The firm, which has 70,600 plans in force and £8.8bn- worth of assets, denies that any of its contracts are hybrid Sipps despite having 41 per cent of assets invested in its own funds and another 3 per cent sitting in external providers’ insured funds.
According to Standard Life, another 20 per cent of Sipp assets are sitting in cash while 17 per cent are invested in unit trusts or Oeics and 7 per cent are in fixed interest.
The balance is invested across assets such as property and direct equities. Aegon has 90 per cent of assets, or £6.2bn, sitting in its insured funds but it admits that 134,506 of its 138,634 plans are hybrid Sipps.
Scottish Widows has 21 per cent, or around £246m, of its Sipp assets invested in its own funds and another 21 per cent in external providers’ insured funds.
Scottish Life has 25 per cent, or £5.9m, of Sipp assets in its insured funds and 32 per cent in external providers’ insured funds.
Scottish Widows and Scottish Life admit that their products sit in the hybrid Sipp category.
Standard Life senior pensions technical manager Andrew Tully says: “As many of our insured funds are high-performing, it is no surprise that a proportion of the money is being invested in them. But our Sipp customers do not have to invest in our insured funds.”
An Aegon spokeswoman says: “The vast majority of our Sipps are set up on a deferred basis so clients only pay additional charges when they switch on the self-investment facility.”
Scottish Widows says its investment charge reflects the underlying cost of the selected fund, with no bias towards in-house funds.
Richard Jacobs Pension & Trustee Services managing director Richard Jacobs says: “This is what the regulator’s pension switching review was all about. When you see figures like this, it really does make you wonder and worry.”
Scottish Life’s managed and property funds were named fourth and sixth worst-performing pension funds in research carried out recently by howmuchdoineedtoretire.co.uk.
But Scottish Life says the research takes no account of the risk that different funds take to get performance.