Type: Platform-based self-invested personal pension
Minimum investment: Subject to £5,000 minimum invested across Ascentric product range
Investment choice: All investment funds, exchange traded funds, bonds, listed shares and cash available through the Ascentric wrap that are approved for Sipp investment by HM Revenue & Customs
Options: Unsecured pension, alternatively secured pension, phased retirement
Charges: Set up charge £150, annual administration charge £150, set up charge £75 for second arrangement for protected rights, annual administration charge £75 for second arrangement for protected rights, transfers in £50 each transaction subject to £200 maximum, transfers out £75, additional charges for unsecured pension and alternatively secured pension options, plus usual Ascentric wrap charges and fund manager charges
Special offer: Cost for transfers in waived
Offer period: Until October 30, 2009
Commission: Negotiable between adviser and client
This platform-based Sipp from Ascentric provides access to a range of assets funds, exchange traded funds, bonds, listed shares and cash but does not allow commercial property, unlisted shares or personal belongings such as art, wine or antiques to be held.
Looking at the best features of the Sipp, Informed Choice joint managing director Martin Bamford says: “This is a good low-cost Sipp offering access to an extensive range of investment funds and options. It will suit investors who want greater control and flexibility over their pension investments but do not require the features associated with a more expensive full Sipp.”
Turning to the potential drawbacks, Bamford says: “Sipps live or die based on the administration capability of the provider. Ascentric is a tried and tested investment platform, but to date it has outsourced the provision of pension tax wrappers.” He feels that as a new entrant to pension administration, any advisers will scrutinise the performance of its administration closely before making a judgment about its competence in this area.”
Competition is likely to come from other simple Sipps in Bamford’s view. He suggests Standard Life, Fidelity and Cofunds as the main contenders.
“Where advisers are using other wrap platforms, they are likely to stick with what they know in terms of pension tax wrappers offering access to those funds.”
Summing up, Bamford says: “This Sipp is likely to attract existing Ascentric users who want to simplify the process when recommending a new pension, as it cuts out the need for a third-party Sipp provider. It will also make the Ascentric proposition look more attractive to advisers who are currently making decisions about their preferred wrap provider.”
He observes that most clients looking for a Sipp are looking for a relatively simple product offering a greater choice of investment options than a traditional personal pension. “This new Sipp appears to tick all of the boxes most Sipp clients are after. It adds another layer of choice to the already attractive Ascentric proposition,” he says.
Suitability to market: Good
Adviser remuneration: Good