SIPP  

DP Pensions on next wave of Sipp provider consolidation

DP Pensions on next wave of Sipp provider consolidation

Elaine Turtle, director at DP Pensions, said 2016 would be remembered for two key things - the introduction of capital adequacy for Sipp operators and for all the speculation surrounding changes to pension tax relief.

She said: "With the way some industry experts and participants were talking, we could have expected the world to implode with the introduction of the new capital adequacy rules.  

"There was speculation that we would end up with a handful of super Sipp providers but to be honest, there was a flurry of activity but there wasn’t the queue of firms looking to exit the market that had been suggested."

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She added this is not to say that the Sipp industry will not get some further consolidation, but in reality those that were likely to have real trouble meeting new rules had already been sold off.

Ms Turtle added where the next wave of consolidation is likely will be from those firms that will look to offload Sipp books of business, where it is not core to their normal business, and this has been seen already from adviser firms through to wealth managers.

"A few years ago, the Sipp market looked very different, there were around 150 providers and this had dropped to around 70 now.

"Consolidation concerns me as it may end the innovation and flexibility that Sipps are famous for.  A lack of choice in provider and investments can only be detrimental to consumers."

Ms Turtle said what is clear as we enter 2017, is we now have a new improved Sipp sector with financially stable firms that will continue to provide flexible products for individuals to take control of their pension savings, offering the full retirement options and death benefits that pension freedoms allows.

She added the other area that 2016 will be remembered for is the rumours surrounding changes to the rates of pensions tax relief.  

"A number of people called on not only chancellor George Osborne but also the new chancellor Phillip Hammond to make changes and align the rates to a flat 30 per cent rate.  

"In reality this could have happened, Mr Osborne made it quite clear that he was opposed to changing and so we could have seen Mr Hammond make the move and also start to unpick some of the pension freedoms that have been introduced."

ruth.gillbe@ft.com