A blog written by Ian Jarvis, Business Development Director here at The Westerby Group.
Recently a client asked me if his SIPP could invest in Bitcoin whilst on the same day I received another enquiry asking if SIPPs can invest in gold bullion. With Bitcoin and gold bullion representing possibly the two most extreme opposites of the investment market it set me pondering on the wonderful diversity of investments that our clients choose to invest in, and their differing interpretations of where investment markets might be headed.
At one end of the scale we have gold bullion, often considered to be a ‘safe haven’ in times of economic and political uncertainty. Whilst there are numerous brokers who will facilitate bullion purchase by a SIPP, SIPPs can also purchase from, and have their gold held in safe storage by The Royal Mint, which is of course 100% owned by HM Treasury.
At the other end of the scale we have Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum, existing only in the digital environment these are peer to peer currencies outside the control of any government, state or wider union of governments. They are effectively a sophisticated piece of computer coding. Current legislation certainly doesn’t prohibit investment in digital currencies so for a SIPP provider it’s more a question of finding a secure route into the market which is for the most part completely unregulated. That said there are a small number of companies endeavouring to bring a more professional approach to digital currency investing and it is possible to gain exposure through exchange traded notes such as the CoinShares/XBT notes that are traded on the Swedish Nasdaq.
In between the two extremes lies everything else in the investment universe which, aside from residential property and certain other tangible assets such as classic cars, wine, art and race horses, is a universe in which most of the investment possibilities are accessible to SIPPs. Amongst the investments made by our clients are listed securities, investment trusts, corporate bonds, gilts, bank deposits and currency, regulated/unregulated managed funds, private company shares, loan notes, third party loans, structured products, commercial property and REITs.
The huge array of investments available and the facility for the individual client to choose where they invest is of course the fundamental reason that SIPPs exist. Unfortunately, however many SIPP investors are finding that their SIPP provider has taken the SELF INVESTED out of SIPP leaving the customer with a PP – a personal pension with restricted investment options. Not so with Westerby; from bullion to Bitcoin we have it covered – SIPP means SIPP.