Your SIPP questions answered

SIPP — the basics

What is a SIPP?

A SIPP or Self-Invested Personal Pension is a tax-efficient way to start saving for your retirement. SIPPs give you control over how your pension savings are invested and your savings generally grow free of UK income and capital gains tax.

With a SIPP you can invest in assets including: unit trusts, shares, cash or open-ended investment companies. In addition, for any contributions you make the government pays in tax relief at 20%. If you pay a higher rate of tax, you can usually claim additional relief through your tax return.

Contributions can be made by you, an employer or by someone else on your behalf. You can also bring existing pensions together in a SIPP.

Explore our SIPP

How many SIPPs can I have?

There is no limit on the number of SIPPs that you can have. However, you should keep in mind that there are annual and lifetime limits regarding how much you can save tax efficiently in your pensions.

Refer to the SIPP contributions & allowances section for more information on pension limits.

Can I have more than one pension?

Yes, you can hold a SIPP together with a workplace or personal pension that you may have with us or another pension provider. This includes legacy defined benefit schemes, defined contribution schemes or stakeholder pensions.

Opening a SIPP

What are the Fidelity SIPP eligibility rules?

To be able to open a SIPP you need to be either a:

  • UK resident or
  • Crown servant performing duties abroad or
  • married to or in a civil partnership with a Crown servant

If you wish to make contributions to the Fidelity SIPP you need to be:

  • under the age of 75 and a
  • UK resident for tax purposes or a
  • Crown servant performing duties abroad or
  • married to or in a civil partnership with a Crown servant

If you are a US citizen you cannot open a SIPP with Fidelity.

What is the SIPP application process?

The SIPP application form can be filled out online or downloaded and posted to us. We'll ask you a few questions such as your National Insurance number and whether you have taken any money out of your pension.

There is a different process for applying for a SIPP for someone under the age of 18. Please call 0800 358 7480 for details or download and post the Junior SIPP form to us.

Can I open a SIPP if I plan to retire overseas?

Yes, providing you are a UK resident and living in the UK at the time of your application you can open a SIPP with us.

When you have decided to retire and want to take money from your pension, you can do so overseas but we may not be able to offer all the income options and any money will still need to be paid into a UK bank account.

Please note that moving overseas will limit the investment options available to you.

SIPP contributions & allowances

Until what age can I contribute to my SIPP?

You can continue contributing to the Fidelity SIPP until the age of 75. It is also worth noting that contributions aren't eligible for tax relief after the age of 75.

To get an indication of the annual income you may need in retirement and how much you may need to save to achieve this you can use our retirement calculator.

Who can contribute to my SIPP?

Anyone can contribute to your SIPP as a single or regular contributor using our paper form. You will be eligible to receive tax relief on any contributions made on your behalf by another individual subject to you having relevant earnings and subject to your annual allowance.

An employer may also choose to contribute to your SIPP by completing our form. You will not be eligible to receive tax relief on any contributions made by an employer.

Does Fidelity accept contributions in the asset form?

No, we only accept monetary contributions into the Fidelity SIPP as either a lump sum or regular payments.

What is the maximum I can pay into my SIPP?

There is no limit on the amount that can be paid into a pension but there is a limit on the amount of tax relief that can be received. This is known as the Annual Allowance (AA) and in the current tax year, the maximum contribution limit is £40,000 for most people. The limit applies across all your pension savings, not per scheme and includes the value of any tax relief that is added to the contributions.

Contributions can be made from yourself, your employer or on your behalf by somebody else.

If the contributions to your pensions exceed the annual allowance, a tax charge may become payable. This effectively takes back any excess tax relief given at source. If your taxable earnings in the year are below the annual allowance then tax relief on pension contributions from all sources is limited to 100% of your earnings (or to £3,600 if you have no earnings).

If you have already taken taxable money from your pension pot using pension freedoms or have income of more than £110,000 per year, your annual allowance may be reduced. See information on the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) and Tapered Annual Allowance (TAA) for more details.

What happens if I exceed my annual allowance?

If you go over your annual allowance, you will normally face a tax charge which claws back any excess tax relief you’ve received. Broadly speaking, you can work out your charge by adding the amount you have gone over the annual allowance (less any carry forward amounts if available) to your taxable income for the year. The annual allowance charge is then calculated at your highest tax rate.

If you are required to pay an annual allowance charge, you may have to pay the charge directly to HMRC yourself; typically, through self-assessment or it may be possible for the charge to be deducted from your pension savings, this is known as Scheme Pays.

What is the Lifetime Allowance?

The lifetime allowance is the total amount you can build up in pension benefits over your lifetime that will enjoy full tax benefits. If you go over the allowance you will generally pay a tax charge on the excess when you take a lump sum or income from your pension pot, transfer overseas or reach age 75 with unused pension benefits.

For the tax year 2018/19, the lifetime allowance is £1,030,000. If you exceed the allowance you pay tax on the excess amount. The charge is 55% if taking money from the pension as a lump sum or 25% if taken as income. When income is taken, tax is payable on it at your usual rate of income tax.

Find out more about the lifetime allowance

What happens if I exceed the lifetime allowance?

You’ll only get tax relief on contributions up to the amount you’ve earned in any given tax year. The amount of tax relief also depends on what rate of income tax you pay and the pension allowances you have available. You won’t get tax relief on any contributions made by an employer.

Contributions made by you or on your behalf by another individual to the SIPP will receive tax basic rate tax relief (currently 20%). For example an £800 contribution will receive £200 in tax relief to make a total £1,000 contribution. To calculate the tax relief you should divide the contribution amount by 0.8.

See more about how pension tax relief works.

What does carry forward mean?

If you have used up your annual allowance for the current tax year carry forward allows you to make use of unused annual allowances from the three previous tax years. This means you may be able to contribute more to your pension pot this tax year 2018/19 and still benefit from tax relief (subject to having relevant earnings equivalent to the amount you want to contribute). Other conditions may also apply.

Note that if you are subject to a tapered annual allowance in any given year, any unused annual allowance must be worked out with reference to your tapered annual allowance (which may differ between years).

You will also not be able to use carry forward to pay into a money purchase pension arrangement if you have withdrawn taxable money from your pension pot using the pension freedoms (and are therefore subject to the money purchase annual allowance).

See more details on the carry forward allowance.

Personal pension tax information

Is my pension taxable?

You will not have to pay tax on money whilst it remains in your pension pot. You will normally only pay tax if you withdraw money from the pension pot. Up to 25% of your pension pot is usually tax-free and any further money that is taken will be taxed just like any other earnings.

However, there are two other occasions which may result in paying tax on the savings within your pension pot:

  • exceeding your annual or lifetime allowance (see more details on pension annual allowances)
  • when you die and there is still money remaining in the pension

Find out about the ways of taking money from a pension and how the tax works or more about tax-free cash

How much tax will I pay on my pension?

The amount of tax you may have to pay will depend on your financial circumstances and the withdrawal method you choose.

Broadly any money that is withdrawn from your pension pot, above the tax-free amount, is taxable at your highest rate of tax. This means, the money you take from your pot will be added to any other income you have for that tax year including State Pension payments, benefits and salary etc. to determine your overall level of tax for that tax year. Before paying you any money from a pension, the provider will apply tax based on a tax code from HMRC or on an emergency tax basis. This could mean tax is over or underpaid and needs to be reclaimed.

If you withdraw over a number of different tax years, you may pay less tax than if you take it all in one go.

You can speak to Pension Wise, HMRC or a financial adviser to further understand how your income option decision will determine the amount of tax you will pay.

How much tax will be payable if I die with money left in my SIPP?

On death, a SIPP does not normally form part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes. As a result, if you die before the age of 75, any money left in your pension pot can be usually be paid to your beneficiaries free of tax. If you die after the age of 75, any money that is left in your pension pot will usually be taxable when paid to your beneficiaries and at their highest rate of tax.

What is pension tax relief?

Pension tax relief is intended to help you save for retirement with money that would otherwise have gone to the government. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay tax on that money in the future, simply that you don’t have to pay tax on it now.

For example, a £1 contribution today typically costs you 80p if you live in the UK and are a basic-rate taxpayer and as little as 60p if you’re a higher-rate taxpayer and 55p if you pay additional-rate tax. Exactly how it works will depend on the way your pension scheme operates its tax relief. Rates of tax relief for Scottish Residents may differ to the rest of the UK.

Investing in a SIPP

What can a SIPP invest in?

In the Fidelity SIPP you can invest in a wide range of funds, investments trusts, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and company shares. You choose where to invest but bear in mind different SIPP providers have access to different investments. If you are unsure where to invest, speak to an authorised financial adviser.

Find out more about your investing options.

Can I invest my personal pension in property?

You cannot invest your personal pension in property with Fidelity. Other providers may offer this.

How many funds should I have in my SIPP?

You can hold any number of investments in your SIPP. Spreading your money across different assets (equities, bonds, commodities, property and cash) could help to diversify your portfolio and balance out the ups and downs of the market.

You can read our principles for good investing for more guidance or view our video on how much to put into your pension.

How secure is my pension?

It’s important to keep in mind that the value of investments can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

We have various measures in place to protect you and your investments to make sure they are as secure as possible. You can find out more about how we protect you here.

In addition, the Fidelity SIPP is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If we are unable to meet our obligations you may be entitled to compensation from the scheme. Further information on the scheme is available at fscs.org.uk or in the Fidelity Client Terms.

Please note Exchange Traded Instruments and offshore funds (including Exchange Traded Funds) are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Accessing your SIPP

Can I withdraw money from my private pension?

Yes, with the Fidelity SIPP this is usually possible once you've reached the age of 55. Until then, your money will be held within your SIPP in the investments you have selected and you cannot withdraw it unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from working.

You can access your pension in there different ways: flexible retirement income (pension drawdown), taking lump sums or guaranteed income (annuity).

Find out more about how you can access your money or watch our video on accessing your pension.

If you’re thinking about withdrawing money from your pension there are a few important things to think about:

  • different pensions allow you to access your money in different ways
  • the way you take your money can depend on the type of pension you have now and how you might want to access your pension savings in the future

Can I just take the tax-free cash?

Once you’re eligible you can normally withdraw all or some of your tax-free cash any time or leave it where it is and include it in your retirement plan. Bear in mind, withdrawing it in small portions over several years could make your overall income more tax efficient. Find out more about tax-free cash.

What happens to my SIPP when I reach 75?

If you reach age 75 with money still in a pension pot, your pension will usually remain invested, with any income payments continuing to be made in the same way.

However, at age 75, your pension provider will carry out a check against your lifetime allowance, which they will contact you in relation to. If when that test is carried out, the value of your pensions is deemed to be above your lifetime allowance, you may face tax charges of up to 55% on the excess amount.

For more information, you can speak to Pension Wise, HMRC or a financial adviser to understand the amount of tax you may have to pay.

What happens to my pension when I die?

If you die before the age of 75, any money left in your pension pot can be passed on to your beneficiaries usually tax free. If you die after the age of 75, any money you pass on will be taxable. The tax your beneficiaries pay will depend on the age you are when you die and their individual tax position when they withdraw it. Money paid from a SIPP is not normally subject to inheritance tax.

Find out more about what happens to your pension when you die depending on the pension scheme you have.

SIPP transfers

Can I transfer my pension to the Fidelity SIPP?

Yes, you can transfer your pension to us. When you move your pension (minimum of £1,000) to us, we’ll reimburse any exit fees that your former providers charge you, up to a maximum of £500 per customer. Of course, you need to decide whether these fees will impact the future value of your pension. You should also check your pension for valuable benefits that you may give up by moving your pension.

You can find out more about transferring your pension with our pension transfer factsheet or on our pension transfer page.

Can I transfer my ISA into a SIPP?

No, you can't transfer your ISA into a SIPP.

Can I transfer my pension to another person?

Not unless you die or we are ordered to do so by a court (for example as part of divorce proceedings).

How much are the pension transfer fees?

We don't charge anything to transfer your pension to another provider or to receive a pension transfer from another provider. But please be aware that your current provider may charge for transferring away from them, so it is always best to check.

In some cases you may be required to take advice in order to transfer which is likely to have a cost to you. Find out more about the circumstances in which advice may be required.

If you would like someone to check your pensions for valuable benefits or you need or want advice on transferring your pension, you can speak to Fidelity's Retirement Service or find an adviser through the money advice service online directory of regulated advisers.

Combining pensions together

Can I bring my pensions together?

If you’ve built up several pension pots over your working life, you can bring them together in a Fidelity Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and this could help you to get your money working harder.

Before going ahead with a pension transfer, we strongly recommend that you undertake a full comparison of the benefits, charges and features offered.

Read our pension transfer factsheet

If you’re in any doubt about whether a pension transfer is suitable for your circumstances we strongly suggest that you seek advice from an authorised financial adviser.

How do I consolidate my pensions?

Consolidating your pensions has been made even easier with our online pension transfer journey. If you’re an existing customer with us, you can start your pension transfer here. Alternatively, you can download the Fidelity SIPP Transfer Application Form or call 0800 368 1722 if you’d like us to send you one. Before you apply to transfer a pension you’ve taken retirement benefits from, you must speak to Fidelity's retirement service. They’ll discuss the transfer with you and prepare the application form. We’re unable to accept an online application for these types of transfers.

Before taking the next step, please read the following important information.

It’s important to understand that pension transfers are a complex area and may not be suitable for everyone. Before going ahead with a pension transfer, we strongly recommend that you undertake a full comparison of the benefits, charges and features offered. To find out what else you should consider before transferring, please read our transfer factsheet. If you’re in any doubt whether or not a pension transfer is suitable for your circumstances, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from an authorised financial adviser.

Please note that if your pensions are moved to us as cash, you’ll be out of the market while your money is being transferred, so you could miss out on growth and income if the market rises during this time. If you transfer investments that are not supported by Fidelity, they’ll be sold and moved to us as cash, which means that you’ll be out of the market until you choose new investments. If your existing pension provider has signed up to an industry accepted paperless transfer service, your transfer should be completed in up to10 working days. If not, the transfer could take up to 10 weeks but could be longer as the process is reliant on prompt action by your existing providers.

How much does it cost to combine different pensions together?

We won’t charge you for bringing your pensions together and we’ll cover up to £500 if your current providers charge exit fees for a minimum transfer of £1,000. Read our terms and conditions

There will always be ongoing fund charges for investing and administering your pension money and this will influence the level of your pension fund over time.

You should be able to find out the annual service charges you’re paying in addition to the ongoing charges by contacting your pension scheme. You can then compare them with our charges - with a self-invested personal pension, you’d pay our standard service fee of just 0.35% or only 0.2% if you hold more than £250,000 with us including any other accounts plus ongoing fund charges.

Please note that we may also require evidence of advice on some transfers. Advisers will charge a fee for this advice.

How do I find a lost pension?

If you have no evidence of your membership of a pension scheme, or can’t remember if you were a member, you can find a lost pension online through: www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.

SIPP fees & charges

How much does the Fidelity SIPP cost?

For a Fidelity SIPP (and all our other products), if you've got less than £7,500 with us, we charge a flat-rate fee of £45 a year or 0.35% if you have a monthly regular savings plan of £50 or over. If the total value of your investments is between £7,500-£249,999.99, we charge a rate of 0.35% and 0.20% if it is over this. Fee’s are payable on investments up to £1million.

You may also need to pay investment charges set by the company managing your funds. To find out more details on investment charges, see our Doing business with Fidelity guide.

Find out more about our fees.

How can I pay my fees and when?

For all products, we calculate the service fee on the first day of every month and include any joint accounts when we're adding up all your accounts to work out what service fee rate you pay, ensuring the lowest possible charge.

The total value is then divided by 12 to determine the monthly amount that's taken from your individual account, which is deducted around the 15th of the month.

We'll take the service fee directly from your cash account, so we recommend always having cash in that account. If you don't have enough, we'll take it from your largest investment in the account.

Find out more about our fees.

Make life easier by bringing your pensions together

Combining your pensions into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) can make it easier to manage your savings - and it could be cheaper, with lower fees than you’re currently paying.

Remember, as with all investing, your capital is at risk. Eligibility to invest in a SIPP or Junior SIPP depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future.

The value of investments can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular product, service or course of action. Pension and retirement planning can be complex, so if you are unsure about the suitability of a pension investment, retirement service or any action you need to take, please contact Fidelity’s Retirement Service on 0800 084 5045 or refer to your financial adviser.  Eligibility to invest into a SIPP or Junior SIPP depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change in future. Pension money cannot usually be withdrawn until age 55.