Not just ticking the boxes
Defaqto have just published their 2010 guide to SIPPs (it can be accessed here) and it's well worth a read, with or without the sun lounger and pina colada, over the Bank Holiday weekend. Defaqto are independent and knowledgeable and their analysis of the market is widely used.
Every man (or woman) and his dog will tell you that their SIPP has super service which is why we place a great deal of value on independent verification such as that carried out by Defaqto. Thankfully we tick the right boxes on product features, which is why the nice Defaqto people give us 5 stars and rate us highly, which then helps advisers in being able to recommend us.
What we found interesting in their report is their insight into how they see the SIPP market, here are just a few points they highlighted:
- Time and again they stress that, to use their own words on page 1 of the report "for a SIPP to be of full value to an investor, it has to be available at all stages of pension planning from savings to retirement". This includes the ability to start with something simple and add on the full range of extra features at competitive charges. This has been at the forefront of our product development as we believe the old fashioned SIPP costing £700 - £1000 in year 1 to invest in relatively simple asset classes is dated and expensive.
- RDR and as we move towards RDR, with clear charging structures and changes likely in some current methods of charging. Our own structures are fully RDR compliant and it will be good to get on a level playing field.
- Investment delays can be costly and not all providers have easy access or reporting. We make simple electronic processes a key part of our SIPP and our in-house lawyer facility greatly improves property transactions
- Obviously good service is essential, but they point out that less than half of SIPPs offer online services, an essential part of the way ahead which we have continued to develop.
- The number of providers publishing a service charter is also surprisingly low at just 31%. We have published our service standards from the outset and will shortly be publishing online our actual monthly performance against our standards.
There's more to this than ticking the boxes, it's about staying ahead of the game as well and the Defaqto report is a good measure of where we are. We would suggest you apply the same test to other SIPP providers you may use and we would be interested to learn the results. You'll have SIPP providers telling you all year round how great they are, but an outside view from someone like Defaqto is worth more than the whole lot put together.
This communication provides general guidance to financial advisers. It is not a full description of our products and services and more information is available on our website at www.curtisbanks.co.uk or by contacting us on (0117) 9107910. It is not intended to be read by clients or potential clients and any such persons should take independent financial advice before taking any action on their pension arrangements.
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