Emma Ann Hughes  

Sipp investors thick enough to buy this also bought

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

Everybody knows someone who buys rubbish they don’t really need that leaves them with more clutter and worse off financially.

Some people have cupboards full of toilet roll covers or tea cosies that were pushed by shopping channels, flyers that fall out of the weekend newspapers or websites that, if they were being honest, would change their message to, "If you were thick enough to buy this, you will probably also pay for this too".

Unless the government is going to wrap everyone up in cotton wool or refuse to let people with a compulsion for buying crap make any more purchases unless they have asked a "sensible adult's permission" beforehand, then there will also be people easily parted with their cash who have collections of crap.

However, when it comes to retail goods there are lots of rules in place that mean in 2018 while people are free to buy as many useless items as they want, the retailers and manufacturers operating in the UK must make sure they aren’t pushing things that could blow up in shopper’s faces.

Earlier this week providers of self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) were told they need to take more responsibility when accepting business from clients, or else they will find themselves at the mercy of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Speaking at the third Great Pensions Debate at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, Philippa Hann, solicitor at Clarke Willmott who is leading litigation action on behalf of British Steel workers, told providers they could not blindly accept business but had a role to act as gatekeeper. 

Ms Hann said: "It is time for Sipp providers to take responsibility, they are not simply a bucket into which a pile of crap can be poured. 

"They are part of the gate keepers to ensure that people don't cause themselves harm.

"Where I see the problems is where people have been cold called and [...] they have very little in the way of pension provisions, and inevitably cause themselves damage.

"People should be able to invest in what they want, but there has to be responsibility for the people making money along the way."

Ms Hann is spot on. It is inexcusable of Sipp providers to simply pocket cash by blindly allowing investors to plough their pension cash into investments that will blow up in their faces.

But while with manufactured goods it is clear what checks retailers must carry out to ensure what they fill their shelves with couldn’t end up causing consumers physical harm it is less clear what Sipp providers must do.

I feel the regulator needs to be clear in what checks it expects Sipp providers to make to ensure that a forestry fund or overseas property is legitimate.