Is the ManuInvest Duo from Manulife one of the most underrated policy?

What is ManuInvest Duo?

The impression of a typical investment-linked policy (ILP) has definitely been challenged this time around. ManuInvest Duo is a regular-premium investment-linked plan that is designed to give you the dual benefits of insurance cover and investment opportunities. It also gives you the flexibility to choose your own protection coverage and premium amount to meet your financial goals.

ManuInvest Duo at a glance

The following features are options you can configure for ManuInvest Duo:

  1. Select from a Minimum Investment Period (MIP) of 10 years, 15 years or 20 years. This just means the minimum period you have to contribute your premium, which is totally different from the limited premium term that you are used to for life insurance or endowment policies. Determining the suitable time frame is crucial as it may have long term effects on the investment value. More on this later.
  2. You can add the following riders to cover for critical illness. Depending on your overall insurance portfolio, you can fully utilise these riders to your advantage:
    • Critical Care Accelerator (II) – Unit Deducting Rider
    • Critical Care Complete Rider (I) (To Age 65, 75, 85 or 99)
    • Critical Care Plus Rider (I) – ​Unit Deducting Rider
    • Early Critical Care Rider (II)​Unit Deducting Rider
    • Critical Care Waiver Rider (II)
    • Early Critical Care Waiver Rider

How is Manulife ManuInvest Duo different from the rest?

As what I always believed, there is usually no policy that is awful (although we do occasionally come across some). An insurance policy that is awful is usually one that doesn’t suit you. To put this to perspective, some prefer to buy term and invest the rest; some others prefer to have a whole life coverage, and others prefer to have some flexibility in their policy or if they have budget issues. There is no right or wrong here. In my line of work, what I do is to facilitate and understand what suits you and recommend the best available option based on your characteristics and current portfolio.

Despite the charges associated with a traditional ILP, it still offers something attractive with features such as partial withdrawal, premium holiday, and it definitely fits certain profiles.

As compared to a traditional ILP, ManuInvest Duo is definitely giving their competition a run for their money!

With ManuInvest Duo, you sacrifice some flexibilities but in return, you’ll have a boost in your investment value with extremely low charges compared to the usual ILP.

Here are some of the unique features of ManuInvest Duo:

  1. 100% of the premium is invested.
  2. Additional Welcome Bonus units of up to a whopping 80% for the first year!
  3. Loyalty bonus of up to 0.3% p.a. from 7th policy year onwards, and 0.8% p.a. after MIP.
  4. 5% per annum admin charge for the first 5 years, 1% thereafter. This kind of charges for an ILP is unheard of. If we were to add in the loyalty bonuses, it literally brings down your long term charges to around the 0.2% – 0.8% range – this is dependent on the Minimum Investment Period (MIP). Needless to say, the shorter the MIP, the lower the loyalty bonus, which will then result in a higher admin charge.
  5. Partial/full withdrawal charge before MIP ends. Give-and-take. With 100% fully invested excluding the admin charge and with welcome bonus, the only way for insurer to prevent you from terminating the plan and run away with the additional bonuses is to impose withdrawal charges. I’m not too worried about this because most personal financial plans fail due to the temptation to withdraw cash (if it is readily available anytime). Think CPF vs Bank Savings. If you do not use your CPF for housing, chances are, your CPF monies with all 3 accounts combined will usually be higher. In this way, you can treat this as a form of “forced savings”.
  6. With that being said, in the spirit of an Investment-Linked Policy, Manulife included a premium holiday feature in ManuInvest Duo that allows you up to stop paying premium for a period of time after 5 policy years (for up to 48 months depending on your MIP). This will help to cater for unexpected life events that may arise and disrupt your income, without affecting your insurance cover (and investment).

Further considerations on Manulife ManuInvest Duo

Discussion on Manulife ManuInvest Duo
Young lady exploring using ManuInvest Duo to her advantage

​​If you’re not familiar with ILP, you’ll be in for a rude shock if you are intending to keep this for the entirety of your life. One thing to note is that our insurance charge increases over the years. Think of this as a yearly renewable term, where the premium increases every year.

Is this the negative side of it? Well, it depends on how you use it.

An ILP is designed this way, to allow you to have lower insurance charge when you’re younger, to let the investment to grow faster – hopefully to be able to cover the future insurance charge as you continue paying the premium. In fact when you’re younger, the insurance charge is low, even when comparing to a term insurance with critical illness cover.

However, for most people, an ILP is not meant to be a direct replacement for life insurance, and the investment value is something that is important for them as well. Which would mean that when they’re in their retirement years, they’ll have to either terminate the plan and retrieve their investment, reduce their sum assured to the minimum to incur no insurance charge (sum-at-risk = 0), and solely treat this as an investment.

Who would be suitable for ManuInvest Duo?

As mentioned earlier, not everyone likes this policy nor will this suit everyone. Here are some profiles that I’ve worked with, that are comfortable with this policy:

  1. Parents with limited budget planning for their children. When purchasing a critical illness cover (for children) and planning for their tertiary education fees take up too much budget, ManuInvest Duo fits just right; striking a balance between having a coverage and building up their education fund.
  2. People who wants to have temporary early critical illness cover and to also accumulate funds as a form of forced savings, or starting out investing.
  3. Smokers who wants to have temporary early critical illness cover. The rates are definitely better with an ILP as compared to other policies.
  4. Young graduates who are starting out, and wants to fully focused on their career. ManuInvest Duo provides a good mix of coverage and investing for the future, while retaining the option to go on premium holiday after 5 years. Profiles of young graduates that suit this type of policy usually don’t have interest in investing, or have no time to manage it.

Note that I say temporary above, because typically the insurance charges for an ILP increases overtime. Thus, unless the account value is higher than the sum assured – in which case, there are no insurance charges, typically I’ll suggest terminating this policy during/around retirement age.


To summarise, ManuInvest Duo is definitely one to keep an eye on, especially if you belong to any one of the profiles listed above.

A good and independent financial advisory representative will be able to understand your goals, analyse your overall portfolio and recommend a suitable plan for you.

If you’d like me to help you optimise your portfolio, or simply needed help to find the best plan for you, feel free to send an email to me for enquiry.


ManuInvest Duo | Investment-Linked Plans (ILP) | Manulife Singapore

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Adrian Chen

Adrian chanced upon into this industry by chance; as a caregiver of someone who suffered from critical illness. The incident gave him a whole new perspective into financial planning. As an independent financial advisory representative, he looks to give his very best for his friends and clients.

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