Group Sipp launch as Friends chief quits

Friends Provident has added a Sipp option to its new generation Group Personal Pension as well as increased retirement choices through an income withdrawal option.

The Sipp option, that can include protected rights, will give members access to a broad range of stocks, shares and collective investments through execution – only stock-broking, fund supermarket and discretionary fund management services provided by carefully selected expert investment partners.

Friends says employers will be able to choose whether to have the option added, which means that all members can be looked after in one Group Personal Pension scheme, avoiding the additional costs of running two separate schemes. There is no minimum holding required in unitised funds and those scheme members who invest purely in unitised funds won’t have any additional costs. Stockbroking is provided by Selftrade and discretionary fund management is through Gerrard.

The launch comes as Philip Moore, chief executive of Friends Provident, steps down following the failure of the company’s bid for Resolution.

Jeremy Ward, head of pensions marketing at Friends Provident, says: “The corporate pensions market is changing rapidly and we have developed these options in response to an increasing demand for investment and retirement flexibility to enhance member control and choice.