure as to how trigger the whole process though, any level of advice would be very much welcome!
Does anyone ever come out of this alive? Im two years into a 10 year plan and I’ve read some of these horror stories. It seems to be a case of “I’m damned if i do and im damned if i don’t” my plan so far over the two years in up about 5%. I have regular meetings with my financial advisor who sold me the plan and they seem to be watching it and making moves when necessary. If i pull out now im screwed, if i don’t pay into it anymore im screwed, so i guess my best bet is to trust the process and hope that it keeps going the way its going. I like to think my FA has my best interest at heart and compared to some of the other stories ive read where people have had the FA disappear after selling it it has all got me worried. Hope i just get my money back and out after the 10 years. Don’t even care for a profit at this stage just want back what’s mine.
@Catherine Lambert – How is it going, Has your adviser been able to assist you?
I just finish the 10 years Vision Plan from Utmost , I sent to them everything they requested to release my money, but I realized after asking many times the detail of the sell of the funds that the number of units they paid me back was lower than what I got when I did the request for surrender. Also they claim the amount they paid back to me included the bonus of £5,400 that I am entitled to get after 10 years. But if you look the details of the funds sold and total paid it is clear that the bonus is not paid. I did the total of the units missing plus the bonus, they own me more than €11,000. Not only this is a scam but they steal me. I asked my advisor to help me with this, I will not give up.
Thank you for you review, i have been in touch with you regarding your question.
Thank you for this feedback and we understand your comment about ETF. It is worth highlighting that ETF were not commonly available in 2011 direct to consumer, and even now, they should not be recommended to everyone unless they understand what they are doing and what they are investing in. Synthetic ETF are often avoided by many IFA’s, although Physical ETF can be recommended by regulated advisers, especially physical trackers. Not all advisers operate under commissions, and we agree it is best to seek out advisers that charge explicit fees, rather than non-transparent hidden commissions so you avoid the experience that you have had.
Bought into Vision via 360 Financial in Kuala Lumpur, 2011. Advisers (names provided but removed). $1700 per month policy over 20 years. they made $30,000 commission. After 8 1/2 years its still flat. They sell exponential growth in their forecast but it doesn’t incorporate the actual fees which cull it on a regular basis. You can draw a linear line through my 9 years of performance and get a very very convincing straight line that when extrapolated to surrender gets you….the sum of what you put in. I cannot find one example online or in person of a Vision policy that has performed with exponential growth. The salesmen flogging it couldn’t even get me one. The advice: Don’t use a financial adviser because the only guarantee is fees. If you don’t understand the product use an ETF.
Is there any hope from exiting this plan without paying the ridiculous charges? This plan is no longer legal to be sold in Belgium–is that the case in other European countries as well?
Please could you help? You can reach me on x (removed by editor)
Sorry EY that you have had this experience with Generali.
We get a lot more private comments and requests for assistance than just those posted on the feedback. If you do wish to further review your position or take action then feel free to email us.
It is criminal for Generali to bank on honest families being sold a long term way to save for their children education. Reading through the comments makes me realize how many people have been scammed out there. Ready to join any movement for legal action against them although i assume these crooks have protected themselves in the fine lines of their 100 pages contracts..
I was also a victim of Generali Guernsey PPB & Vision plans administration charges scam.
We are a group of victims taking legal action.
If you want to be part of this please let us know on this LinkedIn group :
The more we are, the stronger our case.
Let’s make this happen !
Hi All, am in the same situation. Generali Worldwide Guernsey has eaten up 85,000 euros from my Vision and PPB plans as administration charges & fees.
Would it not be a good idea to join forces all together and take legal action ? If interested let me know.
Thanks DupedbyAndrewSapsed for your suggestions. I’m managing my funds now and have given up receiving any advice. I’m sure I’ll do better the next 10 years vs the first 10 years…
Oh, and don’t bother looking for a new advisor. Unless you’re putting in enough to pay them a generous annual commission, the advisors don’t do anything. Even then they are only guessing where to shift your money. If you can’t get out, try managing it yourself and don’t compound the mistake by getting involved with another financial advisor.
Bill. Kensington Consulting is still active. If you think y you’ve been mis-sold this policy, contact the FCA and get some advice.
They’re helpful if the law allows them to be.
Worst investment I ever made. Was too young and stupid to realise what I was signing into. Was locked in by a “financial advisor” (Kensington Consulting, The Netherlands) 10 years ago when I was an expat there and I still have another 15 years of premium paying to go… No customer service whatsoever from Generali and “advisor” disappeared 8 years ago because I was upset about the lack of clear information and absolutely no follow up from “advisor”… I asked Generali for a new advisor several years later and got no response from them either… “UTMOST” bought out Generali Paneurope this year and, of course, I just found out by accident simply because I couldn’t log into my account!! I sincerely hope UTMOST changes how things are managed, little hope though… I’m now doing fund switching on my own, I’m sure my instinct is better than my “advisor’s”… Supposedly fees after 10 years go down from 2-3% to 0,3%, supposedly…. Let’s see if beyond 10 years I can get close to breaking even…forget about actually making any money.
Same same. Burnt by advisor. Basically, there is no clarity on the fee structure. And the fees are the problem. If you end up paying 4 or 5% fees per year, then it’s very hard to make returns more than your investment. Remember inflation is usually 2 or 3% as well.
It is clearly a poor product. I am actually going to surrender my policy and lose half or more of the 5 years I have been investing in it!
However, I feel its better to accept these losses now than much great ones in 20 years. Start again with index funds.
Key learning. Know the annual fees.
I was mis-sold a Vision policy whilst working as a PhD student in Switzerland, by an advisor (Mr Andrew Sapsed, now at CN Goodall, Switzerland – Hopefully people see this before the mods take it out). The one thing I wanted was an investment plan that wouldn’t lock me in indefinitely as I told him, I won’t be earning tax-free Swiss salaries forever.
The IFA showed me the glossy Generali brochure that has all the right keywords in it. Not once did he tell me that the fees increase in line with the maximum premiums I pay (i.e. if you reduce your premiums from €1000 to €100 per month, you’re still going to pay fees on level of the €1000 installments!) He also lied about the surrender charges. Basically said there isn’t any after the initial period of 28 months.
I’m now 9 years in to this 30 year nightmare. I’ve been in discussions with Generali hoping to be released from this as it is an every present cause of anxiety and depression. Of course, the company that Mr Sapsed was working for (Churchill & Partners) have now dissolved. Generali claim they are totally independent of the IFAs. But if they pay commission to these crooks, they are certainly complicit!
I have an offer from them to reimburse me £5000 as a way of apology for the mis-selling and for the mental health issues their product has caused me. The Guernsey ombudsman are unable to help (don’t deal with cases prior to 2013). FINMA (Swiss regulator) are complicit with the cowboy IFAs. The GFSA (Guernsey Financial Services) have been sympathetic but don’t have the power to deal with individual cases. So it looks like I’m legally sc***wed. I’m really not sure what to do regarding the policy. If I leave, I’ll instantly lose £15k. I’m trying to figure out how much I’ll lose if I stay, but the fee structures are so complicated, and I’m paying in £100/month but hit with fees based on £800/month.
We need to publicize this to as many people as possible who could find themselves in the same situation. Send emails to the organizations where you worked when you were mis-sold this policy. Tell them about the the dishonest IFAs who prey on people like ourselves; those who are temporarily earning good money and want to make the most of it. We need to make it harder for these b******ds to make a living out of the financial losses of others.
I’m also talking to my local MP to try to push for a law change in the Guernsey financial sector to bring it inline with those of civilized countries like the UK, where consumer protections actually mean something.
I wish that reviews on Generali Vision scam were existing when I signed up for 20 years in 2007 in HK.
Half way through the unreasonable hidden fees from Generali have eaten up most of my investment. If I surrender I would be left with nearly nothing despite the good performances of the chosen funds. Generali and the advisor make money by scamming and misleading expats.
One advice DO NOT TOUCH this product unless you have money to be wasted. Generali is a disgrace!
Unfortunately, I have done this research too late. After 3 years out of my 5 years vision Plan, I can see that the only one who get’s the money is Generali and the as called financial advisors. Lost over 9000 USD and it looks like that this would continue the rest of the 2 years. If you have to spend money for retirement or similar, don’t go with this gangsters. The Finacial adviser which I was dealing with is Guardian Wealth Management.
Sounds trustful, but it isn’t. they doing their business i.E. The Middle East. You sign off, get told that you have access to your money what you have spent, but they didn’t let you know that there is a huge penalty to pay if you cancel prior the Plan is paid in full time.
I am looking now for a legal advisor who might help me to get out of this shit.
I bought this plan 3 years back in Dubai. My advisor was kind enough to encourage me to read the T&C before signing up the plan and informed me about the Direct funds. I took a 10 year term (rather than a 25 year term) to build a retirement pot. I am enjoying good returns on the plan and would strongly advice NOT taking any premium breaks. I think it is not about the product it’s about the advise. Choose your advisor carefully!
Expats & Investor watch out: Avoid GENERALI VISION retirement plan like plague. Their complex/extortionate fees structure will suck-up all your investment. Got screwed I invested 21.5k, last year fees were up to 2.7k ABUSIVE! Generali Vision is TOXIC!
Many others got scammed too.
Don’t get misled and mis-sold by financial advisers who get nice commission from GENERALI Guernsey. They operate everywhere : Asia, Europe, America, Middle East… not trustworthy.
STOP GENERALI VISION with Class Action lawsuit!
I am fed up with the blame culture, take responsibility yourselves. There is nothing wrong with Generali or the Vision plan, it is very simple if you stick with it you will make money (Moderator: product not guaranteed). if you sign up to a 10 year plan and try to cancel half way through what do you expect?? nobody held a gun to your head and made you sign it.
I was sold a 10-year Vision plan in Switzerland and have always been very financially disciplined with it – never requested a premium holiday, always paid the regular premium.
I’m now 9.5 years into it and looking back it is clear that:
– The outrageous fees eat into any potential gain you may have
– The much-praised loyalty bonus is not nearly enough to offset these fees, on top of market fluctuations & downturns
– The so-called “financial advisors” placing these products are unscrupulous salesmen with no accountability
– These “advisors” tend to disappear rather quickly after they either lock you into such plans or realize you aren’t going to be their cash cow. Non-existent long-term support.
With about 6 months left to go, it’d be smart to make changes to the current under-performing fund selection and adapt it but on the other hand the limited time span means the initial fees for the new funds might not be offset by the gains one could realize in just 6 months.
Damned if I do, damned if I don’t, it seems?
I wish I had read all this before signing up to Vision Plan. I was naive enough to trust the financial advisor when he said I could stop the premiums or reduce them when needed. Now, I want to reduce it and cannot seem to get a specific answer about how much this will cost me!!! I am tempted to just lose money and get out now rather than in +10 years time and maybe lose more, but would love to have all the data to make (this time around) an informed decision!
We are happy to help, I will email you.
I’m really worried about the comments I read here. I have signed a 25 years Vision plan for retirement since about three years ago, I have invested USD$10,200 and the current value of the plan is USD$12,450, Surrender value USD$3,400, so everything seems to ve Ok. But i’m feeling insecure because my money is very far from my country, I don´t know which institutions regulate and support my investment or who can I turn to if something goes wrong. I’m not sure if it’s more convenient for me to try to get the surrender value and not to get scammed in long term and lose more money, or if it’s more convenient to complete my investment in 22 years. I need to fully understand the risks from an impartial advisor to take the best decision given my curren situation, but I don´t know who to turn to. Please help!
Yes, TW of Spain, of course you think this product is great if you’ve been recommending many of them over the years. You should hang your head in shame. It is better to do something? Of course, but these policies are useless. 25 years? Who knows what will happen – what if you need your money back, good luck….. It’s probably better to hide your money under the floorboards or put it in a bank account, even for the paltry amount of interest it might gain. At least then it won’t be taken in commission by rapacious advisers like you.
I signed the same Plan in 2010 in Shanghai, with no precise explanation on the obligation in premium payments and the risks involved. With no alerts from Generali and from financial advisors, I realised a month ago that Generali charged me 20% of investment with no explanation. After calling them I got informed that my plan will soon be at 0 unless I paid in once all the premium that I was supposed to pay, and Never alerted about. Obviously I don’t have the cash to pay in one go and all my premiums will be stolen soon. We must do something all together about this huge scam! It must stop and all financial advisor in Asia also
I was scammed out of several thousands of euros by Devere & Partners, who sold me a so-called Generali Policy.
This happened as far back as 2010.
I know that there are literally thousands of people who have fallen prey to this scam. The problem is: a lot of people seem to want to TALK about it; but nobody is interested in actually doing anything about it.
I went as far as hiring a lawyer, who was based in London (UK). Mainly because that’s where DeVere was when they stole my money! My lawyer understood my situation, but he advised me that to let it go, because: the legal fees alone would exceed the money which Generali had stolen from me.
His advice: find as many people as you can, who were also scammed, and organize ourselves into a group. Then, launch a legal battle.
I have been searching for anyone who is interested in taking this matter further. But, so far, have not found anyone with the balls to get up and fight these animals!
As in: launching a legal attack on Generali and somehow getting back the money they stole from us. !!
If anyone is serious about getting together to hire a lawyer, here’s my email:
I bought the plan in 2004 and paid HK$12,000 a month for 10 years. I just got the money back a few days ago and the amount I got was HK$1,433,751.312. I contributed total HK$1,440,000 and after 13 years, I couldn’t even break even. This is totally a scam!@!@!
I strongly advise to stay away from this investment.
I too was duped into signing a 20 year term through DeVere. I was informed after the initial period I could reduce the payments down to any amount per month (i.e $50), without being informed the charges would still be deducted based on the initial amount. I have invested 65,000 USD to date, and am now going to walk away from it. It is a hard lesson to learn that I have just lost all of my savings. My surrender value is $0 meaning I don’t get anything back.
The reason I decided that I wanted to get out of this investment is a point no one has raised yet. I wondered how my investment was loosing value although over the period all invested areas had increased in value. Then I was informed that your investment doesn’t own the bonds, if the value goes up, you only get a small percentage of this. The investment group keeps the profits from a difference in the share/bond value.
This fund has now been banned in some countries. Unfortunately IFA’s often work in unregulated regions, i.e. Viet Nam and Dubai.
Steer clear of Generali and DeVere
I have been investing in the Generali Vision plan for 4 years. 21 years left of a 25 year plan. So far the results are good but as it is so long term I don’t care too much about the value at the moment. My advisor made it very clear to me when signing up that if I would withdraw money from my savings the first years, this would do me no good. I was also given the advice of switching funds to a minimum. As I am saving for my pension, I have no intention of accessing the funds until then. I understand that it is frustrating to loose a lot of money through the surrender values. However this should come as no surprise. I believe Generali offers the option of putting payments on holiday for up to 3 months. This could be a first option for those who are facing difficulties. There may be other options out there that are more transparent or have less costs… I don’t know. However if you are committed to not interfering with your 10, 15, 20 or 25 year plan I think Generali is an OK choice. Editor: “Unfortunately, not everyone is able to predict their ability to pay the premiums for the next few years, and certainly not 25 years. There are other lower cost and more flexible options that allow penalty free access and the ability to stop and start and reduce premiums without costs. Thank you for your contribution”
DO NOT EVER USE THEM!!
By far the worst wealth-management organisation I have ever dealt with!
So I signed up for my policy 10 years ago from the middle east. The plan came with investment adviser sending an update every 6 months or year with advice on investment changes to make and to set up a meeting to review the portfolio. Shortly after the first 2 years, I had issues with log in procedures and couldn’t access my acount, it took about 12 months to resolve.
Once that was done, the adviser didn’t return any calls and apparently left Generali. That took me a few years to find out. Accordingly, I have asked them to provide another adviser and they refused to comment. Finally, they admitted that they didn’t have any advisers in the middle east and I should go and seek one out myself.
I stopped the premium payments at that point and wanted to exit the portfolio, but obviously that was not an option since exit fees are too high. So I continued with the them and watched my investments decline over the years. My premium was over $12,000, my portfolio value is now $2,600, and Generali fees are $2,100 (not sure what that’s for since they have not provided me with any advise or even any IT support when requested). I understand that the last few years were difficult with the economic downtourn but if there were doing their job and advising me, it wouldn’t have declined so far.
So my encashment value is down to $500. So I actually lost $11,500, definitely not worth the long distance phone calls and time spent on emails with the most incompetent customer service team on earth
After 5 years of contributing to this Vision Plan, I have been trying to undertake a partial withdrawal for the last 8 months with so much hassles. as an earlier poster said, deadlines are not respected, you have to push them to get any feedback, and there are requests for proof of address documents that are absurd. For Proof of Address they request such a huge and complicated document list about confirmation of residence and the need to go through your blood sucking agent is just painful
Unfortunately, this is true with nearly all offshore savings plan. The solution? Use a company that has access to UK regulated platforms which do not have Initial periods, exit penalties or (and the main point), DO NOT PAY COMMISSIONS TO ADVISERS.
The industry offshore is slowly changing and eventually these products will not be available offshore. They would not be legal in the UK. There are a handfull of companies that are operating to UK standards and UK platforms which have better protection, governance and transparency but importantly, your tax status as an expat will not be altered.
Agree with all the very negative comments about this product. Whilst in the UAE I was convinced by the IFA that this was a flexible product and I could reduce my savings contributions at any time. After being made redundant I want to stop payments but keep the planing running to expiry. Unfortunately, this plan would mean that most of the initial contributions (USD 140k) would be used to pay for fees making the plan almost worthless. The only people making money out of this product are IFAs (who get a very large upfront commission) and Generali. Unless you are very sure you can guarantee your contributions for the full term, you should avoid this product.
My whole experience poor. Don’t believe anything the salesman tells you. Disgusted that people can lose thousands of dollars in a so called savings plan that in reality is just making money for a salesman and their company through hidden commissions.
The salesman now gone, along with most of my money. Generali not interested
Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on Generali. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him. So thanks for lunch!
Concur on the first review. After 2 years my work circumstances changed and asked for a partial surrender. Even though we were happy with the surrender amount the process was more painful than pulling teeth. Identity confirmations, signed statements, document copies etc. Even then took thier sweet time to transfer. From the point of getting the surrender estimates to getting your money took over 4 months, 3 DHL document shipments, uncountable emails and phone calls to the FA (generali will not answer directly to their clients). Even got the FA pissed off by the length of the process.
Learnt my lesson. Do your own research before jumping in. Lots of other products out there that provide much better service that Generali.
STAY AWAY FROM GENERALI IF YOU DONT WANT TO LOSE YOUR MONEY!
Our investment horror story… We put in our hard-earned money up to a total of 110,000 USD. Because of their ‘expertise’ in fund management, the value sank to 103,000 USD. Now, because we have to pre terminate, that will pay us only USD 81,000.
Put your money somewhere else.
Very negative personal experience. I agree with those saying you have to think twice before starting with Generali Vision (Generali Policy). If something is going wrong with your earnings (unemployment, salary decrease, etc) and you need to ask for Partial or Total encashment – first, you will lose a lot (up to 50% of your paid amount). Secondly, they will do everything not to pay you YOUR money. The deadlines are not respected, you have to push them to get any feedback, they are always not satisfied with documents provided, nobody can confirm what is required, all requirements are different. For Proof of Address they request such a huge and complicated document list that you feel you deal with Secret Service not an investment company. If you are not 100% sure you will be absolutely stable for the next 15 years min – you better run from their advisors.
I also have one of these plans (for 3 years now) and see it as a terrible mistake. Steer well clear.
As an adviser who has recommended many of these plans over the years, I believe that this article does not highlight sufficiently the benefit of regular savings for clients. It is better to do something, rather than nothing, and end up with nothing! I like the support offered by Generali which I think is a good company.
I had one of these plans, advised to be invested over 20 years, and then wanted the money back after 4 years. My statement said it was worth more than I had put in (just!) but what i was offered back was derisory. I lost a lot of money and I recommend people should think twice before they take out one of these plans.