Invest round-up: What's new

ST ILLUSTRATION: ADAM LEE

Whole-life plans, 2 of which have yearly cash benefits, and a new Asian investment fund

NTUC INCOME

What: VivoCash A whole-life plan, VivoCash provides, after five years, yearly cash payouts comprising a 2 per cent guaranteed portion and a non-guaranteed bonus of up to 2.25 per cent of the sum assured, till age 100. You can choose to collect the payout or accumulate it with the insurer at an interest rate of up to 3.5 per cent per annum.

The plan offers a guaranteed special cash benefit equivalent to 4 per cent of the sum assured at the end of the 20th and 30th years of the policy. Customers also get a centennial maturity benefit of 120 per cent of all net premiums paid - on top of cash payouts - when the insured person is 100.

Medical underwriting is not required.

PRUDENTIAL SINGAPORE

What: PRULifetime Income This whole-life plan offers financial protection against death or accidental disability. It also offers a yearly cash benefit with guaranteed and non-guaranteed portions from the second policy anniversary.

It ranges from 1 to more than 6 per cent of the face value of the policy. This depends on the performance of the participating funds, which affects the non-guaranteed cash benefit amount.

If the insured party dies or has an accidental disability, it will pay out the higher of either 105 per cent of total premiums paid to date, or 101 per cent of the plan's surrender value, at the time of death. This includes any cash benefits deposited with Prudential.

Both the Income and Prudential policies offer a multi-generational feature, where the policy can be transferred from parent to child to supplement their financial needs.

SingCapital chief executive Alfred Chia said the Income and Prudential products are similar, and such whole-life products with yearly cash benefits are a rising trend. He said: "The returns are not so exciting, but are suitable for conservative risk-profile investors. These are not plans for saving, but could supplement retirement income. They suit those who want to have a guaranteed insurance offer and there is no underwriting needed."

He added that the plans look simple, but they require potential policyholders to really understand them. He also noted that the death benefits are different for natural and accidental deaths.

HSBC INSURANCE SINGAPORE

What: GrowthInvest

Insurance Plan GrowthInvest is a regular premium whole-life investment-linked insurance plan (ILP) - a combination of protection and investment.

Premiums are used to buy life insurance protection and investment units in professionally managed investment-linked funds.

The plan comes with only two charges. One is a product administrative fee of 1.2 per cent a year on the net asset value of the units in the policy account for the first 20 premium-paying years.

HSBC Insurance Singapore said fund management charges are between 0.4 and 1.55 per cent a year, depending on the investment-linked sub-fund that you choose.

It noted: "ILPs on the market come with multiple product fees and charges, such as policy fees, supplementary charges, bid-offer spread and cost of insurance, which may potentially reduce contribution to the investment plan."

It is also offering a free one-month premium discount on the first-year premium on any new regular premium life insurance plan for a limited time.

GrowthInvest also provides insurance coverage of 110 per cent of the regular premiums paid, or the market value of the policy - whichever is higher - in the event of death or terminal illness for a person up to 99 years old. For example, if the contribution amount is $100,000 in premium but the market value of the policy is $50,000, the payout will still be $110,000, even in market downturns. No prior medical check-up is required.

SCHRODERS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT (SINGAPORE)

What: A new Asian credit fund called Schroder Asian Credit Portfolio - February 2020 The fund focuses on quality Asian investment grade and high yield bonds.

It has a fixed investment tenure of three years and 11 months, until the maturity date of Feb 28, 2020.

If held till maturity, investors can expect potential quarterly payouts of between 3 and 4.7 per cent a year, and the return of the initial investment at maturity.

For instance, the United States dollar class of the fund could pay out 3 per cent a year.

If you realise your units before maturity, the price will be based on the prevailing net asset value of the fund. This varies according to market fluctuations, and will be subjected to a realisation charge of 2 per cent.

•Please contact the relevant parties for more information. Terms and conditions apply and are subject to change.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 21, 2016, with the headline 'Invest round-up: What's new'. Print Edition | Subscribe