ITA is a Cayman Islands-based international insurance company, which specialises in providing medium- to long-term investment-linked insurance products. The firm’s clients are predominantly private wealth managers and independent financial advisors working in the region for regulated entities.
Story’s role is supporting the third-party distribution of ITA products by these parties to their end clients. The products include savings and investment products which range from one-year, non-contractual savings plans to 25-year investment terms, portfolio bonds and fixed income guaranteed products.
“Last year,” Story began, “I predicted risk would increase, volatility would increase, returns would go down, the power of the dollar and Donald Trump would increase, and due to all the various factors people would want to increasingly diversify their assets. India is traditionally very home biased for investment. I deal largely with the NRI market from Dubai who have a far more diversified investment portfolio, and we see that more of these NRIs are coming back home because of the costs in Dubai and the opportunities here. What we see in the market at present is more diversification into investments offshore from India, even if it is made from here, so we might see more offshore investment effectively through global funds sold here. And we are seeing more alternative investment that offer guaranteed returns or protected returns.”
ITA, Story explained, has been offering offshore solutions for nearly 20 years through multiple jurisdictions. “Our mission was to create a digital based company, offering online access to investments, which is what we have achieved. Still today, we invest 30% of our budget into our IT systems to make sure that we stay ahead of everybody else.”
Turning to how ITA can help clients, Story explained that, for example, Indian HNWIs with offspring at or going to universities overseas would need to save and invest in those currencies, for example the UK pound, or the US, Australian or Canadian dollars. “I currently have two children at university in UK, and I can tell you it is indeed very pricey, so the earlier you can start planning the better. And as to retirement planning, this is another vital area to organise, again as early as possible. And offshore diversification of assets will help in all these areas.”
And with that, Story focused on some of the concerns around the globe, including Brexit, geopolitics, trade wars, terrorism, lower global growth which has slipped to 3.2% according to IMF projections, and so forth.
“You need open architecture and excellent online access and interface to deal with all this, and that is where ITA comes in,” he reported. “We offer a wide array of products and solutions, as well as guaranteed return products, protected products, capital guaranteed products, all of which are unique out there in the offshore market. We know where to find the right ones that will give you the upside potential of investing in the markets but with a guaranteed return. I can assure you that it is vital when you do reach out offshore to work with the right partners, and ITA is certainly one of those.”