Investing in Offshore Collective Funds
Offshore investment vehicles include unit trusts, mutual funds or investment companies, and may be open or closed. The offshore company normally pays no tax on its income or gains. However, the income it receives may be subject to withholding tax, which the company will not be able to reclaim. For the policyholder, all gains are fully taxable at the time of encashment.
Risk & Reward
Offshore funds offer greater returns and often greater risks than onshore funds, however many countries restrict investment in such funds by their citizens, and also restrictions are placed on the marketing of offshore funds to their citizens. The UK's regime, whilst permissive, is still not very flexible. The laws and regulations of high-tax countries in respect of offshore funds are directed not just to limiting the behaviour of their citizens but also to preventing 'money-laundering' and other illicit uses of International Offshore Financial Centres (IOFCs).
Financial Conduct Authority Recognised Funds
These are funds which, although managed overseas, are permitted to market themselves directly to UK private investors. Having the 'Financial Conduct Authority Recognised' tag simply means that the UK authorities acknowledge the regulatory regime in the overseas territory is of a standard at least as 'good' as in the UK.
There may however still be higher risk funds which the Financial Conduct Authority doesn't recognise even though they are based in territories with 'good' regulatory regimes.