Welcome to our first blog of 2019.

Not sure if it’s still appropriate to say happy new year but, as we are still in January, I feel I can!

I hope the year has started well for you and that you are managing to stick to any resolutions made. One of ours is to keep blogging so I hope you are enjoying our musings. Please share any comments or feedback you have below. We genuinely do want to hear from you.

Speaking of resolutions, I can’t help wondering if our regulator will be resolute when it comes to allowing SIPPs to live up to their name? Surely the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will stop short of asking SIPP operators to offer ready-made investment solutions (referred to as ‘investment pathways’) to consumers? Having recognised that requiring SIPP operators to provide ready-made investment solutions for investors would represent a “material intervention”, we can but hope. As such, stakeholders were invited to comment on the impact and practicality of the proposals.

What else might lie in store for self-invested pensions this year? Hopefully some further, much needed, clarity throughout the year on speculative and/or risky assets. In fact a court judgement is expected, on the issue of whether a SIPP operator is liable if a transaction is made in consequence of unregulated advice. I talked about what the outcome of this might mean in my latest column for The Herald if you want to read more on the subject.

Safe to say, there will be no easy decision reached and, as with most matters of pension legislation it will take its sweet time to be resolved. The other matter which needs addressing in the next 12 months is that of risk.  And more specifically the responsibility for risks taken.  The big challenge being when/if a consumer can be completely absolved from taking on natural investment risk and how any outcome is balanced with the general principle that consumers should take responsibility for their decisions.

Whatever the outcomes, I think 2019 is shaping up to be a defining year for SIPPs and I look forward to seeing how they will evolve beyond the simple concept first envisaged in 1989.


Lee Halpin

Head of Technical Services