What is a Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP)?


A Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP) is an independent administration company that offers investors access to collective investment schemes (or unit trusts) across a number of different management companies.  One could use a LISP to invest proceeds in one of the following, although each would have different tax implications and fund restrictions:

  • a unit trust investment   
  • an endowment policy 
  • a living annuity 
  • a retirement annuity

It is important to note that a LISP acts purely as an administrator and does not manage the fund assets nor does it provide investment advice.


  • Easy to understand investment solutions
  • Eliminates the burden of buying unit trusts from different companies
  • Available for discretionary investments as well as retirement funds
  • Wide range of investment options
  • No penalties relating to stopping your contributions (if there is a regular one being made as opposed to a lump sum)
  • Investor is responsible for any income tax payable as well as CGT when a withdrawal is made from a fund
  • Consolidated investment reporting
  • Provides a single view of your investment portfolio
  • 3 LISP fees:
    1. Platform (Admin)
    2. PW Harvey & Co advice (Broker)
    3. Unity Trust Fund (Manager)
  • Flexible investment terms
  • There are no guarantees (unless money market funds are used)
  • Unit Trust Funds are classified between “low risk and aggressive” and the ones used would depend on the client’s risk profile (Rating 1 to 5)
  • Often provide funds at reduced costs compared to stand alone funds
  • Facilitates switching between funds
  • 24-hour access to statements, valuations and transactional history
  • A dedicated service team
  • Funds are available within 7 working days should a withdrawal be necessary

Below is an example of a R 2 500 000 unit trust investment using an Old Mutual LISP platform.

Using a spread of different unit trust funds with different risk profiles, we are able to invest these funds at a total ongoing cost of 2.07% per annum thereby taking advantage of the benefits of investing in a LISP, as listed below.

An Endowment has a number of similar features but differs from a LISP as a result of the following:

  • Choosing to use an endowment should be based on tax and estate planning reasons (not for investment reasons).
  • The proceeds from an endowment are paid out after the administrator has already withheld income and capital gains tax (deducted during the term). Income tax at 30% and CGT at a rate of 12%.
  • Investing a family trust’s money in an endowment makes sense as we are able to reduce the income tax rate from 41% to 30% and the rate of CGT from 33% to 12%.
  • Traditionally, an endowment is a long term investment (minimum term 5 years).
  • There are limited withdrawal opportunities during the first 5 years although a client is entitled to capital plus 5% at any stage during the term.
  • A beneficiary may be appointed on an endowment thereby ensuring speedy transfer of Funds as well as executors’ fees saving on the death of the contracting party.
  • An endowment can also be used as security and may be ceded to a financial institution for this purpose

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