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Breaking the bonds

ANZ Funds Management is the latest to wind-back its insurance bond product range.

Sunday, April 5th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

The days of the insurance bond appear to be numbered following the removal of the surcharge regime last week.
ANZ Funds Management is the latest manager to effectively wind-up or withdraw from this product range.
It has decided to stop offering its two life insurance bond products, which have about $140 million under management.
The funds are not being closed; rather they will stop accepting new money.
Investors will still be able to make partial or full withdrawals; the only difference is that they will not be able to add money to their bonds.

ANZ says the change in legislation, including the removal of the surcharge and the new Investment Products and Disclosure regime, were the reasons for making its decision.
"We have monitored these events closely, and have assessed their impact. Our conclusion is that ANZ Life Insurance Bonds have been superseded by other investment products," the company says.
Its decision is effective from March 20 and is similar to that being made by fellow competitors.
IPAC Securities (former) research manager Mark Long says in the latest Adviser magazine that insurance bonds, as a product class, have not grown at the same rate as unit trusts since June 1990, and recent changes such as the surcharge removal, make their future "decidedly uncertain".
While the surcharge was one of the primary "drivers of demand" for insurance bonds, there is also a growing demand from investors "for greater transparency and accountability in the managing of their money".
That move favours the unit trust regime over insurance bonds.
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