Suffolk Life, based in Ipswich, Suffolk, is a British pensions administrator. It mainly provides the administration of self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs), and personal pensions for private funds and self-invested funds of third party providers. Suffolk Life is a non-advice pension provider and is well known for its commercial property investment expertise.
The company was acquired by the Curtis Banks Group plc for £45 million from Legal & General on 25 May 2016 and continues to maintain its independent name and branding.
Suffolk Life was established in 1971 by a group of solicitors, with the aim of allowing commercial property to be purchased using pension funds. The business was founded by Alan Catchpole, and then taken over by his son, Henry Catchpole, who held the role of Managing Director from 1997 until 2010.
One of the company's early focuses was SSAS (Small Self Administered Scheme) administration, however in 2006 Suffolk Life sold this book of business to Mattioli Woods, a specialist pensions consultancy, to focus on the administration of self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs). Suffolk Life's first SIPP product (The Suffolk Life SIPP), launched in 1996, was written as an insurance contract by Suffolk Life Annuities Limited, an insurance company within the Suffolk Life group.
In 2007 The Suffolk Life SIPP closed to new business. Suffolk Life launched a new product, the MasterSIPP - a self-invested personal pension allowing more flexibility concerning the self-investment of protected rights.
2010 saw the introduction of the SimSIPP - a product aimed at those investors and advisers who would deal solely with one investment manager. They currently have partnerships with several investment managers.
Suffolk Life introduced the SmartSIPP in 2011 - a platform-based self-invested personal pension (SIPP) allowing access to funds within selected platforms and a stockbroker.
Suffolk Life provides third-party administration services for self-invested pensions for the following:Aviva
Suffolk Life and Cofunds launched the Cofunds Pension Account in March 2010, a pension plan provided by Suffolk Life offering advisers and investors access to investments on the Cofunds platform.
In 2008, Suffolk Life came under ownership of the Legal & General Group.
On 21 November 2012, Suffolk Life announced they were acquiring a book of business from Pointon York, following a closure of one of Pointon York's schemes. This brought 1,700 investors to Suffolk Life's existing business. Following this in May 2013, Suffolk Life acquired Origen Investment Services and Pearson Jones Plc's SIPP books, bringing over 700 new SIPPs to Suffolk Life.
On 15 January 2016 it was announced that Curtis Banks Group plc - another SIPP provider - was to acquire Suffolk Life from Legal & General for £45 million. The acquisition completed on 25 May 2016.
Subsequently Suffolk Life acquired SIPP provider EPML (European Pensions Management Limited) from special administration on 15 July 2016.
Suffolk Life administers SIPPs on behalf of over 26,000 clients. It owns over 3,600 properties on behalf of 5,000 of those investors as at January 2016.
Suffolk Life employs approximately 240 staff.
Prior to 2006, Suffolk Life accepted business direct from clients without the need for adviser involvement. New business is now only accepted via financial advisers.
Suffolk Life is led by Will Self, Chief Executive Officer. He also sits on the board of Curtis Banks Group plc and is a trustee of EACH (East Anglia's Children's Hospices). Suffolk Life has a medium-sized board of directors from varied backgrounds.
In 2006, Suffolk Life became the first company in the UK to gain an 'Investors in Customers' accreditation, and repeated the exercise in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Every time they achieved a 2 star 'Outstanding' rating.
In 2014 their MasterSIPP product was awarded a 5 star Defaqto rating.
Suffolk Life has won the Moneyfacts Best SIPP provider award in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Suffolk Life contributes in fundraising events for many charities, including the Wear it Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and Children in Need. In 2017 Suffolk Life is supporting The Rural Coffee Caravan.
In 2010, Suffolk Life took part in the EACH (East Anglia's Children's Hospices) Corporate Challenge Treehouse Appeal, whereby local companies in East Anglia were asked to raise £10,000 to support the building of a new children's hospice. Suffolk Life raised over £10,000 for this cause.
In 2012, Suffolk Life raised money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance - an abseil, the Orwell Walk and many casual days were completed to raise money.
For 2013, Suffolk Life's Charity of the Year who they focus on fundraising for is the Somersham Ward Cancer Support Group.
In 2014, Suffolk Life chose to support three different charities: the Suffolk & Essex Small Animal Welfare (SESAW), the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) and the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH). At June they had raised over £6,500 collectively for the three charities, through big and small events from the Alton Water Run (whereby 22 staff took part) to several casual days and bake sales.
Suffolk Life hold Environmental Days for their staff as part of their Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and in 2014 they also held two volunteer days at EACH and SESAW, two of their dedicated charities.