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Sipp Spotlight: Scottish Widows in focus
by William Robins on Feb 05, 2013 at 14:06
We examine the Scottish Widows Sipp, a low-cost product that avoids esoteric assets.
Number of Sipps 55,958
Total Sipp assets £4.2 billion
Average size of individual Sipp £77,000
Profit for latest financial year for which figures are available (31 December 2011): £282 million
Turnover for latest financial year for which figures are available (31 December 2011): £5.4 billion
Capital held in excess of regulatory requirement:
Our life and pensions group had free capital of £4.3 billion at the end of 2010.
Who are the owners of the business?
Scottish Widows (subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group)
136 internally and externally managed insured funds and access to 1,400 Oeics, unit trusts and Sicavs available through Fidelity FundsNetwork fund supermarket.
• Scottish Widows pension funds (both internally and externally managed)
• Governed investment strategies
• External unit trusts, Oeics and Sicavs via a fund supermarket
• Fixed-term cash deposits
• A panel of seven discretionary fund managers (DFMs)
• Share dealing
• Commercial property (not property partnerships)
• Exchange traded funds
• Gilts (via share dealing and DFMs)
• Investment trusts via share dealing
Customers cannot invest in esoteric investments, such as forestry or wind farms, through the retirement account.
An annual service charge is taken as a percentage of the total value of all the assets on a sliding scale from 0.6% for assets below £20,000 to 0.1% for assets above £2 million.
Investments (both share purchase and disposal) in share dealing through the Stocktrade service are subject to the following fees:
Stocktrade [execution-only] Commission: 0.3% of the investment’s value, subject to a minimum charge of £15 and a maximum charge of £75
Stamp Duty: 0.5% of the value (for UK share purchases)
Panel on takeovers and merger levy: £1 for UK share transactions over £10,000
Annual property management charge:
A percentage of the property’s value on a sliding scale from 1.25% for properties under £100,000 to 0.1% for values of £750,000 and above.
Group Sipp No
Scheme pension No
Capped drawdown, phased drawdown : Capped and phased drawdown until age 75. Capped drawdown post-75 will be introduced in the second half of 2013.
Flexible drawdown No
Phased retirement Yes
Not linked to a platform. Access to unit trusts, Oeics and Sicavs through Fidelity FundsNetwork. No charges apply for access to the fund supermarket.
IFA, P&P Invest
The Scottish Widows Sipp is closer to a personal pension than a Sipp. It is perfect for the retail distribution review landscape because it provides a platform to construct portfolios for clients using all available funds in the marketplace.
It is a cost-effective way to invest without the complexity and trustee charges of a bespoke Sipp. That means it is cost-effective for clients with £150,000 and above. Below that figure there are cheaper alternatives, which are less sophisticated.
A true Sipp is defined as a pension with an individual trustee and provides the means for third-party investment, everything else is a personal pension labelled as a Sipp.
For example, a true Sipp is what you would use for commercial property investments, but that’s not the mainstream choice for most people.
The suitability of pensions depends on a client’s attitude to risk, but I would say the retirement account is suited to assets up to the £1 million mark.
I have 60 clients in the Sipp, representing about £60 million of assets.
The charges are very low. For a £50,000 plan, the charges start at 0.35% and decrease as pension increases in value. This product costs only slightly more than a stakeholder pension.