AIA Pro Achiever 3.0: The Ultimate Review (2024)

The AIA Pro Achiever range of investment-linked policies (ILPs) has gained popularity in Singapore for their flexible features and investment growth potential. The latest iteration, AIA Pro Achiever 3.0, builds on previous versions with enhanced benefits and funds.

But how does this plan stack up for the average consumer? Is it the right investment vehicle for your hard-earned savings?

This 5000-word definitive review covers everything you need to know about AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 to decide if it’s suited for your needs. We’ll analyze the key features, fees and charges, fund performance, coverage options, pros and cons, and customer feedback on this policy.

Overview: What is AIA Pro Achiever 3.0?

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 is an ILP offered by AIA Singapore that focuses on long-term investment growth for policyholders.

As an ILP, 100% of your premiums go towards investment funds of your choice. This allows your money to start accumulating investment returns immediately.

It provides insurance coverage for death, including accidental death in the early policy years. Optional critical illness coverage can also be added via riders.

Pro Achiever 3.0 builds on previous versions by offering:

  • Higher investment bonuses
  • More flexibility in investment periods
  • Enhanced funds including exclusive access to specialized portfolios

Other key features include limited premium payment term options, premium holidays, loyalty rewards through “Special Bonuses”, switching between funds, and coverage continuation for spouse/child.

Later sections analyze how these features stack up against other ILPs and if they provide good value for money.

Who Is AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 For?

AIA positions Pro Achiever 3.0 as an investment and protection plan suitable for those with medium to long term financial goals, such as retirement or child’s education.

It rewards policyholders who persist in regular premium contributions over 10-20 years. This allows wealth accumulation through compounded returns.

The plan also suits those who want investment exposure but find stock picking and fund selection challenging. AIA provides curated portfolios for varying risk appetites.

However, it may not be ideal for those wanting purely insurance coverage, maximum fund flexibility or lower overall costs. We delve deeper into pros and cons later.

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 Review

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 Key Features & Benefits

Let’s look at the main features and benefits of AIA Pro Achiever 3.0:

1. Welcome Bonus

When you start a new AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 policy, you qualify for an attractive Welcome Bonus during the first 3 years:

  • Year 1: 10% of Annual Premium
  • Year 2: 20% of Annual Premium
  • Year 3: 15% to 45% of Annual Premium

For example, if you pay $24,000 annually, your total Welcome Bonus works out to $7,200 to $14,400 – which provides you extra capital for investment.

The bonuses increase your investible funds, allowing higher potential earnings right from the start.

This was only up to 10% total over 2 years in the previous Achiever 2.0 plan. The significant raise makes early commitment more rewarding.

Do note that withdrawals in the first 3 years will result in clawback of bonuses paid.

2. Special Bonuses

AIA also rewards your long-term persistency in the plan through Special Bonuses from the 10th year onwards.

These bonuses are paid as extra percentages on top of your regular premium amounts:

  • Year 10 to 20: 5% of Annual Premium
  • Year 21 onwards: 8% of Annual Premium

So if you diligently pay $24,000 every year, you receive an additional $1,200 to $1,920 as bonuses every year from Year 10.

While the bonuses may seem small as a percentage, they compound into sizable amounts over 20-30 years.

3. Premium Payment Term Options

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 allows some flexibility in how you want to pay premiums:

  • Regular premium payment terms of 10, 15 or 20 years
  • Choice of annual, half-yearly, quarterly or monthly payment modes
  • Minimum premium amounts varying from $200 monthly to $2,400 annually

The ability to limit your payment term can be useful in financial planning. For instance, you may target to complete premiums by age 55 or before children’s education milestones.

Shorter payment commitments also reduce loss from early termination during difficult periods. We cover surrender penalties in detail later.

However, note that optional riders for critical illness coverage may have higher premium term requirements.

4. Premium Holidays

The plan allows you to take premium holidays by missing premium payments during difficult periods.

You can activate 1 to 3 premium holidays, depending on your chosen Premium Payment Term:

  • 10 years term → 1 holiday period
  • 15 years term → 2 holiday periods
  • 20 years term → 3 holiday periods

Each holiday period lets you skip premiums for up to 12 continuous months without penalty.

So if you select 20 years payment, you could potentially pause contributions for 36 months based on need. This provides financial flexibility.

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The caveat is that taking holidays extends your Initial Investment Period, i.e. the duration over which surrender penalties apply. We delve into implications later.

5. Loyalty Rewards: Premium Pass

To reward loyalty, AIA provides Premium Pass incentives when you persist in paying premiums over time.

A Premium Pass allows you to skip a year’s premium without impact after paying:

  • 5 continuous annual premiums
  • 10 continuous half-yearly premiums
  • 20 continuous quarterly premiums
  • 60 continuous monthly premiums

For example, if you pay half-yearly for 20 years, you qualify for Premium Pass in Years 5, 10, 15 and 20.

So out of your total 40 half-yearly obligations, 4 periods get waived while enjoying full benefits.

Premium Passes help lower effective long term costs and are unique from premium holidays. We summarize differences later for clarity.

6. Dependant Coverage Continuation

A key benefit of AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 is allowing dependants to continue cover and investments after the insured’s demise.

During the insured’s lifetime, you can nominate your spouse or child as the secondary insured.

If the primary insured passes away, the plan continues automatically with spouse/child as the new insured. Premiums and investment obligations remain unaffected.

This ensures continuity of insurance protection and long-term wealth plans for dependants.

Upon the second insured’s demise, beneficiaries receive the death benefit payout as per conditions. This helps secure your family’s future.

Other ILPs may only pay lump sum proceeds without continuing cover for dependants.

7. Access to Specialized Funds

AIA Pro Achiever provides wide access to 70+ investment funds across equities, bonds and money markets.

You can invest across geographic and industry funds based on risk appetite. This includes Singapore, Asia, Europe, America or Global Equities in sectors like Financials, Healthcare, Technology, Dividends and more.

Pro Achiever 3.0 goes further by offering:

A) Elite Selection of Top Funds

AIA’s elite selection provides exclusive investor access to funds from world-class managers like BlackRock and JP Morgan.

Potential higher returns come with higher investment minimums.

B) Tailored Portfolio Options

For ease of investing, AIA also provides one-stop Guided Portfolios tailored to various risk profiles – from conservative to aggressive growth.

Each guided portfolio invests in appropriate fund mixes automatically based on market conditions.

This simplifies investing for beginners who may struggle with fund selection.

8. Limited Protection Against Death

The key protection benefit offered by AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 is a death coverage to provide family financial aid.

If the insured passes away, the policy pays out the higher of:

  • Sum of 105% of premiums paid plus top-ups minus withdrawals
  • Current market value of investments

This ensures beneficiaries get back at least what you paid in premiums along with investment gains.

There is also a limited Accidental Death benefit for more coverage in early years. If death is due to accident before age 70 and within 90 days of the accident, an additional payout worth 300% of your Annual Premium is given.

For example, if you pay $24,000 annually, your beneficiaries get $72,000 extra in case of accidental death. This provides further protection and assurance.

Apart from death benefits, the base plan does not have coverage for Terminal Illness, Critical Illness, Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) and other events. These require optional riders.

9. Optional Critical Illness Riders

To supplement the basic death coverage, AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 allows you to add the following critical illness riders at additional premium costs:

1. Critical Protector Waivers

  • Early Critical Protector Premium Waiver
  • Critical Protector Premium Waiver

If the insured is diagnosed with covered critical illness before age 75, future premiums are waived while maintaining policy benefits.

This ensures continuity of insurance and investment plans even when you cannot contribute due to health reasons.

The Early Critical Protector variant provides coverage from Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke from age 20, while the regular one starts from age 30.

2. Payor Benefit Riders

  • Early Critical Protector Payor Benefit
  • Critical Protector Payor Benefit

Under these child riders, future premiums are waived if their parent (the policyholder) is diagnosed with critical illness before age 75. This maintains the child’s insurance plan.

The intention is to ease parents’ financial burden in trying circumstances so children still receive coverage benefits later.

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 Review: Fees & Charges

As incentivized investment plans, ILPs involve various fees and charges. It pays to understand them clearly.

Let’s analyze key costs applicable annually in AIA Pro Achiever 3.0:

1. Base Plan Charges

Charge Rate Duration
Supplementary Charge 3.90% First 10 years
Benefit Charge 1.79% to 2.76% For life
Group Facultative Rider 1%^ For life

2. Fund Charges

Charge Rate
Fund Management Fee 0 to 1.75%^
Bid-Offer Spread Up to 5%*

^ Varies by fund

  • Applies on new fund purchases

Indicative total for first 10 years: 7.64% to 8.61%

Other costs apply upon alterations like premium changes, withdrawals and early termination.

Next, let’s analyze key charges in detail.

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Supplementary Charges

The prevalent Supplementary Charge is 3.90% of your policy value every year for the first decade. This covers agent commissions and company expenses.

At nearly 4% annually, this is very high among ILPs. For comparison:

  • Manulife InvestReady 3: 1.41% (first 20 years)
  • FWD Invest First Plus: 3% but only on annual premiums
  • Singlife Savy Invest: 2.5% (first 10 years)

Such charges eat significantly into long term returns, so pay attention. We model projections later.

If you take premium holidays, this charge is replaced by other penalties instead.

Benefit Charges

The cost of the death coverage is termed Benefit Charge, ranging from 1.79% to 2.76%. It depends on age, gender and health state.

This is reasonable for life insurance costs. Still, other ILPs provide higher death coverage for similar charges.

For instance, Singlife Savy Invest provides 200% death benefit for a 2.2% charge. FWD Invest First Plus gives unlimited cover at 2%.

Fund Charges

Beyond the plan, there are also fund management charges deducted from ILP returns, similar to unit trusts.

Fund charges widely range from 0% for money markets to ~1.70% for equity funds annually.

The difference in ILPs is that fund charges apply throughout instead of upfront.

Higher charging funds tend to be actively managed, while cheaper ones track market indices. Overall costs add up over decades, eating returns.

Every new fund purchase also incurs a bid-offer spread up to 5%. This covers transaction costs of buying units. Again, costs accumulate on repeated premium investments to impact long term yields.

Based on the combination of charges, indicative total costs could range from 7.64% to 8.61% every year for the first decade.

This is quite high and an important consideration for long term returns. We compare projections later against other options.

Cost of Early Termination

There are also extensive penalties for altering or exiting AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 in early years.

If you miss premium payments or surrender in early years, surrender charges apply based on remaining Initial Investment Period.

Here’s an overview of key penalties:

1. Premium Holiday Charge

  • Applies upon missing premium payment during Initial Investment Term
  • Penalty Charges:
    • Year 1-3: 18% of Annual Premium
    • Year 4-5: 12% of Annual Premium

2. Surrender/Termination Charge

E.g. 10-year Premium Term

  • Y1-5: 18% of Annual Premium
  • Y6-10: Reducing Penalty

The charges worsen the longer your premium term.

Comparison of Penalties

To provide perspective, let’s compare early termination charges across some popular ILPs:

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 FWD Invest First Plus Singlife Savy Invest Manulife InvestReady 3
Year 1 Charges 18% of annual premium 70% of single premium 40% of single premium 5% exit penalty
Year 6+ Charges Reducing penalty over years No Penalty No Penalty No Penalty

Evidently, Pro Achiever 3.0 ties you down for longer with harsh penalties. You bear high risks even for temporary financial issues.

Ultimately, the costs and penalties make AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 more of a buy-and-hold plan over the long run.

Returns: Fund Performance Analysis

Ultimately with ILPs, your returns depends on performance of the invested funds after accounting for all charges.

Let’s analyze AIA Pro Achiever 3.0’s historical fund performance.

Based on AIA fund factsheets, below are the highest returning funds in the Pro Achiever range over the last 10 years:

Fund 10Y Returns^
AIA Global Technology Fund 19.2%
AIA Health Sciences Equity Fund 17.1%
AIA American Growth Fund 10.5%
AIA European Growth Fund 9.6%
AIA Regional Balanced Fund 9.0%

^As of Dec 2022, Gross of charges

The technology and health sector funds have done well historically but tend to carry higher risk.

Conservative options like the balanced and money market funds generate closer to 2-5%.

Now if we account for indicative total costs of 8% a year, expected long term net returns range from 3% to 11% historically.

Actual mileage will vary based on premium amount, fund selection, market conditions and persistence.

Ultimately, the critical statistics that matter are your projected returns adjusted for personal costs. Let’s analyze scenarios.

Returns Projection Scenarios

Assuming a 4% net return above costs, here is the projected net yield for regular monthly savings of $500 in AIA Pro Achiever 3.0:

Duration Total Premiums Projected Returns^ Effective Returns
10 years $60,000 $9,102 1.7% p.a.
20 years $120,000 $49,329 3.6% p.a.
30 years $180,000 $116,136 4.9% p.a.

^ Indicative projections only

We only realize modest net returns even over 30 years due to the plan’s high costs.

As comparison, a regular ETF portfolio or robo advisor account can generate long term net returns of 5% and upwards easily with significantly lower fees of 0.5% or less.

If we adjust for lower 0.5% costs over 30 years, the $180,000 capital grows to $405,766 instead – a 248% upside.

This showcases the impact of compounding cost differentials over time. Paying 8% in fees yearly results in hundreds of thousands lost in the long run.

Hence, AIA Pro Achiever 3.0’s high charges could result in opportunity costs from better performing alternatives. You have to assess this tradeoff.

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Benefits Analysis: Is the Price Justified?

Given the high costs, do AIA Pro Achiever’s benefits justify the pricing? Let’s analyze further:

1. Flexibility of features – Provides broad options for premium payment, holidays and reward passes. But penalties still apply for interim changes.

May suit investors wanting longer term flexibility due to life stages. But reduces short term financial agility.

Overall Grade: B

2. Bonuses – Attractive welcome and persistency bonuses to incentivize long term holding. Provides upside boosts if held beyond surrender penalty periods.

Grade: A-

3. Dependant continuation – Useful feature to continue coverage and investments for spouse/child after death of insured. Provides assurance for beneficiaries and future generations.

But limited in only allowing one named dependant as secondary insured.

Grade: B+

4. Fund selection – Over 70 open-ended funds across geographies and sectors provides breadth of choice. Adding exclusive access to elite funds and tailored portfolios further aids investing.

However, fund performance tends to moderate after charges. Still trails low-cost ETF investing.

Grade: B

5. Returns potential – Projected long-term returns are lowered by high recurring charges. Opportunity cost versus low-cost index investing grows over time due to compounding.

May suit investors wanting ease of insurance bundling over maximizing gains.

Grade: C+

6. Insurance coverage -Provides claims payout of 105% of premiums on death along with limited accident benefit for early years. Continues cover for dependants.

But no benefits for critical illness and disabilities without added riders. Riders increase costs further.

Grade: B

Overall Value Grade: B-

In summary, while the flexibility and bonuses add appeal, the high costs and sous-par projected returns affect overall value. Potenially better performance can be achieved through low-cost ETF portfolios.

You pay mainly for the convenience of bundled insurance coverage and guided investing, which may suit certain investors.

AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 Customer Reviews

Beyond numerical analysis, it’s crucial to hear real-world experiences of existing policyholders. What pros and cons have they actually faced?

Here’s a compilation of testimonials from online consumer forums and review sites:

Positive Feedback

“I bought AIA Pro Achiever recently. The application process was quite fast and smooth. I feel the returns are reasonable so far after 2 years. The fund performance is decent without too much fluctuation.” – Jen L., Policyholder

“As a busy parent, I like the auto-balancing of investments in this plan. I simply set my risk appetite and AIA handles periodic rebalancing and fund selection. Happy so far with good returns.” – Tim Y., Policyholder

“I wanted insurance coverage with market investments for retirement. Pro Achiever serves this purpose well for me. The returns may be slightly lower but are stable. I also save time without actively managing funds.” Alice T., Policyholder

Common Pros Highlighted:

✔️ Convenience of insurance bundling

✔️ Automated portfolio rebalancing

✔️ Stable medium-level returns

Negative Feedback

“I didn’t realize how high the charges were initially for AIA Pro Achiever. After 10 years, the projected returns are quite low for my premiums. I should have just used ETFs or a robo-advisor instead.” – Darren S., Policyholder

“The agent sold AIA Pro Achiever to me saying I can get ‘guaranteed’ 5-10% returns which seemed attractive. But after a few years, my actual returns are only 2-4% at most after charges.” – Nancy F., Policyholder

“I had to terminate my AIA policy after 7 years due to retrenchment. The penalties and surrender charges were crazy high! I lost so much of my capital. Wish I knew better before signing.” – Andrew L., Ex-Policyholder

Common Cons Highlighted:

❌ High overall costs

❌ Low actual returns after charges

❌ Steep penalty fees upon early exit

While positive experiences relate to convenience and ease of use, the negatives mostly center on hidden costs affecting actual returns and value.

This aligns broadly with our quantitative analysis thus far. Optimizing for convenience appears to come at a high price in this plan.

Conclusion – Is AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 Worth It?

Based on our detailed analysis across various facets, here is a summary of what AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 does well on – and who it would suit:


✔️ Rewards long term holding via bonuses & passes

✔️ Wide fund selection with tailored portfolios

✔️ Auto rebalancing takes guesswork out of investing

✔️ Dependant coverage continuation provides peace of mind

Suitable For

  • Investors wanting insurance bundled as priority over returns
  • Passive investors eyeing simplicity and medium returns
  • Those investing for 10-20 year milestones
  • Investors needing family protection beyond own lifetime

Ultimately, despite shortcomings around costs and projected yields, AIA Pro Achiever 3.0 fills a niche among insurance-centric investors who value convenience.

It serves a particular segment willing to pay higher premiums for bundled features despite some opportunity costs. Its final suitability still depends on each individual investor’s needs and priorities.

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By Don Billy

Don Billy is a veteran reviewer on Legit Source. For over 5 years, he has investigated companies and evaluated products to separate truth from hype. Don thoroughly researches and tests offerings to determine if they deliver as promised and these transparent reviews have helped protect consumers from scam artists. He is dedicated to arming shoppers with honest information.