SIPPJun 17 2019

Investment pathways 'against concept of Sipps'

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Investment pathways 'against concept of Sipps'
ByAmy Austin

The Financial Conduct Authority has failed to take into account the needs of the self-invested personal pension (Sipp) industry in its investment pathways proposal, according to the Association on Member Directed Pension Schemes.

Geoff Buck, Amps committee member, said it was disappointing that the FCA has failed to take into account the views of the Sipp industry, particularly those of providers who deliver traditional Sipp products rather than the "mass market" element.

Mr Buck told FTAdviser: "We have serious concerns that over time ‘conventional’ personal pension providers have re-badged their products as Sipps which has led to the perception of mass market appeal for genuine Sipps.

"This re-badging has caused unnecessary and undue influence in marginalising a key part of the retirement savings market.

"The investment pathway proposal goes against the concept of self-investment. Sipps are designed for true self-investment as the name suggests."

As part of its latest work on retirement the FCA proposed pension providers offer their non-advised customers a choice of investment pathways to meet their retirement objectives.

The FCA proposed four pathways after it found many consumers were solely focused on taking tax-free cash from their pensions and were "insufficiently engaged" with deciding how to invest funds that moved into drawdown.

The pathways include an option for consumers who have no plans to touch their money in the next five years and for those who plan to use their money to set up a guaranteed income within the next five years.

The regulator also proposed an option for consumers who plan to start taking money as a long-term income within the next five years and those who plan to take out all their money within the next five years.

The FCA had previously acknowledged that a significant number of Sipp investors were much more engaged than those in the larger retirement market, therefore, Mr Buck said, it was even more disappointing that the views of the Sipp industry were not being recognised.

He added that Sipps met the needs of consumers who wished to keep investment flexibility which otherwise would not be available to them through other pension products.

An example of how the investments pathway requirement does not fit with all savers would be where a client only has commercial property investment, Mr Buck said.

He said: "It would be inappropriate to offer an investment pathway as the client is only invested in commercial property and has no intention of accessing other investments. This client would consider that the pension provider is deliberately being obtuse and bureaucratic."

Amps also has concerns that the five-year timeframe which the investment pathway options follow was out of line with recognised investment timeframes.