Self Invested Personal Pension

Providing for your financial future

From tax relief on your payments in, to flexibility on taking your money out in later life, there may be compelling reasons to invest through a pension.

For people retiring today the full State Pension is £168.60 a week (2019/20 tax year). That is only likely to provide for your very basic needs and it might need to last you a long time.

If you want to enjoy your retirement to its fullest, and for as long as possible, pension savings to top up your State Pension make sense.

Pensions offer several tax advantages:

  • Access your savings from age 55 and take up to 25% tax-free
  • Growth is free of income and Capital Gains Tax
  • Your loved ones can inherit your pension pot, free of Inheritance Tax
  • Tax relief on payments in (limits apply)

Important Information

A Self Invested Personal Pension requires active management and investment expertise. You cannot normally take any money out of it until age 55 and should make sure you review your investments regularly.

Investments can go down as well as up. You may get back less than you originally invested. Laws and tax rules may change in the future without notice. This information takes no account of your personal circumstances which may have an impact on tax treatment.

Alliance Trust Savings does not give financial or investment advice. You need to ensure you understand the risks and commitments before investing. If you are unsure you should speak to a financial adviser before investing.

Is it right for me?

  • Looking to choose from a range of investments including funds, investment trusts, ETFs and shares
  • Looking to hold your investments in a tax-efficient Account
  • Willing to view these as long term investments (you won’t be able to access them until at least age 55)
  • Comfortable with putting your capital at risk for the possibility of better returns
  • Comfortable that a stakeholder pension wouldn’t meet your needs just as well

Why invest with Alliance Trust Savings?



Getting the most from your pension savings

Discover the main things you need to know about tax and your pension in this comprehensive guide. From tax relief on what you pay in and how it works, to your Annual and Lifetime Allowances for pension savings.

Download guide


Accessing your pension savings

How and when you start accessing your pension savings is probably one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. Our guide is here to help you understand your options and make it an informed one.

Download guide

How much could your PENSION be worth?

Use our interactive retirement planning calculator to work out how much you might be able to save for retirement.

Go to planning calculator


Opening a Self Invested Personal Pension

What is a SIPP?

A SIPP or Self Invested Personal Pension is a type of personal pension that lets you access a wide range of investments. A personal pension is a tax-efficient Account designed to help you invest for retirement.

Is a SIPP a stakeholder pension?

No. Stakeholder pensions have to meet government set standards covering payments, charges and other terms and conditions. The charges for a SIPP may be higher than for a stakeholder pension.

How do I know if a SIPP is right for me?

We cannot give you financial advice. You should understand the risks and commitments of a SIPP Account before you invest.

If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can locate one near you at

How does tax relief work through my SIPP?

Read our guide to Getting the most from your pension savings for information on pension tax relief and how it works.

Where we claim tax relief on your behalf we do this at the end of each calendar month for all your net personal contributions made by the 5th of the month.

We then pay your tax relief into your Account on or around the 25th of the following month.


  • Mr Smith makes a contribution on 2 July. He will receive his tax relief on/around 25 August.
  • Mrs Jones makes a contribution on 10 July. She will receive her tax relief on/around 25 September.
We will pay your tax relief into your SIPP’s Cash Deposit Account unless you post us a signed, written instruction asking us to pay it into another of your SIPP’s Cash Management Accounts.

Who can apply?

If you are 18 or over and:

  • have earnings that count for UK income tax; or
  • are resident in the UK at some point during the tax year; or
  • want to make a transfer from another registered pension scheme
You can apply for a SIPP Account with us.

How do I open an Account?

If you are interested in opening an Alliance Trust Savings Account, please speak to your financial adviser.

If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can locate one near you at


How do I choose where to invest?

We can’t give you advice, but our Investing Hub is packed with research tools, ideas and information to help you when you’re making investment decisions.

If the fund you want to buy is not available, please let us know as we regularly review the funds we offer and make changes based on customer demand.

Paying In

Who can pay into my SIPP?

For SIPPs, anyone, including your employer, can pay into your Account but you can only get tax relief on your personal payments. These include payments you make from your own pocket or that anyone else, other than your employer or former employer, makes on your behalf.

What payment methods do you accept?

Debit card, Direct Debit (for regular payments), transfer from your bank account and cheque.

How much can I pay in?

In theory, you can pay in as much as you like each tax year, but you can only get tax relief on payments up to the greater of:

  • All of your relevant UK earnings in the year (subject to your annual allowance); or
  • £3,600 regardless of any earnings
You will have to pay a tax charge on anything over your annual allowance, unless you can use up ('carry forward') any left-over annual allowance from up to the three previous tax years.

The rules in this area are complex. Different annual allowances apply in different circumstances for example, and there is also a lifetime allowance for pension savings that you need to be aware of. To find out more read our Guide to getting the most from your pension savings.

The minimum you can pay into your SIPP is £50 and you can keep making payments until you are 75.

Can I still pay in after I’ve started taking an income?

Yes, but only up to a maximum of £4,000 if you have relevant UK earnings in the year to cover that amount. Otherwise your maximum is £3,600 (including your tax relief, which at current rates would be £720).

You are not allowed to pay in any money that you’ve already taken out of a pension as a tax free lump sum.

How do I pay money into my Account?

We’ll send you a password and Personal ID to use on our secure online service, where you (or your financial adviser) can manage your Account, including the payments you make. If you prefer, you can also give us payment instructions over the phone or by post. For the detail of how to pay using the different methods we offer, read our Platform Guide which you can find in Forms and Literature.

Transferring In

How do I transfer an Account elsewhere to you?

If you are interested in transferring to Alliance Trust Savings, please speak to your financial adviser.

If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can locate one near you at

How long can I expect that it will take to complete a transfer?

If you are transferring a SIPP it can take up to 60 working days.

How do I make a transfer to another provider?

If you would like to transfer your Account away from us to another provider you will need to contact them and complete their transfer forms. They will then forward the forms to us to action.


Do charges apply to transfer my Account in or away from you?

We don't charge for standard transfers in or out. Please refer to our Charges Guide for more information.

What are the charges?

We charge flat Account fees for our platform services. These cover the basic ongoing cost to us of managing an Account for you and charges for other services you may ask us to provide - buying and selling investments for example. You can download our Charges Guide in Forms and Literature.

Accessing your pension

What are my options when it comes to accessing my pension savings?

You can:

  • Take all of your savings in one go
  • Take smaller lump sums and/or
  • Take a regular income
You’re in control and there are no limits to how much you can access at any one time. But only a quarter of your savings can ever be paid tax free. The rest is taxed as income in the tax year (or years) it’s paid out.

Read our Accessing Your Pension Savings Guide to find out more.

You can also get free, impartial guidance on your options at Pensionwise.

Do you have guides that can help me plan for my retirement?

Yes, as well as our Getting the most of your pension savings and Accessing your pension savings guides, we also offer a Guide to planning your life after work. We also publish an annual Your Retirement magazine that you may find useful.

What can I expect from you as I approach retirement?

We will contact you 2 years prior to your chosen retirement date (which you will have given us when you opened your SIPP Account) and again 6 months before, reminding you of your options or accessing your SIPP savings and providing an up-to-date valuation of your Account.

Keeping Track

How often will I get a valuation and statement?

You will receive a valuation and statement covering all of your Accounts with us four times a year and you'll be able to check the current value of your Accounts online at any time by logging in to our secure online service.

You can find more Frequently Asked Questions here.

Forms and Literature

To view literature and forms, simply click on the button below:

View literature

Alliance Trust Savings Limited is registered in Scotland No. SC 98767, registered office, PO Box 164, 8 West Marketgait, Dundee DD1 9YP; is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, firm reference number 116115. Alliance Trust Savings Limited gives no financial or investment advice. ‘Alliance Trust Savings’, ‘ATS’ and 'AT Savings' are all brand names of Alliance Trust Savings Limited together with the ‘Alliance Trust Savings’ logo are owned by and used with the permission of Alliance Trust PLC, the previous owner of Alliance Trust Savings Limited.