- Investment

Investing – Investment Funds

In banks and insurance industries today, almost half of the sales turnover came from selling investment linked insurance products. These are almost always linked to investment funds. Most of the public how would like to invest on investment funds are either persuaded to buy such products or do not have the knowledge to choose what’s really suitable for them. Today, I would like to briefly explain about the basic structures of such kind of products.

First, you need to understand the flowing of the cash you invested into such products. When you pay your lump sum or regular payment to the insurance company or the bank, they would take it to the fund managers who had agreement with them about cost splitting. The fund manager will then invest the money on the kinds of investment vehicles according to what they promised to do. For example, a China fund would be restricted to invest the asset they look after on vehicles that have underlying assets in the Chinese market. Thus, in general, if the industry or the particular resource in the market you chose increases their worth, the fund increase their share price and your monthly statement would show a surplus.

However, you also need to understand the cost structure of these investment linked products before you can decide whether they are really suitable for you. Firstly, why do these products gain great market shares in a comparably short period of time? It is because of the effort and time spent by our brilliant salespersons. A well trained salesperson can sell the most ridiculous product to the weirdest man in the world. Trust me, I have met them personally. So what drives them to do it so hard? Yes, you guessed it right. Money. These investment linked products always provide the salespersons with enormous amount of commission. As high as 50% of your first year payment could possibly entirely goes to the pockets of the person who handed you the pen for signature. What I can say is there is nothing you can do about it in a capitalism society.

Next main cost of the product is for the insurance company or the bank. They would suck a small percentage out of the capital you invested into the fund every year, or even every month. The percentage may be small but as the apparent capital grow larger, it can become very frightening. Try computing the absolute amount that they took from you, it may freak you out.

Lastly, the fund manager takes a sip of what they earned for you, of course. This is the only cost I think reasonable. After all, they are the ones who executed the buy sell commands for you. But do not be naive and think that they really work hard to earn as much for you as possible. What they really care is to stick to the policy and make sure the growth rate does not fall below a certain level so that they keep their high pay job.

So now you know. You can go ahead and decide whether to answer the call from your ‘personal financial planner’ next time. God bless.