Penfold Pension Review: What Are the Pros and Cons?

Penfold Pension is lauded for its seamless digital interface and customizable plans, fitting the needs of both novice and seasoned investors looking for flexibility and ease in managing their pensions. Their commitment to user experience is what sets them apart.
  • Last Updated: 22 Mar 2024
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Francis Hui
You Might Consider Saving for Your Retirement With Penfold Pension! Perfect for Freelancers & the Self-Employed. Flexible Contributions, Ready-Made Plans & Easy Withdrawals.
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Key Takeaways
  • A Penfold pension is a type of personal pension plan in the UK designed for self-employed individuals, which allows them to save for retirement.
  • You cannot access your pension before the age of 65 without incurring early withdrawal penalties.
  • Withdrawing from a Penfold pension may have tax implications, and it is advisable to consult a tax professional for guidance.
  • You can transfer your existing pension into it by contacting Penfold and following their transfer process.
  • There are fees and charges associated including an annual management fee and transaction fees for certain actions.

When you are self-employed or running a business, finding time for “life stuff” like planning for retirement often takes a backseat, amplifying the need for savings options such as the Penfold Pension

Concern about the status of freelancers is far from isolated; a recent survey showed that a startling 67% of self-employed individuals are anxious about their financial preparedness for later life.1

Penfold understands this issue, and its entirely app-based personal pension is a convenient option for time-poor self-employed individuals where you can choose from a range of pension plans, make adjustments on the fly, and even consolidate multiple pensions without the hassle of paperwork. 

Penfold Pension is a one-stop-shop, giving freelancers, company directors, and traditional employees alike a streamlined approach to preparing for retirement.

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    In our commitment to accuracy, the Every Investor team spends hours researching, reviewing, and fact-checking to ensure our content remains current and relevant.

    Read on for more insights into Penfold Pension.

    Who Is Penfold Pension?

    Penfold Pension is a UK-based fintech company that specializes in providing pension services, including a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) solution for individuals.

    Penfold aims to simplify pension management, making it more accessible and user-friendly through its digital platform.

    Users can sign up for a Penfold pension online, manage contributions, and track their pension savings.

    What Is a SIPP?

    A SIPP, or Self-Invested Personal Pension, provides a platform for UK individuals to personally direct their retirement investments.

    This scheme caters to investors seeking hands-on involvement with their pension savings.

    Unlike standard pension plans, SIPPs open the door to a diverse investment portfolio, including shares, bonds, and real estate, offering personalized retirement strategy options.

    Does Penfold Offer a SIPP?

    Penfold offers a personal pension with many of the characteristics of a SIPP provider —such as the tax benefits and withdrawal options—but without the autonomy of self-invested plans. 

    What Is a Penfold Pension and How Does It Work?

    A Penfold Pension is a low-cost, flexible personal pension plan that allows individuals to save for their retirement.

    It is designed to be simple and easy to use, with a digital platform that makes it convenient to manage investments and access retirement funds.

    With a Penfold Pension, individuals can contribute regularly or make one-off payments, and the funds are invested in a diversified portfolio of assets.

    The pension pot grows over time, benefiting from compound interest, and individuals can choose when to start taking their retirement income.

    This innovative pension solution offers a user-friendly experience and empowers individuals to take control of their retirement savings.

    A Penfold Pension works by providing individuals with a simple and efficient way to save for retirement.

    Upon signing up, users can set their retirement goals and select their desired contribution amount.

    The funds are then invested in a diversified portfolio, which is managed by professional investment managers.

    The pension pot grows over time as contributions and investment returns accumulate, helping individuals build a substantial retirement fund.

    Users can easily track their pension balance and make adjustments to their contributions as needed.

    When the time comes, individuals can choose to access their retirement income in a lump sum or receive regular payments. With its user-friendly interface and transparent fees, Penfold Pension offers a modern and hassle-free approach to retirement planning.

    What Are the Benefits of a Penfold Pension?

    The benefits of a Penfold Pension are tailored to simplify retirement saving, particularly if you work for yourself.

    These benefits include:

    • Quick and easy setup: You can open a pension account online in about five minutes.
    • Flexible contributions: You can adjust your payments easily, allowing for greater flexibility if you have fluctuating income.2
    • Free pension consolidation: Penfold offers a service to combine all your old pensions into a single account, making it simpler to manage your retirement funds.

    What Are the Drawbacks of a Penfold Pension?

    The drawbacks of a Penfold Pension should be carefully evaluated to see if this product could be the right fit for you.

    Drawbacks include:

    • No personalised financial advice: The platform does not offer tailored financial guidance, leaving you to make investment decisions on your own.
    • Limited investment choices: The ready-made investment portfolios restrict your options for a more customised investment strategy.
    • Low contribution levels: Although being able to change and stop your contributions alleviates some of the financial stress for freelancers, it also means that your pension pot could end up being quite small. 

    Who Is Eligible to Open a Penfold Pension?

    UK residents under the age of 75 are generally eligible to open a Penfold Pension.3

    What Should You Consider Before Choosing a Penfold Pension?

    Before choosing a Penfold Pension, you should consider all the usual suspects: fees, investment plans, flexibility, tax implications, withdrawal options, and client support.

    Fees & Charges

    The beauty of Penfold’s fees and charges lies in their simplicity: there is only one all-in fee.

    The annual fee does vary, from 0,75% to 0,88% depending on your plan choice and the size of your pension pot (tapering to 0,4 or 0,53% for portfolios larger than £100,00).4

    Ready-Made Investment Plans 

    Penfold offers four ready-made investment plans from BlackRock and HSBC that cater to different risk profiles and ethical considerations, so it is easy to select one that aligns with your financial goals and values. 

    Lifetime Plan

    The Penfold Lifetime Plan is a set-it-and-forget-it approach to retirement planning that automatically adjusts your investment strategy to less volatile markets as you approach retirement.

    This option is backed by BlackRock’s MyMap range.

    Sustainable Plan

    The Penfold Sustainable Plan allows your money to do good as it grows by focusing on companies with high environment, social and governance (ESG) scores.

    You will support businesses tackling issues like climate change and waste reduction through Blackrock’s MyMap ESG funds.

    Sharia Plan

    The Penfold Sharia Plan uses the HSBC Islamic Global Equity Index Fund to ensure 100% Halal-compliant stock investments.

    Overseen by an independent Sharia committee, it steers clear of sectors like alcohol, tobacco, and finance. 

    Standard Plan

    The Penfold Standard Plan offers you the choice of four risk levels, adapts to market changes, and keeps fees straightforward—all powered by BlackRock. 

    It is a no-fuss way to diversify your retirement savings while keeping them aligned with your risk tolerance.

    Flexibility & Accessibility

    Penfold Pension’s flexibility and accessibility are particularly useful for freelancers and self-employed individuals as you can pause, top-up, or adjust your contributions at any time, depending on your income flow.5

    You do not need a minimum deposit, and you can manage everything instantly through the app. 

    Tax Benefits & Implications

    You will receive a 25% top-up to private pension contributions, which Penfold will claim directly from HMRC and add to your plan to plump up your funds. 

    How that works:

    • This 25% figure comes from pre-tax income. 
    • If a basic-rate taxpayer contributes £80, their pre-tax income for that amount would have been £100. 
    • The government’s £20 addition makes it a total of £100, which means the £20 is 25% of the initial £80 contribution.6

    This tax incentive is applied to annual contributions up to £60,000 or your total annual earnings, whichever is the lower.7 

    More about this further down.

    Withdrawal & Retirement Options

    When it comes to withdrawal and retirement options, you can take a drawdown, purchase an annuity, or choose a once-off lump sum. 

    The process is entirely digital, so there is no paperwork, and it is adaptable to your needs, allowing you to adjust your monthly withdrawals without any fees or minimum withdrawal restrictions.8 

    Additionally, Penfold has a retirement team to walk you through your retirement decision-making process.

    Customer Support & Service

    Penfold offers multiple customer service channels including live chat, phone, and email. 

    Your first point of contact will generally be the live chat function on the app.

    You will typically get an answer within minutes with an email follow-up so you have a record of your query.

    For more in-depth queries, connect directly with a human by selecting “Help Setting Up Your Pension”.

    What Are the Contribution Limits of a Penfold Pension?

    The contribution limits of a Penfold Pension before you start incurring tax penalties are the same as those of other personal pensions, namely £60,000 or your total annual earnings, whichever is the lower.

    You are also able to carry over any unused annual allowance from the previous three years, which is a bonus for you if you are self-employed and you have an unpredictable income from year to year. 

    Who Is a Penfold Pension Suited to?

    A Penfold Pension is suited to freelancers, self-employed individuals, small business owners, and company directors in the UK.

    The platform has expanded its product base to include companies that want to set up a flexible, easy-to-manage private pension for their employees.9

    You should consider a Penfold Pension if you are looking for a no-hassle way to manage your retirement savings, especially if you are self-employed, a freelancer, or generally have an irregular income flow. 

    One of its standout features is the free pension consolidation service, which allows you to bring all your old pensions into one place, making them easier to manage.10

    How Does a Penfold Pension Compare With Other Options?

    Compared to other options, Penfold stands out for its specialisation in plans for self-employed individuals and company directors. 

    You can open a plan with a very small deposit, unlike similar products where you are required to transfer an old pension to get you started.

    All services, including withdrawals, are accessible via the app, eliminating the need for paperwork and extra charges.

    What Are Clients Saying About Penfold?

    What clients say about Penfold is generally positive, with users consistently praising the ease of setting up their pension and the quality of customer service.

    The platform holds:

    •  4,8 out of 5 rating on the App Store.11
    • 4,3 out of 5 on Trustpilot.12
    • 4,1 out of 5 on Google Play.13 

    Opening a Penfold Pension

    Opening a Penfold Pension takes a few minutes, just make sure you have the necessary paperwork to speed things along.

    There are some simple steps you need to follow to open a Penfold Pension:

    1. Download the Penfold app and sign up. 
    2. Choose a plan. Remember, you can always swop later on
    3. Add money to start (even £10 will do), or move over an old pension. (Penfold will do all the heavy lifting to get the transfer done). 

    What Documents Do You Need?

    The documents you need to open a Penfold Pension are the same as for any other personal pension.

    In case you have forgotten:

    • A form of UK ID
    • National Insurance number
    • UK bank account details
    • Proof of address and tax-payer status

    Regulatory Details

    Penfold is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and must adhere to its regulations to ensure the security of your retirement plan.

    Penfold also belongs to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and should anything go wrong, you can claim up to a maximum of £85,000 per individual.14

    Common Questions

    Suitability for Freelancers and the Self-Employed

    Penfold Pension Charges Compared to Other SIPPs

    Customization According to Individual Needs

    Unique Features of Penfold Pension

    Why Consider Penfold Pension for Retirement Savings

    Is a Penfold Pension Safe

    How Do I Transfer My Existing Pension to a Penfold Pension

    How Often Can I Access and Manage My Investments Within a Penfold Pension

    Can I Manage My Penfold Pension Online

    How Long Does It Typically Take to Open a Penfold Pension Account

    What Happens to My Penfold Pension When I Die

    Are There Any Restrictions on Investment Choices Within My Penfold Pension

    Can I Access My Penfold Pension Funds Before Retirement Age

    Are There Any Penalties for Exceeding My Penfold Pension Contribution Limits

    In Conclusion

    The complexities of working for yourself can be daunting, especially when it comes to preparing for retirement. 

    Penfold understands these unique challenges and has designed its pension plans to accommodate the flexible needs of self-employed individuals and company directors. 

    Before committing, consider consulting a qualified financial advisor to evaluate if a Penfold Pension aligns well with your investment goals. 

    Tailored to the intricacies of self-employment and flexible work, a Penfold Pension could be the retirement solution you have been seeking.

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