Standard Life has designed personal pension flex, an individual personal pension that replaces the companys existing individual personal pension.
Personal pension flex is designed to offer more flexibility than the previous product in terms of contributions. The previous product enabled policyholders to make annual or monthly contributions, whereas the new product allows contributions to be made whenever the policyholder chooses.
The pension has a total of 31 fund links, which include 12 external funds from fund managers such as Fidelity, Threadneedle and Gartmore. If only internal funds are chosen, the basic 1 per cent charge will apply. This will be increased if external fund links are chosen.
The charges for external funds differ depending on the fund, but none will incur a charge beyond 0.5 per cent. Where IFAs are required to give extra advice on the selection of external funds, up to 0.3 per cent will be added.
Legal & Generals personal pension plan is a similar individual pension plan, but it is not as flexible as Standard Lifes offering since contributions can be paid monthly, annually or quarterly.
However, the Legal & General pension offers more funds than the Standard Life pension, including 16 external funds from fund managers including JP Morgan Fleming, Deutsche and Newton. An extra charge of up to 0.15 per cent is payable for each external fund link.
But Legal & General focuses on five fund managers, whereas Standard Life recognises that few fund managers excel in all areas and provides a greater choice of nine managers.