Curtis Banks keeps it in the family

The flexible family trust brings all the features of the existing Curtis Banks Sipp, which has a five-star Defaqto rating, to this area of the market. It offers a range of investment and benefit options to one or more family members.

A founding member will set up the scheme and invite other members to join. Each member has their own Sipp but assets can be pooled for investment purposes.

Full flexibility is provided in terms of the investment choice, with all investments that HMRC allows for Sipp investment available. This includes investment funds, shares and more unusual assets such as unquoted shares and gold bullion.

The product also provides a range of benefit options such as buying an annuity, unsecured pension, alternatively secured pension and scheme pension. An actuary calculates a scheme pension on individual basis, while USP and ASP are based on government rates.

Scheme pension is a way of increasing income, particularly for members who are drawing down income above age 75 and those in poor health. This option can be guaranteed for up to 10 years, so payments will be made to beneficiaries if the member dies within this period. Curtis Banks is offering training sessions to advisers on both the flexible family trust and scheme pension.

This Sipp product has a clear charging structure that allows family members with modest pension pots access to a full Sipp at a lower cost than some Sipps.

Unlike Axa Winterthur’s family suntrust, which has a minimum investment of £200,000 for each scheme, the Curtis Banks product has no minimum. Family members also have their own pension pots with Curtis Banks and can pool their money for specific investments such as property, where bigger amounts are needed.

Axa Winterthur automatically pools the investments so that all members must follow the same investment mandate, which can be a potential drawback if members have different objectives.

The flexible family trust is likely to be attractive within this niche market. but could face competition from Axa Winterthur and from small self-administered schemes if clients are family businesses.