Savers blocked from hold­ing NS&I bonds in sim­ple pen­sion ac­counts

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - MONEY - Sam Brod­beck

Cau­tious in­vestors seek­ing to hold Na­tional Sav­ings & In­vest­ment (NS&I) bonds are be­ing told that they must ei­ther take costly fi­nan­cial ad­vice or use ex­pen­sive “pre­mium” pen­sion ser­vices.

Re­tired Tele­graph Money reader Alan Mur­ray wanted to move the bulk of his con­sid­er­able pen­sion into in­come bonds is­sued by NS&I. Backed by the Trea­sury, NS&I bonds and sav­ings ac­counts are con­sid­ered among the safest as­sets you can own.

But Mr Mur­ray was told by sev­eral pen­sion com­pa­nies that he would ei­ther have to em­ploy a fi­nan­cial ad­viser or switch to a “full” self­in­vested per­sonal pen­sion (Sipp), if he wanted to hold the bonds.

He said: “After re­cent fi­nan­cial tremors, the 10th an­niver­sary of the last global re­ces­sion, a world up to its eyes in tril­lions of pounds in debt, and a tide of pun­dits pre­dict­ing the next down­turn, I sus­pect I am not alone in seek­ing a safe haven for my pen­sion.

“I sold out of the mar­ket and into NS&I but I now find my fi­nan­cial ad­viser is soak­ing up what lit­tle in­ter­est I re­ceive through charges, so I want to go di­rect.”

Broadly, there are two types of Sipp. Sim­ple Sipps are typ­i­cally used by less so­phis­ti­cated in­vestors. They are low-cost, do not al­low the more es­o­teric in­vest­ments and are gen­er­ally man­aged on­line.

“Full” Sipps al­low you to hold a far greater range of in­vest­ments – in­clud­ing com­mer­cial prop­erty and even in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights – but have much higher fees.

A spokesman for A J Bell, which pro­vides Mr Mur­ray’s Sipp, said only as­sets able to be traded eas­ily on­line could be held within its ba­sic ac­count.

A J Bell’s ba­sic Sipp is free to set up, and charges 0.25pc in an­nual man­age­ment fees with ex­tra fees de­pend­ing on which funds are se­lected. Its Plat­inum ser­vice, where it will al­low NS&I bonds, costs £425 to set up and has an­nual fees of £480. Har­g­reaves, an­other provider, said it did not let cus­tomers hold NS&I bonds in any of its pen­sions.

Aside from pre­mium bonds – be­lieved to be Bri­tain’s most pop­u­lar sav­ings prod­uct – NS&I of­fers three types of bonds: in­come, guar­an­teed in­come, and guar­an­teed growth.

The in­ter­est paid on the in­come bonds rose this month, from 1pc to 1.15pc.

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