New SIPP and SSAS provider, Curtis Banks, to bring clarity, speed, savings and superior service levels to pensions market
A new SIPP and SSAS provider, launched today, is set to significantly raise the bar in the bespoke UK pensions market. Curtis Banks PLC, set up by actuary Rupert Curtis and pensions specialist Chris Banks, two of the most experienced figures in the industry, will bring superior service levels, significant cost savings and total investment flexibility to clients and advisers alike.
The Curtis Banks SIPP and SSAS have been structured to remove the complexity that has built up around these products, while empowering advisers and their clients through the very latest technology. Importantly, the SSAS will be treated as an equal to the SIPP, not, as is often the case, a token offering.
Unlike most other SIPPs on the market, the Curtis Banks SIPP, which has the Defaqto 5 Star Rating, will be actively targeting middle as well as high net worth investors. Importantly, clients will be trustees, which ensures all decisions are made in the interests of the client, not the SIPP operator.
The basic annual fee of £245 for the SIPP is among the lowest in the industry for a full SIPP product while all other charges for additional work and one-off transactions are also extremely competitive. Reflecting the transparency at the heart of the product, and FSA concerns about the complexity of SIPP charges, all charges are clearly outlined in Curtis Banks’ Schedule of Fees.
Crucially, the Curtis Banks SIPP will not charge for receiving standard transfer payments or contributions and does not impose transaction charges, which can quickly result in high costs for products that at first sight seemed inexpensive.
It will also offer extensive investment flexibility enabling people to invest in any investment within HMRC limits, unlike many other ‘full SIPP’ products that impose their own restrictions on investments.
Alongside mainstream investment products, more unusual investments such as unquoted equities, gold bullion, contracts for difference and hedge funds will be allowed. In Specie transfers are also accepted while competitive interest rates are available on deposits.
When benefits are taken, the full range of options is available, including Scheme Pensions, an option offered by very few other providers.
The administration and day-to-day running of the Curtis Banks SIPP will also be cutting-edge, including:
- Immediate access to an allocated and experienced account manager — no telephone queues or ‘helpdesks’
- Streamlined trading and back office arrangements supported by the latest technology
- Online access to current asset valuations and other key data for both clients and their advisers
- The option to use Curtis Banks’ in-house lawyer for property transactions
Rupert Curtis, Managing Director, Curtis Banks PLC, comments: “Between us, Chris and I have over 60 years’ experience in the pensions sector and we felt that the time was right to combine forces and, starting with a clean sheet of paper, bring a truly unrivalled SIPP and SSAS proposition to the UK market. Our goal is to offer something that provides real ease of use and peace of mind for advisers and their clients alike. Through our extremely competitive and transparent fee structure, we will also bring the extensive benefits of SIPPs to the more mainstream market. We see no reason why full SIPP products should only become available at fees of around £500 a year. Clients should be able to have access to all the features of a full SIPP for a much lower starting fee.”
Chris Banks, Chairman, Curtis Banks PLC, adds: “Many SIPP providers offer SSASs almost as an afterthought, but we will be placing the same emphasis on both. SSASs are as important to us as SIPPs and we are even looking to acquire SSAS business should the opportunity present itself. We suspect that there are companies with SSAS books that are not part of their mainstream business and would benefit from new ownership.”
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Notes for Editors
For more information, please contact:
Rupert Curtis: A qualified actuary with over 30 years’ experience at a senior level in the SIPP and SSAS industry, and individually approved status with HMRC as a Pensioneer Trustee. Rupert’s previous roles include Managing Director at IPS Pensions and a director at James Hay. Unlike many in the industry, Rupert actually enjoys the challenge of an ever-changing pensions environment.
Chris Banks: Chris has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years, and has owned and managed numerous high profile companies, including Palmer Banks, Investment Portfolio Services, CMM and Cobalt Capital. He set up the IPS Pension Builder, one of the first SIPP products.
About Curtis Banks
Curtis Banks PLC was launched in June 2009 by Rupert Curtis and Chris Banks, two of the most experienced professionals in the SIPPs and SSASs sector. Curtis Banks PLC is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.