Zurich Vista Savings Plan Review

Get in touch +44 20 8123 8072

Zurich Vista Savings Plan Zurich Vista Savings Plan Review
Zurich International Life is part of the Zurich Insurance Group, offering life insurance, investment and protection solutions throughout the world. Operating in international markets around the globe for many years.Provides individual savings, investment and protection products and have established branches in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. This review is focused on the Zurich Vista Savings Plan.

Claim a Day One EME Bonus Find out more

    Zurich Vista Savings Plan Summary

    Zurich Vista Savings Plan Review

    The Zurich Vista 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 Zurich Vista Savings 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 Zurich Vista Plan can be denominated in USD, Euros, Sterling, AED, BHD and QAR. Benefits will be paid in the plan currency.
    Why choose the Zurich Vista Plan: : Leading Fund Houses offer a wide choice of investment funds. Investment choice through a selection of more than 30 top performing investment options, from leading fund houses, to match a wide variety of investment profiles.

    Expat Money Expert Verdict on Funds 

    Zurich Vista Plan Promotion: What does Zurich write about their own Zurich Vista Plan/strong>? Zurich say “Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning can help to make your dreams come true. Those dreams may include early retirement, ensuring your children or grandchildren are well educated, arranging a wedding, taking a career break or travelling the world.”
    Eligibility: The Zurich Vista Plan is a regular premium, whole of life, life assurance contract issued by Zurich International. It is available to most international investors outside of main regulated territories such as the UK, the U.S.A. and Australia. Zurich 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: You can start saving with as little as USD 300 a month (this can always be increased later). 100% of each premium paid will be allocated to the purchase of units in your policy. For larger premiums, the allocation rate can increase up to 102.5%. You can pay premiums via a number of different methods including credit card. There is no additional cost if you do choose to pay by card but you will have card charges to consider.
    Initial Charges: This will depend on the amount of commission taken by a third party salesman or adviser.A charge of 4% each year of the value of the initial units, deducted monthly will be deducted from the value of the initial units held within your policy. This charge will be deducted throughout the premium term or 25 years if later.

    Contract charge: There is an ongoing contract charge of 0.125% of the current fund value, deducted each month in arrears. The charge is applied proportionately across both initial and accumulation units.

    Policy fee: A monthly policy fee of USD 8.25 will be deducted in arrears from your policy’s accumulation units. During the initial allocation period, the deduction of the policy fee will create negative accumulation units.

    Are 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 RL360 Quantum Savings Plan 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.


    Zurich Vista Plan Brochure
    Zurich Vista Plan Key Features

    Expat Money Expert Verdict on Charges 

    Accessibility: A partial surrender on your Zurich Vista Savings 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 effect this means that on polices with an original term of more than 15 years most, if not all, of the first 18 months-2 years premiums are lost upon surrender.

    You can surrender your policy at any time, but during the premium term it will be subject to a surrender charge and you may get back less than your premiums paid. If you surrender your policy whilst your original premium is still within its initial allocation period, your policy will have no surrender value – in effect suffering a 100% surrender charge.

    A policy or sub-policy surrendered after the initial allocation period, but during the premium term, will be subject to a surrender charge equal to a percentage of the initial unit value. The charge depends on the period of time remaining between the date of surrender and the end of the premium term. For example, if you select a 15 year premium term and opt to surrender the policy after 10 years, you would have 5 years remaining and the initial units within your policy would be subject to a 37.04% charge.

    It is important to be aware that the Zurich Vista Savings 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 80% of the value of the plan value can be lost by surrendering the Zurich Vista Savings Plan early, or indeed in the first year or so it is not unusual to get nothing back.

    Expat Money Expert Verdict on Accessibility 

    Expat Money Expert Assessment of the Zurich Vista Plan

    A predominantly commission-based adviser’s product with limited use or appeal.

    The Zurich Vista Savings Plan is similar to many in the offshore market place. Similar to the Generali Vision plan this type of plan may have been a common option in the UK back in the 1990s 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 Zurich Vista Savings Plan is an expensive option when compared with a pure platform plan.

    The standard Zurich Vista Savings Plan funds have high ongoing fees when directly compared to platform or direct offerings from fund houses via the UK or the USA. The Zurich Vista Savings Plan can have high charges on early access. You may not get back all of your savings with an Zurich Vista Savings Plan and there are no guarantees that the portfolio will give you the returns you are expecting, 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 early without a surrender penalty; 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 Zurich Vista Savings 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. The amount the distributor earns is linked to the length of the policy; the longer the policy term the longer the surrender penalty incurred on early access, the more money the distributor or adviser earns. 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 February 2017. 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 29

    1. @Michael Rogan – thank you for your comments. There are many liquid, cost-effective options now available without the restrictions and high charges you have sadly had to become accustomed to. We will arrange for an adviser to get in touch and explain your options to you.

    2. Not overly impressed. Now in the 10th year and less than 1% return per annum. Looking for advice where to reinvest

    3. @ Philipp – You summary of this product is quite accurate. There are now low-cost, flexible options available without restrictions or exit penalties. We’ll be happy to get in touch to explain more about your options.

    4. Avoid this plan. Fees are not transparent, but you will pay around 10 times the fees what a low cost ETF fund will cost you – and you can’t terminate the contract without penalty. Very low value for money. They will make it look like they have exclusive “products” not available to normal people and blabla. Dont be fooled. As a rule of thumb, fees for index funds are less than 0.4% (e.g. Vanguard). With Zurich you end up somewhere between 2-4.5% Its an outdated product based on an outdated fee model. The only ones to profit are the broker and Zurich. Should be forbidden by regulators.

    5. @John – The fees are very high in nearly all contractual savings plans with the adviser benefitting most, which goes against all ethical considerations that should be instilled in a good adviser. Even with the 6 years left on your current plan it may be possible to recoup many of those fees by choosing an alternative platform now. We’ll be in touch to provide further information.

    6. I took out one of these 14 years ago and I have 6 years left. I am locked in now and i will make fraction of whati could have made putting that money into a basic share account. It was a horrific choice – the policy fees are astronomical as are the fund fees. Avoid avoid avoid!

    7. @ Scott – The overall costs go beyond product fees with underlying fund costs exacerbating the issue. We agree that marketing contractual plans with such high fees as products that people rely on to ease concerns over funding retirement or university costs, when the results demonstrate the opposite, is extremely concerning.

    8. This policy only benefits Zurich. You will make no money. There is no flexibility to get out of the policy and you are stuck paying over 4% in fees to Zurich plus fee on the funds. It is a cash cow for Zurich. The surrender fees are incredibly high so they cover all their cost for the full-time period. Incredible unfair to a person trying to save money.

      The worst part is they sell this as a long-term education savings plan. And there is no insurance benefit.
      The only thing long-term is the monthly fees paid to Zurich. I wish i knew more about the structure of the policy at the time I signed up. I relied on a financial advisor and was planning on investing via this fund for 17 years for my son’s university. only realized the total amount of fees because someone from Zurich sent me the wrong file of my account illustrating the total cost of investment. They had to get an actuary from Zurich to explain how everything was priced, none of the salespeople understood the cost structure.

      Stay as far away from this as possible. Any of the funds on their platform you can buy via other companies for a fraction of the fees plus you have the flexibility to cash out without a surrender fee. Stay away from Zurich

    9. Thanks for your analysis, they are very accurate and I had signed a Vista 3 contract 10 years ago. It is a very bad investment decision. They simply lock your chips and take their share.

    10. @Ian – The offshore market has evolved a lot since 2003. It is during the first few years that the charges for the whole policy term are taken, meaning that early policy closure can incur substantial losses. If you are prepared to see the policy through to its maturity date you may have a positive outcome, however, a limited fund range and other high product charges means the returns non-contractual products are generally much better. Good luck with the rest of the policy term.

    11. I have had my Zurich Vista plan since 2003 and still in force, having managed to extend it at the end of 2018 to take me up to anticipated retirement date. (Originally when I took it out I had done so thinking I will retire at 55 or so but circumstances change:) ). I am quite happy with the plan particularly the recent performance. Once you have got through the initial two to three years period then you can make withdrawals but it is better to leave the funds in the plan otherwise it will be a drag on the end result.

    12. There is no right answer to this. You need to go back to your adviser and ask him / her both current value and surrender value. Then in 6 – 12 months do the same. That will probably give you the answer if you are throwing good money after bad!?

    13. Can we hear from some one who is happy to have taken Zurich Vista savings policy, irrespective of their joining date or the years they have been into the policy. I feel same and agree to all those who have commented above. If your are a happy customer, like to know the positive aspects.

      As many of you commented above, I can only see my surrender value moving at a very slow pace, however, surrender charges moving at faster pace. Only 03 years in to the policy but need to make a decision at least now to avoid wasting anymore money. Your comments will be appreciated.

    14. @Anne I am guessing if you did it within the cancellation period you should have received your premiums plus or minus any change in equity value back. After 30 days you will receive zero back.

      Sorry I took so long to respond, but update us with what happened.

    15. REF GF Australian Tax on Life Policies

      He may like to look at the provisions of Section 26AH(6) ITAA 1936 regarding the tax treatment of life policies,which the Vista plan is,particularly after a 10 year term

    16. Thank you for this blog. Very enlightening! I signed for a Zurich Vista Savings plan, convinced by the agent that this was a good investment opportunity (even though we emphasized multiple times that we were not interested in a life insurance). Mistake! We are still within the 30 days cancellation period. So I will cancel tomorrow. Instead of one, already two premiums were charged to my credit card within two weeks… Does anyone have experience as to how much of these premiums will be refunded when cancelling within the 30 days cancellation period?


    18. @GF

      Sorry we could not provide guidance on the Australian tax position of the Zurich Vista policy. We now understand that the authorities would look through the policy and there are no tax breaks or benefits. Did you find out the same conclusion?

    19. Great summary. Very helpful but I wish I had read it earlier. I am Australian and took out a Vista policy while I was working internationally as a non resident o& Australia for taxation; purposes. I am now living and working in Australia and am looking at withdrawing some or all of my funds. Does anyone know what the Australian tax implications will be for this?

    20. I just recently made the hardest decision ever, ending my Vista within 18 months. currently saved $23k & only got $5k back for full surrender amount. Such a huge loss of blood & sweat working my ass off, I could have done better saving in the bank myself, If only I knew earlier.

    21. @Patrick
      It is likely that if you encash the policy within the first 18 months, you will not get any money back and the salesperson that sold the policy would have to return some of the commission to Zurich- that may be why the 18 months was mentioned. The initial charges are there to provide commission to the salesperson, However, you may not get anything back for sometime after that. A lot will depend on the term the plan was taken out for, the longer the term the higher the surrender penalty.

      Contact Zurich directly, as the planholder and ask for the current fund value and the surrender value.

    22. @Frustrated member, You will need an offshore account to continue doing your contributions to your vista. Have one set up and you can continue with your plan.

    23. hi guys,

      bit of info if poss, i have the expat zurich vista savings policy, i am currently 13 months into it, i have been told to wait till the 18 month period before i do anything as my “bounces” will be void, i have asked what charges i will incur if i were to with draw all monies saved, i cant seem to get a solid answer. does anyone know.


      It is likely that if you encash the policy within the first 18 months, you will not get any money back and the salesperson that sold the policy would have to return some of the commission to Zurich- that may be why the 18 months was mentioned. The initial charges are there to provide commission to the salesperson, However, you may not get anything back for sometime after that. A lot will depend on the term the plan was taken out for, the longer the term the higher the surrender penalty.

      Contact Zurich directly, as the planholder and ask for the current fund value and the surrender value.

    24. Zurich Vista policy gives maximum 4.5 % returns over a period of 5 years. When analyzed properly Zurich earns more than your own benefits. Not worth at all.
      Similarly the Zurich Wealth Accumulation Plan – a regressive policy for they deduct 8.5% as full surrender value during the first year, which is extremely high. Fund fee, policy fee….etc., overall NOT a worth the risk at all. Returns are NOT guranteed nor there is any incentives.
      Observe that Zurich policy keep their jobs secure & profitable than the investors.

    25. Hello,

      Thanks for the article…insightful and helpful.

      Could you recommend some other plans which do not have the high-cost and inflexibility that Visa has.


    26. Careful people! I am stuck with my Zurich Vista plan since I moved to the US last year. Apparently, you cannot continue contributing to this plan if you are in the US and you really have two options:
      1. Withdraw what you have invested at the current value, excluding a very heavy Surrender Penalty (for me that’s a loss of 42%)
      2. Keep your contributions in Zurich Vista, until you move out of the US. You cannot change your existing plan, you cannot contribute any more, and you will be charged the annual fees of 4%. Hence, if your funds start incurring a loss, you fund value will start reducing and you cannot do anything about it.

    27. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    28. I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to look at new things you post…

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *