PRSA with Zurich via Labrokers

Discussion in 'Pensions' started by cormaction, Apr 20, 2017 at 11:37 AM.

  1. cormaction

    cormaction New Member

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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017 at 11:44 AM
    Hey guys,
    My names Cormac and it's my first post here on the forums so please bear with me if I I've asked something that's been answered many times! I've spent the last few weeks doing as much research as free time will allow and have reached out to some people in the world of finance but am still left with some questions.

    These questions are related specifically to the execution only PRSA scheme with Zurich offered though the Labrokers website. Naturally, the reason for me investigating using this service is to avoid the 5% commission fees that come with buying through your every day brokers. With that being said I have some very specific questions I felt that the literature provided with the form I received either didn't fully cover or didn't articulate very well.

    1. If I choose the Default Investment Strategy, is it possible to tweak the weighting of the investments, ie: how much goes into bonds, cash, property, equities etc. or is it a closed system and Zurich completely takes care of all that? If so, is it possible to later switch from the DIS to choosing where my funds go and how they are weighted myself...ie swithcing from DIS to the Fund Choice option?

    2. If I go with the Fund Choice option as opposed to choosing the DIS and choose my own funds, will this be managed by anyone at all? As in, will Zurich automatically move my funds into lower risk assets as I approach retirement or will I have to manually adjust/manage my pension in a hands-on way on a yearly basis, ie: setting up meetings with Zurich myself to manage where my funds go? This is a little unclear from what I've been reading.

    3. If I go with the Fund Choice option, do I have to choose an ARF or Annuity now or can that be decided closer to retirement? I understand that if you go with DIS that you must choose it when you start.

    That's all for now. I'm very new to the world of investment and pensions and I have been doing my best to absorb all the information I can before making any decisions. I have no background in finance but so far I'm finding this world quite interesting! Hope someone out there can lend a hand with the questions.

    thanks so much.
    Cormac
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017 at 11:44 AM
  2. Merowig

    Merowig Frequent Poster

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    Got a PRSA with Zurich via LA Brokers for my wife last year.

    1. When you use the default investment option you don't tweak. You should be able to move from a Default Investment Strategy to your own fund picking
    2. You choose your funds now and you can switch your at any time ( I believe 1 or two fund switches are possible per year). No one else will move your funds.
    3. You do not have to make a decision on ARF/Annuity now. This will be done when you retire. I believe this shou;ld also be true for the Default Investment Strategy.

    Did you ask as well Zurich these questions? ;)
     
  3. cormaction

    cormaction New Member

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    Thanks a mill for taking the time to answer, I really appreciate it! Yes I've sent them an email essentially asking the same questions and I've reached out to Labrokers but they weren't too keen on answering the questions. I felt they were technical questions regarding the product as opposed to direct questions concerning financial advice but anyway, no luck there. So far no reply from Zurich, I might just call them directly next week. I think it would probably be wise for me to choose the DIS for now until I grasp the world of investments a little better. I wonder how common it is for people to choose their own funds with PRSA's?
    From the literature I've read with the pack that came said that with the DIS, depending on whether you choose Annuity or ARF it will affect how they invest. As in, it mostly affects when they start the process of lowering the risk level by moving away from equities etc. as you approach retirement.
    Out of curiosity, how has your experience been with the whole Labrokers/avoiding brokers process, you're happy with how it all went and the outcome so far?
     
  4. Merowig

    Merowig Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 7:39 PM
    I am happy so far with the experience. There was a spelling mistake of the name of my wife when Zurich sent the documentation. We emailed them and they resent it corrected.
    Zurich is providing the same PRSAs via other Brokers with a 5% contribution charge - this is very expensive in my opinion and I don't believe that a broker will provide additional value here.
    If a broker should ever be necesary I would go with a fixed fee based one.

    I picked as funds for my wife International Equity and Dividend Growth - 50:50 and they perform nicely so far.

    If you have further interest in general in investments
    Literature: Boglehead's Guide to Investing

    futurelearn.com has a free online course on Investing. The Open University course there targets the UK mainly but can still provide interesting insights.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 7:39 PM
  5. cormaction

    cormaction New Member

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    Totally agree there, precisely why I've headed down this route so it's good to know it's been working out for you guys so far! So just to clarify, when you pick your funds like you decided to do you will essentially be changing them yourself, switching them around etc. until you retire so it will be actively managed by you probably every 6 months or yearly until retirement?

    Thanks a million for sharing your experiences and advice, I really appreciate it. I've heard about Bogleheads a few times now so I'll buy it. Didn't know about futurelearn so thats really interesting, will be looking into that!
     
  6. Merowig

    Merowig Frequent Poster

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    127
    My wife is several decades away from retirement. I do not plan to switch around in the near / mid future - she will continue to pay in - increasing contributions if possible and I am just monitoring it regularly.
    Equities go up and down but am not nervous should it be negative at some point.
    I don't believe that consistently switching around is a good idea.



    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/27/the-inspiring-story-of-the-worst-market-timer-ever.html
    http://awealthofcommonsense.com/2014/02/worlds-worst-market-timer/
     
  7. Gordon Gekko

    Gordon Gekko Frequent Poster

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    1,757
    Very wise words Merowig.

    My wife and I are 100% invested in equities in terms of her AVCs and all of my pension fund. The plan is (in effect) to never look at the asset allocation again. Trying to "trade" or time the market is crazy with such a long time horizon, perhaps 70 years.
     
  8. SBarrett

    SBarrett Frequent Poster

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    Labrokers offer an execution only service, that is they do not offer any advice. They get paid 0.25% of your contribution from Zurich Life (1% AMC - 0.75% for Zurich, 0.25% for LAbrokers), so it's a pure numbers game for them. Giving advice on investment strategy would mean they are giving advice and are breaking the strict rules laid down by the Central Bank on what is execution only business i.e. you chose the provider and investment strategy. You would have to pay them more for this, which you are obviously trying to avoid.


    Steven
    www.bluewaterfp.ie
     
  9. cormaction

    cormaction New Member

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    4
    Interesting articles Merowig thanks for those. You've been a big help. I'll pull the trigger on the PRSA soon after a little more digging. Next on my list is deciding whether to invest for the short term or not.

    Thanks Steven, I totally understand that and the concept of the execution only service which doesn't allow of financial advice but like I said, these were technical questions relating to the product not a request for advice. To put it another way, if I was buying a car and the brochure didn't say if it were 4 wheel drive or not and I asked the dealer if the car had 4 wheel drive, I would not be asking whether I should buy a car with 4 wheel drive but rather if it were a feature of the car so I could make my own decision whether to buy the car. This was the goal of those questions as I didn't feel the literature covered those quesitons. Perhaps my understanding on what is regarded as advice or not is flawed.