(This article originally appeared on adamfayed.com. For a more in-depth review of Platform One International and similar plans, alongside customer reviews and questions at the bottom of the page, please visit here — https://adamfayed.com/zurich-vista-review-rl360-quantum-friends-provident-hansard/).
Who Are Platform One?
Platform One Internatioanl are a UK Investment firm, which has entered the overseas market. They have started something they call the International Plus Offshore Service, coming out of the Isle of Man.
This is a multi-currency platform that has access to a wide range of funds and investments including:
- OEICS funds
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Investment Trusts
- Structured Products
- Individual listed International Equities
- Offshore collectives investments
The custody is held in Luxembourg and they are regulated by the UK’s financial regulator — the Financial Conduct Authority.
Is there a difference between Capital One offered in the UK and the one offered to expats?
Yes the UK (onshore) version and offshore version sold to expats, are different products, with contrasting charging structures. This is made clear on the website which has separate tabs for UK and International investments.
Where is Platform One sold?
They are sold worldwide in Dubai, Qatar, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China and other expat destinations.
As they are originally from the UK, a great deal of the clients are British.
What are the fees?
This depends on which structure is used. If you are a UK-resident, all the fees are clear and transparent.
If you are a UK expat using this platform, the fees will depend on:
- How much management fee your advisor charges
- Whether an outsourced investment solution is utilized
- Any commissions coming from the funds
So in reality, investor A, could be paying 5x more than investor B. As the fees are hidden, it isn’t always clear whether or not you are being overcharged.
Let’s look at a simple example:
Sarah pays a 1% management fee + 0.1% for index funds + the platform fees = slightly over 1% annual fees
In comparison, Sean is paying 1.5% management fee + 1.5%-2.5% for actively managed fees + platform fees = 3%-4%+.
Over a period of 5–10 years, this could make a huge difference.
What’re the positives about the platform?
1. It is well-regulated in Isle of Man, UK and Luxembourg, although pretty much all offshore locations now have good investor protections these days.
2. It isn’t as high cost as some platforms if the right funding structure is put in on day 1.
3. The platform itself is fine. It is how it is used that counts.
What are the negatives about the platform?
1. Some clients are paying high fees, due to the charging structure chosen by their broker on day 1, or indirectly due to the funds that have been picked.
2. Extensive fund choices sound great on paper, but this also means that many clients are put in expensive and opaque investments.
3. If you have been introduced by a financial advisory company, your mileage my vary. In practice this means you may have a great or bad experience, like in any other industry or service, depending on the firm you are with.
Are there charges for getting out of this product?
There are often indirect costs of getting out of many of the investments held within the platform, even if the platform itself doesn’t always have an exit fee.
For example, let’s say you have $150,000 in your account. If there are no fees for getting out from the platform, but there is a 5% charge for getting out of the funds within the platform, you will still be charged $7,500 for existing, in an indirect way.
Are most clients happy?
Some clients are happy, whilst others are not. The happy clients tend to be those in sensible investments within the platform.
The unhappy ones have often been put in high-cost and opaque investments.
For unhappy clients, if there are charges for getting out of the product, what can I do?
This is a case by case issue. In some instances, reducing the management fee and fund charges can make a huge difference.
For example, if somebody has already been invested for more than five years, the exit charges often don’t apply.
In such instances, reducing the fees within the platform, could increase performance over the long-term.
For people in other situations, cashing out the policy is productive. This tends to depend on factors including comparing the charging structure with alternative platforms and investments.
This isn’t a bad platform, but the way it is used, isn’t always best for clients. Many unhappy clients are getting overcharged and would be better suited to another structures.
What can you do if you have a policy and are unhappy?
If you have a policy and would like a conversation please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org, I can’t promise anything — only to try my best.