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A SmartSipp for platforms from Suffolk Life

Suffolk Life has introduced SmartSipp, a self-invested personal pension that is available through a range of platforms.

The Sipp provider highlights the growing importance of platforms in the IFA market and felt it was important to provide more choice given that the Sipp provider tends to be chosen before the platform.

SmartSipp provides flexible investment options and an initial choice of platforms including Cofunds, Fidelity, Ascentric, Raymond James Investment Services and Seven Investment Management. Suffolk Life believes there is still a place for bespoke Sipps with personal administration services, but points out that growth in the Sipp market has shifted towards the mid-sector, catering for the mass affluent, and is increasingly influenced by platform use. Investors have a wide choice of permitted investments but the Sipp does not allow some assets, such as unlisted shares and direct property. The pricing structure enables clients to pay only for the features they use.

Defaqto insight analyst for wealth management Andy Leggett says: “SmartSipp sees Suffolk Life attempt to tackle Sippcentre’s hegemony more directly. That said, some of the first to take it up might be clients with older Suffolk Life Sipps. A transfer between products but within the same scheme should be easy to facilitate and could potentially result in significant cost-savings for those using platforms or a stockbroker for all or most of their investments.

SmartSipp represents a move towards price completion, but its headline annual fee doesn’t match Sippcentre’s or the low cost level of pure platform Sipps. Cofunds users, for example, would pay an annual fee between nothing and £150 plus VAT and the Ascentric Sipp is £150 plus VAT .

Those wanting to use the added flexibility of SmartSipp are likely to consider using a different platform which enables investment in the asset-types these facilitate.  It will be interesting to see to what extent advisers are willing to recommend SmartSIPP based on the implicit reassurances of the Suffolk Life brand.”

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