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Fee structure helps Curtis Banks weather Covid storm

Fee structure helps Curtis Banks weather Covid storm

Curtis Banks' recurring fee model, charged on its self-invested personal pensions, has helped the provider fight off negative effects of the pandemic, leaving revenue unaffected by stock market downturns.

In its interim results for the six months to June 30, 2020, published this morning (September 3), Curtis Banks said it was able to maintain revenues of £24.5m as it charges fixed annual fees rather than a percentage of Sipp assets.

Curtis Banks said: “Fee revenue from Sipps and Ssas is still the predominant source of income for the group with a strong emphasis on recurring annual fee income. 

“In the six months ended 30 June 2020 fee income represented 73 per cent of the total income and 84 per cent of this fee income is recurring.”

The provider's Sipp fees are based on a recurring annual fee and a number of additional fixed fees depending on the services provided to the Sipp. 

The provider stated: “This is a key differential that sets us apart from most of our competitors and provides an attractive product in terms of fees for higher value Sipps. As the value of a Sipp increases our product becomes increasingly affordable.”

Curtis Banks said the number of Sipps administered fell from 77,175 to 76,306 in the period due to Covd-19 impacting sales as well as people moving out of legacy products.

However, even with the pandemic proving a challenge, Curtis Banks added 2,107 new Sipps, which are administered directly by the group, compared with 2,220 new Sipps in the same period last year.

It also saw assets under administration increase from £27.5bn to £28.6bn year on year, however pre-tax profits shrunk to £4m compared with £5.4m in H1 2019.

Among its two core products, the Full Sipp saw a slightly lower level of growth than last year, at 2.9 per cent (H1 2019: 3.35 per cent), but its Mid Sipp saw growth increase slightly to 11.2 per cent (H1 2019: 10.78 per cent). 

As at June 30, the company had 19,847 Full Sipp, 28,798 Mid Sipps and 21,210 e-Sipps.

At the beginning of 2019, the provider launched the ‘Your Future Sipp’ product which is fully digital, with advisers and clients able to access it via mobiles, tablets and computers, and it includes open market access to a number of investments, including discretionary, brokers and commercial property.

It also features automated adviser charging.

The provider said the product has been well received by advisers and as at August 2020, 3,600 advisers and 3,100 clients were registered on the portal.

Curtis Banks only works with regulated financial advisers and operates a "clear schedule of allowable investments".

Acquisition push

In July, Curtis Banks announced it had acquired both rival Sipp provider Talbot and Muir and fintech firm Dunstan Thomas in a deal worth close to £53m.

According to the provider, in the first 12 months, both businesses will run as standalone entities but within this period there will be some alignment with Curtis Banks' operations.

After this period Talbot and Muir will be added into its five-year strategy and will "effectively become and extension of Curtis Banks".