James Hay SIPPs: What Options Do They Provide?

James Hay offers SIPPs with a wide range of investment options, including funds, shares, and property, designed for investors seeking flexibility and a tailored approach to retirement savings.
  • Last Updated: 22 Mar 2024
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Francis Hui
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Key Takeaways
  • James Hay offers various types of Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPPs) options, including the Modular iSIPP, Modular iPlan, and the IPS Partnership SIPP.
  • When compared to others in the market, they stand out for their comprehensive investment options and competitive fee structure.
  • The fees associated typically include a set-up fee, an annual management charge, and potential transfer-in and transaction fees.
  • Starting a SIPP with James Hay involves an online application process, choosing the right product for your needs, and making the initial investment.
  • You have the option to transfer your existing SIPP, but it’s important to consider potential transfer charges and to ensure the new plan matches your investment needs.

The James Hay SIPP offers an investment platform designed to secure and shape a retiree’s future. 

Finding the right fit when it comes to Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) providers will ensure you remain ahead of the 36% of Brits still uncertain about their retirement choices, as polled by Penfold in 2023.1

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    By consulting the firm’s publications and scouring industry new sites, Every Investor has thoroughly researched the James Hay SIPP to bring you accurate and up-to-date information.

    All our content undergoes extensive quality and compliance checks before publication.

    Who is James Hay?

    James Hay is a provider of Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) and other retirement solutions in the United Kingdom.

    As a SIPP provider, James Hay facilitates individuals in managing their pension investments, offering a platform for a variety of investment options.

    The company is known for its role in the pension and investment industry.

    However, it’s advisable to check for the latest information, as details about companies may evolve over time.

    What Is a SIPP?

    The Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) in the UK allows individuals to take charge of their retirement savings by offering the flexibility to select and oversee various investment options, including shares, bonds, and real estate, within their pension scheme.

    What Are the Equity Release Options for Over 65 in the UK?

    As UK citizens aged 65 and over, we have two primary options for equity release: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. Lifetime mortgages allow us to borrow a percentage of our home’s value, with interest rolling up over time.

    We retain ownership of the property and the loan, plus interest, is paid off when we pass away or move into care. Alternatively, home reversion plans involve selling part or all of our property to a reversion company, while retaining the right to live there rent-free until death.

    The home is sold when we pass away or move into care, and the reversion company receives a proportion of the proceeds. This option is less common and typically considered only if lifetime mortgages are not suitable.

    Both options require advice from a regulated financial adviser, thus ensuring our safety and informed decision-making.

    What Does James Hay Do?

    James Hay Partnership is a UK-based company that provides financial services primarily focused on the Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) market.2

    Brief History & Overview

    The company was founded in 1979 and incorporated in 1990, before being acquired by Abbey National (rebranded to Santander UK) in 1994.3

    The James Hay SIPP was established in 1996.4 

    In 2010, James Hay was bought by IFG Group, and in turn, the latter was sold to private equity house Epiris for £206 million in 2019.5

    In 2021, James Hay acquired Nucleus Financial Platforms, an independent advisor platform group in the UK with over £47 billion in assets under administration (AUA),6 and later formed the Nucleus Group.

    Key Players in James Hay’s Development

    James Hay appointed Richard Rowney as its Chief Executive Officer in 2020, succeeding Alastair Conway.7

    Current Market Position

    The Nucleus acquisition positioned the company as a significant player in the UK’s advisor platform sector with £44 billion in assets, 160,000 customers, and collaboration with around 430,000 advice firms.8

    There are two platforms in the stable:

    • James Hay Online: Aimed at bigger financial advisory firms, this is their retirement-focused platform.
    • Nucleus Wrap: A platform for financial planning, it targets smaller to medium-sized advisors.9

    The Nucleus Group’s major shareholders are HPS and Epiris, both investment firms with a history of buying up financial services companies in the UK. 

    Notably, in September 2022, Epiris sold most of its stake in the Nucleus Group to HPS.10 

    In January 2023, Nucleus expanded its reach by buying Curtis Banks, a SIPP provider. 

    This acquisition means Nucleus now has the potential to manage around £80 billion in assets.11

    What is James Hay’s Modular iPlan?

    James Hay’s Modular iPlan is a product designed to make your retirement planning and investing as straightforward as possible. 

    How Does It Work?

    Your gateway to James Hay’s Modular iPlan is the Modular iSIPP, where you can choose from over 3,700 funds. 

    You can also build on your iPlan by adding more investments like an individual savings account (ISA) or a general investment account (GSA).12


    You can only set up an iSIPP through a financial advisor.13

    Key Features & Benefits

    The key features and benefits include pay-as-you-use pricing, flexibility, a variety of investment options, and handy online tools to keep an eye on your investments.14

    Costs & Charges

    In addition to the standard SIPP fees, there may be charges for specialised modules such as the Whole of Market Module and commercial property. 

    Third-party charges, including those from financial advisors, might also be applicable.

    See below for more details on costs and charges.

    Other Investment Options James Hay Offers

    Other investment options James Hay offers alongside your iSIPP are the Modular ISA and Modular GIA, aimed at growing your pension pot further.

    Once your SIPP is in place, you can add an ISA to your iPlan at no extra charge. 

    Things to know:

    • ISAs are government endorsed, allowing tax-free gains up to a specific limit each year.15
    • A GIA is an adaptable investment plan, useful when you have maxed out your ISA contributions. 
    • While a GIA’s returns are taxable, there is no investment cap, and funds can be accessed at any time.16

    How Does James Hay Stack Up Against Competitors?

    How James Hay stacks up against competitors will depend at least in part on your unique perspective as an investor, as your needs and goals will be different from those of the next client.

    However, comparing James Hay’s SIPP offering with competitors reveals a few key differences in fees and charges, which may to some extent be a useful metric for comparison.

    A brief look at James Hay’s fees:

    • James Hay’s SIPP carries an annual administration charge of £220, which is waived if over £200k is invested in certain accounts.17
    • Platform charges are tiered, starting at 0,25% per annum for the first £300,000, and reducing to 0,01% per annum for a portfolio worth more than £1,5 million.18
    • There are additional module and drawdown fees. 

    In comparison:

    • Interactive Investor charges a flat £12,99 monthly fee for its Pension Builder Plan and £19,99 for the Super Investor plan, favouring larger portfolios with lower transaction costs. 
    • Curtis Banks levies an admin fee of £352 for using one of the investment partners and/or a deposit accounts, £817 for the full range of investments, and an additional fee of £113 for unadvised customers.19
    • Fidelity charges a standard rate of 0,35%; however, based on the amount in your personal accounts, this can be reduced to 0,2%, with no charges applied to the portion of an investment exceeding £1 million.20

    How To Invest With James Hay’s SIPP Product?

    Investing with James Hay’s SIPP product can be done online once you have the iSIPP.

    You can also use James Hay Online to buy, sell, and monitor your investments any time.21

    Types of Investments Available

    The types of investments available with the Modular iSIPP feature three distinct modules that boast a vast investment spectrum, from funds and cash deposit accounts to commercial property and even gold bullion.22

    These options include:

    • Core Investments: With access to the James Hay Investment Centre, model portfolios, and a panel of stockbrokers.
    • Commercial Property Module: For investments in commercial real estate.
    • Whole of Market Module: For broader investment choices beyond the Core iSIPP.23

    Nucleus Financial Platforms has collaborated with Bondsmith to expand its cash panel on the James Hay platform since July 2023. 

    The update introduces a wider range of bank accounts, lowers deposit minimums, and increases available options from three to 26.24

    Flexibility & Withdrawal Options

    Starting at age 55—even if you are still working—James Hay’s SIPP allows flexible withdrawal options, such as flexi-access drawdown, uncrystallised funds pension lump sums, or a lifetime annuity.25

    Tax Implications

    Just like other SIPPs, James Hay’s product offers up to 45% tax relief on contributions, tax-free growth, and a 25% tax-free lump sum at retirement.26


    Tax rules can change and their effects on your pension savings depend on your circumstances.

    Who Is James Hay’s SIPP Product Best Suited to? 

    James Hay’s SIPP product is best suited to financially secure retail customers (with access to a financial advisor) seeking a consolidated investment platform. 

    These investors typically have a minimum of £200,000 in assets intended for retirement, prioritise tax efficiency, and are comfortable with medium to long-term investments carrying some market risk. 

    This product is especially suitable for those who seek flexibility in adjusting their portfolios over time.27

    Opening a James Hay SIPP

    Opening a James Hay SIPP is a straightforward process.

    Who Is Eligible?

    To be eligible for an iSIPP, you must be over 18 and have an appointed financial advisor; however, parents or guardians can open an iSIPP on behalf of their child.28

    While non-UK residents can apply, they will not receive tax relief. 

    What Is the Minimum Investment?

    There is no minimum investment, but you may be subject to taxation if you go over your annual allowance of £60,000 per tax year.29

    What Is the Process?

    The process for setting up an iSIPP involves your financial advisor completing the online form or printing out the application and sending it to the company, along with proof of your identity and address in line with anti-money-laundering laws.

    Once your SIPP is set up, you can access your products via James Hay Online.30

    What Are the Charges for James Hay’s SIPP Products?

    The charges for James Hay’s SIPP products are transparent and include an annual admin fee and a platform fee (see above).

    There are also investment charges, including a Whole of Market Module at £126 per year and a Specialist Investments fee of £441 per year, as well as various charges related to commercial property transactions.31

    How To Navigate James Hay’s Digital Platform?

    Navigating James Hay’s digital platform is fairly straightforward, and once you have set up your SIPP, you can access a myriad features through the online platform.32

    User Interface & Experience

    The experience navigating the user interface of the James Hay Online account is seamless, as it allows you to view your product bank account details and cash balances, and monitor your investments effortlessly. 

    The platform is designed to offer an intuitive experience, ensuring users can manage their finances efficiently.

    Tools & Resources Available

    An array of tools and resources, including calculators, fund selectors, and educational materials, arm investors with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

    These include:

    • Online applications with e-signature technology 
    • Online Investment Centre trading and tracking 
    • Performance reporting 
    • Cross-client analysis 
    • A model portfolio and rebalancing tool 
    • Bulk switching 
    • Secure messaging 
    • Cash alerts 
    • Platform demos and user guides.33

    How To Get in Touch with Customer Service & Support?

    James Hay’s customer service and support offers multiple contact methods, tailored information accessibility, and a commitment to timely responses to all queries and complaints.

    Contact Channels

    The contact channels available include phone, email, mail, and secure messaging in your James Hay Online account.

    Information can also be provided in Braille, large print, audio, and E-text formats. 

    Additionally, you can get digital versions of your documents through secure messaging, allowing you to utilise any necessary technology like magnifiers or browser extensions.34

    Response Times

    James Hay says it aims to resolve any complaint as soon as possible. 

    The company will respond within four weeks of receiving the complaint, providing either a final response or a holding response indicating the next contact time. 

    This subsequent contact will be within eight weeks of receiving your complaint.35

    Client Reviews & Testimonials

    James Hay Partnership only has a 2.7 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, but that is based on only 60 reviews, and may therefore not be a true reflection of customers’ attitudes to the company.36

    What is Regulatory Compliance & Protection?

    Regulatory compliance and protection play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and integrity of financial institutions and their customers.  


    James Hay Partnership falls under the regulations of the Financial Conduct Authority37 ensuring adherence to stringent guidelines for customer protection.

    FCA Reference Numbers

    • James Hay Administration Company Ltd: 460698.38
    • IPS PENSIONS LIMITED: 461720.39

    Registered Company Numbers

    • James Hay Administration Company Ltd: 04068398.40
    • IPS Pensions Limited: 02601833.41

    Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) Protection

    James Hay customers can enjoy peace of mind with FSCS protection, which covers up to £85,000 in the unlikely event of the firm’s failure.42

    Data Security Measures

    James Hay uses robust data security measures ranging from encryption to regular security audits.43

    How To Evaluate James Hay’s Place in the SIPP Market?

    When evaluating James Hay’s place in the SIPP market, it is vital to weigh the company’s strengths against its weaknesses in order to get a useful overview. 

    Strengths & Weaknesses

    Just like any provider, James Hay has its pros and cons.


    • Diverse investment options: Over 3,700 funds through the Investment Centre, cash deposit accounts, and the ability to invest in commercial properties.
    • Robust digital platform: Allows users to monitor, buy, or switch investments, view account details, and utilise advanced investment tools and research.
    • Flexibility: The Modular iPlan provides a foundation with the iSIPP and allows for additions like ISAs and GIAs, tailored to meet evolving investor needs.
    • Customer care: Provides multiple avenues of communication, ensures timely complaint resolution, and offers accessible information formats like Braille, large print, and audio.


    • Limited to financially secure individuals: Tailored for those with significant investable assets, making it less accessible for individuals with lower financial capital.
    • Financial advisor requirement: Access to the Modular iPlan mandates a financial advisor, which might not suit all investors.
    • Complex fee structure: The tiered platform charges based on portfolio value can be difficult for some investors to navigate or anticipate.
    • Potential additional charges: While basic services have defined fees, there may be additional costs associated with certain modules or third-party services.

    Predictions for Future Developments

    Following its acquisition of Nucleus Financial in 2021, James Hay Partnership is poised for significant growth and transformation. 

    Merging their strengths, the consolidated business has already invested heavily in enhancing service and technology, as evidenced by the impressive 80% revenue rise and 500% profit increase in 2022.44

    As they transition to the Nucleus name and brand, the continued integration of assets and services, like the recent Curtis Banks acquisition, suggests a promising trajectory for expanded offerings and customer-centric improvements.

    Final Thoughts & Recommendations

    James Hay Partnership (Nucleus) demonstrates a commendable commitment to innovation and customer service, as seen through its strategic acquisitions and significant investments. 

    Customers should remain optimistic about the future direction, given the company’s track record of robust financial performance and its dedication to service enhancements. 

    For those seeking a holistic investment platform that prioritises continuous development, James Hay (Nucleus) appears to be a strong contender in the market.

    Common Questions

    How Secure Is My Investment With James Hay's SIPP?

    What Protection Does James Hay Offer for My SIPP?

    Can I Transfer My Existing SIPP to James Hay?

    How Has James Hay Performed in the SIPP Market?

    Can I Take Out Money from My James Hay SIPP Before Retirement?

    How Does James Hay's SIPP Align With My Retirement Goals?

    What are the different types of SIPPs offered by James Hay?

    How do James Hay's SIPPs compare to others in the market?

    What are the fees associated with James Hay SIPPs?

    How can I start a SIPP with James Hay?

    Can I transfer my existing SIPP to James Hay?

    In Conclusion

    The James Hay Partnership, known for its comprehensive product suite, has demonstrated a commitment to continual growth and enhancement. 

    This commitment is further highlighted by the acquisition of Nucleus Financial in 2021, a move that augments its capacity for offering improved services. 

    Its SIPP, with its accessible digital platform and tailored customer support, sets a high standard for investment management. 

    Clients can anticipate an enriched experience with the already robust James Hay SIPP, thanks to this forward-looking approach to investment strategies.

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