For expats and re-locates who live in a foreign country, investing and capital accumulation is often a complicated issue. One of the main challenges is the accessibility of opening accounts and the ability to manage finances in an unfamiliar jurisdiction. In this regard, we advise you to look at Unit Linked savings programs (ULIPs) offered by international insurance companies.
The process of saving money in a foreign country is often accompanied by a number of complexities, and opening accounts, especially for temporary residents and relocants, is not always quick and hassle-free. In such a situation, ULIP savings programs provide an attractive alternative that allows you to invest money with convenience and flexibility.
There is an acute issue of capital taxation from two sides: the country that issued the passport and the country of residence or domicile. Avoiding double taxation can be challenging, but ULIP savings programs offer some advantages to optimize tax liabilities and take into account the peculiarities of the laws of the client’s country.
Unit Linked Programs (ULIPs) are investment plans that allow relocants and expats to make monthly or periodic contributions in order to invest and accumulate funds. The minimum contribution is only $100 per month, but it is recommended that you contribute amounts of $300 per month or more ($900 per quarter and $3600 per year) to earn additional bonuses and reduce program costs.
It is recommended to open such programs in order to save for certain life events, such as retirement or enrollment of a child in an institute. You can also choose a program term to reach a certain amount, such as $200,000 to buy real estate or $50,000 to buy a new car. The duration of these programs ranges from 5 years or more.
The program can end under a variety of scenarios, including policy termination, allowing clients to receive accumulated funds and investment income. In the event of the insured’s death, the beneficiaries named in the contract will receive 101% of the accumulated funds and investment income. There is also an option for early withdrawal before the end of the policy term.
ULIP programs give clients the flexibility to manage their funds. Clients can invest money and then choose to have the program pay them a certain amount periodically while keeping the rest of their money in investments. In this way, the ULIP program can provide the client with a pension as long as there are funds in their account.
There are several international insurance companies in the market offering such ULIP programs such as Hansard, International Assurance, Investors Trust and others. Customers can check out their savings programs and choose the most suitable option.
The main advantage of ULIP programs is that clients can build their investments as they see fit. They can choose independently from a huge number of investment funds and make a portfolio, or entrust the management of their funds to professionals or choose standardized distributions.
With a ULIP contract, the client enters into a transaction directly with the company and is subject to the protection of the laws of the country in which the chosen insurance company is registered. In addition, in case of bankruptcy of the selected company, the client will receive at least 90% of the value of his portfolio at the time of bankruptcy, as the company keeps funds in segregated accounts in the world’s leading banks. It is possible to withdraw money from the ULIP program only to the personal account of the client or his heirs.
The legal basis for such contracts is a life insurance policy, which gives clients certain advantages. Under Russian law, investors have to pay 13% tax on their investment income, but there is no concept of “income” in life insurance policies, as clients simply build up savings in anticipation of an insured event. It is important to note that ULIP programs are absolutely legal under Russian law.
The returns of ULIP programs depend on the investments selected. Clients who manage their own funds are independently responsible for the results of their investments. In case of selecting typical portfolios, the return depends on the chosen strategy and can range from 3 to 5% for conservative programs and up to 10-15% and higher for risky strategies.
Terms and conditions of savings programs
The terms and conditions of ULIP savings programs are very flexible. Contracts can be opened for any term of 5 years or more with installments as low as $100 per month or at another frequency chosen by the client. The client has the option to make additional one-time contributions during the course of the program. The contract begins with an initial period that lasts for as many months as the number of years the contract is for. During this period, the client is required to make regular contributions, but withdrawals are not available at this time. At the end of the initial period, the customer can increase or decrease the periodic installments.
The initial period exists to provide a guarantee to the insurance company to pay for services to open and maintain the client’s investment account. Funds deposited in the initial period continue to grow and belong to the client.
A special feature of ULIP programs is that clients have the opportunity to receive not only investment income but also incentive payments from the insurance company. The amount of commissions and bonuses may vary depending on the insurance company chosen by the client.
An important aspect for relocants and expats is the security of their investment. The scale and reliability of insurance companies make bankruptcy an unlikely event. Customer funds are usually placed in segregated accounts, which protects them from the bankruptcy of the insurance company. Money can only be withdrawn from the account to the client’s personal account or the account of his heirs.
How to open an account
The procedure for opening an account in the ULIP program is relatively simple. The client needs to fill out the questionnaire/application form and provide copies of proof of identity and address. The questionnaire data can be filled in on their own, or clients can ask us for help and we will provide an already completed questionnaire. The following documents are required to open a policy:
- Questionnaire data;
- Copy of identity document (your choice of passport, internal passport, driver’s license);
- Copy of proof of address (your choice of a copy of your residence permit, copy of your driver’s license, utility bill, or financial statement for the last 3 months).
Account management in ULIP program is done in a convenient manner. Customers can manage their accounts online through their personal insurance company accounts or contact us for assistance with account management. We will provide all the information you need and help you fill out all the necessary paperwork when dealing with the insurance company.
Another advantage of ULIP accounts is that they can be used as collateral for obtaining a mortgage loan from a western bank if the client decides to purchase a property abroad. Also, these accounts can contribute to the decision to grant a residence permit or permanent residence in another country.
Taken together, Unit Linked (ULIP) savings programs provide relocants and expats with attractive opportunities for efficient investment and capital accumulation in a foreign country. Flexible terms, a variety of investment strategies and investment protection make ULIP plans an attractive choice for those looking to secure their financial future in a new location.