How to Find the Best SIPP (Not Just the Cheapest)


With all of the changes to the UK pension system over the last few years, many people are starting to worry about whether they are ever going to be able to afford to retire. This has led many to start thinking a lot more seriously about setting up some sort of personal top-up pension of their own. In the UK, one of the most popular ways to start a DIY pension is to set up a SIPP* (Self Invested Personal Pension). With so many SIPP providers out there, though, how do you go about choosing the best SIPP and best SIPP provider for your individual needs?

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Your first instinct might be to just go for the cheapest SIPP around, the one with the lowest fees and charges. Is this really wise, though? Here we look at a few other things you might want to consider and compare before diving in and setting up a SIPP, so that you can make sure that you find the best SIPP for you and not just the cheapest SIPP.

Cheap Isn’t Always Best

Let’s start with the point about whether you should just go for the cheapest SIPP on the market. If you think about it, often times in life when things are cheap, it usually means that something has been sacrificed in order to be able to offer this low price. It might be the quality of the materials used, the level of product guarantees on offer, or even the after sales customer service and support. Somewhere along the line, something gets neglected. The same could be argued when it comes to finding the best SIPP for your needs. When you are setting up a SIPP and investing a substantial amount of money (possibly for the first time) it is going to be vital that you go with a SIPP provider who can give you all of the advice, support and tools that you will need to be able to make smart and quick investing decisions. You will also want to be able to act on these decisions whenever and wherever you are.

Getting the Best Support

When setting up and investing through a SIPP, it is very likely that you are going to have some questions you want to ask. This means it is essential that the SIPP provider you choose is going to be on hand to answer these questions as and when you need them. Personally, when I have a question that I want answered quickly, I don’t want to spend hours navigating a company website trying to find the answer. No, I would much prefer to be able to pick up the phone and know that there is going to be a trained professional on the other end of the line, ready to answer my questions quickly and with minimal hassle.

UK Investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown* are widely recognised to be the best SIPP provider in the UK and have been voted ‘Best SIPP Provider’ 9 years running by ‘What Investment’ readers. One major reason for this is their level of customer support. Their Pension Helpdesk is available 6 days a week to answer any questions a DIY investor might have – big or small – and calls are answered within 12 seconds on average. This level of service and the many awards that the company have received show that sometimes, it can pay to spend that little bit more in order to get the kind of support that you need, especially when it is your pension cash that could be at risk if or when things go wrong.

Accessing the Best Investments

Another thing you will want to consider before choosing a SIPP provider are the types of investments you are going to be able to make. Not all SIPP providers allow you to invest in shares and investment trusts directly, for example. So, if you are setting up a SIPP with the intention of investing your pension cash into the stock market and picking your own funds and companies to invest in, but you then find that your chosen provider doesn’t offer this service, then this is obviously going to be a problem. Before jumping in and setting up your SIPP, then, be sure to select a provider that offers you a wide variety of investment avenues, as you never know what you might want to invest in, not just now, but also in the future as your knowledge and investment acumen increase. To discover the kinds of investments you can make through a SIPP, see this page*.

Using the Best Tools

Do you ever wonder how we used to get through the days before the invention of mobile apps? I know I personally use them a lot, for anything from checking the weather to online banking and more. For a DIY investor who is investing through a SIPP, a mobile app to control and manage your SIPP can be a really handy thing to have, as it can enable you to trade in and out of positions quickly and easily wherever you are, without having to wait until you have access to a desktop or laptop.  

Fees and Charges

Of course, we shouldn’t completely ignore the fees charged by different providers. After all, if you can find a good SIPP provider who also charge reasonable fees too, then this is only going to mean a bigger pension pot for you to enjoy. If you want to see a list of the various fees and charges involved with running a SIPP, then check out this page on the Hargreaves Lansdown website*. You can then compare these fees with those charged by other UK SIPP providers in order to find the best deal, while also thinking about getting great service.

Doing Your Research!

The final thing we would say here is that in order to find the best SIPP, you need to fully understand how a SIPP works and also how to make the best use of it. To do this we would recommend reading this useful free guide to SIPPs* which covers topics such as…

  • How to get started with a SIPP
  • How to make the most of recent pension changes
  • How to easily improve your existing pension
  • Deciding how much to save
  • Help with tax rules
  • The tax advantages of a SIPP and how they could boost your pension pot
  • A discussion of any risks involved

We hope that this post has given you more of an idea of how to go about choosing the best SIPP provider for you.

Do you have any advice for those trying to find the best sipp provider?

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