Favourite SIPP provider

Interested to know who you prefer for SIPP - stand alone or wrap.  This would not be for property purchase but:
  • holding retail funds
  • Dealing with regular contributions and tax relief
  • Taking benefits
Looking to see who you prefer in terms of charges, ease of use and service.

Paraplanner. F1, Apple, Nutella, ice cream. No trite motivational quotes. Turning a bit northern. Republican.


  • I think it's good to hear opinions of providers and products from those who actively use them, much more so than research companies who tend to strictly look at costs and features (i discount the feedback they receive as it's always going to have a bias towards those who use that provider - if you don't use one you're unlikely to give feedback on it!)

    I would have to go with Transact SIPP as my preferred choice.
    • Whole of market for funds but doesn't have super clean share classes, so a positive and negative there.
    • Never had problems with contributions and tax relief and is a fairly straightforward process. 
    • Biggest positive - taking benefits if cash is already available. 3 pay runs a month for regular benefits and crystallisations but if there is already a crystallised pot - payment can be made same day for one off withdrawals.  However, there are some negatives with taking benefits as well such as a form needed every time there is a crystallisation request, so for phased drawdown funds have to be crystallised in advance unless you want a client to sign a form every month. Transact's workaround to this does work though.
    • Being able to have multiple wrappers so segmented drawdown strategies is also a big positive in my book.
    • Charges - i dislike the £80 per annum fixed cost but 0.31% (soon to be 0.3%) for most portfolios is very competitive. Also strongly dislike the 0.05% initial cost on purchases, but once upon a time this was 0.5%. Would be the last major stumbling block other paraplanners tell me about them so to remove that would be beneficial.
    • We're a major account so service for us is brilliant - i'd be interested to know if anyone has experiences to the contrary if they only use it occassionally. The secure email system is good, we can often get Transact support to do things for us if we're not sure we're doing it right!
    • Client feedback (quite important!) about their website is always positive too, and easy to use.
    • Only other negative is the lack of Origo options for transfers - discharge forms are required from all ceding schemes and in specie transfers have proven to be less than successful. Transact's stubborn refusal to use Origo has annoyed us here somewhat.
    Other platforms i'd give credit to would be Nucleus and Old Mutual Wealth, but definitely not Old Mutual for taking benefits (cash account anyone?!?) Actively moving pensions away from FundsNetwork - wouldn't touch them with a bargepole now. Website and admin systems are in complete disarray it would seem.

    Off platform SIPPs are generally a nightmare all round I find but if i had to choose i would've said AXA Wealth - give it a few months and i probably won't say them either!

    Despite the amounts of money quoted in the press about platform upgrade spending, i'd still say there isn't a 'perfect' provider in the market for pension accumulation and decumulation; it tends to be that a provider is excellent at one or the other. 

    Probably quite easy to see i'm passionate about this topic!

    Late to the party but looking to launch a new platform due diligence tool and consultancy business later this year - watch this space and feel free to message if you would like any initial info.

  • I'd second Jamie with Transact.  On account service point - we have a dedicated service team as run the EBI (evidence based investments) portfolios via Transact; so this is exemplary.  Also good technical help always available when needed.

    I'd also put a shout in for Wealthtime.  From and customer and adviser service p.o.v. top notch although downside is their phasing is a little clunky (with work arounds).

    Another major plus is there target cash facility which makes managing cash levels a doddle (and helps keep clients fully invested) - set it up right and forget about it - unlike Transact's need to constantly monitor cash positions.
  • We use Standard Life Wrap for non property SIPPs Richard. We have a dedicated contact etc and found that they've been excellent for setting up and taking benefits and all round pretty good. Because the big insurer kicks in, tax relief timing isn't a problem. Not the cheapest, but we know what we and our clients are getting and can pull rank  in most cases if there are any problems. 

    Anything out with the ordinary though (and by that I mean property etc) we would use specialist providers.
  • richallumrichallum Administrator
    Thanks @Jona and @Suse1969 ;

    Paraplanner. F1, Apple, Nutella, ice cream. No trite motivational quotes. Turning a bit northern. Republican.

    • Transact would be preference due to their service and ease of use (albeit dated looking UI)
    • I hear what Jamie is saying about Fidelity, but I still think they're a cost effective solution and they should at least be sticking around in the platform market for a few more years to come, which I think is an important factor
    • I'm also liking AJ Bell as had some really good service recently and their charging model can work out quite competetive
    All that said, for clients who are just after a pension (i.e. no other wrappers) I'd be looking at the likes of LV or RL standalone pension contracts for simplicity/cost savings.
    Jonny (paraflex)
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