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Review summary

Hornbuckle Mitchell Group

Hornbuckle Mitchell deliver specialist pension products and services through a wide range of intermediary distribution partners, including independent financial advisers, wealth managers, employee benefit consultants and private banks.

Hornbuckle Mitchell has operated in the retirement market for more than 30 years. In 1982, they started out by providing financial advice to clients and administering small self-administered schemes (SSAS).  In 1997, they entered the self-invested personal pension (SIPP) market.  Since then, they’ve focused on developing specialist SIPP and SSAS solutions to meet the needs of financial and professional intermediaries and their clients.

From January 2016, Hornbuckle Mitchell Group Limited, which provides pension administration services to all Hornbuckle branded products, changed its name to Embark Services Limited.

Customer Reviews
Expert Verdict

The financial advisory arm of the business was sold in 2009 in order to focus on acting as a specialist SIPP and SSAS trustee.

Today, they have around 12,000 individual members who have placed over £3.8 billion of invested pension assets through their business. These assets are invested across a diverse range of products from unlisted and listed share instruments to commercial property and cash.

Hornbuckle offers the ‘Single Investment SIPP’, a self-invested personal pension used to hold one investment, or the ‘Full SIPP’ to hold multiple investments.

The Full SIPP allows for investment freedom in complex and simple asset classes reflected in differing management charges which vary between £550 and £635 per annum. Drawdown and flexi-drawdown costs are fairly similar to peer benchmarks.

Due diligence is required by the trustees for specialist or unregulated investments to be transferred into the scheme (on top of administration fees). This is costed at £400-500 per asset with administration charges up to £1,200 per event, which may impact significantly on some international investors.

The offshore investment supplement charge of £150 per annum per asset may further undermine the international client’s investment success. 

The Hornbuckle Mitchell Single Investment SIPP is a low-cost self-invested personal pension. It can be used in the accumulation stage of pension planning and to take income drawdown. With the Single Investment SIPP, individuals can hold cash with Bank of Scotland and select one other investment. Some more complex investments may not be held in a Single SIPP.

Traditional investments permitted in Single Investment SIPP

  • Bank account
  • Trustee investment plan
  • Unit trust
  • Stock broking account
  • Nominee account with discretionary fund manager (DFM)
  • Nominee account on fund platform or wrap
  • Open-ended investment company (OEIC)

Non-traditional investments permitted in Single Investment SIPP

  • Gold bullion
  • Exempt property unit trusts (EPUTs)
  • Limited partnerships

The Single Investment SIPP offers significantly lower costs (management fee of £230 per annum).


The Pros

> Competitive fees
> Flexible
> Enables holding of wide range of assets

The Cons

> Opacity of name change concerning
> Embark Services reported a £1.5 million loss for 2015
> The offshore investment supplement charge
What are the main fees and charges Hornbuckle levies?

Charges are subject to VAT although shown excluding VAT:

Initial/Set up fee nil

Annual fee £580 standard investments only

£655 if plan holds one or more non-standard investments

Transfer in fee None if transfer is in cash

Transfer out fee nil if in cash or in-specie transfer out of standard investments,

In-specie transfer out of non-standard investments:

UK DFM/Bonds/Brokerage : £125 per asset

Non-UK DFM/Bonds/Brokerage: £150 per asset

Non-regulated/specialist/unlisted securities: £500 per asset

In-specie transfer in fee Standard investments : nil

In-specie transfer in or out of non-standard investments:

UK DFM/Bonds/Brokerage : £125 per asset

Non-UK DFM/Bonds/Brokerage: £150 per asset

Non-regulated/specialist/unlisted securities: £500 per asset

UK Property: £550 per event

Taking benefits Flexi-Access Drawdown intial set up: Nil

Ad hoc pension income instruction processing: £50 per event

Capped Drawdown review/additonal designation: £150 per arrangment

Annual Drawdown fee: £185

Annuity purchase fee £150 per event

Payment of death benefits fee £450

Other fees Single contribution by cheque, £150 per cheque

Varying a regular contribution, nil

Standard investment transactions, UK listed securities, regulated collective investments, nil

Standard investment transactions, non-UK listed, £250 per transaction

Non-regulated collective investments transactions, £400 per transaction

Specialist investments /collectives, £400 per transaction

UK unlisted shares, £750 per event

Non-UK unlisted shares, £1,250

Other assets, quoted in advance on a case by case basis

UK unlisted shares annual administration fee £170

Annual loan administration fee £165

Annual offshore holdings administration, £200 per holding

Non-UK currency handling, £50 per transaction

Third party custody risk, £50 per holding per annum

Divorce / sharing order, £600

Scheme wind up, £150 per member

Transfer out, UK resident, £145 per member

Transfer out, non-UK resident, £250 per member

Plan closure within 12 months, £250 per event

Closed plan administration, £50 per event

Picked for choice

I plumped for the Full SIPP because it had a wider range of allowable investments - including commercial property which was something I really wanted to include in my pension.

Expert Assessment of Hornbuckle Mitchell Group

Read the UK regulator’s advice on pension transfers here.  NEVER deal with a firm that isn’t authorised as a UK pension transfer specialist.

Our advice would be to seek professional fee-based independent financial advice if you have an existing pension with Hornbuckle Mitchell.

We also recommend you get a X-Ray Review™ conducted to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your entire portfolio.

Hornbuckle Mitchell Full SIPP Fee Schedule

Hornbuckle Mitchell Single Investment SIPP Fee Schedule

Hornbuckle Mitchell SIPP With Prudential Fund Single Application Form

Hornbuckle Mitchell Private Pension Terms And Conditions

Hornbuckle Mitchell Third Party Contribution Form

Hornbuckle Mitchell FIPP Transfer Request

Hornbuckle Mitchell Transfer Out Form

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