Tuesday, 22 March 2011

QROPS Advice: QROPS Price War

Close has cut the charges on its offshore bond-linked QROPS proposition to what it believes are the lowest in the marketplace.

The move will be seen as an attempt to gain market share over rivals such as Concept Group, which through a link up with Skandia, had been widely thought to offer the lowest-priced QROPS.

Close has reduced from £1,500 to £750 the establishment charge on QROPS in which the investments are managed via offshore bonds, while the annual charge has been lowered from £1,500 to £1,000.

The company also offers a QROPS with annual administration and establishment charges both of £300. Investment choice is limited to its own multi-asset and multi-manager funds in this option.

Close claimed that, taken together, these charges meant it “offered the best price in the marketplace today.”

It is not simple to verify the claim because not all providers make their charges readily available. However, the new charges compare favourably with those levied by Skandia through its link-up with Concept, in which the establishment and annual administration fees are £995 apiece.

Sovereign – through its Atlantica Lite product – like Close charges £300 each for establishment and administration fees. Atlantica is for investments below £80,000, while Close has a minimum investment of £25,000.

Rex Cowley, head of marketing and products at the international division of Close, said: “Price is an important factor for customers given the drag it places on investment returns and in this respect our proposition offers the best price in the market place today.”

Cowley added that while price was crucial, it was Close’s online capabilities and sophistication in areas such as valuations, as well the technical expertise of its pension division, that set it apart from rivals. He further noted a QROPS examination and formal accreditation was offered to advisers by Close.

It was announced yesterday that Close Offshore Group, of which the QROPS business is a part, is to be sold by its parent company, London-listed Close Brothers Group, to Kleinwort Benson for £29.1m.

Close Offshore Group has operations in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

http://www.international-adviser.com/article/close-signals-intent-with-cutprice-qrops

For expert QROPS advice go to http://www.qrops-advisers.com or call 01664 444625

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