Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Don't Follow You (on Twitter because....)

Your Name and Location are not provided

You are too lazy to include a unique Avatar (unless you're a client)

Your Bio tells me nothing about you

Your Following and Followers are not balanced (unless you're really important or interesting to me)

You Tweet too much (10 per day is enough, ignoring replies and RT's)

You include your website in every Tweet

Your Tweets are 'Protected'

You Tweet the same Tweet multiple times

You #FF me but don't Follow me yourself

You are a Spammer

Your Tweets are not interesting to me

Your Tweets are aggressive

Your Tweets refer to 'Making Money with Twitter'

Your Tweets are similar to those provided by someone else that I Follow

You expect me to read your Tweets but don't read mine

Your Tweets are not diverse

You make no attempt to engage with your Followers

You are 'into' Direct Marketing (big time!)

You don't Follow Back after 2/3 weeks

You ask a question but don't acknowledge an answer

I think that 500 (maybe less) 'Friends' is enough for anyone to cope with

Of course there are exceptions, but not that many. If you have any to add to the list, please feel free to do so.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CGNU Policy Change (Ireland)

Anyone that has a CGNU (GA Life) Investment Bond, that is 10 years old, will recently have got a communication from Hibernian Aviva. This letter is basically telling you that, because it is the 10th anniversary of the policy, you can currently exit from the Bond without a Market Value Adjustment (MVA).

You can exit/surrender/encash a CGNU Investment Bond without an MVA (currently 14%) applying on the 10th anniversary and on each subsequent 5th anniversary. This condition would have formed part of the original policy document.

The letter from Hibernian Aviva goes on to say that '...if you decide to leave your money invested, you can reduce any MVA that may apply when you subsequently withdraw from the fund by up to a maximum of 14%'. This is very important. But, Hibernian Aviva have not communicated the mechanics of it to the very advisors you will rely on to direct you on what the correct course of action is right for you.

What this additional condition means is that, if you want to cash in your policy at any future date, and the MVA on this tranche of business stays at 14%, you can do so without penalty. The only situation that could arise that would mitigate against you would be where the MVA were increased. If this happened, and say it was increased to 20%, you would only pay 6% of an MVA on your future encashment value.

If you cash in your CGNU Investment Bond before the 1st of January you will not be eligible for the final installment of the Special Bonus that is due for 2010. The Reattribution Bonus will, however, be paid in any event.

I honestly do not know why this new 'condition' has been applied to these particular policies. Perhaps it has something to do with the whole Reattribution process?. Maybe, the company have decided that it is not cost effective to administer these policies from the UK any more and that they would prefer that this tranche of business left them for good?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Zurich Life (Eagle Star) Balanced Fund

The 1st of November this year marked the 20th anniversary of the Zurich Life (Eagle Star) Balanced Fund. This fund would have an indicative Global Equity exposure of between 50% - 75%, with the balance being held in Bonds and Cash. It's general categorization in terms of Risk/Reward would be aimed at those who are 'Medium' risk takers.

The Balanced Fund did pretty well over this period: so rather that just say that the total gross performance was 632%, I wanted to provide a pension example using a monetary value.

If you invested €5,000 on 01/11/1989 and then paid €100 per month up until 31/10/2009, your total contributions would have amounted to €29,000. The value of your pension fund at 31/10/2009 would have been €84,028*. For an initial contribution of €10,000 and a regular monthly contribution of €250, the final fund value would have been €193,651*.

These figure represent a net annual compound return of approximately 8%.

Disclaimer: My only motive in doing this exercise is to 'translate' the gross 632% into an indicative annual net return.

Warning: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance. The value of your investment may go down as well as up. Benefits may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates.

* Assumes a single charge of 1% per annum on the value of the fund ie. that no other charges apply to the product.