In this PensionBee review, I look at every aspect of this pension platform, from its history, pension plans, and fees to promotions and customer support.
During my review, I opened an account with the pension provider for a more personal user experience.
I also contacted the customer support team for additional clarification on various factors about the company.
My PensionBee review is divided into multiple subsections covering different aspects of the business.
So, let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
History of PensionBee
PensionBee is a UK-based pension platform launched by CEO Romi Savova in 2014. The company’s main objective is to revolutionise the pension industry in the UK by making it easier for customers to find and consolidate existing pension plans.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for authorising and regulating the operations of PensionBee. As of 2021, the company was reported to have over one million customers and was floating on the London Stock Exchange.
Over 80% of UK adults save their pension plans through their employees. These employer-focused pension providers might have worked effectively in the past. However, due to the frequency of changing jobs by UK adults, employers are forced to open new pension plans each time they make a new hire.
In the end, you find a worker with multiple old pension plans, which are managed poorly. Some old work pensions even end up losing their gains.
PensionBee provides a solution to adults faced with multiple pension pots. Customers can effectively consolidate all their multiple pension plans in one place. Apart from rolling over the old numerous pension plans, they can also use the platform to track the various pension plans from one platform.
Customers can also optimise pension plans by rescuing poorly managed plans or plans with high management fees.
PensionBee also provides individuals who are looking to start their pension plan. The platform offers pension plans for both employed and self-employed individuals. Whether you are looking for a self-employed pension or a private pension, PensionBee will have something to meet your pension needs.
The platform also features a team of pension experts who ensure customers pick the most suitable purpose-built pension plan.
The platform has partnered with global investment banks to give its customers an easy and effective saving plan for retirement.
PensionBee Pension Plans
PensionBee exclusively focuses on pension plans and nothing more, thus making it easy for its target market to understand its product offering. The PensionBee plans are carefully selected to meet the various pension needs of the clients. Customers have the freedom to pick their preferred pension plan.
If you are unsure which plan to choose, the PensionBee expert team will place you in the popular Tailored Plan. Experienced teams, including companies like HSBC, State Street, and Blackstreet, manage the PensionBee pension plans.
PensionBee pension plans are diversified investing across multiple assets and countries, thus minimising the risk of losses. Customers have the freedom to switch between plans. Currently, PensionBee has eight pension plans:
PensionBee Tracker Fund
The PensionBee plan focuses on investing money in world markets. It features a diversified portfolio of equities (80%), fixed income (15%), and cash (5%). It is considered the lowest-cost plan offered by the PensionBee and is managed by State Street Global Advisors. The risk level of the pension plan, on a scale of 1 to 7, is 5.
PensionBee Tailored Fund
It is the most popular PensionBee pension plan, and the investment strategy is adjusted as one gets older. It features higher risk when the customer is younger and moves to low-risk strategies when they are almost retirement age.
BlackRock manages the pension plan and features equities (69%), fixed income (30%), and commodities (1%). With this plan, customers can recover from any market losses they might have experienced in the market in their younger years. On a scale of 1 to 7, the Tailored Fund has a risk of 3,4 and 5.
PensionBee 4 Plus Fund
PensionBee offers the 4Plus Fund, focusing on increasing the pension pot with an annual rate of 4%. The pension plan contains a mix of assets; equity (20%), fixed income (35%), cash (35%), property (3%), and commodities (8%). State Street Global Advisors manage the 4 Plus Fund.
PensionBee Shariah Compliant Fund
The Shariah Compliant Fund is one of the unique pension plans offered by PensionBee. The money in this pension plan is invested into Shariah-compliant companies and must be approved by the independent Shariah committee.
PensionBee provides a 100% equity-based, with this pension plan. Even though the pension plan is expensive, it is effectively managed by HSBC. Shariah Compliant Fund has a risk level of 5/7.
PensionBee Preserve Fund
Customers who prefer a portfolio that is more risk averse. Funds from this pension plan are invested in creditworthy companies, even though it’s a short-term pension plan scheme. Since it’s a low-risk plan, the Preserve Fund offers its customers meagre returns. The portfolio entails only 100% fixed income and is managed by State Street. The risk level of the pension plan is 1 out of 7.
PensionBee Fossil Fuel-Free Plan
PensionBee Fossil Fuel Free Plan is a pension plan that excludes companies that fall into specific categories. The companies which fall in the following groups aren’t eligible for investment using funds from the Fossil Fuel Free Plan:
- Fossil fuel producers
- Companies that persistently violate the UN Global Compact
- Tobacco companies
- Companies that manufacture controversial weapons
Compared to all the pension funds offered by PensionBee, the Fossil Fuel Free Plan provides the highest returns but has the highest risks. The pension plan focused on companies that comply with the Paris Agreement.
It has an investment profile entailing 100% equities. The risk rating of this pension plan is 9 out of 10, and it is currently managed by Legal & General.
PensionBee Pre-Annuity Fund
The pension plan aims at providing customers with returns associated with the cost of buying an annuity. The primary investment vehicle of this pension plan is low-risk Bonds. State Street currently manages it and features 100% bonds in its profile.
PensionBee pension plans offer flexible contributions. Customers make contributions based on their current income, with the option of making a lump sum or periodic contributions.
Customers can opt for a private pension or self-employed pension plan based on their savings and pension needs from the above eight plans. Every pension plan features a mix of investment assets and fees.
PensionBee also has an Impact Plan. The pension plans invest only in companies focusing on making positive social, economic, and environmental impacts globally. Customers can consolidate their old pension plans with PensionBee under any of the pension plans offered by the platform.
The pension plans offered by PensionBee are non-leveraged products and are fully managed by the platform’s team. There is no spread betting permitted with tax-efficient products. Investors don’t require any investment strategy when opting for the products offered by PensionBee. PensionBee doesn’t allow customers to invest in leveraged products.
PensionBee Research Services & Tools
The PensionBee team of experts takes responsibility for conducting all the transactions. Nevertheless, customers are provided with basic knowledge about their pension plans and how they are managed.
Since PensionBee handles all the heavy work, customers don’t require in-depth knowledge, analysis, or tools for their pension solutions.
PensionBee has a helpful resource centre that provides customers and potential clients with all the essential information about the platform. The resource centre features different types of content, which are grouped into the following primary categories:
- Pensions explained
- Pension academy videos
- PensionBee’s blog
- Pension Landscape
- Pension Confident Podcast
Novice investors and new pension plan seekers will find plenty of helpful information in the “Pensions explained” section. The section covers the following aspects of the PensionBee services and products:
- The basics
- Pension types
- Contributions to pensions
- Pension rules
- Withdrawals of pensions
- Finding and transferring pensions
The Pension Confident Podcast happens monthly and is the newest addition to the platform’s knowledge centre. The podcast features fintech founders and financial experts who give detailed and professional insights into personal finances. If you miss the podcast, you can always find a recorded version of the past podcasts on the website.
PensionBee also has a detailed FAQ section as part of its knowledge centre. The section has various questions with clear professional answers. You will also be directed to relevant articles based on the query one is making on the website. PensionBee doesn’t provide financial advice to its customers; neither are those services available on its platform.
PensionBee offers a cost-effective service when managing the pension plans of its customers. Due to its low cost, the platform has gained immense popularity compared to its competitors.
The only necessary fee the platform charges is the PensionBee annual management fee, which ranges from 0.50% to 0.95%, based on the pension plan one has opted for. The platform deducts a fraction of the annual management cost daily; thus, it won’t be a massive deduction at the end of the year.
If you opt for a £100,000 pension pot, you will be required to pay the following annual management cost by PensionBee:
- Tracker Fund: 0.50%
- Tailored Fund: 0.70%
- 4 Plus Fund: 0.95%
- Shariah Compliant Fund: 0.95%
- Preserve Fund: 0.50%
- Fossil Fuel Free Plan: 0.75%
- Pre-Annuity Fund: 0.70%
- Impact: 0.95%
PensionBee doesn’t charge any exit fees for its customers. Other additional prices which aren’t charged on the platform include the following:
- Fund fee
- Platform fee
- Advisor fee
When transferring funds to PensionBee, the platform doesn’t charge transaction fees. However, the previous provider might charge you a transfer fee. There are instances when the value of the pension plan can slightly decrease after the transfer.
The decrease in value can be attributed to the new pension investment method and the stock market fluctuations.
Early withdrawal fee
Customers get free withdrawals when drawing money from their pensions. However, customers will be charged a £150 fee if they withdraw from their retirement plans, which have a balance of less than £150 when making the withdrawal. The fee also applies to customers who withdraw funds within 12 months of getting a PensionBee live balance.
PensionBee Platform & Mobile App
The PensionBee platform is user-friendly and features a simple registration process. After signing up, customers can either transfer their existing pension or set up a brand-new pension.
The platform will then request the investor to pick their preferred pension plan. The experts will take over and facilitate pension transfers and transitions related to the client’s pension plan.
The PensionBee platform is accessible via web and mobile applications. The web and mobile applications have the same features and capabilities, giving customers the convenience of accessing the platform at any time.
The mobile application is compatible with iOS and Android devices. From the dashboard, one can easily track the performance of the pension plan.
Customers can easily make timely contributions to their pension plans using the mobile app and web version. Making contributions via the mobile application is most convenient for investors making ad hoc pension contributions.
The simplified user interface of the platforms allows for easy navigation to various critical sections of the platform while having easy access to the customer support contact options.
PensionBee Customer Support
PensionBee has dedicated customer support who are knowledgeable about their products and clients. They can handle any query related to the platform.
Customers also have an opportunity to give feedback about their experience when interacting with the PensionBee platform. The PensionBee customer support contact options include:
- PensionBee live chat
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: 020 3457 8444 (Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 5 pm)
- Email Feedback: [email protected]
- Email customer complaint: [email protected]
PensionBee Customer Support is also reachable on various social media platforms:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PensionBee
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/pensionbee
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/pensionbee/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pensionbee/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpVxqKCXMkiRL1GVgQERSHA
- Spotify: https://www.pensionbee.com/podcast
Pros & Cons of PensionBee
- Capable of consolidating all existing pension plans
- Pension plans are easy to understand
- Affordable fees on the pension plans
- Responsive customer support
- Ideal for self-employed individuals
- Transparent fee and charging structure
- No exiting fees
- Lack of financial advice
- Zero interaction for experienced investors
PensionBee offers a platform where individuals with previous pension plans can easily and speedily consolidate all their existing plans under one roof.
The pension platform provides an impressive range of pension plans, which have been categorised based on risk and the client’s pension needs.
Thanks to the abundant resources and competent team managing the pension plans, the platform is suitable for novice and experienced investors.
Experienced investors might not like the idea of having zero participation in handling the fund in their pension plans.
Nevertheless, PensionBee offers low-cost pension plans with zero hustle when consolidating one’s existing pension plans.
Since the platform doesn’t lock its customers with exiting fees, investors can leave at any point without fear of attracting additional charges.
Despite lacking financial advice, the platform has gained immense popularity and has more than 1 million clients. The Financial Service Compensation Scheme protects all the pension plans provided by PensionBee. PensionBee has a rating of 4.6/5 on Trustpilot, with over 9000 customer reviews.
Alternatives to PensionBee
PensionBee gives one more control over their existing pension plans from different providers. Some of the most popular alternatives of PensionBee include:
Investors with meagre pension pots who want a more affordable solution will find AJ Bell a much better choice. The platform allows investors to grow their returns from their pension plans with very reasonable costs. The costs at AJ Bell start from 0.25% of the cash invested. Additionally, investors must pay dealing fees on the various assets they invest; the charges start from £4.95 to £9.95.
Investors planning to make frequent trades will most likely find AJ Bell a costly option. Passive investors, on the other hand, will see the platform as very cost-effective. AJ Bell has an expansive catalogue of investment products; SIPP (Self-invested personal pension), Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior SIPP, Lifetime ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, and Share Dealing account.
AJ Bell currently has the following fees on its platform: Cost per Trade (£9.95), Frequent Trader (£4.95), Annual Custody Fee (0.25%), Bonds Fee (0.25%), ETFs Fee (0.25%), Investment Trusts Fee (0.25%), Phone Dealing Fee (£29.95), and Platform Fee (0.25%). Compared to PensionBee, AJ Bell seems more costly than the latter. Yet the platform has attracted more than 295k customers, with client assets worth more than £56.5 billion.
Read my full AJ Bell review.
Penfold prides itself in being the best pension plan provider for self-employed adults. The platform is designed and customised to provide its clients with speedy and effective retirement plans.
The registration process at Penfold takes a few minutes, granting one access to various pension products and services. The pension solution provided by Penfold is flexible and easily adapts to any changes in income the customer might experience.
Customers using Penfold can adjust their timely payments, pause or make one-off payments. The platform also doesn’t require customers to make a minimum investment.
It provides customers with professional and expert advice to locate and consolidate existing pension plans. The experts advise investors on the best pension plans and how much capital they can comfortably set aside without affecting their financial health.
Penfold has a 0.75% annual management fee on the various pension plans. Pension plans with a more than £100,000 pot value have a 0.45% annual management fee.
Investors with a Shariah pension plan have a 0.88% annual management fee or 0.53% annual management fee (for investments higher than £100,000). Currently, Penfold has the following pension plans for its customers; Standard lifetime plan, Standard, Sustainable, Shariah, and Sustainable Lifetime.
Customers enjoy a 25% tax relief when contributing to their Penfold pension plans.
Novice investors who have a challenge managing and setting up their pension plans will greatly benefit when they join Moneybox. The Moneybox rounding-up feature rounds-up daily purchases to the nearest pound and transfers the extra charge to the customer’s pension pot.
Based on their flexibility, customers can set up scheduled payments, weekly, monthly, and even lump sum deposits.
One of the best features of Moneybox is the pension tracking service offered by the platform. It also has a pension detective team and tools, which help one to track and consolidate old pension plans under one roof.
Thus, enabling effective management of one’s existing and old pension plans. MoneyBox has an impressive catalogue of products based on the needs of an investor, which focus on investing and saving.
Popular Moneybox investment accounts include; Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account, and Stocks and Shares ISA. In comparison, the savings accounts are Simple Saver, 32-Day Notice, 45-Day Notice, 95-Day Notice, and 120-Day Notice. The Moneybox Personal Pension and Pension Calculator will significantly benefit customers saving for retirement.
Read my full Moneybox review.
PensionBee Review – Final Thoughts
In conclusion, PensionBee stands out as a remarkable and user-friendly platform that effectively addresses the complexities and challenges of pension management.
Its innovative approach to consolidating pension plans, user-friendly interface, and robust customer support make it a standout choice for individuals seeking a streamlined and hassle-free pension management experience.
The platform’s commitment to transparency, coupled with its array of investment options, ensures that users can confidently navigate their financial futures. However, it’s important to note that individual preferences and financial goals may vary, so potential users should carefully assess their needs before committing to any pension management service.
Overall, PensionBee’s impressive features and commitment to simplifying pension management make it a compelling option in the ever-evolving landscape of financial technology.