Aegon Scottish Equitable says the plan is as simple to administer as a group personal pension and that many of the features are the same as its GPP. However, while some employees need a simple fully insured plan, other employees may require full self-investment and this plan caters for all requirements.
The product provides three methods of signing up – streamlined, full advice and direct offer. Streamlined removes the need for employees to complete application forms. Full advice method requires application form to be completed and is useful for employees who will be seeking advice on self-investment at an early stage. Direct offer is similar to the full advice method but recognises not every member will not receive full advice.
The company also uses technology called SmartScheme to save time in setting up a scheme. SmartScheme helps to implement the scheme from the set-up stage to paying contributions and daily management of the scheme.
The group Sipp has a minimum investment of a £2,500 lump sum or monthly contributions of £20. Scottish Equitable believes immediate self-investment will not be the priority for most new members, so the product has the option to start as a fully insured scheme then move to self-investment later on if they do not want to self-invest at the outset. A minimum of £25,000 must go into self-investment while £25,00 must remain in the insured element.
The insured option offers over 90 funds from 17 fund management groups, while those opting for self-investment have access to 997 funds from 43 fund managers through the online fund supermarket. A discretionary fund management service is also available, offering tailored solutions and other Sipp qualifying investment including UK commercial property are also permitted.
This Sipp may face competition from Standard Life’s Group Sipp, which also offers a fully insured option through Standard Life’s Sigma pension funds alongside full self-investment. Although the minimum investment for starting a Standard Life group Sipp is higher at £300 a month, £3, 000 a year or a £10,00 lump sum, self-investment does not depend on holding money in the insured funds. The minimum for regular contributions is also reduced to £100 a month or £1,000 a year for plan values of at least £50,000.