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SIPP providers offer personal pension plans to those confident in managing and investing their pension. A SIPP can save money over a managed pension and can let you increase the value of your deposits faster if you invest well. Compare the best SIPP providers to take control of your pension investments.

Featured SIPP ProviderWhat can you invest in your SIPP?SIPP ChargesMore Info

interactive investor SIPP

Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
Bonds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Ready-made portfolios Yes
Account Fee: £9.99 monthly
SIPP Fee: £10 monthly
Dealing fee: £7.99
Exit Fees: £0
Minimum Investment: £1
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Special Offer: No SIPP admin fees for 6 months when you open a SIPP (saving £60)

Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP

Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
Bonds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Ready-made portfolios Yes
Account Fee: 0.45% yearly
SIPP Fee: £0
Dealing fee: £11.95
Exit Fees: £0
Minimum Investment: £100
See Offer

Saxo Markets

Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
Bonds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Ready-made portfolios No
Account Fee: £0
SIPP Fee: £0
Dealing fee: £8
Exit Fees: 50EUR per stock (160EUR max)
Minimum Investment: £10,000
See Offer


Shares: No
Funds: Yes
Bonds: No
ETFs: No
Ready-made portfolios Yes
Account Fee: 0.5% yearly
SIPP Fee: £0
Dealing fee: £0
Exit Fees: £0
Minimum Investment: £1
See Offer

Nutmeg Investments SIPP
Shares: No
Funds: Yes
Bonds: No
ETFs: No
Ready-made portfolios Yes
Account Fee: 0.75% yearly
SIPP Fee: £0
Dealing fee: £11.95
Exit Fees: £0
Minimum Investment: £500
See Offer

AJ Bell

Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
Bonds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Ready-made portfolios Yes
SIPP Account Fee: 0.25% yearly
Dealing charge: £9.95 per online share deal
Fund Dealing Fee: £1.50
Exit Fees: £0 for cash £9.95 per holding
Minimum Investment: £500
See Offer
Pension rules apply

What is a SIPP?

Self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) celebrated their 30th birthday in March 2020, and the low-cost, flexible retirement savings product has gone from strength to strength over its three-decade existence.

Taking control of how your retirement fund is invested has many potential rewards, but there is much to understand if mistakes are to be avoided. There is huge freedom to include a range of assets – as we will explore later – and there are a vast number of providers to choose from. The SIPP world can be confusing, but it does not need to be.

Here is everything you need to know about SIPPs from contribution limits and tax regulations to investment strategies and risks.

SIPP Accounts Explained

A self-invested personal pension is commonly abbreviated to SIPP. As the name suggests, a SIPP is a personal pension product that allows you to take charge of how your contributions are invested.

SIPPs not only allow you to invest in stocks and shares but other assets like commercial property and even fine wines or art. Such variety can make it easier to include the asset classes that are most suited to your investment goals.

However, investors may need a decent sized pot – around £50,000 - or be able to make large contributions each year, to justify the fees and proactive management that these products can demand.

Critically as the SIPP customer, you bear all the investment risk.

Tax Relief on SIPPs

Contributions to a SIPP are entitled to income tax relief, and the investments are held in a trust overseen by the pension provider of the SIPP account you sign up with.

In return for fees, the SIPP provider administers your pension and offers access to a range of asset classes and investment strategies.

Full SIPPs vs Low-Cost SIPPs

Full SIPPs are usually provided by a specialist firm with a wide range of asset classes, or access to more specialist investments.

A full SIPP will likely offer advice and handholding along the way and should have the ability to administer more complex strategies.

A low-cost SIPP, despite its name, can often be more expensive than a standard personal pension but has lower fees than a full SIPP.

The range of asset classes will be more limited than those available in a full SIPP.

A low-cost SIPP will be unlikely to include investment advice, so it is up to you and your independent financial adviser to make the decisions.

What are SIPP Contribution Limits?

If you are employed, you can pay in 100% of your pension every year tax-free up to £40,000 (as of 2020/21). If you earn more than £240,000, the amount you can contribute is reduced at a rate of £1 for every £2 earned over the £240,000 threshold, until the tax-free limit reaches £4,000.

Non-earners receive basic rate tax relief on contributions of £3,600 a year.

However, these are not the only limits. The annual lifetime allowance, which is the maximum amount that you can save into a SIPP over your lifetime, is £1,073,100 and covers not only contributions but also returns and the growth in value of your investments.

Consequently, you need to think carefully about your contribution rates because if your investments are successful, you could well face additional tax costs.

Can You Have Multiple SIPPs?

You can have as many SIPPs as you want – as long as you are under the age of 75 - but it may make little sense to spread your pot too thinly.

However, if you wanted access to a specific asset class that was not offered in your other personal or your employer’s pension, it might be suitable to invest in more than one SIPP.

When Can You Access Your SIPP?

Once you are aged 55 or over, you can access your SIPP as you wish. This includes taking a 25% tax-free lump sum, after which you pay income tax. This is relevant to how you choose to draw on your pension fund and the strategy you have for funding your retirement (see below).

These rules are set to change from 2028 when you will need to be age 57 to access your SIPP with impunity.

Who offers SIPPs?

SIPPs are provided by pension providers and stock brokers. You can also invest in a SIPP through your employer, although they will not run the SIPP instead, they offer access through a regulated provider.

There is a considerable choice when it comes to where to trust your money so take your time to assess the options.

SIPP providers are well regulated and have been since 2006. They are overseen by four separate regulatory bodies: The Department of Work and Pensions, The Pensions Regulator, HM Revenue & Customs and the Financial Services Authority.

There are a lot of established SIPP providers with whom investors will already be familiar. The likes of Fidelity and Hargreaves Lansdown are well known.

However, given the more specialist nature of some of the SIPP offerings, some providers may be less recognisable, but no less well regulated.

Investors need to get to know which providers offer the products and strategies most suited to them, and then understand the costs and charges.

Use our SIPP comparison above to see where you could invest your contributions, like in ETF-based portfolios, bond investments or through Global shares.

We also give you an overview of the providers who offer SIPPs and an indication of how much you could pay in fees and charges should you open a SIPP account with them.

What are the Benefits & Drawbacks of Investing With a SIPP?

The benefits of SIPP investing

SIPPs are for individuals who are engaged with their retirement saving. That means SIPPs have real benefits for those who want to take advantage of a wider choice of asset classes than those typically offered in a personal or workplace pension.

These benefits include;

  • Tax efficiency - your contributions are exempt from income tax, subject to the £40,000 limit.
  • flexible - As an investor, you can pay in as and when you choose to and you can withdraw 25% of the total balance of your pension plans before you pay tax at the age of 55.
  • SIPPs are convenient - as a way to invest for the long-term, as a method of choosing investments that are most suited to your objectives.
  • SIPPs can also be passed to after death free of inheritance tax. If you die before age 75 your beneficiaries do not pay any tax on the withdrawals and can take it all in a lump sum if they choose. If you die after age 75, withdrawals from the pension are charged at the recipient’s marginal tax rate.

The drawbacks of investing in a SIPP

SIPPs require attention. While you can pay the provider to manage your SIPP, in most cases you will need to be in touch with investment decision making and engage with the pot. It is easy to make mistakes when managing money and these could prove costly.

If the SIPP is expected to fund your retirement, you need to be confident you are making the best investment decisions.

SIPPs also require a decent sum to get started, and investors need to be able to commit to regular contributions. And the fees and charges may exceed traditional pensions products since they offer additional asset classes and specialism.

Importantly, as with every pension product, you cannot access the money in your SIPP until you are age 55 (age 57 from 2028).

This compares to an individual savings account (ISA) which is less tax-efficient but gives you more flexibility over when you withdraw funds.

Here's how to invest in a stocks and shares ISA if you're deciding between a SIPP and an investment ISA the additional information here can help you weigh up your options.

How Safe is Your Money in a SIPP?

All regulated SIPP providers are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority and subject to rigorous regulatory checks.

However, no financial watchdog can stop you from losing money if the markets crash. Any deposit or returns earned from your investments is at risk since their value can go down as well as up.

The risk of fluctuation in the value of your investments, in the case of SIPPs, can be amplified since it is often amateur investors making important decisions and are, therefore, more likely to get decisions wrong.

However, by investing through a regulated provider your money will be protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which covers up to £85,000.

Any unusual or esoteric asset classes must be fully understood; these don’t appear in mainstream products for a reason. The trade-off for an investment offering a high return is pretty much always that it comes with a high risk. A good rule to keep your savings safe is: If something looks too good to be true it usually is.

There has been a lot of media attention paid to the risk of pension scams – and rightly so.

Fraudsters encourage people to leave the safety of occupational or regulated schemes to invest in unregulated or high-risk unsuitable investments, often robbing them of their entire retirement savings.

By law, you must seek financial advice before transferring out of your defined benefit pension if you have a pot worth more than £30,000.

In all cases, it is a good idea to have regulated advisers guide you through any serious financial decision, and since a SIPP requires significant resources it should be considered serious.

Here is how to keep your money safe and avoid pension scams.

If you're unlucky enough to have been caught out by a scam, you can get help from the pensions advisory service.

Which is the best SIPP provider?

Choosing the best SIPP provider will depend on what you want to achieve from your investment. Low cost does not always mean best and in the case of SIPPs, the more expensive SIPPs may offer more choice or better service.

SIPPs are nearly always entirely managed online. You want to look for a SIPP provider that has a user-friendly website and one that offers the right kind of digital communication for you.

You will also get what you pay for when it comes to drawing your pension. Freedom and choice legislation means you can enjoy real flexibility in accessing your pot, but only if your SIPP provider offers it.

Ultimately the answer to who the best SIPP providers are lies in clearly deciding what you want from the SIPP and matching your needs to what is on offer at the best value.

What Types of SIPP Can You Choose?

SIPP providers target different markets – some offer low-cost platform charges, others offer all the bells and whistles (at a price), while others are all about investment choice. Here are some examples of the types of SIPP that investment providers can offer:

The Best Low-Cost SIPP

If you are looking for a reliable low-cost SIPP, then as of summer 2020, Vanguard was unbeatable. The Vanguard SIPP charges a 0.15% platform fee a year, while annual management charges (AMC) start at 0.6%. However, it limits investment to Vanguard funds only and does not offer drawdown, so you would have to buy an annuity or transfer to another provider.

Wide range SIPPs

Close Brothers Asset Management offers a full SIPP with a platform fee of 0.25% a year, which is waived for pots over £1.5m. The SIPP invests in funds, stocks and shares and the provider charges £8.95 for share trades.

The Best SIPP for Smaller Pots

AJ Bell is well known as a good value provider for those with smaller pots. AMCs are staggered starting at 0.25% for £0 to £250,000, falling to 0.1% for pots up to £1m; 0.05% for up to £2m and then no fees for funds above £2m.

The Best SIPP Provider for Customer Service

Fidelity SIPP is also good for smaller pots – you can open an account with just £25. The annual service fee is 0.35% for a pot up to £249,999.

However, it is on customer service that the provider stands out. Customers report finding Fidelity’s platform is easy to use and good value for money.

What is on offer from the SIPP providers will vary and service levels will undoubtedly change.

Here's where you can find out more about the best SIPP transfer & cashback offers which can incentivise a switch to a SIPP with cash in your pocket.

Compare Providers to Find The Best SIPP

Once you know what type of SIPP is right for you, you can use our SIPP comparison table to help you find a provider.

The challenge lies in the comparison of SIPP platforms. Since not all providers are the same, you need to be sure you understand what is on offer.

Even if you are after a low-cost SIPP, choosing the cheapest one may not be the best decision. As noted in the previous section, lots of factors come into play when choosing a provider such as your age and attitude to risk.

Once you have narrowed down your provider to a shortlist of two or three, compare what they offer.

Here's how to compare two SIPPs to find the best one for you.

How to invest in a SIPP

Almost universally, every aspect of opening and managing a SIPP is done digitally.

Once you have chosen your provider you will fill out a form online to open the account, or if you are paying into a SIPP through your employer they will provide the information for you.

If the SIPP is offered via your employer, the money will automatically be paid from your salary, otherwise, you will decide how much and how often you want to contribute.

You can choose to pay monthly, make lump sums, or a combination of both. What matters is deciding how much you think you need to contribute to deliver your target income in retirement.

How to Transfer an Existing SIPP

You can also transfer existing pensions into your SIPP.

This can be a useful way to consolidate your investments and have all your retirement savings in one place. However, consolidation is not always the right move and in most cases, you should seek advice.

Your existing pension provider may charge you an exit fee and you could lose certain guarantees.

If you do decide to transfer, your new SIPP provider will most likely do all the work for you.

The beauty of setting up a SIPP online is it can be incredibly quick; you could be up and investing within 30 minutes.

However, this depends on the complexities involved; for example, how many SIPPs are transferring in and where contributions are coming from.

Here is how to change SIPP providers if you are interested in the process of switching to another SIPP provider.

How to Trade & Invest Your SIPP

As SIPPs are all about taking control of your investment, you can move your money between funds – depending on what the provider offers – and buy and sell stocks and shares instantly, although there will be charges for trading.

SIPPs with robo-advisers (automated advice services) will guide you through managing your SIPP and choosing what to invest in.

Here is how to invest in a SIPP once it has been opened.

Where to Invest

With so much choice open to SIPP investors, the sky is pretty much the limit depending on your attitude to risk.

It is always a good idea to diversify your investments to help manage risk. However certain asset classes are more suited to individuals at certain stages of their savings journey.

If you are at the beginning of the saving journey, higher returns and more illiquid assets may be suitable.

The nearer you are to drawing your pension, it makes sense to consider asset classes with a lower risk profile. These are typically bonds or gilts.

Are these some of the best shares for your SIPP account?

Can I use a SIPP to invest in ETFs?

Yes, exchange-traded Funds (ETFs) are a simple, low-cost way to get exposure to a range of assets in one place.

ETFs invest in the asset classes SIPP investors might want to consider, including stocks, bonds and commodities.

Here are the top 25 ETFs for SIPP investors for you to consider for your portfolio.

Can You Trade CFDs in a SIPP?

Contracts for difference (CFDs) are possible in a SIPP but tread with care. A CFD is a complex financial instrument that allows investors to take a view on the direction of a company’s share price without owning them in the conventional sense.

If you believe the share price will go up, you can enter into a ‘long’ CFD which means if the share price increases you make a profit. A ‘short’ CFD involves borrowing shares and selling them, before buying them back.

If the price is lower, the trader will make a profit, if it is higher they make a loss.

The chances of your provider offering CFD strategies are unlikely so you might need to buy a specialist SIPP. Second, CFDs are for the bold; they are high risk and generally unsuited to long term investors.

Seek advice if you think CFDs are for you and it may be an idea to limit the amount you invest in higher-risk opportunities.

You might want to separate longer-term investments in a SIPP from shorter-term trading activities like CFDs. If that's the case, you can compare CFD brokers to choose the best broker for your trading.

SIPPs and Your Workplace Pension

Can Employers Contribute to Your SIPP?

The most tax-efficient and easiest way to invest in a SIPP is through your employer if they offer one.

While all employers have to auto-enroll their workforce into a workplace pension to which they contribute, the type of plan they offer varies.

Your employer may provide a group or workplace Sipp alongside a more conventional plan, or only offer the SIPP to senior employees with complex financial requirements.

If you do have access to a SIPP from your employer it makes sense to prioritise this option since you benefit from an employer contribution. Plus, the workplace SIPP enjoys all the flexibility of a traditional SIPP but benefits from economies of scale.

Can You Hold a SIPP Alongside an Employer’s Pension Plan?

Yes, you can invest in a SIPP and an employer plan simultaneously.

This may happen because you already had a SIPP and then joined a workplace pension plan.

Alternatively, your workplace plan may not offer access to certain asset classes in which you are interested meaning it is necessary to also open a SIPP.

However, it might be wise to take advice on whether it makes sense to have both a SIPP and a workplace plan.

How to Transfer Multiple Pension Pots Into Your SIPP?

Much has been made of consolidating multiple pots in one place and there are obvious benefits. Notably keeping an eye on your investments is made easier, and you could benefit from moving to a lower-cost provider.

Most pensions can be transferred into a SIPP but not all providers accept transfers, so you need to check for providers that offer transfers in before you open your SIPP.

Secondly, not all pensions can be transferred easily. For example, if you have a defined benefit occupational pension you must seek advice before transferring a pot with £30,000 or more.

There are also various rules which may differ between providers and schemes, so you will need to check the details and terms and conditions of your existing pots before you proceed.

There are also exit fees and penalties to consider and whether the new SIPP provider offers the same services and choices.

Many SIPP providers will take control of transfers in, but it will depend on the complexity and rules of each case.

How to Withdraw Money from a SIPP

Ever since 2015 when freedom and choice legislation passed, pension investors have been able to draw their money with near impunity from age 55. You cannot withdraw anything before you reach this age.

There are three main ways in which you can draw your pension and no matter how you take it, the first 25% of the total balance of all your pension is tax-free.

After this, you will be taxed on the remaining pot so you could choose to take 25% as an initial lump sum and leave the rest invested.

If you have a serious illness the rules are different. If you are expected to live for less than a year, you may be able to take your whole pension pot tax-free. This only applies if you are under age 75 and you do not have more than the lifetime allowance of £1,073,100.

Some pensions will keep at least 50% of your pot for your spouse or partner but you will need to check the conditions with your provider.

The three ways to draw a pension are:

  • Partial or lump sums – dip into the pot as and when you need with the first 25% tax-free.
  • Income – Often called flexible drawdown, you can arrange to have a regular income from your SIPP with the remainder still invested. Not all providers offer drawdown.
  • Annuity – Use the SIPP to buy a regular income for life through an annuity with an insurance company.

The beauty of SIPPs and freedom and choice is the ability to combine any number of investment and drawdown options to suit your lifestyle.

However, since the pension is still invested, your pot remains vulnerable to the vagaries of the stock market. It is more important than ever to engage with the SIPP regularly to ensure you are still on track to meet your income goals.

This is especially true as you get older and approach retirement when defined steps should be taken to reduce the exposure of your investments to stock market risks.

Here's how to understand and deal with exit fees when transferring your SIPP.


What is the SIPP annual allowance?

A. You can pay 100% of your earnings into a pension in a year and – under current legislation - receive tax relief of up to 40% on the first £40,000 paid in (the annual allowance). For those earning more than £150,000, the annual allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 earnt over the £150k threshold until the £10,000 limit is met. There is also a lifetime allowance for total pension savings above £103 million, after which contributions will be taxed at 25% (55% for lump sums).

What happens if my SIPP provider goes bust?

A. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) exists to protect investors in the event their provider goes bust and it covers regulated SIPP providers. The FSCS may be able to pay compensation up to £85,000 per pension scheme member.

How many SIPPs can I have?

A. You can have as many SIPP accounts as you like but the contributions are split across all your plans so there is no tax benefit to opening multiple SIPPs.

Can I have a joint SIPP account?

A. No, you cannot share a SIPP with another person, but you can be a member of a group SIPP which benefits your investments with economies of scale. SIPPs are always individual accounts.

Which SIPP provider offers the best returns?

A. While some providers are more reliable than others, or offer better services, there is no way to single out one based on returns. The funds in which individuals vary massively making it impossible to compare like with like. Further, given the self-invested nature of SIPPs, it is down to the individual’s investment choices rather than the provider’s. Compare SIPP providers here.

Should You Invest Regularly in a SIPP or Add a Lump Sum at the Beginning of Each Financial Year?

A. The most important rule is, the sooner you start paying into your SIPP the better.

If you are paying into a workplace SIPP, then it pays to speak to your employer about what they offer in terms of contributions. Many workplaces offer contribution matching – so if you increase your payments, they will do so too. They may also allow additional contributions via salary sacrifice which have further tax benefits.

If your SIPP is not through an employer, a possible strategy is to pay in a low-level regular contribution to keep the savings habit. At the end of the year, you can then top up depending on your available funds.

This manages the risk of locking away money before you know how much you can afford.

Can you Spread Bet Through Your SIPP Account?

A. No, unlike CFD trading which can occur through a SIPP, spread betting within a SIPP is not permitted. You will need to separate your spread betting activity into a separate account. Compare spread betting brokers.

Can you Trade Forex Through Your SIPP Account?

A. Some SIPP providers may let you trade forex through a SIPP but most do not as forex trading carries a considerable amount of risk.

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