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Banking on Sipp service from Curtis Banks

Curtis Banks

Sipp

Type: Full self-invested personal pension

Minimum investment: No minimum

Investment choice: All investment funds, exchange traded funds, bonds, government securities, shares, cash deposits and other assets approved for investment by HM Revenue & Customs, including commercial property

Options: Unsecured pension, alternatively secured pension

Charges: Set-up fee £200, annual fee £345 but reduced to £245 if Sipp contains the RBS bank account and a single quoted investment, transfers out £150, in specie transactions £250, purchase of unquoted equities £250, opening additional bank account £50, additional charges for property transactions and benefit payments

Commission: Agreed between adviser and client

Tel: 0117 9107910

New self-invested pension specialist Curtis Banks is targeting the middle market and high-net-worth investors with a self-invested personal pension that allows investors to pay only for the features they need. There are no charges for receiving standard transfer payments or contribution and no transaction charges.

Looking at how the Curtis Banks Sipp fits into the market, Informed Choice joint managing director Martin Bamford Bamford says: “This is a new product with ambitious claims entering what is quickly becoming the dominant part of the pensions market. The experience of investors and their advisers when it comes to service standards will drive the success of this product, but the known quantity of cost and flexibility are very promising at this early stage<” he says.

Bamford observes that the administration and back office systems for the Sipp will rely on the latest technology. He says this is a standrad factor for Sipps as the future for pensions will be technology driven. “This, combined with access to an allocated account manager, is an immediate boost to the claims of high service standards,” he says.

Informed Choice likes Sipps such as this where the client is also the trustee, as it gets them more involved with the ongoing management of their pension. “One good reason for using a Sipp rather than a personal pension is engaging the client in the investment of their retirement assets, so appointing them as a trustee brings us closer to that aim,” says Bamford.

Discussing the potential drawbacks of the product Bamford says: “On paper, this product ticks all of the right boxes. As a new entrant to the market advisers will be cautious until its service standards have been tested and its longevity is proven.”

Scanning the market for likely competitors Bamford says: “Full Sipps from pension trustee companies such as Pointon York and Hornbuckle Mitchell will provide the main competition, but the Curtis Banks Sipp does look more competitive on price.

“The entrant of this Sipp to the market might encourage established players to reduce their charging structure to remain competitive,” he says.
Summing up, Bamford says: “In keeping with other Sipps, this product can accept protected rights transfers but cannot be used to contract-out of the State Second Pension. This is not uncommon, so it is not a point of difference.

“The ability to invest in alternative investments which are permitted by HM Revenue & Customs will attract more adventurous investors, but time will tell whether this product is able to gain a foothold in the competitive Sipp marketplace.

BROKER RATINGS

Suitability to market: Good
Flexibility: Good
Charges: Good
Adviser remuneration: Good

Overall 8/10


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