Personal Finance: The personal touch

Four experts try to show why they could be so good for you

PERSONAL PENSIONS may look the same, but they can vary widely in terms of contractual flexibility, charges and fund choice. We asked four advisers to suggest a plan appropriate to a particular set of circumstances. Not surprisingly, each has made a very different recommendation in each case.

Personal pension for a man or woman aged 50 or over.

Christine Ross, partner at nationwide independent financial advisers Willis National

IT IS never too late to make pension provision, and we are seeing a growing demand from people in the over-50 age group. Those taking a personal pension for the first time have often been members of an employer's pension scheme but have taken early retirement in their early fifties.

Remember, even if you are already receiving a pension income, you can still make additional contributions to a personal pension if you have other employed or self-employed earnings.

For this group I would suggest a "cautious" choice of fund. A good "with- profits" fund might be my recommendation. These smooth out some of the ups and downs of conventional equity investment.

Two of the best providers of this type of fund are Standard Life and Scottish Widows.

A single woman, aged 25-30, who might decide to break her career to have children at a later stage.

Fiona Price, managing director at Fiona Price & Partners, in London

I WOULD look at a personal pension from Royal & Sun Alliance. These have simple, competitive charging structures, so that you stop and start premiums at any time without penalty. This is important if you plan to take a career break.

Also, Royal is financially very strong, so I would expect the company to be around when you reach retirement age. It has a good fund management team, and performance has been excellent.

If I had to choose just one of its funds, it would be the Pension Managed fund. It has a great track record and suits the average investor. But take independent financial advice.

A plan for an ethically minded investor

Richard Hunter, independent financial adviser at Holden Meehan, a London IFA firm

MORE AND more of us are making that vital connection between saving for the future and making sure there is one. Socially responsible pension plans are a means of doing this.

Over the last three years we have seen the ethical investment sector coming of age. Fund providers have shown that they can provide good returns for investors, and in some cases these have clearly done better than non- ethical alternatives.

Choosing to save this way allows us to become individually involved in encouraging employers to empower their staff, use the environment intelligently, and conserve resources.

One plan that stands out is that from Friends Provident, who manage the Stewardship Fund. This is the largest and longest established of the mainstream "ethical" funds.

Tracker funds and lifestyle pensions for the savers in their 30s and 40s

Tony Wood, marketing director at Virgin Direct

THE PROBLEM with traditional personal pensions is that they encourage a "one size fits all" mentality. Most savers are channelled into a managed- equity or with-profits fund. These can mean too little risk in the early years but too much risk later on when security becomes a priority.

I work for Virgin Direct partly because I believe in the quality of its pension product. It is a "lifestyle pension".

Lifestyle pensions also allow greater flexibility to stop, start, increase and decrease payments without penalty. Choosing a UK FTSE All Share "tracker" fund will reduce costs, spread risk, and show better growth than about 90 per cent of actively-managed funds.

Interviews By

Iain Morse

Willis National: 0800 0966 51 692 1700; Virgin Direct: 0345 900900

pounds 1,000 invested single premium, bid to bid, over 2 and five years to end last month

B/O Annual man 2 year 5 year

spread charge value value

Virgin n/a% 0.7/1% pounds 1,385 pounds 2,045

Royal & 5% 0.5% pounds 1,355 pounds 1,788

Sun Alliance

Friends 4.99% 0.7% pounds 1163 pounds 1,684



Standard 5% 0.625% pounds 1,021 pounds 1,464


Scottish 5% 0.875% pounds 1,112 pounds 1,528


Allocation rates may vary, all premiums single

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?