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If in doubt against the customer

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Fondsgebundene Lebensversicherungen können böse Überraschungen bereit halten. Quelle: dpa

Unit-linked life insurance can keep bad surprises. Source: AP

FRANKFURT. Anyone who buys a unit-linked life insurance as RundumSorglos package for retirement may experience a bitter disappointment. For insurers and brokers look more often return to their own than to the customer. This shows a study of fund research provider Feri € rating, which is available to the Handelsblatt. Industry experts have criticized the lack of transparency of the products tempt abzukassieren customers about hidden costs.

According to Feri Fund, the selection runs often not optimal for the customer. The ratings house examined nearly 3000 funds offered by 60 insurers, which cover about 90 percent of the market segment. The search for Results: The range, from the insured fund for policies which are not always the best funds in a category, but many products from their own group. Are becoming more popular funds with guarantees, but gnaw at the rate of return.

About half of the funds available have been reviewed by Feri, half of which carries a good or very good rating. It sounds superficially reasonable, "Andre Hartel, fund analyst at Feri € rating. "But the rate should be higher when institutional investors such as insurance, the range selected by the Fund." Just because caused to the customers linked policies additional costs from the insurance wrapper, should not average or even low rated funds are selected. Funds with good or very good rating would have made over the last five years of above-average returns at relatively low risk of loss. According to Feri cut these funds with "verifiable likely" continue to perform better.

The proportion of well-weighted fund under the frequently selected in-house fund is however much lower at 16 percent. On the range of funds in insurance policies are indeed mostly third-party funds. But many large companies in particular-house funds to enter the insurance policies. In the R + V insurance there are funds of Union Investment, mainly in the savings banks, insurers mainly products of Deka, at Allianz AGI funds, the Axa Axa fund. "Corporate Own Funds are gladly used to hold client money in the house," says Hartel. Robust inflows from insurance premiums may fund providers especially, after all funds manage funds in insurance policies, according to estimates around 60 billion euros, or about four percent of their total assets.

Most frequently found Feri also known as Fidelity European Growth Fund, Templeton Growth and DWS I. wealth "This must not necessarily be the best funds," says Hartel and refers to the low rated Templeton Growth. A third of the 30 most popular funds have an average or weak at Feri Rating.

According to experts, are increasingly popular fund with capital guarantee. The encounters criticism. "Guarantees cost money. The higher the guarantee, the lower the expected return, "says Lars Heermann, insurance expert at the rating agency Assekurata. Anyone who posts on guaranteed a return of six percent per year promise is not realistic. Insurance consultant Stefan Albers holds much insurance because of low earnings prospects for "bad investments".

Soon to be offered low-cost ETF. Only eight percent of the insurers offer ETFs. This should be according to Hartel out that ETFs bring little commission. It is, in addition to the sales commission for a share of the annual fund management fee, the Fund reimburse the insurers (kickbacks). The bottom line is "like these kickbacks a role in the selection procedure of the fund," says Matthias Koss from consulting Fondsadvice. In the industry it means that on average about half the annual management fee incurred for funds to flow to the insurers. For equity funds, this refers to about 1.5 percent of assets in ETFs at around 0.3 percent. "The crucial question is how the companies use the kickbacks and how much gets to the customer," says Heermann. But it was a secret in the industry.

Combine with that the vast majority of funds remain in policies, even if they go badly. Four out of five customers cared to purchase not more so, says Heermann. "And the agents advise, in practice, little to change the funds – even though the abgeltungsteuerfreie and often free transfer is a strong selling point." The commissions are finally without further consultation.

Life insurance

Combination: life insurance or annuities are capital-combination products. The protection is associated with a savings process.

Commitment: In the classical variant, the insurer will share the savings of the contribution to himself and pays a minimum interest rate, currently 2.25 percent plus a bonus.

Risk: The fund-flow variant of the savings share in funds. The risk of price fluctuations on the contrary, contributes to the classic policy of the customer. Meanwhile, many suppliers provide the paid-up capital. But that does return.