Over many years there has been a huge reduction in the number of product providers within the financial services industry, one of the major drivers for this has been the offloading existing policies by large insurance companies who have decided that these clients no longer suit their business strategy. These polices are purchased by specialist providers known as ‘consolidators’ who in turn wish to squeeze the maximum profit from these policies for as long as possible. Tagged as ‘zombie funds’ they are left on the shelf until policyholders either transfer away, retire or die.
The Financial Times ran the headline “More than €1tn of investor money is stuck in ‘zombie’ funds” in February 2020. Many household names including Standard Life, AXA, Scottish Amicable, NPI, Sun Alliance, Legal & General, Old Mutual, Royal Life and Friends Provident have gone down this particular road.
Why should this matter?
Our experience of dealing with consolidators is we see an immediate deterioration of service levels. There is no incentive for the consolidator to develop existing products to reflect legislative and market changes. Investment performance can often be affected by fund manager departures. The assessment by Reviewyourwithprofits.co.uk, a specialist website, found billions of pounds languishing in poor performing “with-profits” funds. If you are affected by any of these changes, we have a variety of options which can help them find a solution.
By Philip Harper | September 2020