Best SIPPS Provider: Who Leads the Market?

The leading SIPP provider in the UK is recognized for its comprehensive investment choices, competitive fees, and exceptional customer support, setting the standard for quality in retirement planning services.
  • Last Updated: 22 Mar 2024
  • Fact Checked
  • Our team recently fact checked this article for accuracy. However, things do change, so please do your own research.

Contributors:

Francis Hui
Discover the Top SIPP Providers. Compare Traditional & Tech-Driven Platforms, Understand the Fees, Products & Customer Support & Optimise Your Pension Savings
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Key Takeaways
  • The best SIPP providers in the UK offer a range of investment options, competitive fees, and excellent customer service.
  • They offer the highest returns and typically have a wide range of investment options including stocks, bonds, and funds with a proven track record of performance.
  • When choosing the best provider for your retirement, consider factors such as fees, investment options, customer service, and the provider’s reputation in the industry.
  • Key factors to consider when selecting a provider include fees, investment flexibility, customer service, administration quality, and the provider’s financial stability.
  • Some reputable SIPP providers with low fees include AJ Bell, Hargreaves Lansdown, and Interactive Investor.

The best SIPP provider is the one that successfully meets your individual needs, especially in a market which offers a vast array of both established names and innovative platforms each offering advantages.

Whether you are attracted to the years of expertise offered by traditional firms like AJ Bell, Vanguard, and Fidelity or to the user-friendly, mobile-first approach of newcomers like PensionBee and Moneybox, you need to have a good hard look at what is out there to decide on the best SIPP provider for you.

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    Every Investor has conducted in-depth research, detailing the wide range of choices so you may move a few steps closer to finding the best SIPP provider tailored to your specific needs.

    All our content undergoes strict fact and compliance checks before publication to ensure you are receiving relevant and up-to-date information.

    What Do SIPP Providers Do?

    SIPP providers offer Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), a type of personal pension scheme that allows individuals to choose and manage their investments, ranging from stocks and shares to commercial property, within a tax-efficient pension wrapper.1

    Why Is Choosing the Right SIPP Provider Important?

    Choosing the right SIPP provider is important for optimal retirement planning and the effective management of your pension funds.

    The right SIPP provider can significantly impact the growth, safety, and management of your retirement savings. 

    It is a decision that should align with your financial goals, investment style, and the level of support you require.

    Who Are the UK’s Best SIPP Providers?

    The UK’s best SIPP providers are typically characterised by their robust platform performance, comprehensive investment options, and stellar customer service. 

    Your investment style, portfolio size, platform ease of use, and customer service preferences will determine the best provider for you. 

    Conduct thorough research and consider seeking independent financial advice to determine the most suitable SIPP provider for your needs.

    Here, we take a look at some of these companies, ranging from the well established to the newer entrants.

    AJ Bell

    AJ Bell’s offering is supported by research tools, guides and live seminars, a six-day-a-week helpline service, and a live chat tool.2 

    Trading can be done online, through an app, or by phone. 

    AJ Bell offers investment options that include funds, shares, investment trusts, ETFs, bonds and gilts, warrants and covered warrants, and ETCs.3

    The firm also provides free educational resources for those who may be new to investing.4

    AJ Bell charges relatively low SIPP fees:

    • a custody fee capped at 0,25%
    • dealing charges of between £1,50 and £9,95 (to reduce to £5,00 from 1 April 2024)
    • dividend reinvestment charges of £1,50
    • other charges, like a foreign exchange charge on international deals.5

    Take note

    Frequent traders or those with larger pots might find the percentage-based fee less favourable.6

    Fidelity

    Global investment company Fidelity offers a SIPP with a choice of over 2,000 shares and 3,800 funds, ETFs, and investment trusts.7

    The company also offers a useful online tool for narrowing down your investment options, accessible on the SIPPs portion of their website.8

    Fidelity’s charges include:

    • a service fee of 0,35% for those who invest more than £25,000 or hold a regular savings account
    • a monthly service fee of £7,50 for those who hold less than £25,000 and do not have a savings account
    • dealing charges of £1,50 for deals forming part of a savings or withdrawal plan
    • a dealing charge of £7,50 for online deals
    • a foreign exchange charge on international deals.9

    Support provided includes research tools, a six-day telephone line, messaging, and a dedicated London investor centre.10

    Freetrade

    Freetrade offers zero trading costs, making it an affordable market entry point, but primarily focuses on major market stocks like the FTSE and S&P 500. 

    Fees are fixed at £11,99 monthly on the Plus account, appealing to high-value portfolios, with over 6,000 shares, ETFs, and trusts available on a user-friendly app.11 

    However, the platform lacks comprehensive research tools and advisory services, with support mainly available through the in-app chat, social media, and email.12

    Vanguard

    Vanguard offers a cost-effective SIPP tailored to long-term investors, with low fees like a 0,15% annual platform fee capped at £375.13 

    However, investments are restricted to Vanguard funds, and you can build your pension pot from any of the over 85 options or choose one of the pre-selected portfolios.14

    Investments start with either a £500 lump sum or a £100 monthly deposit.15

    Customer support is accessible through secure messaging or phone,16 and the platform emphasises tools centred on retirement planning.17 

    Who Are The Best Robo-Advisor SIPP Providers?

    The best robo-advisor SIPP providers utilise smart technology for portfolio management, offering a more hands-off approach to investing.

    Nutmeg

    Nutmeg’s customisable portfolios and user-friendly interface make it an attractive robo-adviser choice. 

    Nutmeg charges from 0,45% to 0,75% on investments up to £100k and 0,25% to 0,35% on amounts above that level.18

    The average market spread is 0,07%.19

    Wealthify

    Wealthify offers personalised, automated investing and is a potential fit for tech-savvy investors.20 

    Wealthify charges a 0,6% fee on portfolio value, with original plans averaging 0,16% in investment costs and ethical plans 0,7%.

    What is the Best Niche SIPP Providers?

    The best niche SIPP providers cater to investors with specific investment needs or priorities and typically include providers focused on ethical and environmentally-friendly investing, and providers targeting high-net-worth investors.

    Environmentally-Focused Providers

    These SIPP providers cater to investors who are attuned to ethical, social, or green issues.

    Nest 

    Nest is a government-backed non-profit promoting auto-enrollment that does not invest in tobacco, arms, corrupt nations, and environmentally harmful companies.21 

    The Nest Ethical Fund follows a three-phase strategy that allows your pension to be invested appropriately according to which stage of life you are in.

    Charges include a 0,3% annual management fee and a fee of 1,8% on each contribution.22

    PensionBee  

    PensionBee‘s Impact Plan, started in January 2023, invests in businesses tackling global issues such as healthcare, housing, education, and renewable energy.23 

    The plan also supports companies that aid marginalised communities and address environmental challenges. 

    PensionBee specialises in consolidating multiple pensions into one, which takes the form of one of seven diverse plans, including Shariah and socially-focused options, all overseen by top global financial entities.

    The Beehive dashboard and mobile app offer a clear overview of your pension performance without needing intricate tools or resources. 

    Customers receive comprehensive support, with each client assigned a dedicated ‘BeeKeeper’ for specialised assistance.

    Fees include an annual charge of 0,95%, fund fees, platform fees, and advisor fees.24

    Penfold 

    The Penfold Sustainable Plan uses a strong ESG (environmental, social, and governance) screening approach for socially responsible investing, and mainly backs top ESG firms. 

    Based on BlackRock’s MyMap 5 ESG fund, this plan aims for a 30% carbon intensity cut compared to non-ESG funds.25 

    Penfold provides a free pension consolidation service originally designed for freelancers and the self-employed.26

    While the platform prioritises simplicity and speed, it supports users with varied customer assistance channels, including a live chat.27

    Penfold’s charges include an annual fee of 0,75% for savings under £100,000 and 0,4% for any portion over that threshold.

    Aviva 

    Aviva offers a wide selection of ethical funds for personal pensions, such as the Liontrust Sustainable Future range, and the Royal London Ethical Bond.28

    Aviva’s SIPP fees include an annual fund charge of up to 0,40%, a share charge of 0,40%, a trading charge of £7,50, fund manager charges determined by your specific investments, and potential performance fees.29 

    What about greenwashing?

    Greenwashing is the deceptive presentation of investments as environmentally friendly or sustainable despite their not meeting the actual criteria.

    Here are five steps you can take to avoid greenwashing:

    • Research: Conduct thorough research on investment options and their sustainability claims.
    • Verify Credentials: Check for credible certifications and labels that validate environmental claims.
    • Seek Transparency: Look for transparent reporting on environmental impact and sustainability practices.
    • Diversify Your Sources: Seek information from multiple reputable sources to cross-validate claims.
    • Study Independent Analysis: Consider independent analysis or ratings from trusted organisations specialising in sustainability.

    Stay informed when exploring investment opportunities and scrutinise all your ethical options carefully to steer clear of greenwashing.

    Providers Catering to High-Net-Worth Individuals

    Certain SIPP providers cater specifically to high-net-worth individuals, offering specialised services such as personalised investment strategies and advanced tax planning. 

    Hargreaves Lansdown

    Hargreaves Lansdown allows investment in funds, shares, investment trusts, ETFs, venture capital trusts (VCTs), gilts and bonds, and more.30

    A well-established SIPP provider known for its extensive investment options, useful research tools, and good customer service, Hargreaves’s SIPP is suitable for high-net-worth individuals seeking flexibility and choice.

    Hargreaves Lansdown provides free online resources to those in need of investment ideas and guidance, and also offers ready-made SIPP portfolios.31

    Fees include:

    • a funds custody charge capped at 0,45%
    • a 0,45% custody charge on shares, investment trusts, ETFs, VCTs, and gilts and bonds capped at £200 per year
    • fund manager charges
    • share dealing charges of between £5,95 and £11,95.32

    There is no charge for automatic income reinvestment.

    Interactive Investor 

    Interactive Investor (ii) provides a feature-rich SIPP platform, allowing high-net-worth individuals to invest in a wide array of assets.

    This includes shares, funds, bonds, and investment trusts, with competitive fees and a user-friendly interface.

    This provider offers a budget-friendly SIPP option with flat monthly fees of £12,99 for its Pension Builder plan,33 benefiting larger portfolios. 

    This SIPP provides access to over 40,000 investment choices, including funds, ETFs, and trusts.34

    Charges include:

    • a monthly fee starting at £5,99 (rising to £12,99 for investments over £50,000)
    • a monthly fee of £5 for existing ii clients who hold an ISA and/or Trading Account on the Investor Essentials plan
    • trading fees of £3,99
    • dividend reinvestment fees of £0,99
    • foreign exchange fees.35

    Despite lacking financial advisory services, the ii app offers extensive research tools,36 five pre-designed portfolios,37 and versatile trading methods. 

    Support includes a five-day phone line and messaging.38

    Curtis Banks

    Curtis Banks specialises in offering bespoke SIPP solutions for high-net-worth individuals, providing flexibility, tailored investment options, and personalised service to meet complex pension planning needs.

    How Did We Choose the Best SIPP Providers?

    We chose the best SIPP providers by conducting a comprehensive analysis based on several key criteria. 

    This process involved:

    • Comparing platform fees and prioritising those with competitive rates and high-quality service. This included examining annual management fees and investment transaction costs.
    • Analysing investment options. Because they help investors diversify their portfolios, providers offering stocks, bonds, funds, and ETFs were highly rated.
    • Reviewing user experience. This included platform usability, customer support, and investor education.  

    By carefully assessing these factors, we found the SIPP providers with the best fees, investment options, user experience, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

    What Should You Do Before Choosing Your SIPP Provider? 

    Before choosing your SIPP provider, research the options available on the market to ensure you end up with a tailored fit for your financial aspirations. 

    By identifying your investment needs, researching SIPP providers, and consulting financial advisors, you can make a more informed and confident decision.

    Here are the steps:

    • Identify Your Investment Needs: Determine how hands on you want to be, the kind of assets you want to invest in, and your retirement goals.
    • Research and Compare SIPP Providers: Check their offerings, fee structures, and customer support. Also consider reading reviews on independent platforms such as Trustpilot.39
    • Consult a Trusted Financial Advisor: Before making a decision, seek professional guidance to ensure the provider matches your individual financial goals.

    What Should You Look for When Comparing the Best SIPP Providers?

    When comparing the best SIPP providers, look for several pivotal factors to ensure that you make an informed decision tailored to your investment goals and personal circumstances. 

    Factors to consider include:

    • Fees and Charges: Compare each provider’s annual management, dealing, advice, and transfer fees. Choose a transparent provider with competitive fees and no hidden charges.
    • Investment Options: A provider that offers shares, bonds, funds, and ETFs gives you more investment options and diversification.
    • Platform Usability: Find a simple interface with powerful tools and features to help you invest. This includes access to comprehensive market research, analytical tools, and educational resources.
    • Customer Service: If you need help or have questions, a provider with responsive, knowledgeable, and helpful customer support is invaluable.
    • Financial Stability and Industry Reputation: A reputable provider can provide peace of mind. Ensure the provider is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).40 
    • Feedback From Current Clients: Genuine customer reviews can provide insights into the user experience and the level of satisfaction with the service provided.

    You can compare the best SIPP providers and choose one that meets your investment needs, preferences, and financial goals by carefully analysing these factors.

    What Is the Impact of Brexit on SIPP Providers & Investors?

    The impact of Brexit on SIPP providers and investors has been multifaceted, influencing various aspects of how SIPPs are managed and the investment opportunities available to investors. 

    In short

    Brexit has led to regulatory changes affecting financial services, including SIPP providers, with potential implications for investors.2

    These changes involve alterations to cross-border trading, passporting rights, and regulatory frameworks that affect financial services providers, including those offering SIPPs.

    Regulatory Changes Affecting Providers

    SIPP providers now face adjustments in terms of regulatory compliance, especially if they operate across EU borders. 

    Here are some regulatory changes that might affect providers:

    • Providers must disclose all fees and charges upfront, so investors can make an informed decision about whether to invest.
    • Providers must disclose all fees and charges on a regular basis, so investors can track how much they are paying.
    • Providers must be more transparent about how they calculate and charge fees, so investors can make comparisons between providers.
    • Providers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could impact the fees and charges they charge.
    • Providers must disclose any changes to fees and charges before they take effect, so investors can plan ahead.

    Regulatory changes now demand enhanced transparency and upfront disclosures from SIPP providers, ensuring you are always in the know about your investments.

    Potential Implications for SIPP Investors

    The regulatory shifts stemming from Brexit may influence the investment landscape for SIPP holders. 

    Here are some potential implications for SIPP investors:

    • The new rules should help investors make more informed decisions about their investments.
    • The new rules should help investors better understand the true cost of their SIPP.
    • The new rules should make it easier for investors to compare and switch between providers.
    • The new rules should encourage providers to keep their fees and charges competitive.
    • The new rules should lead to greater transparency and accountability in the SIPP industry.

    The new rules should help ensure that all investors have fair access to information about their SIPP.

    Additionally

    Market volatility due to uncertainties surrounding Brexit can impact investment performance, leading investors to re-evaluate risk exposure within their SIPPs.

    They should also consider the broader economic impact of Brexit when making investment decisions within their SIPPs.

    Common Questions

    Where Can I Find Reviews & Ratings for the Best SIPP Providers?

    How Do I Set Up a SIPP With a Top-Rated Provider?

    What Kind of Fees & Charges Do the Best SIPP Providers Typically Have?

    What Types of Investments Can I Make Through the Best SIPP Providers?

    Are the Best SIPP Providers Also the Most Financially Stable?

    What Levels of Customer Service Can I Expect from the Best SIPP Providers?

    Can I Change to a Better SIPP Provider?

    How Do the Best SIPP Providers Use Technology to Enhance Their Services?

    How Do the Top SIPP Providers Ensure the Security of My Investments?

    Are There Any Top-Rated SIPP Providers That Specialise in Certain Types of Investments?

    What Are the Tax Implications of Using the Best SIPP Providers?

    Who Is the Most Cost-Effective SIPP Provider?

    In Conclusion

    Navigating the landscape of SIPP providers in the UK can be challenging, given the array of options available. 

    Both traditional and tech-savvy platforms offer unique advantages, catering to different investment preferences and needs. 

    As you consider your retirement goals and financial strategies, it is vital to choose a provider that aligns with your objectives. 

    Ultimately, diligent research and comparison will help you identify the best SIPP provider to accompany you on your unique financial journey.

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