Once my pension money was moved into the SIPP it was easy to start investing the money. Hargreaves Lansdown have a huge range of investments that may be held in a SIPP. My SIPP money is now invested in a range of unit trusts, ETFs and shares. There are a lot of investment choices, from equity income to growth stocks, emerging markets and even commodities such as gold and silver. I also have a lot of commercial property holdings.

Hargreaves Lansdown has a UK based call centre, which is refreshing in these days of outsourcing support calls to India and other far away countries. Email support is also fast.

Almost all of the day to day running of the SIPP can be carried out using the Hargreaves Lansdown website. They also send through regular postal mailings about the latest investment ideas and their top unit trusts.


I chose a bad time - October 2008 - to move my pension so I am aware that I might have lost money in the transfer due to the enormous volatility of markets just after Lehman Brothers collapsed. But I sent off my paperwork before things got really bad, so there wasn't much I could do.

The biggest problem with Hargreaves Lansdown is that there isn't a flat rate fee for trading shares. Consquently I find it is quite expensive to trade shares and ETFs, especially in a SIPP where transactions involving more than £2000 of shares in a single company or ETF are common. The London Stock Exchange and other exchanges have drastically reduced dealing charges for their corporate clients, so I

The Hargreaves Lansdown website does get slow sometimes, but this is normally due to times when the stock market is really volatile and a lot of investors are trading at the same time. Needless to say, the Hargreaves Lansdown does get quite slow around March when people are doing last minute shopping for ISAs before the end of the tax year. I don't know why investors always leave it to the last moment and then have to panic to find something to invest their year's ISA allowance.

Full Review

Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) have been around for a while but they are growing in popularity. SIPP personal pensions are gaining in importance as more and more companies close their final salary schemes. SIPPs are also good if you want to consolidate existing small pensions held in several pension providers.

Hargreaves Lansdown are one of the UK's biggest providers of financial products. They are based in Bristol and their shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange. They have a wide range of financial products available for private investors. Their share dealing and stocks and shares based Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are especially popular.

Most people start a SIPP by moving an existing pension into the SIPP. Since my existing pension plans were quite small (I had £10,000 in one plan and £5,000 in another) I didn't bother to seek advice, but if you pension pot is large or you're thinking of transferring a pension from an existing plan that is a final salary, company scheme or has other benefits then it is essential to get specialist advice.

The first pension plan I moved from Clerical Medical, and I used it to open my SIPP. The paperwork took about a month to complete. Opening the SIPP was pretty straightforward and Hargreaves Lansdown took care of most of the paperwork for me. Once I had signed a couple of forms it was up to Clerical Medical and Hargreaves Lansdown to move my pension money.

Once I had moved the pension my existing pension investments with Clerical Medical were sold and I ended up with a load of cash within my SIPP. This is where the self invested part of SIPP comes in - it's totally up to you where you invest your money! Your retirement is in your own hands (although I also have an occupational pension with another employer to fall back on).

One of my pension plans was with Standard Life and they also liased with Hargreaves Lansdown to move my pension funds. I was also able to move the Protected Rights money that I had accumulated in my Standard Life Group Personal Pension plan into the SIPP. Within the Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP Protected Rights money is segregated from the other funds within the SIPP, although you have complete freedom to invest it in whatever you want.

In Closing

Other than the very minor problems, I'm pretty happy with my Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP. I hope it buys me a happy retirement!

By the way, this review does not constitute financial advice. Before making any investment consult an independent advisor. Always seek specialist advice before moving an existing pension into a SIPP.