Yes, You Can Hold Gold In A SIPP – Here’s How [Gold SIPPs]

by | Dec 16, 2023 | Guides, SIPP Investments

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Gold SIPP

SIPPs allow you to take control of your pension investments, offering a wide range of investment options beyond the usual mutual funds and stocks.

But what about gold?

In this guide we explore the various options for holding gold in your SIPP, the pros and cons of doing so, and how to set up a gold SIPP. 

Can You Hold Gold In A SIPP?

Yes, you can hold gold in a SIPP.

You can either hold gold bullion directly in a SIPP (only possible with specific SIPP providers), or you can invest in gold indirectly, by investing in a gold ETF (a fund that tracks the value of gold, minus some management charges).

Here’s how the two main options work.

Option 1: Holding Gold Directly in your SIPP

To hold gold directly in your SIPP or pension, you need to make sure your specific SIPP provider can facilitate it and then contact a gold provider to set up the actual holding.

For example, Direct Bullion is a specialist gold provider that set up your gold investment either directly in your existing SIPP, or by setting up a new SIPP purely for your gold pension investment.

You can have multiple SIPPs, so setting up a new one doesn’t affect your other retirement savings, other than you’ll share the contribution limits with them.

The process is fairly straightforward, and their customer service team can walk you through the steps.

Option 2: Investing in a Gold ETF or ETC 

To invest in gold without directly owning the bars, you can also invest in a gold ETF.

An ETF (Exchange Traded Fund), is a fund that’s designed to track the value of an asset or commodity (also known as ETCs) – in this case, gold. They track the price as closely as possible while trying to minimise management fees. 

By investing in a gold ETF you get access to the investment of gold and its value, but you don’t actually hold the gold bars or bullion in your pension.

This is good enough for some investors, but some people prefer to have the physical gold held in the name of their pension. 

Buying an ETF is generally an easier method, as most SIPP providers allow you to invest in ETFs and you can make a trade with a few clicks online, but it’s less ‘pure’, and you do have a small management charge. 

If you’re investing in gold for the long run, it may make more sense to set up a direct holding, whereas if you just want to trade gold occasionally to benefit from market swings, an ETF might be easier.

For example, one of the most popular gold ETFs is the WISDOMTREE PHYSICAL GOLD (GBP) (PHGP), which you can invest in within a SIPP with Hargreaves Lansdown, and it has an ongoing charge of just 0.39% per year.

Why Invest in Gold in Your SIPP?

When it comes to building a robust retirement portfolio, gold shines as a compelling addition within your Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). Here are 3 reasons why allocating a portion of your pension funds to this precious metal can make strategic sense:

  1. Diversification: Gold often moves independently of traditional assets like stocks and bonds. By including gold in your SIPP, you diversify your holdings, reducing overall portfolio risk.
  2. Inflation Hedge: Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money over time. Gold, however, has a historical track record of preserving value during inflationary periods. When central banks print more currency, gold’s scarcity and intrinsic worth come to the forefront. It can act like an insurance policy against currency devaluation.
  3. Store of Value: Throughout centuries, civilisations have revered gold as a store of wealth. Unlike paper money, which can lose value due to economic turmoil or political instability, gold typically holds its worth.
  4. Global Uncertainty: Geopolitical tensions, trade wars, and economic uncertainties create a volatile landscape. Gold tends to thrive in such environments. When confidence wavers in fiat currencies or financial systems, investors often flock to gold as a safe haven – we saw this during the Covid pandemic, for example.

Remember, while gold offers unique advantages, it’s essential to strike the right balance. 

Overcommitting to gold may hinder potential gains from other assets. If you need advice on whether investing in gold within your SIPP is right for you, speak to our advisers today by booking a free initial consultation. 

Rules for Gold SIPP Investments

Investing in gold within your Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) requires adherence to specific guidelines set by HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

  1. Minimum Purity Requirement:
    • In terms of holding gold directly in your pension, HMRC mandates that any gold held in a SIPP must have a minimum purity of 995. In practical terms, this means you’ll primarily be dealing with gold bullion, as most gold coins don’t meet this stringent purity level.
    • Gold bullion bars or coins meeting the purity criteria are acceptable.
  2. Ownership Structure:
    • When you invest in gold through your SIPP, you won’t physically own the gold yourself. Instead, it will be owned by the SIPP provider. This is the same for any other asset or investment you hold in a SIPP, and they don’t have any right to claim your gold in the event they go into liquidation.
    • This arrangement simply ensures proper custody and compliance with regulatory standards.
  3. Storage and Vaulting:
    • All gold bullion held within a SIPP must be securely vaulted. This means you’ll likely incur additional storage fees to ensure the safekeeping of your precious metal if you go direct.
    • Vaulting ensures protection against theft, damage, or loss.
  4. Administrative Considerations:
    • While gold adds diversification to your pension portfolio, be aware that there may be extra SIPP fees or administrative charges associated with holding gold.
    • Check with your SIPP provider to understand the specific costs involved.
  5. Minimum Investment Levels:
    • Some SIPP providers may impose minimum investment thresholds for gold holdings. Ensure you meet these requirements before proceeding.

How to Buy Gold in a SIPP

Investing in gold within your Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is an exciting prospect, but how do you turn this glittering idea into reality? Let’s break it down step by step:

  1. Check Your Scheme Compatibility:
    • First, verify whether your existing SIPP scheme allows gold holdings. Some SIPPs embrace gold, while others may not. If your current provider doesn’t accommodate gold, don’t fret—you have options.
    • Consider opening a new SIPP with a provider that supports gold investments. Fortunately, there’s no limit to the number of SIPPs you can have.
    • Again, BullionVault is a specialist gold provider that can walk you through the steps of setting up a gold SIPP properly.
  2. Select the Right Platform:
    • Now that you’re ready to dive into the golden waters, choose a platform for your gold investment. Here are the essential steps:
      1. Research Gold Bullion Providers: Look for reputable dealers who specialise in gold bullion for SIPPs. One such well-known provider is Direct Bullion.
      2. Direct Bullion: This platform allows you to buy and sell gold 24/7. Their products meet the criteria for gold SIPP investment, and you can transact in increments as small as 1 gram.
      3. Consider Storage and Accessibility: Evaluate factors like storage fees, ease of buying/selling, and security. Direct Bullion offers secure vaulting, ensuring your gold is well-protected.
  3. The Purchase Process:
    • Once you’ve chosen a platform, follow these steps:
      1. Register: Sign up on the chosen platform, providing the necessary details.
      2. Fund Your Account: Deposit funds into your SIPP account.
      3. Buy Gold: Navigate the platform to purchase gold. Specify the quantity (in grams or ounces) you wish to acquire.
      4. Storage: Your purchased gold will be securely vaulted by the provider. Remember that vaulting comes with additional fees.
      5. Monitor and Manage: Keep an eye on your investment, and if needed, sell or transfer your gold holdings.
  4. Consider Professional Advice:
    • While the process seems straightforward, it’s wise to consult with an expert pensions advisor. Gold SIPPs are a specialised area, and professional guidance ensures you make informed decisions. Book a free initial call with one of our advisers to see how we can help you.

Is Gold a Good Pension Investment?

Yes, generally speaking, gold is a good pension investment. 

But it does of course depend on your individual goals, attitude to risk, and how well you’ve diversified the rest of your portfolio. 

For example, a SIPP 100% invested in gold would be classed as overexposed to one commodity, and too vulnerable to sharp changes in its value. 

Here are 3 disadvantages of investing in gold:

  • No Income Generation: Unlike dividend-paying stocks or bonds, gold doesn’t generate income. It relies solely on capital appreciation, so weigh that in when you’re comparing it to other investments.
  • Volatility: While gold provides stability, it’s not immune to price swings. Short-term fluctuations can test your nerves.
  • Storage Costs: Safeguarding physical gold involves storage fees. Whether vaulted or held at home, storage expenses impact returns.

In summary, gold as a pension asset offers stability and works great in a diversified SIPP portfolio, but it’s not a magic bullet. Seek professional advice, assess your goals, and strike a balance.

FAQs

Should I have gold in my retirement portfolio? 

It can be beneficial to have a small portion of gold in a retirement portfolio for diversification, but it shouldn’t be the sole asset. Gold can act as a hedge against inflation and market volatility.

Can I cash in 100% of my SIPP? 

Yes, you can cash in 100% of your SIPP at once when you reach retirement age. However, it’s generally not a good option. Firstly, after your 25% tax-free cash, you will be taxed on the remainder as income. So if your full withdrawal comes to say £200k, HMRC will treat your income as £200k for that year – so, you’ll pay a huge amount of tax compared to spreading it across multiple tax years. Also, withdrawing 100% of your SIPP in one go may not leave you with enough income for your full retirement, which could be 20+ years.

What are the disadvantages of investing in gold? 

Gold doesn’t generate income like stocks or bonds. It can be volatile and doesn’t offer dividends. Additionally, storage and insurance costs can potentially eat into returns.

Is it wise to invest in gold?

Including gold in an investment portfolio can be wise for diversification, but it shouldn’t dominate. Its value can fluctuate based on various factors, so it’s essential to consider it as part of a diversified strategy rather than a sole investment.

About The Author

Sam Hodgson

Sam Hodgson

Head of Digital

Sam is our Head of Digital, overseeing all of our editorial and marketing strategies.

He has over a decade of pension industry experience, previously working & writing for the likes of HSBC and Hargreaves Lansdown.

His goal is to empower “non-financey” people to have confidence in making their own financial decisions, particularly on pensions and retirement planning.

Contact: sam@sippadvice.co.uk

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