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Close Guernsey QROPS to be opened to life products

International Adviser
By International Adviser  22-Jun-2010

Close Brothers Asset Management has opened its Guernsey Personal Retirement Plan QROPS to products from the life industry.

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Advisers will now be able to access life bond products from Royal London 360º, Friends Provident International, Skandia International and Generali International through the Close scheme.

The company said the change was chiefly in response to adviser demand for access to a wider range of funds. Previously only its own funds were offered. Rex Cowley, head of marketing for Close, noted that another reason for opening up the QROPS to life bonds was because they gave investors flexibility to add life cover and ‘top-up’ capital in the plan on the death of the member, for the benefit of dependents.

Cowley, who said Close had a 15% to 20% market share of new QROPS business in the past year, added his firm did not pay any adviser commission wherea commission-paying life bond was selected, ensuring advisers did not receive double payments.

Close said the product enhancement is the first in a range of steps it plans to take to further improve its product to better meet the needs of UK expatriates and foreign nationals that have accumulated UK pension assets and no longer reside in the UK.

In other developments, the company has recently appointed Mike Lightfoot as pension director. His role will be to enhance the QROPS business.

Lightfoot joined from IOMA Horizons, where he was in the role of managing director responsible for developing its Isle of Man QROPS offering.

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