Regret in buying into AXA Pulsar

When i first started working, i knew i had to start saving up, but i dont know how to start. I have a friend who was working as a financial advisor. So i started putting money into unit trusts, and buying insurance. This friend left the job after a few years, and my account was transferred to his colleague. At that point of time , the unit trust portfolio was suffering at least 10% lost. (Anyway im still very close to that friend. I dont blame him, i blame my own foolishness)

With the new advisor, i bought into this AXA pulsar plan. I gotta admit that i didnt fully understand what was sold to me, and was just looking at the example illustration table. For some reason, i thought it seemed decent. I put in 400 per month. Fast forward to almost 5 years, and i was so damn free these few weeks, i decided to do some house keeping of my insurance/financials/investments. I was looking at the performance of the pulsar plan and realized the value of the portfolio is around 100 dollars more than the total amount that i put in for 5 years. I had a SHOCK of my life. I went through the pulsar plan documents and look at the illustration table again, and i was slapping myself for thinking that was ok. Basically the plan has to have at least 5% return PA for the next 15 years. (I signed up for a 20 years plan) before i can break even and take the money back without suffering from penalty. I must be out of my mind. IF the value of the plan didnt even manage to appreciate 5% out of the last 5 years, i think there is no chance of the returns to be 5% every year for the next 15 years! And the management fee for this plan is ridiculous, they might as well go and rob a bank. Basically im just paying AXA with my own money and has nothing in return.  I guess i was young and foolish back then. Now im older, and not as foolish as back then(still foolish)

So right now im just going to bite the bullet, and surrender the plan and suffer a lost of around 7k.  I believe this is a smarter move than hoping for miracle to happen in the next 15 years. 

Anyway, i also liquidated the entire unit trusts portfolio around a year and half back to dump into my REITs portfolio and im glad i did that!

Update: For the year of 2015, the total charges (Admin Fee, Investment management Fee, Account Maintenance Fee, Policy Maintenance Fee) for this plan of mine was around 18 percent. This is madness. 

Comments

  1. http://sgbudgetbabe.blogspot.sg/2016/10/why-i-cancelled-my-ilp-investment.html?m=1

    I was surfing around on the net and saw this piece written by a seasoned blogger. Guess i was not alone when i said "i was young and dont know much" and seems like everyone has that friend who seemed to know better, but not really. Haha. Lessons learnt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had pulsar for almost a year and I've profited SO much from my pulsar that its mind-blowing, and its after the fees and charges. Do switch your funds if not you would lose out. It isn't the product's fault, it's the funds that you chose. Pulsar lets you do fund switching for free, it is on you to change it.

      Delete
    2. how to switch?can teach me

      Delete
  2. I've been into Pulsar for around 5 years too, and my capital has increased nearly twofold.

    Investments are never something you can merely forget about for 5 long years. They are something that are heavily volatile. Being "Lazy" will just get you burnt. You have to constantly keep in touch with your FA to check if you should do fund switching (which is free, by the way).

    Most of the investments they provide include even the renowned Amundi (Consisting 40% of my portfolio) and Blackrock Funds, which have a consistent and spectacular track record given from Morningstar Ratings. As much as you're entitled to your own opinion, do realize that your negligence was the key factor to your losses.

    Lessons learnt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading back on this. I may have neglected it, but Pulsar is supposed to be for people who are not good in investment. Thus, it is not really the responsibility of the customer to check and ask the FA to do any fund switch. This should really be the responsibility of the FA as they are earning the commissions. If the customers are good in investing, im pretty sure they will avoid this at all cost.

      Im glad im out of pulsar. Never looked back.

      I would recommend you to do your own investment since you can actually achieve 2 fold returns based on your own due diligence. Dont waste your time on this. It is a waste of time and money.

      Delete
  3. yeah, you are right. it is my own negligence. I thought leaving the management of the pulsar plan to my FA was the right thing to do since she is supposed to be the expert in helping her clients to grow their wealth. Turns out she didnt do anything to optimise my investment after i signed up with her, and i didnt do anything because i had the wrong impression that "she knows better".

    Seriously, if i knew what to do back then, i would have just invested on my own. I wouldnt have bought into this.

    Good job for both you and your FA!

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  4. Oh god now that I'm reading this, I'm really panicking now. I'm gravely disappointed in my AXA FA cause I think his words have zero credibility and is dodgy in his behaviour. He was initially a friend but after some time of knowing him, I realised he is full of lies and I can't even take him as a friend, let alone a FA to help manage my portfolio. For example, he told me that the startup bonus payout of 168% is ending soon and pressed me to sign the policy with him and now that I've just Googled, the startup bonus is still around! I'm contemplating if I should lodge this to MAS and hope they can do something about it. I've since requested for a Policy Transfer since.

    In all seriousness, is it advisable that we take on the managing of the portfolio personally? Like look into each fund allocation and sit down with the FA to optimize it? I for sure am not seeing Amundi Singapore Dividend Growth now in my portfolio as we speak. There's only:
    1) BlackRock World Healthscience Fund (USD)
    2) JPM Greater China Fund (USD)
    3) JPM India Fund (USD)
    4) PineBridge Asia ex-Japan Small Cap Equity (SGD)
    5) Schroder Singapore Trust (SGD)

    Any advice on experts here if these funds are OK? Should I include Amundi? Thanks guys! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually is true that pulsar is ending soon. In fact by the end of sept, pulsar will be taken out. Amundi is good because when the market is not doing good. They still give the constant interest rate no matter what. If you really need help, I can ask my manager to help you since he is in the industry very long.

      Delete
    2. Well, Tian Ci, I may have just been scammed into signing up for Pulsar. Evidently it is still on the market and has not been taken off yet as you claim.

      Delete
    3. Hi guys i work for Just Service and we service any investment plans that you have been sold. We review your policy each quarter and check to see which funds are performing best then switch you into those funds. We have online software so you the client can see exactly what is happening. We do the review over Skype as well so you actually get to speak with an adviser even if you are based in another country. Have a look at our website https://www.justservicehk.com/ or contact me directly at gerard@justservicehk.com

      Delete
    4. Hi guys i work for Just Service and we service any investment plans that you have been sold. We review your policy each quarter and check to see which funds are performing best then switch you into those funds. We have online software so you the client can see exactly what is happening. We do the review over Skype as well so you actually get to speak with an adviser even if you are based in another country. Have a look at our website https://www.justservicehk.com/ or contact me directly at gerard@justservicehk.com

      Delete
    5. Sharing

      https://www.axa.com.sg/fund-prices

      Go to the above site to look at the funds available

      Cautious investor
      Singapore equity 5%
      Global equity 5%
      Asia ex-Japan 20%
      Singapore bond 70%


      Balanced investor
      Singapore equity 10%
      Global equity 20%
      Asia ex-japan 30%
      Singapore bond 35%
      Worldwide bond 5%


      Adventurous investor
      Singapore equity 23%
      Global equity 22%
      Emerging market equity 10%
      Asia ex-japan 35%
      Singapore bond 10%


      Review your portfolio semi annually it is worth the effort. There is no free lunch in this world. Just a little effort semi or annually you will be rewarded thru simple investing.

      Delete
    6. Sorry to butt in, pulsar is still around until now... I just had a discussion with stranger FA and they mention is ending soon.

      Delete
    7. consider to go for lower cost options. use insurers for insurance. consider looking into investment funds platforms for investments instead of insurers.

      Delete
    8. If you invest in funds which you can easily have access to outside, then perhaps it is not a wise choice. If you are looking for more exclusive funds then perhaps you can consider is. The returns are important as you have to weigh it against the fees and charges you are paying through this platform. And another piece of advice for those holding the investment, you might want to consider paying a monthly premium instead of annually because of dollar cost averaging strategy. Good Luck

      Delete
    9. Not an expert, but i went into dividend investing and never looked back. Cancelling pulsar is 1 of my best decisions ever made. Now i think alot of FAs just want to make money, they have next to nothing with regards to what is good or what is bad. You ask them more questions about the global environment affecting the current economy now, they will give you a blur look. Or just say things that u can find in the newspaper.

      Why do i need to pay them commissions for things like this then?

      Delete
  5. Maybe you can provide us with more information such as fund allocation percentages and how long the policy is for, how long it has been in force and current returns (if you know)? That would give us a much better picture

    ReplyDelete
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  7. Hi guys i work for Just Service and we service any investment plans that you have been sold. We review your policy each quarter and check to see which funds are performing best then switch you into those funds. We have online software so you the client can see exactly what is happening. We do the review over Skype as well so you actually get to speak with an adviser even if you are based in another country. Have a look at our website https://www.justservicehk.com/ or contact me directly at gerard@justservicehk.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pulsar is still available as at 19 May 2018.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, I've signed up for AXA Pulsar just 2 days ago from a pressurising Zoom meeting and have requested to pull out within the freelook period after reading many bad reviews for this scheme within 1-2 days... 168% start up bonus is still available to date (13 Aug 2020). Personally also yeeted when I discovered how much the fees they charge in the booklet after I've signed up.. (FA even avoided my question of the fees chargeable). AXA charge about 6%+, while the fund managers will charge another 1-3%? No thanks... It's the same as giving these FA the money easily. Thanks for this thread!

      Delete
  9. If your account is not making money, you should do a fund switch. I am sorry that your FA doesn’t care about the growth of your portfolio. Perhaps one piece of advice from me would be looking into Pictet - premium branding as well as UOB bonds and H2O allegro. But do take note that H20 is a very volatile fund but returns are good to date. Speak to your advisor and revised through your portfolio. Sometimes i feel diversifying too much of your portfolio is not good. And do your homework and research on what the fund is investing in and the companies strategy...

    Cheers, an AXA FA

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  10. Wow! Didnt know the discussion on pulsar has been so active. Yes, i was really busy for the past 1 year due to a new born kid.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Now I'm stuck. Do I buy or not advisable to buy?

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  12. As a former FA for a number of years, I can say that ......

    The commissions is just to reward the salesperson for selling the product to you, NOT for him/her to monitor & advise you & recommend you switch this or that. They don't earn a cent for that & will get fired or eat grass if spend too much time doing this no-commission activities, instead of spending time to sell more products.

    A minority of salespeople may be knowledgeable in investments & macro economic analysis & will help to look out for you. But these are those who already have a large customer base with recurring commissions, so he/she can spare the time to do this as value-added service to retain customer loyalty.

    If you yourself are not knowledgeable in unit trusts and have no desire to learn about investing etc, then please stay away from any & all ILPs or insurance products that have underlying funds and unit trusts. Just stick to insurance & protection --- Shield plans, critical illness, term plans, disability income, mortgage protection, vehicle insurance.

    If you have strong interest in investing, then please keep investment separate from insurance products. You can invest in the same unit trusts & funds on other established online UT portals with zero fees & zero commissions. Someone mentioned he got 2-fold increase after 5 years. If he had bought the funds directly without all the additional commissions & fees, most likely he'll be looking at 3-fold increase.

    These online portals e.g. DollarDex and POEMS are seldom marketed, because salespeople can't earn anything --- no commissions, no fees, eat grass.

    You can also look at ETFs trading on SGX --- popular ones are the 2 STI ETFs and 3 REIT ETFs. Once you start going onto overseas stock exchanges, you will find thousands of available ETFs to analyse --- but this is for those very into global investing & diversification etc.

    Once you dive deeper into company analysis, fundamental analysis, financial statements etc, then you may consider individual stocks & REITs. Just like Happy Reit Investor, who is obviously heavily into REITs and dividend stocks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, im having this Axa Pulsar investment also, i feel grateful that i surrender it and take lost of 8k sgd. Im regret that never check their maintance fee in the beginning investment year, it is charged very high mainteance fee. As i invest 3k annually and their maintenance fee is around 700 sgd annually which cost more than 20% of your investment. Like what the blogger share was earning nothing for 5 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi there, you mean you had to pay 8k levy to terminate the investment?

      Delete
    2. Its not a levy, its just how these "investment scheme" works. If you pull out earlier than what you signed up for , u will only get back a certain amount of money. i say its more like a penalty.

      Delete
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  16. I've had pulsar for almost a year and I've profited SO much from my pulsar. Do switch your funds if not you would lose out. It isn't the product's fault, it's the funds that you are invested in. Pulsar lets you do fund switching for free, it is on you to change it.

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