Prudential International has whipped the wraps off a new online function aimed at helping UK IFAs to understand and tailor offshore bonds to their individual clients’ needs.
The new Online Briefcase system, as Prudential calls it, may be accessed through the company’s existing website for IFAs, www.pruadviser.co.uk, by clicking on the tab "international".
Here the IFA may choose from 11 "briefcases" that best fit their client’s individual profile, including an "early retirees briefcase", a "non-domiciled briefcase" and a "high earners briefcase".
Prudential technicians spent almost a year conceiving and perfecting the new online capability before soft-launching it six weeks ago, according to international sales manager Richard Leeson.
No other company is believed to offer a similar product in the UK market, he added.
Among the Online Briefcase system’s advantages are that it enables UK advisers who have not yet had much experience with offshore bonds to quickly and accurately assess how they might work for specific clients, by in-putting such data as their age, domicile, income and so on, according to Leeson.
It also enables the adviser to quickly and clearly compare the way the specific individual’s investment would fare over various time periods if it were invested in an offshore bond, onshore bond or other investment type, such as funds.
Leeson says the online function is estimated to cut two-and-a-half to three hours off the time IFAs normally take to prepare an investment plan for a client.
“If they are charging a fee, this can typically reduce their charges by £300 to £375.”
By having such a “calculator” available, Prudential is optimistic that many UK IFAs who might otherwise not recommend offshore bonds to their clients – because they have never had a reason to, for example – may be persuaded to consider them, particularly when advising individuals who are planning to move abroad to work or retire.
If advisers who are using the Online Briefcase facility come across terms or elements of offshore bonds they are unfamiliar with, they may click on key words that take them to explanatory pages elsewhere on the pruadviser.co.uk website or “request an appointment” with their “regional specialist”.
Although the Online Briefcase facility may be of some interest to IFAs who are based outside the UK, Leeson said it is not designed for those who are not FSA-regulated.
Prudential International is the personal investment arm of insurance giant Prudential Group. Because it is based in Dublin, many of its products benefit from tax advantages.