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Hybrid SIPPs or not quite SIPPs?

10.08.2009

In a testing economic climate and ever more competitive SIPP/SSAS industry sometimes just sometimes it's great to see or hear something that makes you laugh out loud.

I see little point in changing the names to protect the innocent/guilty. Such an occasion was when I read that Standard Life have confirmed 41% of their SIPP assets are invested in their own Funds - none of which are classed by them as hybrid SIPPs. Perhaps I've missed something and that's what they mean by Self Investment.  

While Aegon has 90 per cent of assets "Self Invested" via Aegon but it's OK because they own up and admit that most (97%) of their SIPPs are hybrid SIPPs. Fair do's I suppose?

Now I have looked this up and hybrid should mean "something made up of a mixture of different aspects or components".  Well except in our industry when it seems that hybrid "means not quite a...." such as my friend has a hybrid-attractive girlfriend and I support a hybrid premier league football team.

OK a tad childish and cards on the table the products in question could serve many well if priced accordingly i.e. as plain and simple personal pensions. As a SIPP provider please take this in the spirit in which it is intended: PP's have for generations been hugely valuable in the development of the retirement market, encouraging pension savings and providing portability for the consumer.

And again as a SIPP provider let's get it out there and say that  not all roads lead to SIPPS, an old fashioned (or new fancy) PP will work for a significant number of clients and well what's wrong with that?

We will all complain from time to time about FSA intrusion and micro regulation but really what choice do the FSA have? They have issued guidance on the use of SIPPS and how/when SIPPS are a suitable recipient for transfers and still they see so called SIPPs being used in such a fashion? And I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on the implications of commission paid on such transfers...

As a suggestion why do we not work towards an industry standard definition of a SIPP and settle on the fact that PP's work and will continue to thrive, yet sadly not perhaps in name.

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