A busy and challenging 2020 – read our look back at 2020 and what’s coming in 2021
It would be fair to say that 2020 has been… interesting! Nobody could have foreseen the disruption Covid-19 has caused to our everyday lives and how long this would have lasted.
It would appear we’ve turned a corner with the launch of the Pfizer vaccine and perhaps something resembling normality will not be too far away.
Along with the changes we’ve all had to make to our personal lives, no doubt your business has also seen significant changes in how you operate.
This is also true of IPM; the last face-to-face meeting we attended was on 5 March, and our office shut on 23 March as our team, armed with laptops, started working from home. Even in December we are yet to have everyone back in the office together.
Maintaining service levels while working remotely
Many of the IPM team have been together for more than ten years, spending most Mondays to Fridays together. And, as everyone works on the same floor of the same office, we are used to popping over to one another to resolve queries or catch up on particular cases.
While it has been strange not to see our friends who we are so used to working with every day, we’ve adapted quickly. We’re pleased to say that, despite remote working for the majority of the time, we have been able to keep communication consistent.
We hope this has meant we’ve maintained our usual high levels of service; certainly, our turnaround times for undertaking our work have suffered very little over the last nine months.
Like many of you, we found the first few months of lockdown a little quieter as our advisers and clients adapted to the ‘new normal.’ But, by the beginning of summer, things were picking up again, with our engagement with advisers and clients creeping back up to usual levels.
People have been patient while we were connecting calls to mobiles, given us a bit more time to sort queries out, and forgiven us when a dog has barked in the background of a call!
Given the unprecedented circumstances we all found ourselves in the year, it was particularly pleasing to be highly commended in the Service Beyond the Call of Duty category at the Investment Life and Pensions Moneyfacts Awards back in September, a category which looked at the whole of the financial services industry and not just SIPP or pension providers.
One consequence of remote working has been that we have replaced the usual presentations we offer to our financial advisers with online presentations on Zoom or Teams.
While we can tailor these to your specific requirements, popular presentation topics include:
- How SIPP property purchase can help clients and their businesses
- SIPP vs SSAS
- How benefits are paid in the event of death from a SIPP
- How the IPM SIPP can work for clients that live abroad, particularly those with a US connection.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss IPM providing something for you and your team in 2021.
Adviser engagement and enquiry levels have remained strong
Despite the bespoke nature of the work we undertake, and the complications of Covid-19, we have kept a consistent level of new SIPP clients coming on board during 2020 – although admittedly this a little lower than we have seen in other years.
However, both the number of advisers we speak to and our enquiry levels have increased during the last 12 months. As many of you will know, IPM provide personal support to our advisers and we’re always happy to help (even if the client concerned is not with us…!)
While advisers were telling us that they couldn’t reach other providers on the phone during lockdown, we continued to be contactable. The feedback has been that you really appreciated this.
Our property team have continued to be busy
Property purchase within SIPPs is a major part of what we do at IPM. Despite the difficulty in buying property over the last nine months with solicitors being closed, surveyors being unable to carry out site visits, and bank lending criteria tightening, this has not stopped our property team being busy.
Instructions on new purchases are up more than 10% for 2020 compared to 2019, although the number of completions has reduced slightly given the general nature of how much longer purchases are taking. Covid-19 has also presented opportunities for both SIPPs and property to help clients’ businesses, a subject we looked at recently.
Some exciting improvements coming in 2021
The last nine months has also given us a chance to reflect on our offering and how best we can improve this, given the new ways in which people are working.
So, in 2021 we will be looking to implement some changes to our online offering for both clients and advisers, while also seeking to make our paperwork more user-friendly. Look out for announcements on these enhancements over the coming months via our newsletter.
For us though, 2021 will be about consistency. We will not be looking to change the fundamentals of our approach, service, charging structure or our long-term commitment to the SIPP market, meaning you can continue to work with IPM with confidence. And hopefully, we can all get back to some sort of ‘normality.’
Get in touch
If you have any clients for whom SIPP or SSAS advice would be beneficial, please get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01438 747 151.