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BPF warning on Sipp perils

The British Property Federation is warning IFAs to improve their expertise on property ahead of residential property being allowed into self-inv- ested personal pensions from A-Day next year.

Property investment into Sipps is high profile, with many investors considering buying multiple residential properties for putting into a Sipp.

The BPF says there is an education gap to be filled, not only for IFAs but also the general public. It believes the general public does not have a full understanding of commercial property and blames the growing number of property development programmes for trying to attract people to move into the residential market.

Richard Jacobs Pension and Trustee Services director Richard Jacobs says there are areas where many IFAs will need to improve their knowledge before advising on residential property in Sipps. Yields, accessibility of money, awareness of capital values and different tax and trust laws overseas are all potential pitfalls, he says.

BPF director of residential property Ian Fletcher says: “There has been a lot of noise about the changes but I see the reality being somewhat different. Collective investment schemes will fall under the FSA but there is little regulation around direct investment into property. I think it is dangerous for IFAs to assume that general knowledge of property means that they can advise on the whole process.”

Jacobs says: “I think this is a totally different market from the one that most IFAs are used to dealing in. This is an area where IFAs should fear to tread but they will miss out on a lot of business if they do not get involved.”

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