PensionBee Review: Is It the Best Pension Solution?

PensionBee stands out with its consolidation service, allowing clients to combine multiple pensions into one easily managed online plan, highlighted by its simplicity and transparent fee structure. This consolidation process is their hallmark.
  • Last Updated: 22 Mar 2024
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Key Takeaways
  • A personal pension plan is a retirement savings account that you can contribute to throughout your working life.
  • It is an online platform that consolidates your existing pensions into one easy-to-manage plan.
  • You can transfer your existing pension into a PensionBee plan.
  • The fees depend on the plan you choose, but they are transparent and clearly outlined on their website.
  • PensionBee is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure they meet the necessary standards and protect consumers.

The PensionBee personal pension could reduce the risk of your retirement savings becoming part of the UK’s £26,6 billion in lost pension pots.1 

This streamlined service will help you track down all those pensions you have accumulated during your working life and consolidate them all into one manageable account. 

The platform is user-friendly, catering to everyone from tech-savvy individuals to those new to digital finance.

With a focus on accessibility and transparency, PensionBee personal pension aims to make retirement saving simple.

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    In our pursuit to provide reliable information, the Every Investor team invests significant time in research, reviews, and fact-verification to keep our content up-to-date and pertinent.

    Read on to find out more about the PensionBee Personal Pension.

    Who Is PensionBee Personal Pension?

    PensionBee is a UK-based financial technology (fintech) company that specializes in pension solutions.

    PensionBee offers a digital platform that allows individuals to consolidate and manage their pensions in one place, simplifying the pension management process.

    The platform enables users to track and monitor their pension savings, make contributions, and access information about their retirement funds.

    PensionBee provides a Personal Pension product, which is essentially a pension plan that individuals can contribute to for their retirement.

    The company’s goal is to make pension management more accessible and transparent through its user-friendly online platform.

    What Is a SIPP?

    A SIPP stands for Self-Invested Personal Pension, a type of pension in the UK that gives individuals the freedom to choose their investments.

    This option is ideal for proactive savers seeking to steer their retirement funds.

    Unlike traditional pensions, SIPPs provide access to a broad spectrum of investment opportunities, such as shares, bonds, and real estate, allowing for personalized retirement strategies.

    This distinctive flexibility sets SIPPs apart in the retirement planning landscape.

    Does PensionBee Offer a SIPP?

    PensionBee does not offer a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), but it does offer a personal pension plan instead. 

    What Is the Difference Between a SIPP & a Personal Pension?

    The difference between a SIPP provider and a personal pension is that the first gives you complete control over your investment options, while the second usually has fewer investment choices and is typically managed by the provider.

    How Does the PensionBee Pension Work?

    The PensionBee Pension works by consolidating your existing pensions into one online plan managed by a professional fund manager.

    What Types of Pension Plans Does PensionBee Offer?

    The types of pension plans PensionBee offers are designed to suit different investment needs and risk profiles. 

    Low Risk

    PensionBee offers low-risk plans designed to provide stable growth to those who prefer a more conservative investment approach.

    Preserve

    For risk-averse investors, this plan invests in creditworthy companies. 

    It is managed by State Street with an annual fee of 0,50%.

    Pre-Annuity

    Also managed by State Street, this product invests in low-risk bonds and is designed for those considering purchasing an annuity. 

    It invests in low-risk bonds and has an annual fee of 0,70%.

    Medium Risk

    PensionBee’s medium-risk plans offer a balanced investment approach, aiming for moderate growth while managing volatility.

    Tracker

    Managed by State Street Global Advisors, this plan invests in world markets with an annual fee of 0,50%. 

    Tailored

    This is PensionBee’s most popular plan with the advantage of adjusting your investment strategy as you move towards retirement, making it suitable for all ages. 

    Managed by BlackRock, it has an annual fee of 0,70%.

    4Plus

    Aiming for a 4% annual growth, this plan is managed by State Street Global Advisors and has an annual fee of 0,95%.

    High Risk

    PensionBee’s high-risk plans target aggressive growth through investments in higher-risk assets, suitable for those who can tolerate more market volatility

    Fossil Fuel Free

    This plan is targeted at the environmentally-minded investor and excludes fossil fuel and other controversial industries.

    It is managed by Legal & General, with an annual fee of 0,75%.

    Impact

    The Impact Plan aims both to grow your retirement savings and to contribute to positive societal impact, by investing in companies that address social and environmental issues, such as education and sustainable energy.

    It is managed by BlackRock, with an annual fee of 0,95%

    Shariah

    This plan invests solely in socially responsible investments approved by a Shariah committee according to principles of the Islamic faith. 

    Managed by HSBC and State Street Global Advisors, it has an annual fee of 0,95%.

    What Are the Benefits of a PensionBee Pension?

    The benefits of a PensionBee pension include easy pension consolidation, competitive fees, cost-effective management and reputable funds.

    Some more info:

    • Consolidation: PensionBee brings multiple pension pots together into one simplified account, making it easier to manage your retirement savings.
    • Low-cost annual fees: With annual fees ranging from 0,50% to 0,95% depending on the plan, PensionBee is a cost-effective option for pension management.
    • User-friendly platform: The platform is designed to be straightforward and easy to use, offering online access to your pension details anytime.
    • Trusted fund managers: Funds are managed by reputable investment companies like HSBC and BlackRock, adding an extra layer of trust to your pension management.

    What Are the Drawbacks of a PensionBee Pension?

    The drawbacks of a PensionBee pension are ineligibility for UK government employees and limited investment options for seasoned investors.

    A closer look:

    • UK government employees: Unfunded pensions (like those belonging to workers in the NHS, army, civil service, and teachers, police officers, firefighters, and most local government officials) cannot be consolidated into a PensionBee plan.
    • Limited options: The platform may not offer the breadth of investment options that experienced investors might be looking for.
    • No financial advice: You will need to make investment decisions independently or seek external advice.
    • Relatively new to the market: Some investors may consider this product less tested compared to more established providers.

    Who Is Eligible to Join PensionBee?

    Individuals with a current UK pension are eligible to join PensionBee, regardless of their nationality or tax residence status; however, tax relief on contributions is only available to those residing in the UK.2

    What Should You Consider Before Choosing a PensionBee Product?

    Before choosing a PensionBee product, you should consider the annual management fees, investment options available, tax implications, flexibility of the plans, withdrawal options for retirement, and how well the firm supports its clients.

    Fees & Charges

    PensionBee charges an all-in annual management fee ranging from 0,50% to 0,95%, depending on the plan chosen, with a reduced fee on savings over £100,000. 

    Transaction costs averaging around 0,05% are managed by investment firms and are separate from your management fee.3

    Investment Options

    PensionBee provides eight different pension funds managed by renowned firms like BlackRock, HSBC, and State Street Global. 

    Each fund comes with its own asset mix and risk profile, catering to various investor needs.

    Flexibility & Accessibility

    PensionBee’s dashboard, known as the ‘Beehive’, is accessible online and via a mobile app, allowing you to manage your pension easily.4

    You can switch between different managed plans at no extra cost if your investment needs change.5

    Tax Benefits & Implications

    All the usual tax benefits of a personal pension also apply to PensionBee, such as tax relief on contributions and no tax on your investment growth or on 25% of a lump-sum withdrawal when you retire.6

    Withdrawal & Retirement Options

    PensionBee offers online drawdown options with no fees, typically processing cash payouts within seven to 10 working days. 

    Alternatively, you can opt for a regular income by purchasing a pension annuity via PensionBee’s partner, Legal & General.7

    Customer Support & Service

    PensionBee provides tiered customer support, with general assistance available through phone, email, and live chat for non-users. 

    Once you sign up, you are assigned a dedicated “BeeKeeper” who can offer personalised help via the same communication channels.8

    What Are the Contribution Limits of a PensionBee Pension?

    Contribution limits are in line with UK tax relief rules, which allow up to £60,000 per year or 100% of your salary, whichever is lower.9

    Who Is a PensionBee Pension Suited to?

    A PensionBee pension is suited to individuals seeking to consolidate prior pensions and manage finances via an app, and to those with specific investment preferences based on age, religion, or social conscience. 

    It is also a good option for the self-employed and those looking to supplement their workplace or state pension.

    You should consider a PensionBee pension if you want to bring all your retirement funds into one basket and are looking for a user-friendly platform with diverse investment choices

    Remember to evaluate fees and withdrawal options.

    How Does a PensionBee Pension Compare With Other Options?

    When comparing PensionBee to other options, we took a look at Penfold, which uses a similar model, and AJ Bell, a traditional SIPP provider. 

    PensionBee offers: 

    • eight investment funds
    • a minimum investment requirement of just £1
    • annual fees ranging from £250 to £475 for a pension pot worth £50,000.

    Penfold offers: 

    • four investment portfolios
    • a minimum deposit requirement of £1
    • charges between £375 and £455 annually for a £50,000 pension pot.

    AJ Bell offers: 

    • more than 2,000 investment options
    • a minimum investment requirement of £1,000
    • an annual fee of £125 for a pension pot valued at £50,000.

    What Are Clients Saying About PensionBee?

    What clients say about PensionBee on Trustpilot is mostly positive, with a score of 4,6 out of 5 from more than 9,500 reviews.10

    Complaints were fairly low on the platform and were mostly about the time it takes to transfer a pension.

    Dissatisfaction about losses on investments was also mentioned, but these have to be seen within the context of the global economic crisis.

    A selection of comments:

    • “Great comms from PensionBee, helpful staff (beekeepers) who respond to any queries reply quickly and a really good app where I am at last in control of my future money.” Jeanette
    • “Lost 6.74% of my pension in 2022 on the 4 Plus plan, which is supposed to be medium risk. Not a very impressive performance.” Paul A

    How to Open a PensionBee Pension

    You can open a PensionBee pension by downloading the app.

    What Steps Do You Need to Follow?

    The steps you need to follow include going to the sign-up page; filling in your name, contact details, and National Insurance number, and following the on-screen instructions as they guide you to complete the process.

    What Documents Do You Need?

    The documents you will need are some form of ID to verify your legal name and proof of your current address.

    Regulatory Details

    PensionBee is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, promoting the safety of your retirement savings. 

    Additionally, it is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), providing coverage up to £85,000 per person if issues arise.11

    Common Questions

    Why Choose PensionBee Personal Pension for Consolidating Pensions

    What Are the Fees and Charges With PensionBee Personal Pension

    How User-Friendly Is PensionBee Personal Pension

    Can PensionBee Personal Pension Accommodate Various Investment Strategies

    What Makes PensionBee Personal Pension Attractive to Savers

    Is PensionBee Safe

    How Do I Transfer My Existing Pension to a PensionBee Personal Pension

    Can I Open a PensionBee Pension Without Transferring an Old Pension Pot

    How Often Can I Access & Manage My Investments Within a PensionBee Personal Pension

    Can My Employer Pay Into My PensionBee Pension

    Can I Manage My PensionBee Pension Online

    How Long Does It Typically Take to Open a PensionBee Personal Pension Account

    What Happens to My PensionBee Pension When I Die

    In Conclusion

    PensionBee’s platform offers a simple solution for consolidating various pensions, and it is particularly beneficial for self-employed individuals who may lack a traditional workplace pension. 

    With its range of managed plans, it accommodates various investment goals, making it a versatile choice. 

    However, consulting a qualified financial advisor remains crucial to ensure that it fits seamlessly into your overall financial strategy. 

    Weighing these considerations can help you decide if a PensionBee personal pension is the right retirement savings option for you, whether you are traditionally employed or forging your own path as a self-employed professional.

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