This article first appeared on adamfayed.com here.
Capital International Group Isle of Man Review — that will be the title of today’s article.
If you are an expat and have been proposed Capital International Group, or are already on the platform , you can email contact me via email (email@example.com) or here.
For those that prefer visual content, the video below summaries the article below — although the article has since been updated since the video was produced a few years ago, as new and important information has came to light.
Who are Capital International Group
Capital International Group offers an investment platform to investors globally, and is based out of the Isle of Man. They also have a banking entity, which is separate to the platform.
This article will review the platform, and explain why some investors will get good returns and others won’t.
Finally I will explain what unhappy clients can do if they have the policy.
If you want to contact me about investing, or you have an existing Capital International Group policy and you aren’t happy, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the chat function below.
Where is the platform sold?
Globally, but often in expat-focused areas such as Dubai, Shanghai, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brussels, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Qatar, Amsterdam, Moscow, Nigeria and various other locations.
What are the account minimums?
Unlike some other options, the minimums aren’t published on the website, but most people start with at least $10,000 — with $50,000-$150,000 being an average client size.
What is the duration of the investment?
Money can be invested and pulled out, without penalty, at any point. However, as 5,000 funds can be chosen, some funds will have exit charges.
What are the costs associated with investing on the platform?
The actual platform cost can be as little as 0.35% a year. Once you add the costs of the advisory fees (and asset management fees) however, and you can be charged up to 4%-5% per year, depending on which options are chosen by the advisor and client.
This is one of the reason why some clients get better returns than others. Client one could be in index-linked investments charged at 0.1%, whilst another client could be in expensive investments with hidden fees.
What are some examples of the investment funds available?
The following funds are just some of the options available:
There are also a range of structured notes and other investments.
What are the positives of the platform?
The main positives are
- Capital International offers an excellent online system, with ease of topping up, withdrawal and other admin done efficiently, even if setting up the investment takes longer than it should in some cases.
- Money can usually be pulled out at any point without penalty, but many other investment solutions offer this, and some investments within the platform have their own minimum period where you must remain invested.
- The costs can also be reasonable, depending on the charging structure chosen.
- There are some reasonable investment options with this platform
What are the negatives of the platform?
The biggest negatives are:
- The fact numerous fund options can be chosen is great, but that does mean that some clients are in inappropriate funds, whereas better options exist on the same platform. Two investors who have different funds will get very different results, even on the same platform. So, who you pick as your advisor will have a huge impact on your total returns.
- For some British, Australian and South African expats, there can be some tax benefits associated with opening an offshore life assurance option, compared to a pure investment platform, especially if you decide to repatriate and return home. This option doesn’t allow for such tax benefits. Clearly, this article isn’t taxation advice, but it is something to take into account.
- The fact that Capital International Group is based in Isle of Man is also not especially a positive. The territory has become increasing restrictive in recent years which mean that setting up and administering accounts has become more time consuming. Besides all major offshore jurisdictions now have proper investor protections. So Isle of Man, Bermuda or Puerto Rico isn’t really an important debate in this day and age. Often times, it is just advisors who have jurisdiction in their head. The average client shouldn’t care.
- As time is going on, the negatives of these paperwork hassles (which is usually blamed on the aforementioned regulations) versus some competitors is getting worse.
- We are living in an era of weak bond and cash returns. That makes diversification options such as loan notes, private equity, hedge funds and other alternative assets important. Capital do have some options in this space, but not as much as some competitors.
- It isn’t as cheap as it first looks. Usually, the platform will cost 0.35%, with the advisor charging 1%+ per year. This is reasonable, but usually exists forever. Some alternatives in the market allow for higher costs in the early years, and then lower costs over time.
- A lot of the positives, like the online system and group size, won’t improve your risk-adjusted investment returns. They are just “good to have’s”.
- By far the biggest negative is that enhanced benefits can be acquired elsewhere, for the same cost, and with fewer paperwork hassles.
What can you do if you have a Capital International plan which isn’t performing well?
If you are a client of Capital International and you aren’t satisfied with the returns, there could be two reasons for this. Either markets aren’t performing well, which can’t be helped in the short-term.
In comparison, the second reason is that bad funds have been picked. In which case, it should be much easier to make the account work more efficiently.
Capital International Group has some positive points, and some decent investment choices.
Your investment success will depend on your advisor, and your own investment behaviours.
Therefore, if you have an existing policy, or indeed you are planning to buy a new one, it makes sense to compare and contrast this option, with others in the market.
Overall, better options exist in the market, with more diversification and fewer paperwork hassles.