Pensions  

Liberty pledges annual charge freeze until 2017

Liberty pledges annual charge freeze until 2017

Liberty Sipp has frozen its annual management charge of £150 plus VAT for the third year running, with the hold being extended to last at least until April 2017.

The annual fee has not changed since the Liberty Option Sipp was launched in 2013 and includes free contributions, free access to online valuation tools, free annual reporting, one free standard investment and payment of a tax-free lump sum where no taxable income is taken.

The firm flagged up that annual fees are its “primary source of revenue” and the move was driven by its “robust financial position”, with cash reserves of more than £1m and cost savings via a recent streamlining of its IT processes.

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The Sipp can be opened online for free, paying 1 per cent interest on its cash account, of which it retains no interest.

John Fox, managing director at Liberty Sipp, said: “We have always prided ourselves on transparency and low fees; our clients only pay for what they need, and don’t pay over the odds for services they don’t need.

“In 2013 we pared down our proposition to just one simple, build-it-yourself product, the Liberty Option Sipp. Its annual management charge has been at its current low level ever since, and we’re now freezing it even longer – until at least April 2017.

He added: “With many larger providers hit for six by pension freedom and heavily reliant on current account commissions, we believe we are one of very few Sipp providers to offer such consistently transparent, fair and low fees.”

Yesterday (17 June), the government announced it was launching a consultation into pension charges, in particular exit fees, to ensure that savers are not penalised if they wish to transfer their pension to access pension freedoms.

In an exchange of letters, Harriet Baldwin, economic secretary to the Treasury, told FCA chief Martin Wheatley that while the consultation is ongoing, the FCA should still be on the lookout for instances where firms levy “unnecessary and unfair” charges.

The regulator should be considering whether these firms could be breaching Treating Customers Fairly rules, Ms Baldwin wrote.

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com