Buying bonds in a SIPP
The term ‘bonds’ takes in a huge range of investments and savings plans. Find out which ones you can hold in your SIPP and why you might want to add them to your portfolio.
What are bonds?
‘Bond’ is a term savers and investors will frequently come across; it loosely describes an agreement with a business or government to pay you interest in return for money that you have lent.
You will often see cash accounts like fixed-rate savings accounts from banks and building societies referred to as bonds, then there are Premium Bonds offered by NS&I.
However, in an investment context, the term bond usually refers to fixed-interest securities. These include loans to governments, known as government bonds or gilts and loans to businesses which are called corporate bonds.
Both pay a fixed rate of return, but unlike savings plans, your capital is at risk if the borrower defaults on the loan.
Which bonds can I hold in my SIPP?
You can hold fixed interest securities in your SIPP, such as government or corporate bonds. These can include bonds from the UK as well as overseas markets. To be eligible for investment in a SIPP, bonds need to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
You can’t hold savings products like fixed-rate bonds that you see promoted in your local bank or building society, in a SIPP however. Nor can you put Premium Bonds into a SIPP.
You can still hold cash in your SIPP, but you would need to use one of the cash deposit options offered by your SIPP provider.
Why should I buy bonds for my SIPP?
Bonds can play a useful role in any investment portfolio. Not only do they provide some helpful diversification in an equity-heavy SIPP, they can also reduce the overall risk of your portfolio.
This can be particularly helpful as you get older and capital preservation starts to take priority over capital growth.
Bonds can also be used to deliver a regular and reliable income to investors, which can be useful once you have retired and have entered into drawdown.
Even though government bonds and corporate bonds are traditionally considered to be lower risk than equities, they are not without risk. The borrower, for example, may default on the loan, and the higher the yield of a bond, the greater this risk is.
There is also an interest rate risk to consider. A fixed rate of return will become more attractive when interest rates fall and the price of bonds will go up. By the same token if interest rates rise, your return will look less impressive and bond prices will start to fall.
What is the best way to buy bonds for my SIPP?
You can buy bonds direct through your SIPP platform, as you would buy shares.
However as with shares, it may be cheaper and lower risk to buy a bond fund that invests in a range of bonds and is run by a fund manager on your behalf.
How can Pension Wise help?
If you have a defined contribution pension scheme and are 50 or over, then you can access free, impartial guidance on your pension options by booking a face to face or telephone appointment with Pension Wise, a service from MoneyHelper.
If you are under 50, you can still access free, impartial help and information about your pensions from MoneyHelper.
Learn more about our SIPP
Learn how to make the most out of your SIPP with our useful guides.
Please remember, SIPPs are aimed at people happy to make their own investment decisions. Investment value can go up or down and you could get back less than you invest. You can normally only access the money from age 55 (57 from 2028). We recommend seeking advice from a suitably qualified financial advisor before making any decisions. Pension and tax rules depend on your circumstances and may change in future.