The F-word in my world is fees. Today we received news that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has increased its “levy” on financial advisers to a whopping £516m which is a hefty increase on the £468m previously.
There are many reasons for the increase, but the main one is that many investors have been duped into moving their pension into a SIPP (a Self-Invested Personal Pension). There is nothing wrong with a SIPP in principle, it is just another pension wrapper and the vast majority are perfectly good, indeed arguably rather brilliant. However, it’s also what is inside.
A SIPP can hold lots of investments, remember in 2005 Gordon Brown opening the way and then back-tracking on allowing people to put a private residence in a SIPP (thank goodness!). The “Self-Invested” bit of the SIPP really is an opening to put anything into a pension that “qualifies”. Anyway, some “advisers” have encouraged people to use all manner of weird investments, everything from storage pods, to teak farms in Thailand, car parking spaces to any hairbrained idea. These are “unregulated” investments – clue on the tin.
The backstop agreement
These investors have a genuine grievance for bad advice. Well… more scamming than advice. Therefore, they can turn to the FSCS, who in turn “approaches” (demands) payment from the rest of us upright advisers to cover the cost of the miscreants that peddle this rubbish. There are about 5,300 adviser firms in the UK, one or two huge ones and the rest are small businesses. The bill is shared between us (feel free to do the sums). In short that means we cannot keep stomaching the lion-share of a bill for which we are not culpable and so it is reflected in our charges to clients. Hardly a fair system, indeed, like others it is miserable and broken.
For the record we arrange SIPPS for our clients, with proper SIPP companies and ONLY hold regulated investments within them. You hold properly listed funds which are composed of shares and bonds of great companies of the world.
If you are a client with a SIPP arranged through us, do not panic, all that’s in your pension is good stuff (unless you mucked around with it or “gave the keys” to another adviser). I recently took on a client who has a SIPP, but his adviser put some awful stuff in it. We have been able to unpick some of it, but not all. Totally unnecessary, unhelpful and illiquid.
Cold Calling Ban – Stop them at the gate
As a final note, anyone (you don’t know) that calls or emails you out of the blue is breaking the law – NO COLD CALLING. Some of you helped us with this initiative, started by another decent adviser (Darren Cooke) in Derbyshire and this eventually became law on Wednesday 9th January 2019. So hopefully this will reduce cold calling (I’m not naive enough to assume it will end). Some interesting issues about cold calling, greed, ethnicity and capitalism were raised in the film “Sorry to bother you”.. it went a little off point and lost its potential purpose, well that’s what I thought. Here is the trailer, it raised some interesting questions. WARNING: its rude.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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