Why you should ask a SIPP provider about their complaints record (and here’s ours)

This month, you’ll have read about some of the areas you should consider when carrying out due diligence on a SIPP provider and some real-life examples when SIPP providers fail.

Another question you could consider asking a SIPP provider relates to the level of complaints they receive. We don’t know about you, but most press articles we read seem to suggest that SIPP provider complaints rise regularly!

While we are not doubting that the data reported by the Financial Ombudsman Service is correct, it may not always paint the clearest of pictures.

How many of these complaints relate to the same, small number of providers – perhaps those recently in default?

And how many relate to investment returns on a platform-based SIPP, as opposed to the duties undertaken by the SIPP provider in administering the arrangement?

Asking a SIPP provider to disclose their complaints history will help you get to know the company in two ways:

  • Firstly, if they are not willing to share this information with you it could lead to questions as to why
  • By knowing the number of complaints that they have received and the amount of which have been upheld, together with knowing the total number of SIPPs they administer, you will get an understanding of the number of complaints they receive per client.

Do not be afraid to ask what these complaints were about. While a provider may not be able to go in to too much detail, the nature of the complaints will be informative.

If a large number relate to an IT outage that has since been rectified, for example, this again helps you build a picture as the SIPP provider’s offering.

Proud of our low complaints record

At IPM we pride ourselves on a high level of personal service. However, we accept there are times where things do not always go according to plan.

We always try to work with clients and their advisers to rectify any issues that may arise. But there are times where, despite our efforts, a client will make a formal complaint to us.

Of course, we would prefer that no client was unhappy with our service. Notwithstanding this, we are proud of our relatively low complaints record – especially considering we look after 5,000 clients. Below are our complaints statistics for the last few years:

  • 2017 – 8 complaints, 1 upheld
  • 2018 – 5 complaints, 1 upheld
  • 2019 – 10 complaints, 5 upheld
  • 2020 – 6 complaints, 3 upheld

There are no patterns in terms of the nature of the complaints made to IPM. However, one of the common reasons that advisers and clients have been dissatisfied over the years has been down to delays.

These have variously been delays in investments being made, delays in property transactions being completed, and delays in paying pension benefits.

In many scenarios these delays are not always as a result of actions taken by IPM. We are often at the mercy of third-party investment houses, solicitors, or vendors, the result of which can mean that a request made to IPM cannot be completed.

Of course, where these scenarios arise, we will always aim to work with an adviser to manage a client’s expectations.

We believe that publishing this information helps you and your clients to make an informed choice, and that transparency is something that should be encouraged in the sector.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about our complaints record, or if you have any clients for whom SIPP or SSAS advice would be beneficial, please get in touch. Email info@ipm-pensions.co.uk or call 01438 747 151.

Get in touch

Whether it’s a question about a specific client or SIPPs in general, we are here to help. Call us on 01438 747 151, email info@ipm-pensions.co.uk or complete the form below: