Self-invested personal pensions growing in popularity

08 March 2005
Concerns about the security of conventional personal and stakeholder pensions are leading increasing numbers to invest in Sipps - self-invested personal pensions.

Take-up of these more flexible pension schemes has risen by 20 per cent since 2000.

Unlike personal and stakeholder pensions, Sipps permit holders to invest in a wide range of assets, including trusts and bonds, as well as shares and property.

John Lawson of Standard Life told the Times newspaper, "there has been an enormous amount of demand for the Sipp we launched in December - much more than we expected. And it's still going like a train."

Sipps are likely to become even more popular after the pensions industry's "A Day" - April 6 2006.

On that date, the maximum annual contribution level for such schemes will rise to £215,000, on which tax relief will be available.

Nevertheless, Sipp schemes are not suitable for everyone, the industry is quick to stress.

Tony Filbin of Legal & General warned "it's true that Sipps offer a wider investment choice and that the charges for this type of pension have come down recently, but it still may not be worth investing in a Sipp if you are a smaller saver or have little interest in investing. Some people simply won't need the extra flexibility that a Sipp offers."

Most Sipp providers charge set up and annual management fees that are typically higher than the charges for stakeholder pensions.

However, increasing competition in the Sipp market and rising stakeholder costs may affect this situation over time, making Sipps more attractive for smaller savers.

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