Compare Top Personal Private Pensions

We have narrowed down and reviewed some of the best private personal pension providers in the UK. Use our comparison table and private pension reviews to choose the most appropriate pensions provider for you. You can compare personal pensions by cost, investment range and added value.

Best Private Pension 2021


✔️ Free to set up
✔️ Simple managed funds
✔️Publically listed on the LSE

PensionBee won the best personal pension account award in our 2021 awards as they offer a low-cost way to combine and manage all your old pensions in one place with a wide range of managed portfolios to invest in.

What is a private pension?

A private pension is a tax efficient way to invest and save for your retirement and can give you greater control over where your money is invested. Compare private pension providers in the UK and check private pension costs from popular providers and choose an account with the best investment portfolios, lowest costs, and best features for your needs.

PensionBee Pension

Pension Options

  • Tracker
  • Tailored
  • Fossil Fuel Free
  • 4Plus
  • Shariah
  • Preserve
  • Pre-Annuity

Pension Costs

  • Account Fee: 0.5%
  • SIPP Fee: £0
  • Dealing fee: £0
  • Exit Fees: £0
  • Min Investment: £1

See Offer

Winner: Best Personal Pension Account Good Money Guide Awards 2021

PensionBee Pension Review

Combine all your old pensions in one place and invest in pension plans managed by some of the world’s biggest money managers: State Street Global Advisors, HSBC, BlackRock and Legal & GeneralCombine all your old pensions in one place and invest in pension plans managed by some of the world’s biggest money managers: State Street Global Advisors, HSBC, BlackRock and Legal & General

Compared to other providers the process feels much easier and more transparent. There is just one annual fee rather than multiple hidden fees and you can choose from a reasonable selection of funds to suit your tastes. However, others will offer more investment choice.

PensionBee Charges and Fees

Downloading the app is free. You’ll only be charged once you choose a pension plan. These are charged very simply with an annual fee which ranges from 0.5% to 0.95% depending on what plan you choose. This will come out of your pension pot and Drops by half once you’ve saved more than £100,000. The more you save the cheaper it becomes.

The fees are relatively transparent and low cost compared to other providers. Having just one fee ensures you know what you’re paying and how much. It also improves the overall fund performance because less of your pension pot goes to the provider.

PensionBee Pension Plans

Their pension plans are managed by global money managers such as BlackRock, HSBC and Legal & General. Costs vary between 0.5% and 0.95% depending on the plan.

Plans include:

  • Tracker plan: Follows the market.
  • Tailored: Invests money differently as you move through life.
  • Fossil fuel-free: As the name implies the plan avoids toxic industries such as fossil fuels and tobacco.
  • 4Plus: Aims for long term growth of 4% year on year above the cash rate by actively managing your money.
  • Future world: Invests in companies which pledge to move towards an environmentally friendly future.
  • Shariah: Restricts investments to companies which are shariah compliant.
  • Preserve: Plays it safe with short term investments in established, credit worthy companies.
  • Match: A mix of investments which follow the strategies of the wider pensions market.
  • Pre annuity: Invests to provide returns broadly in line with the cost of purchasing an annuity.

These plans provide good value and decent performance, although other companies may offer a greater degree of choice or flexibility.

PensionBee Calculator

If you’re uncertain how much you should be saving, the PensionBee calculator can give you some pointers. To use it you set a retirement goal, namely how much you want to have saved by the time you retire, add your details, your savings and contributions to see projected income for any plan.

If you’re still working, therefore, it allows you to plan ahead and work out how much you should set aside each month in order to have a reasonable income when you retire. It sets expectations and help you stay on track to achieve your goals.

PensionBee Tracker Plan

The tracker plan allows you to invest in global stocks, shares and cash. It is managed by State Street Global Advisors and follows the movement of markets. It’s a medium risk option designed for long term growth and lets you diversify your investment away from the general FTSE 500 funds. It’s a nice easy click and forget plan which requires minimal effort from you and benefits from the diversification which comes from the different markets around the world.
You’ll pay an annual fee of 0.5% which will be cut in half once your savings reach over £100,000.

PensionBee Tailored Plan

We all evolve over time and so do our needs from an investment plan. The tailored plan is a medium risk plan which shifts the emphasis of your investments as you hold. Where it invests will vary depending on when you are born. For example, if you’re getting closer to retirement age it might switch investments into lower risk options to reduce the chance of you suffering from a market shock.

It is managed by BlackRock and has an annual fee of 0.70%. This reduces by half once your investments rise over £100,000 so you earn more as you save.

PensionBee Fossil Fuel Free plan

The climate crisis is concentrating everyone’s minds at the moment. Ethical and sustainable investing has gone from a niche part of the market to the mainstream. PensionBee has a number of responsible investment options, and this one is great for anyone who does not want to support industries responsible for polluting the planet.

Managed by Legal & General this plan excludes fossil fuels and tobacco companies in favour of more sustainable companies which are aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Accords.
It’s a high-risk plan and comes with an annual fee of 0.75% which will be reduced by half for savings over £100,000.

PensionBee Future World Plan

One of the highest risk plans on PensionBee’s books is also one of the most sustainable. Managed by Legal & General it invests in those companies which actively move us towards a low carbon economy. Such companies may be riskier, but they offer the prospect of higher growth as they are more in tune with where the market is heading.

It invests only in equity with almost half of investments taking place in North America. This is a great option from someone who wants to do more than just avoid certain sectors such as fossil fuels, but to support those companies which are building the economy of the future.

The plan is at the top end of the cost spectrum for PensionBee with an annual fee of 0.95%.

PensionBee Sharia Plan

Shariah finance has been gaining in popularity in recent years as a growing Muslim population seeks out investments which are in keeping with their religious values. This plan only invests in Shariah compliant companies which have been approved by an independent Shariah committee.

The plan is positioned as relatively high risk, although there is some evidence to suggest Shariah financial products are less exposed to market shocks than others. It’s a theory which would seem to be supported by the fund’s recent performance. While most returns have dropped off sharply in 2020, its performance has remained fairly strong. It is managed by State Street Global Advisors and costs 0.95%. As with all other plans, the annual fee falls by half once savings reach more than 50%.

PensionBee Preserve Plan

A safety-first option. Managed by State Street Global Advisors, this plan makes short term investments in safe, credit worthy businesses. It’s a great option for someone who wants a low-risk plan although it may also bring lower returns. The plan is invested one hundred percent in fixed income assets which are considered more stable. It is the safest plan you can choose from in the PensionBee portfolio and only invests in firms which are financially sound with a strong track record.

It safeguards your savings against short term market shocks and is a good option if you’re approaching retirement and want to protect your gains.

The annual fee is 0.50%, which drops to 0.25% for savings over £100,000.

PensionBee Match Plan

Want to follow the smart money? Pick the PensionBee Match plan. It follows the strategies of the wider pensions industry and helps you mimic the best strategies currently being used without the need for a degree in finance.

It follows a similar trend in which people are choosing investment options which mirror the choices of professional traders.

Managed by BlackRock, the plan places your funds in a mix of assets based on the distribution of the wider pensions industry. At present, this means it is 63% invested in equity. Each month they adjust the plan so it’s up to date with the latest moves from other fund managers. In theory gives you the benefits of a low-cost passive investment approach with some of the features of active investment.

It comes with an annual fee of 0.60% which drops by half once savings rise over £100,000.

PensionBee Pre-Annuity Plan

The pensions annuity plan allows you to invest in bonds and delivers returns which are broadly in line with the cost of purchasing an annuity. It is managed by State Street Global Advisors and is a good option if you’re considering using your pension pot to purchase an annuity or any other guaranteed income product. This allows you to experience returns that aim to match the cost of purchasing an annuity in the meantime. It is almost totally focused on bonds and charges a 0.70% annual fee which is taken from your pension pot.

This fee is already highly competitive and will reduce by half when your savings grow beyond £100,000.

PensionBee Alternatives

PensionBee is one of a number of new wave pension providers using the internet to provide a more accessibly and affordable approach to investments. Compared to a traditional fund, such as Hargreaves Lansdown, you can expect lower costs and a simpler process, along with plans which have been shown to perform well on the markets. However, there may be less choice available or ability to manage the fund yourself.

Other internet pensions providers such as Nutmeg or Moneyfarm offer a similar approach. They all base themselves on simplicity and offer an ‘always on’ approach’. However, they differ slightly in form and approach. Nutmeg offers a wider set of services such as ISAs while PensionBee is mainly focused on pension consolidation.

PensionBee 2020 performance

The pandemic has been tough on pensions. Compared to the previous year’s returns are, for the most part way down. The one bright spot is the firm’s Shariah product which returned 23.16% last year, only slightly down from around 28% in 2019. Others have taken a larger hit. The Match plan, for example, is down to 4.29% from 15.82% in 2019. The Preserve plan continued to offer the lowest returns in both years. However, the good news is that the plans have largely matched the wider industry benchmark and can expect reasonable growth after the pandemic.

PensionBee 2019 performance

2019 saw pension funds round the world perform strongly. Each of PensionBee’s funds performed around or slightly above the benchmark. The Shariah fund offered a return of 28.78% mirroring a growing interest in shariah compliant finance, while the future world’s fund also performed well with 20.22%. It suggests responsible investments are already providing short term returns.

Overall, the funds’ close correlation with benchmarks supports the notion that PensionBee offers the prospect of an affordable service alongside a relatively strong and consistent track record of performance.

Read our full PensionBee review here

Nutmeg Pension

Pension Options

  • Fully Managed
  • Smart Alpha
  • Socially Responsible
  • Fixed Allocation

Pension Costs

  • Account Fee: 0.75%
  • SIPP Fee: £0
  • Dealing fee: £11.95
  • Exit Fees: £0
  • Min Investment: £500

Nutmeg Personal Pension Review

All three Nutmeg investment styles are built by experts and use exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to diversify across stocks, bonds, industries, and countries.

Nutmeg offers both the ability to build up a pension and to draw it down when retirement comes. While it may not be entirely necessary or appropriate to look at your pension continually since it is a long-term investment, Nutmeg offers ‘24/7 access to your account, we’ll keep regular contact to explain where your pension is invested and how it’s performing’.

More helpfully, Nutmeg’s pension team will notify investors six months and again six weeks prior to reaching their retirement date ‘to let you know if you’re on track’.

Nutmeg’s personal pension offers a range of investment styles. These are the same as the ISA range except for the smart alpha style, which is not available.

On a £90,000 investment in the fully managed or socially responsible personal pension, investors would pay £12.95 a week. This is made up of 0.75% in Nutmeg fees, a fund cost: of 0.19% and average market spread of 0.05%.

For the same amount invested in a fixed allocation pension, investors would pay £7.77 a week.

Read our full Nutmeg review here

Profile Pensions Pension

Pension Options

  • Tailor-Made
  • Whole of Market
  • ESG Options

Pension Costs

  • Account fee: 0.84%
  • SIPP fee: £0
  • Dealing fee: £0
  • Exit fees: £0
  • Min Investment: £1

Profile Pensions Pension Review

Transfer and combine your old personal or workplace pensions into a personalised pension plan. Profile Pensions are independent and will select the best funds for you from the whole of the market. You will have a dedicated, fully qualified pension adviser to contact directly whenever you wish.

Read our interview with Profile Pensions CEO Jordan Mayo here

Moneyfarm Pension

Pension Options

  • 7 different portfolios
  • High-risk
  • Medium-risk
  • Low-risk

Pension Costs

  • Account Fee: 0.35% yearly
  • SIPP Fee: £0
  • Dealing fee: £0
  • Exit Fees: £0
  • Min Investment: £1,500

Moneyfarm Pension Review

Invest in one of seven ready-made simple and diverse portfolios with different degrees of risk and reward.

Moneyfarm describes it as a SIPP, standing for self-invested personal pension, but it is really a form of a private pension as your only decision is the risk portfolio that you opt for.

Pension contributions benefit from tax relief from the government, which boosts the amount you are putting in.

The platform chooses a portfolio of ETFs based on your investor profile and chosen risk rating between 1 and 7.

Users can transfer a pension or setup a new one and Moneyfarm will manage your portfolio based on your retirement target date by reducing the risk as the time approaches.

Pensions can currently be accessed from age 55 and Moneyfarm offers a free drawdown option that keeps your money invested and lets you make withdrawals as you choose. You can also speak with one of its investment consultants to discuss your options.

Read our full Moneyfarm review here

Interactive Investor Pension

Pension Options

  • Shares
  • Funds
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Ready-made portfolios 

Pension Costs

  • Account Fee: £9.99 monthly
  • SIPP Fee: £10 monthly
  • Dealing fee: £7.99
  • Exit Fees: £0
  • Min Investment: £1

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Special Offer: No SIPP admin fees for 6 months when you open a SIPP (saving £60)

Interactive Investor Pension Review

Interactive Investor offers customers the opportunity to transfer an existing pension into its II SIPP or Self-Invested Pension Plan, alternatively, clients can opt to set up a new SIPP from scratch and contribute to that plan.

II do not charge transfer fees, in or out. However, another provider may charge you for transferring your pension out and you should always check whether you would lose any safeguarded benefits in an existing scheme if you transfer this into a SIPP.

On retirement, you can access the funds within your SIPP in one of three ways (or a combination thereof) which are income drawdown, lump Sums or through an annuity though this would be through a third party as II do not offer annuities themselves.

Read our full Interactive Investor review here

Hargreaves Lansdown Pension

Pension Options

  • Shares
  • Funds
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Ready-made portfolios 

Pension Costs

  • Account Fee: 0.45% yearly
  • SIPP Fee: £0
  • Dealing fee: £11.95
  • Exit Fees: £0
  • Min Investment: £100

Hargreaves Lansdown Pension Review

If you’re planning to start a pension or are closing in on retirement age and want to better understand your options, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a range of self-invested personal pensions products (SIPPs). You can start with a bank transfer or move existing pensions over. You can choose between having your pension managed or taking a more active role in your investments. Using the HL app, you can track your investments any time you like from your mobile device.

Options include:

  • Self-invested personal pension (SIPP): A low-cost way to take control of your pensions.
  • Junior SIPP: Start your child off on the right foot by signing up to a junior pension.
  • Compare annuities: A service which allows you to compare annuities.
  • Pension drawdown: Allows you to control how income is taken from your pension which can affect tax and retirement planning.

You can invest in a wide range of UK and overseas shares with no set up charge and an annual fee of 0.45%. This reduces the more you have in your account. For funds over £250,000 it drops to 0.25. Once over £1million it falls to 0.1% and there is no charge on values over £2 million.

Read our full Hargreaves Lansdown review here

AJ Bell Youinvest Pension

Pension Options

  • Shares
  • Funds
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Ready-made portfolios 

Pension Costs

  • SIPP Account Fee: 0.25% yearly
  • Dealing charge: £9.95 per online share deal
  • Fund Dealing Fee: £1.50
  • Exit Fees: £0 for cash £9.95 per holding
  • Min Investment: £500

AJ Bell Youinvest Pension Review

AJ Bell Youinvest’s main pension offering is the AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP. This is a pension product that enables you to manage and control your own savings. You choose how much to save – you can make monthly contributions or contribute lump sums and both you and your employer can make contributions. You can change how much you contribute easily so you can be flexible if your other financial commitments change.

As with other types of private pensions, you’ll receive tax benefits for saving into an AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP. Basic-rate taxpayers receive 20% tax relief meaning that a contribution of £80 is topped up to £100 by the government.

Another retirement option that AJ Bell Youinvest offers is the Lifetime ISA. This is a savings and investment account that is available to those aged between 18 and 40. You can invest up to £4,000 per annum into this type of account and the government will top it up with a 25% bonus, up to £1,000. However, the money can only be accessed (without incurring the penalty charge) when you turn 60 or when you buy your first home.

Read our full AJ Bell Youinvest review here

A personal pension helps you save for retirement. By making regular contributions to a pot which is usually invested on your behalf, you can build up a fund to provide income when you are no longer working full time. Contributions to pension funds are entitled to tax relief. You can pass management of your pension fund to a provider or you can have some control of the investments in a self-invested personal pension. In either case the value of your investment can go down as well as up and you are responsible for the risk.

Anyone can pay into a personal pension, and you can contribute to other people’s and they can pay into yours. For example, grandparents can pay into a child’s pension or spouses can contribute to one another’s. You can set up a personal pension whether you are self-employed, employed or not working. Contributions can be made monthly or as one-off sums.

Costs vary depending on providers and the kinds of pension product. It is important to understand the charges as these will detract from your final retirement pot. Annual management charges cover running your pension and can be as high as 2% but increased competition has pushed these down to as low as 0.4%. There can be additional service fees, too. Exit fees are charged if you leave and these vary hugely. You may also pay a platform fee and a contribution fee. Always check fees carefully and compare providers.
The annual allowance is set at £40,000 and you or your employer can pay this in. After this point the tax relief no longer applies. If you are already drawing from your pension, the amount you can contribute reduces to £4,000.
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