Standard Life SIPPS: What Do They Offer?

Standard Life's SIPP is celebrated for its robust investment platform and comprehensive retirement planning tools, catering to both novice and experienced investors. Their reputation for reliability and customer support is well-earned.
  • Last Updated: 22 Mar 2024
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Contributors:

Francis Hui
Find Out About the Pros & Cons of Self-Invested Personal Pensions & Get Your Retirement Ball Rolling. Read This Guide for Everything Worth Knowing About Standard Life’s SIPP.
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Key Takeaways
  • A Standard Life SIPP is a type of pension plan offered by Standard Life.
  • They work by allowing individuals to save for retirement and invest their pension funds in a wide range of investments.
  • The benefits include tax advantages, flexibility in investment choices, and the potential for growth of funds.
  • The fees associated may include an annual management fee, transaction fees, and charges for specific investment options.
  • To open an account, you can visit their website or contact their customer service to start the application process.

If you have been researching your investment options with an eye to retirement, the Standard Life SIPP may have crossed your radar. 

This SIPP, or Self-Invested Personal Pension, could be ideal for investors looking for commercial property and gold bullion investments combined with a less demanding management approach.

But how do you know if it would be the best fit for you?

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    The Every Investor team has delved into the distinctive features of this SIPPs provider, analysed its performance, and researched how it measures up against the competition.

    All our content undergoes strict quality and compliance checks before publication, so you can rest assured you will be reading only the most useful and relevant information.

    Who Is Standard Life?

    Standard Life SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) refers to the SIPP offerings provided by Standard Life, a well-known financial services company based in the UK.

    Standard Life offers pension solutions, including SIPPs, which give individuals the flexibility to manage their pension investments.

    As details about companies may evolve over time, it’s advisable to check for the latest information about Standard Life SIPP.

    What Is a SIPP?

    The Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), accessible in the UK, empowers individuals by offering them greater authority over their retirement funds.

    Through this personal pension arrangement, one has the liberty to select and oversee a broad spectrum of investment avenues, including shares, debentures, and real estate, contained within their retirement savings plan.

    What Are the Benefits of a Standard Life SIPP?

    A Standard Life SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) offers several benefits for individuals planning for their retirement.

    Firstly, it provides flexibility and control over investment choices, allowing us to choose from a wide range of assets including stocks, bonds, and funds.

    This enables us to create a personalized investment portfolio that aligns with our financial goals and risk appetite.

    Additionally, a Standard Life SIPP offers tax advantages, as contributions are eligible for tax relief while investments grow tax-free.

    Finally, it provides the option to consolidate multiple pensions into a single SIPP, simplifying retirement planning and making it easier to manage our pension savings effectively.

    Furthermore, a Standard Life SIPP provides the benefit of accessibility, allowing us to manage our pension online, track investments, and make changes whenever necessary.

    This level of convenience and transparency enhances our ability to stay on top of our retirement savings and make informed decisions.

    Additionally, a SIPP offers the potential for greater returns compared to traditional pension options, as we have the flexibility to invest in a diversified range of assets.

    By taking advantage of this flexibility and making informed investment choices, we can potentially grow our pension savings more efficiently.

    Overall, a Standard Life SIPP offers a range of benefits including flexibility, tax advantages, consolidation options, accessibility, and the potential for higher returns

    What Does Standard Life Group Do?

    Standard Life Group, a well-known financial institution in the UK, provides a wide range of financial services. 

    The Standard Life offering includes pensions, investments, and insurance products that assist individuals and businesses in achieving their financial goals.

    Brief History & Overview

    With a rich heritage dating back to 1825, the company has established itself as a prominent brand in the investment and savings industry.1

    Standard Life began as a life insurance company and later expanded into pensions and investments. 

    Today, it is known for its innovative offerings and commitment to empowering customers to take control of their financial futures through SIPPs.

    Key Players in Standard Life’s Growth

    Notable key players in Standard Life’s Growth include Sir Brian Stewart, who led the company’s successful demutualisation process, and Keith Skeoch. 

    Skeoch spearheaded the integration of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, before Phoenix Group acquired Standard Life Assurance Limited in 2018.

    Phoenix Group took full control of Standard Life in 2021.2 

    Current Market Position

    Standard Life Group is a prominent player in the financial services industry, and its parent company, Phoenix Group, has around £270 billion in assets under management.3 

    What is The Standard Life Active Money SIPP?

    The Standard Life Active Money SIPP is designed for those seeking a comprehensive and diverse range of investment options. 

    It offers flexibility, control, and a broad selection of funds, stocks, and other investment opportunities sorted into three tiers to make it easier for investors to choose those products best suited to their needs.

    What are the Key Features of Standard Life’s Active Money SIPP?

    The key features of Standard Life’s Active Money SIPP may make this product especially attractive to investors looking for both pre-packaged investment funds and access to more specialised options like gold bullion.

    Investment Options

    The Active Money SIPP boasts a range of investment options.4

    Standard Life has helpfully divided these options into three tiers to make it easier for investors to choose the best fit.5

    The tiers are:

    • Level 1: This level gives you access to more than 300 pension funds. This level offers a range of choices without making your decisions too complicated. 
    • Level 2: For investors who require a wider board to choose from, level 2 offers access to over 4,000 mutual funds.
    • Level 3: This level offers Standard Life’s largest range of investment options, like commercial property and gold bullion. Please note that investments at Level 3 are usually only available by arranging your plan with the input of a financial advisor.

    Across this system, your investment options include:

    • investment-linked pension funds
    • externally managed funds
    • a diverse range of about 2,700 funds provided through SIPPZone mutual funds
    • UK and foreign shares
    • government securities
    • commercial property
    • unit trusts
    • OEICs and Investment Trust Companies
    • gold bullion
    • ‘Lifestyle’ profiles that change the funds you are invested in based on your investment horizon
    • a deposit account

    Some of these options are subject to Standard Life’s scheme rules, so speak to your advisor when finalising your investment picks.6

    Flexibility & Accessibility

    Investors have the flexibility to modify their strategy, access pension funds at 55 (rising to 57 in 2028),7 and access savings via the app or online dashboard.

    Online Management & Digital Tools

    Standard Life Group provides a user-friendly online platform and digital tools, empowering customers to manage their SIPPs efficiently and monitor performance.8

    What are the Costs & Fees Associated With Standard Life’s SIPP?

    The costs and fees associated with Standard Life’s SIPP depend on the funds you invest in, but usually include an annual Fund Management Charge and additional charges like audit fees.9

    As discussed above, Standard Life’s investment options are divided into three tiers: from the simplest and cheapest option for novices to a broad investment palette for seasoned investors, which naturally comes at a higher cost. 

    Good to know

    Standard Life offers fee discounts of either 0,3% (for investments with a value of up to £25,000) or 0,5% (for investments valued over £25,000) on most of their Level 1 funds.10

    Annual Fund Management Charges

    Standard Life applies an annual fee for managing SIPPs, typically calculated as a percentage of the pension’s value. 

    For example:

    • A Level 1 SIPP portfolio valued at £150,000 incurs a 0,8% fund management charge after a 0,5% discount.
    • A Level 2 SIPP portfolio valued at £200,000 incurs a 0,65% fund management charge.11

    Annual Administration Charge

    There is no Annual Administration Charge for Level 1 investments.

    This charge is £262 per year for funds under £50,000 at Level 2, but is waived for funds over £50,000.12

    For Level 3 funds, these charges are as follows:

    • £524 a year for funds under £100,000
    • £328 a year for funds between £100,000 and £249,999
    • £197 a year for funds between £250,000 and £499,999
    • £0 a year for funds over £500,000.13

    Transaction Fees

    Some investment transactions within a SIPP may incur additional charges, such as buying or selling shares. 

    Standard Life’s transaction fees are:

    • Level 3 transactions cost £62 each, except FundsNetwork and Stocktrade transactions, which are charged at £12 each.14
    • Level 2 transactions do not incur transaction, dealing or switching charges.15

    It is important to review the fee structure before making investment decisions.

    Other Potential Charges

    Other potential charges include transferring the SIPP to another provider or taking an income drawdown. 

    For Level 3 investments, some of these charges include:

    • A £328 annual charge for each Discretionary Manager you appoint.
    • A £298 charge for transferring in a pension.
    • A £158 annual charge if you are in drawdown.
    • When taking out your first Level 3 investment, there is a one-off initial administration charge of £382.16

    These charges should be carefully assessed to avoid any surprises.

    What are the Tax Considerations With Standard Life’s SIPPs?

    The tax considerations with Standard Life’s SIPPs are the same as those that apply to other pension products.

    Tax Relief on Contributions

    Contributions made to a SIPP are eligible for tax relief, essentially allowing individuals to receive a 20% government top-up to their pension savings, subject to annual limits and individual circumstances.17

    Tax-Free Growth

    Investments held in a SIPP grow tax-free, enabling individuals to accumulate wealth more efficiently over time.18 

    Tax Implications on Withdrawals

    When funds are withdrawn from a SIPP, they are subject to taxation based on individual income tax bands, but retirees can take out an initial tax-free 25% lump sum.19 

    Careful consideration should be given to potential tax implications before making withdrawals.

    How Do You Go About Opening a Standard Life SIPP?

    Opening a Standard Life SIPP is a straightforward process.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Individuals aged 18 or over can open a SIPP with Standard Life Group.

    Application Process

    The application can be completed online or with the assistance of a financial advisor, and you will be required to submit some personal details and information regarding your investment preferences.

    Transfer Process From Other SIPPs

    Standard Life Group offers a smooth transfer process, allowing individuals to consolidate their existing pensions into a SIPP with the company.

    How Can I Compare Standard Life’s SIPP to Other Options?

    Comparing Standard Life’s SIPP to other options may help you when trying to find the best fit for your needs and circumstances. 

    When embarking on this kind of comparison, an investigation of different providers’ fees and charges is often a useful place to start.

    For instance:

    • Standard Life’s Level 2 SIPP portfolio valued at £200,000 incurs a 0,65% fund management charge.20 
    • Level 3 transactions cost £62 each, except FundsNetwork and Stocktrade transactions, which are charged at £12 each.21

    By comparison:

    • Vanguard SIPP: 0,15% management fee.
    • Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP: £11,95 online trade fee.
    • Interactive Investor SIPP: 0,25% annual custody fee.
    • Barclays SIPP: £75 exit fee.
    • AJ Bell SIPP: £1,50 fund dealing fee.
    • Halifax Share Dealing SIPP: £2 per paper statement.

    Who Should Consider a SIPP With Standard Life?

    Investors looking for ready-made investment solutions should consider a SIPP with Standard Life, as the firm offers a broad range of tiered investment options but not as much access to ‘outside’ options. 

    Suitability Analysis

    Suitability analysis plays a crucial role in determining whether an investment product aligns with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

    Standard Life’s SIPP comes with two options ‘Help me do it’ and ‘Let me do it’, the latter designed for novice investors and the former for confident investors.

    How Can I Navigate Standard Life’s Digital Platform?

    Standard Life’s digital platform offers a user-friendly experience, providing various tools and resources to support investors.

    User Interface & Experience

    The platform features an intuitive interface, making it easy for users to navigate and access the information they need.

    The website is simple to navigate and has a narrow focus, which allows users to easily find the information they want to know.

    Tools & Resources Available

    Standard Life Group offers a range of tools, such as investment calculators, retirement planners, and educational materials, to assist investors in making informed decisions.

    Mobile App Review

    Standard Life’s mobile app boasts a 4,7 out of 5 rating on the App Store from 4,100 reviews.22 

    The app allows users to manage investments and access account information, and offers a user-friendly interface with fingerprint login. 

    In collaboration with Moneyhub, the app now integrates open finance features, elevating the user experience and financial efficiency.23

    What Security & Protection is Offered by Standard Life Group?

    The security and protection offered by Standard Life Group align with industry safety standards.

    Regulatory Protections

    Details:

    • FCA registration of Standard Life Pension Funds Limited: 110466.24
    • Companies House details of Standard Life Pension Funds Limited: SC046447.25

    Investment Security & Risks

    Standard Life customers are protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).26

    What is the Performance & Reputation of Standard Life’s SIPP?

    The performance and reputation of Standard Life’s SIPP present a mixed bag of results, demonstrating both exceptional and sub-par performance across their range of funds.27

    Performance Analysis

    Standard Life is a reputable pension provider with a long-standing history and recognition among investors. 

    A recent Yodelar review of 135 of their pension funds revealed varied performance.28

    To note:

    • 8 funds achieved high ratings: four earned a 5-star rating and four secured a 4-star rating.
    • 77% of the evaluated funds received a 1 or 2-star rating.

    According to Boring Money, less than 6% of Standard Life’s funds can be classified as top performers.29

    Customer Reviews & Feedback

    Online reviews and feedback for Standard Life are poor, with users complaining that the company is difficult to deal with and hard to get in touch with.

    In summary:

    • Independent review platform Trustpilot has labelled Standard Life Group’s customer service as ‘poor’, as it has scored 2,3 out of 5 (based on 379 reviews).30
    • On SmartMoneyPeople, Standard Life Group scores 2,17 out of 5 (based on 46 reviews).31

    It should be noted that these scores are based on a very small number of online reviews.

    Common Questions

    Why Choose Standard Life SIPP for Retirement Savings

    What Are the Costs Associated With Standard Life SIPP

    How Flexible Is Standard Life SIPP in Terms of Investments

    Can I Transfer My Existing Pension to a Standard Life SIPP

    What Support Services Does Standard Life SIPP Offer

    Can I Transfer My Existing SIPP to Standard Life

    How Has Standard Life Performed in the SIPP Market

    Who Is a Standard Life SIPP Best Suited to

    Can I Take Out Money from My Standard Life SIPP Before Retirement

    In Conclusion

    Despite some mixed performance indicators, the Standard Life SIPP continues to carve out a substantial presence in the financial landscape. 

    The provider combines tiered fund offerings with innovative digital solutions and user-friendly interfaces in an attempt to make your investment journey seamless. 

    With substantial regulatory protections and the safeguards of the FSCS, you can invest with confidence.

    If you are considering a more hands-off solution, the pre-packaged funds offered on the Standard Life SIPP may be an option worth looking into.

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