For many people, their pension will be their main savings pot used to live during retirement. Making sure the pension provider you choose is right for you can save you time, stress and money.
In this PensionBee review I’ll run through everything from expected fees, to services provided and investment performance. My aim is to give you a comprehensive breakdown of the PensionBee service so you can make sure they’re right for you, including being able to make more informed comparisons to alternative providers.
This service might not be right for everyone and in this post I’ll actually highlight who I think this service is more suited towards.
- Low cost
- No exit fee or minimum terms
- Easy consolidation process
- Good historical returns on plans
- Ability to use their consolidation then move elsewhere if you want
- Excellent app & dashboard providing clear performance overview
- Doesn’t offer financial advice
- Minimal choice of funds – only a few plans to choose from
- Only able to set up an account if you’re consolidating pensions
How Does PensionBee Work?
Most people only interact with their pension provider when they are auto-enrolled into their employer’s pension scheme and then when they retire and want to access their hard earned money.
As people move jobs every few years, the amount of pensions they have starts to stack up and it becomes difficult to remember where these pension pots are, let alone track their performance.
Many people forget they even have some pensions, especially if they were only with an employer for a short while. This can mean money is stuck in default, poorly performing pension funds and you’re missing out on potential investment gains to help your retirement nest egg.
PensionBee is aiming to change that. By focusing on pension consolidation, they aim to track down and pull together all your pensions into a new low-cost pension plan, making it a lot easier to manage and view performance.
It is also worth noting there is a free pension finding service from the government, however it’s quite a long process and you then have to decide how to manage each one individually.
In order to get started with PensionBee, you need to choose which fund your pension pots will be invested in, listed below.
Unfortunately PensionBee doesn’t provide any recommendations on which plan would suit you. However, they do provide all the information about each plan on the pension plans section on their website. This shows what each plan is invested in and tracks prior performance, although just remember that prior performance isn’t a guaranteed indicator of future returns.
- Tracker (State Street Global Advisors)
- Tailored (BlackRock)
- Fossil Fuel Free (Legal & General)
- 4Plus (State Street Global Advisors)
- Shariah (HSBC & State Street Global Advisors)
- Preserve (State Street Global Advisors)
- Pre-Annuity (State Street Global Advisors)
Your money is then invested with third party investment companies, which differ per plan depending on the investments they can offer, shown above.
Information Required to Consolidate Pensions
Once you have chosen your plan, the next step is to provide as much information as you can to assist the PensionBee team in tracking down all of your pension pots.
They’ll then get to work and you’ll be notified if any of the pension pots have guaranteed benefits or exit fees of over £10. If any of your pension pots do have a guaranteed benefits, if the value of that benefit is over £30,000, current rules and regulations state that you have to take financial advice before you’re able to transfer it. This is a useful rule and makes sure you’re fully aware of all of the factors to consider when making your decision.
It’s also worth noting that you are able to change your mind within 30 days of signing up and they’ll stop the transfers.
PensionBee Customer Reviews
PensionBee has over 6,000 reviews on Trustpilot with an average of 4.6 out of 5 and 82% of them being excellent reviews. Looking into the comments on their reviews, many people cite having an efficient and stress free service then have a great way to view and track their pension.
However, some of the lower rated reviews do mention there are long wait times to get everything completed and transferred.
It’s probably worth noting that some of the slow service could be down to the current pension providers being slow, they are losing their fees after all so could be dragging their feet.
To help combat this slow service, PensionBee are also starting to get into the polical space, actively lobbying to try and make pension switching a lot easier and more efficient. The aspiration is to try and make pension switching as easy as the current account switching, which now has a lot of rules and regulations to help the consumer make this as quick and effortless as possible. I certainly hope they’re successful!
Each plan has charges that range from 0.5% to 0.95% a year and all investments over £100,000 are charged at half the base fee. As a worked example if you had a £200,000 pension pot in the Tracker Plan which has a 0.5% annual fee, you’d pay 0.5% on the first £100,000 then 0.25% on the other £100,000 for a total annual fee of £750 (£500 + £250).
For a more in-depth look into all the fees for PensionBee, you can look on their fee page on site here.
PensionBee App and Online Dashboard
Once your money has been consolidated and you’re actively using the service you can track your pension on a great app or online dashboard. This includes visibility on any additional contributions you make and the performance of your investments.
The intuitive and well built platform is well praised in their online reviews and often cited as slick and easy to use.
Consolidating your pensions is becoming quite the competitive industry. This is because it’s a quick way for companies to get access to your long-term pension savings, which they’ll be able to make quite a lot of money from over time.
Fortunately this competition has been good for the customer as has helped lower fees, and many companies now offer the actual pension consolidation service completely for free.
It’s also worth finding out whether any of your current pension providers offer a pension consolidation service, as you may be able to leverage the low fees you already have access to.
To give some examples of other alternative companies it could be worth looking into that offer a similar service, I’ve listed some below. This isn’t a complete list although should aid your research.
- Legal & General
- AJ Bell
- True Potential Investor
- Hargreaves Lansdown
If you’re just wanting to find out if you have any pensions to consolidate in the first place, remember that there is that free pension locating service from the government that I’ve linked to above. This may help give you a base to work from, understanding the various positives and negatives about the plans you’re already with.
Is PensionBee Safe?
PensionBee doesn’t give financial advice, so any decisions you make related to choosing a specific plan to invest your money or transferring in an old pension is down to you. This obviously carries an element of risk, so if you do have any questions make sure to contact a financial advisor.
For the money that will be invested in a pension plan, all plans are protected via the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so if PensionBee were to go bust and cease trading, your money will be safe.
Pension Consolidation – A Good Idea?
Pension consolidations can make a lot of sense for those people with a number of defined contribution pensions. This will allow you have them all in one place, menaing fewer statements, fewer fee structures to manage and possibly lower management charges.
It may be worth reviewing the fees of all of your current providers if you have a few workplace pensions. Some employers may have negotiated brilliant deals where they have access to wide range of investments and have very low fees. Knowing what they are can help you compare and understand whether it would be worth consolidating them, or leaving them where they are.
Summary – PensionBee Review
Overall, if you’re looking for a low-cost and hassle-free way to consolidate your pensions into one easy to manage pot then PensionBee is definitely worth considering. However, for those with defined benefit pension schemes or already enrolled in a pension through your employer that’s got low fees there may not be much additional benefit to using this service.
This post is just intended as guidance to help you understand the services being offered and help you make a more informed choice. If you have any questions relating to pensions, make sure to speak to a financial advisor that can give you specific advice related to your personal circumstances.
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Hi, I’m John. I’ve always had a keen interest in Finance, so much so that I’ve made a career out of it! This site is a place where I can share everything I’ve learned as well as give me the excuse to research certain topics.
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