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What is an ILAS?
Investment-linked assurance schemes are sold by insurance companies. They include an insurance component, which commonly takes the form of a savings or pension plan. The money paid into an ILAS is typically invested in a range of funds picked by the investor. The products are offered by the major insurers, such as Friends Provident, Generali International, Aviva, Zurich International Life and Royal Skandia, as well as the large consumer banks. They are sold by banks, financial advisers and insurance brokers. Like many insurance products, clients typically sign up for long periods - as long as 30 years - and commit to regular premium payments. Early withdrawal, or failure to make a premium payment, can involve steep penalties. The product is not always labelled as an ILAS; it is sometimes referred to by other names, such as unit-linked life insurance, offshore pension, or just a pension.