If you are looking for a savings package that return more than the measly interest rates offered by banks, then this could be the deal for you.
Aimed at expats, the Friends Provident International Premier Advance Savings Plan is a long-term savings plan that delivers – providing you keep paying in for the life of the plan.
Like other expat savings plans, the FPI Premier Advance Saving Plan is a tool focused on delivering a specific result. That means you must have a clear savings goal from the start and be single-minded about reaching that destination.
If you keep to your side of the deal, then the savings plan has the potential to deliver a better than bank return, depending on the investment choices and amount you contribute over the years.
With that in mind, the conditions and charges imposed by the provider are necessary to reach that final financial goal.
Whether the plan is right for you depends on your age, tax planning and other personal circumstances, such as how long and how much you wish to save. Expats should remember their tax residence will also affect how benefits are paid.
Read the iExpats Friends Provident International Premier Advance Savings Plan Review
What is FPI Premier Advance Savings Plan?
Friends Provident International is a well-known global financial brand for expats, offering savings, investment and protection plans across the United Arab Emirates and Asia.
The company has 500 staff at offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Isle of Man.
The brand is owned by Royal London 360, a subsidiary of the International Financial Group (IFGL).
The company has more than 70,000 policyholders and manages at least US$10 billion of assets for customers.
Why do expats need savings plans?
Everyone should have some money set aside for life’s unexpected events that often turn out to be so expensive.
These can be one-offs like a wedding or house purchase, or regular outgoings like funding education fees for children or grandchildren.
Savings plans are the ideal home for money once any tax incentivised savings like pensions are maxed out.
Savings plans also get around the problems of opening savings accounts with banks while on assignment, and then closing and going through the whole process again every time you move., which can be frustrating, costly and time-consuming.
Setting up the FPI Premier Advance Savings Plan
A point to note is the savings plan also includes life cover, so you can set up the plan yourself, on someone else, such as a partner or spouse or on up to four joint lives.
Savers must be aged 18 or over, but less than 70 years old at the start of the plan, while one saver must be less than 76 years old when the plan is due to end.
The plan can last from five to 25 years.
The minimum contribution is US$300 a month, which are flexible as monthly, three monthly, six monthly or annual payments, plus lump sum contributions of US$3,000 are welcome any time.
Expats who chalk up 10 years of full premium payments gain a loyalty bonus of 0.5% which continues for as long as full premium payments are maintained.
Investment and currency choices
To help grow your money, FPI offers more than 100 funds rated for risk and covering a full spectrum of markets, currencies and investment types.
Clear performance statistics are updated monthly, while movements are adjusted daily so you can keep on top of your investments in a micromanaged environment.
Expats can choose their main currency for the plan, bearing in mind future benefits are paid in that currency.
The options are US dollar, Sterling, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen, Swedish krona or Euro.
Savers can share their monthly contribution in to 10 funds at any one time.
Managing your money
As an expat, you might want some of your cash along the way to your saving plan’s full term.
With the FPI premier Advance Savings Plan you can dip I when you want as one-off or regular withdrawals or even cash in the entire fund early.
Be warned – early redemption charges may apply and changing contribution levels, frequency or taking money out is likely to impact the final cash amount, which may be much less than you had planned from the start.
That’s why regularly reviewing your savings to make sure that they are on track is important.
Payments can be put on hold for up to 12 months or the plan can be ‘paid up’ without the need for any further payments.
Charges are still taken and the value of the plan will vary as funds rise and fall.
If a saver dies while the plan is in force, the pay-out is the cash-in value of the policy plus a 1% uplift.