Self-invested personal pension (Sipp) provider Curtis Banks has seen a 2 per cent decline in the number of Sipps administered despite launching a new product early last year.
In its final results for the year ended December 31, 2019, published today (March 18), Curtis Banks said the number of Sipps administered fell slightly, from 77,739 in 2018 to 76,541 in 2019.
According to the group, this was the result of expected attrition from legacy books as well as a slowdown in the pension transfer market.
This comes despite the provider launching a Sipp product at the beginning of 2019, which brought together elements of products previously offered by Curtis Banks and Suffolk Life.
The ‘Your Future Sipp’ product is fully digital, with advisers and clients able to access it via mobiles, tablets and computers, and includes open market access to a number of investments, including discretionary, brokers and commercial property.
It also features automated adviser charging.
Will Self, chief executive officer at Curtis Banks, said the product has been a success with positive feedback from the adviser community.
According to the results, the Sipp has seen 226 new adviser relationships deliver new business in 2019, and 2,964 advisers and 2,259 clients register to use the portal.
But the number of new Sipps was down.
Throughout 2019, the provider added 4,567 new Sipps organically (2018: 5,838), representing a growth rate of 6.6 per cent (2018: 8.7 per cent).
According to the group, the decline in organic growth was due to a lack of client investment into Sipps.
Mr Self said: “We believe that our new proposition is truly market leading by virtue of the suite of features it contains and the flexibility it provides to both advisers and their clients.
“Through the introduction of Your Future Sipp we are well placed to increase our organic growth of full and mid Sipps over the coming years.”
Already 31 per cent of Sipp new business is written into the Your Future Sipp, expected to increase to 70 per cent by the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, Curtis Banks appeared to be unfazed by current regulatory pressure on the Sipp market.
Mr Self said: “The Curtis Banks business model is clear and the fact that we only work with regulated financial advisers and do not give any advice or provide the investments held within our Sipps protects our business from some of the challenges experienced by other Sipp providers.”
He said despite non-standard investments receiving a lot of media coverage last year Curtis Banks does not consider them to be a risk.
Mr Self added: “The group continues to carry out robust due diligence on non-standard investments both at outset and throughout the life of the investment and all new Curtis Banks products have a clear schedule of allowable investments.
“We have undertaken a detailed review of the business to ensure a prudent approach to our legacy book, which is composed of our own Sipps as well as a large number of historic acquisitions.”
The provider also said acquisitions remained a “core component” of its growth strategy and the firm would continue to seek opportunities to grow its existing Sipp book.