Investing in Bespoke Investments

Bespoke Investments

SIPPs offer significant investment choice flexibility, putting clients in control. At Curtis Banks, we are proud to offer one of the widest choices of investment options available, including specialist investments.

Bespoke investments, also known as specialist investments, are only allowable in our self-invested pensions if they meet our due diligence requirements. The FCA restricts who can receive the promotion of and invest in specialist investments, this includes: certified high net worth investors, certified sophisticated investors and self-certified sophisticated investors.

Private Equity is an alternative investment class that invests in or acquires private companies on a managed basis.

We deem Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes and unlisted shares to be specialist investments. You can read our Schedule of Allowable Investments to identify whether we categorise an asset as standard or specialist.

How to invest

  1. Provide investment instruction via secure message, email or post
  2. We’ll assess the investment and inform you if we are able to proceed to the due diligence process. This usually takes 3 working days, however if the asset is more complex, we might need some additional time to review
  3. If we are able to proceed to due diligence on the asset, we’ll send you any relevant documentation to complete
  4. Complete and return any relevant documentation, including subscription documents, and any other due diligence information that we request
  5. Our due diligence assessment begins once we have received all required information. It usually takes us around 3-4 weeks to complete, and we will let you know if we need any further information throughout.
  6. If the asset is approved, we’ll send confirmation to you as well as arranging for the relevant forms and monies to be provided to the non standard investment administrator

We typically expect this process to take approximately 6 weeks in total, however this is dependent on the type, and complexity of investment.

Standard and non standard investments

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) classify the investments in SIPPs as either ‘standard’ or ‘non-standard’. This is to reflect the difference in the responsibilities that SIPP operators have when they hold the different classifications of investment. The classification is not an indication of potential investment risk or reward; both standard and non-standard investments may be high risk.

Standard investments are usually easier to value and are either easily sold for cash or are freely transferable. They may also be regulated by the FCA or listed on a stock exchange that is recognised by the FCA.

Non-standard investments may be difficult to sell and may not be regularly valued. The FCA has a concern that most non-standard investments are unlikely to be suitable for ordinary clients.

There are a number of different types of bespoke investments, including private equity, UCIS and unlisted shares. You can read more about UCIS and unlisted shares below.

The classifications of investments used on our website and literature are based on our current interpretation of the non-standard investments guidance given by the FCA.

Investing in unlisted shares

ue to our expertise and experience, we are able to offer our clients the opportunity to invest in unlisted shares. This can be a complex area of SIPP and SSAS investments, and we will therefore require completion of our Unlisted Shares Questionnaire before confirming whether a particular investment is acceptable.

For us to consider an unlisted share application, the following criteria must be met:

  • Company must be incorporated in the UK;
  • Must be a trading company (not an investment company);
  • Shares must be freely transferable to another eligible investor
  • Company shares must not be on any listed stock exchange

There are additional criteria in the event that your client wishes to invest in a connected company:

1. The client and any connected parties must not own 20% or more of the company;
2. The client and any connected parties must not be controlling directors of the company;
3. The purpose or one of the purposes of holding shares in the company must not be to enable your client or their connected parties and concert parties (a group of people acting together in order to take over or control a company) to have personal use of any assets of the company.

Please refer to our Unlisted Share Guidance Notes for more information.

Unregulated collective investment schemes


Due to our controls, governance and expertise, we are able to offer investment in UCIS and collective investment schemes (CIS) – sometimes known as a ‘pooled investment’. a CIS is a fund that usually has several people contribute to it. A unregulated collective investment scheme (UCIS) is a collective investment scheme that has not been authorised or recognised by the FCA.

Common examples of CIS are Open Ended Investment Company (OEIC) or Unit Trusts.

According to Moneyhelper, UCIS can be riskier than other pooled funds, because they often invest in assets that aren’t available to regulated investments.

You can use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) online register to check whether a CIS is authorised or recognised by the FCA. You can also us this FCA tool to ascertain whether a firm is authorised to provide investment services in relation to UCIS.

You can find out more about UCIS on the FCA website here.