It sounds like a nightmare. Why would anyone want to put their pension on the futures market? Yes you could retire rich, but the chances are higher that you will be headed for the poorhouse. It really does not sound like a good idea.
We will have another post later on this week about what your investment lifetime looks like and how you should deal with futures, contracts for difference and spread bets as part of that, by the way you can’t put spread bets into your pension. However what you must remember is this, your pension is an investment vehicle, admittedly one that has a number of restrictions designed for you to think of it (rightly) of your pension savings as a long term project. Even in a long term project the most speculative investments have their place.
There is really one vehicle that you can use to put futures or contracts for difference in to your pension plan if you are a UK taxpayer and that is the Self Invested Pension Plan, or SIPP. The SIPP was set up in the 1980s by the reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson. It can, theoretically, take in just about any quoted and a number of non-quoted investments. These include futures and contracts for difference. You will need to be careful as a number of SIPP providers do not like dealing with these, and some exchanges have stopped trading them (for example IG Index won’t trade CFDs in SIPPs). So you will need to look for a full service SIPP provider.
SIPPs tend to charge in a different way to the way in which other pension funds charge. SIPPs will charge for the underlying transaction and administrative actions, while pension funds tend to charge a flat fee based on the size of your pension pot.
Another use for futures within a SIPP is as a hedge, and that’s a subject that really needs its own post.