Recent articles in several financial publications have criticised the service levels offered by the SIPP providers in recent times.
While it would be wrong for me to comment on the service offered by the SIPP industry in general, I believe that the problem here is two-fold. Firstly, the number of SIPP providers chasing the bulk business, and secondly, the tools available and the process of selection of SIPP provider for the IFAs.
There has been a trend within the market, to push down the headline cost of SIPPs, with the supposed increase in technology allowing these cuts while still retaining profitability for the provider. In reality this simply means taking on more and more business without increasing staffing levels. SIPPs while being a product are in reality a service driven vehicle and failing to keep staffing levels relative to new business is always going to impinge on service levels. By their very nature, SIPPs are often bespoke vehicles where clients very much want to do their own thing and in such cases, no amount of technological advancement can beat "bums on seats".
The rating tools to assist IFAs in selecting a SIPP provider are all too generic and focus on headline factual information. These would include broad headings such as costs and features but none actually drill down beneath the gloss to look at the real facts.
Where is there reference to admin levels and service standards? A difficult one to measure, I accept, but obviously one that is coming to the top of advisers' agendas judging by recent press articles.
Advisers should remember, more often than not, you get what you pay for.
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