Boosting your life insurance with investments in unlisted companies, is this a good solution?


After having stayed away from unlisted equity or bond investment funds for a long time, insurers changed tack a few years ago. They now offer in their contracts financial products that invest in this universe that is not very accessible to the average saver, often opaque and risky. The stock (or bond) of a company not listed on the stock exchange is not simply traded, because the information is not always available. In addition, it often takes time to buy it and, above all, to sell it.

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So why open the door to this type of investment, traditionally reserved for informed investors? Insurers were first motivated by a change in regulations which allowed them to integrate such supports among their units of account and, above all, to no longer have to bear the liquidity of these products on their own, which are precisely known for not bring. Investors who wish to acquire funds must generally sign an addendum to their life insurance contract specifying that they agree not to be able to sell these funds at any time. In the event of exit or death, they also authorize the insurer to deliver the shares of these funds rather than their cash value.

Very profitable

So why invest in unlisted life insurance? Because it is very profitable, answer the professionals. The average return is more than 10% per year », affirms for example Christophe Deldycke, president of Turenne Groupe, a company which manages more than one billion euros in private equity. Another reason: life insurance makes these funds accessible, whereas directly it would be necessary to place there, in certain cases, at least 100,000 euros to be able to access them. Private equity also allows savers to know precisely where their money is invested, most often in regional SMEs that raise funds to finance their growth and development. At a time when savers want to give meaning to their investments, this is a point that matters!

Before putting your savings into it, it is better to be sure that you will not need to recover them over the next five years, and even double if possible.

However, it is not an investment to put in everyone’s hands, because like good wine, it needs time. It takes at least five years for the funds to which the capital is entrusted to manage to optimize their investments », says Deldycke. Before putting your savings into it, it is therefore better to be sure that you do not need to recover them during these famous five years, and even double them if possible. It is indeed necessary to be patient to hope to obtain the double-digit profitability that the professionals let dangle. If the profitability to be expected from a fund that invests in the unlisted universe is interesting, liquidity remains the weak point of these supports. Some insurers get away with it. This is the case of Generali, which undertakes to ensure this liquidity at all times. In the worst case, explains Hugues Aubry, in charge of the savings and wealth management market and member of the executive committee of Generali France, we will recover the funds sold by our customers in our own assets ; which is not a problem, because we are also developing our investments in the unlisted. »

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Despite this, it is not possible to invest in these vehicles as in the other sub-funds. The regulations indeed impose a ceiling for the non-listed: it cannot weigh more than 10% of the savings constituted when the capital is less than 100,000 euros, and 50% beyond 100,000 euros. A percentage which seems largely sufficient within the framework of a good diversification, essential to reduce risks and optimize long-term performance.

Private debts

While most contracts playing the unlisted card have chosen equity funds to represent investments, this is not the case for all. The MACSF, a mutual insurance company specializing in the medical and health sector, has thus just integrated a fund of unlisted private debt (bonds) into its contract. In order to maximize the return, once repaid by the companies, the loans are automatically reinvested in the fund, as is the interest paid in the form of coupons. This system aims to achieve an average performance more than twice the annual return of the fund in euros », says Roger Caniard, financial director of the MACSF group. The share of this unit of account is capped at 30% of the capital constituted by each holder of the contract.

The unlisted bond fund, managed by Tikehau, aims to facilitate the financing of mid-cap companies, both in France and in Europe, “which have significant growth potential”, indicates the mutual. This investment, benefiting from a fully integrated responsible approach, responds to the growing demand from individual investors to give meaning to their savings while benefiting from regular revaluation. », says Stéphane Dessirier, Managing Director of MACSF. This is a major innovation, because this type of investment was previously reserved only for institutional and professional investors.

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It is generally the contracts sold on the Internet or in the context of wealth management that offer the widest offer. Despite everything, it does not exceed a handful of funds. A look at the recent performance of these products is essential before launching, because if good returns can be at the rendezvous, they are far from guaranteed.

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