Always remember that investments can go down as well as up in value, so you could get back less than you put in. How you’re taxed will depend on your circumstances, and pension and tax rules can change.

What is a Workplace Pension Scheme?

Updated On:
Apr 17, 2022
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· 5 min read
What is a Workplace Pension Scheme

Contents:

What is a Workplace Pension?

A workplace pension is a way of saving for your retirement and is usually arranged by your employer. You won't be able to access the money saved in a workplace pension pot until you are at least 55 years old (increases to 57 in 2028). 


In most cases, you will be enrolled automatically into your employer's workplace pension scheme. This is called auto-enrolment.

Auto Enrolment Eligibility

You are eligible for auto-enrolment into your employer's workplace pension scheme if you:


  • Earn more than £10,000 a year (from one job),
  • Are aged between 22 and the State Pension age, and
  • Work in the UK. 


If you're currently aged between 20 and 39, your State Pension age will likely be 68. You can double-check that number here.


Your employer does not have to automatically enrol you if you do not meet the criteria mentioned above. However, you can usually still request to join their pension scheme if you want to. Your employer cannot refuse.


If you are not eligible for workplace pensions, have a look at personal pensions or pensions for the self-employed.

Workplace Pension Rules

Both you and your employer have to contribute a percentage of your salary to a workplace pension scheme.


The minimum your employer must contribute to your pension is 3% of your salary, and the minimum total contribution (you and your employer) must make is 8%.


So if your employer is putting in 3%, your minimum contribution must be 5%. If your employer pays more than 3%, you need only pay the balance up to 8%. 

Workplace Pensions Calculator

Use the Money Advice Service's workplace pensions calculator to work out how much you and your employer will put in. The more you and your employer pay into your pension, the more your retirement income will be. 

Contribution Matching

Some employers offer contribution matching to incentivise you to save more and help you build retirement savings faster. With matched contributions, your employer will agree to pay more into your pension pot if you agree to increase your contributions to the scheme too.

Workplace Pension Tax Relief

The government will usually add money to your workplace pension in the form of tax relief (free money).

You can think of tax relief as a refund of the tax you originally paid on your pension contribution at your usual rate of income tax - 20%, 40%, or 45%. 


Even if you do not pay income tax, you'll still claim tax relief if your pension scheme uses a contribution arrangement known as 'relief at source.'


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does my employer have to enrol me in a pension?

Yes. Your employer must automatically enrol you into a pension scheme and contribute to your pension if you earn more than £10,000 per year (from one job), are aged between 22 and the State Pension age, and work in the UK. If you're currently aged between 20 and 39, your State Pension age will likely be 68. You can double-check here.

2. Should I join my employer's pension scheme?

If you don't join your employer's workplace pension scheme, you'll miss out on the free money your employer contributes to your pension. And if your employer offers a contribution matching arrangement, you could miss out on even more free money. Even if you have a private pension somewhere else, you should still consider joining your employer's pension scheme so that you can take advantage of employer contributions.

3. Why do employers match pension contributions?

Employers match pension contributions to incentivise you to save more and to help you build retirement savings faster. With contribution matching, your employer will agree to pay more to your pension pot if you agree to increase your contributions to the scheme too.


Here's an example: Imagine that Anna earns £20,000 a year and would like to increase her contributions to benefit from her employer's contribution matching arrangement. Currently, she contributes 3% (£600), and her employer contributes 5% (£1,000) to meet the minimum requirement of 8% (£1,600). 


If Anna decides to increase her contributions to 6% (£1,200), her employer will match it by increasing their contribution to 6% (£1,200) as well. This will increase Anna's annual pension contribution to £2,400.


Your employer does not have to match your pension contributions, so not all employers offer contribution matching. Check with your employer to see if they match contributions and take advantage of it if you want to grow your retirement pot faster. While taking advantage of this kind of arrangement and other opportunities to grow your pension pot faster, remember that your pension allowance for the 2020/21 tax year is £40,000. You'll pay tax on your pension contribution if you go above your annual allowance.

4. How do I opt out of a workplace pension?

To opt out of a workplace pension, you need to ask the people who run your employer's workplace pension scheme for an opt-out form. Then return the completed form to your employer, not to the people who run the scheme.


If you opt out within the first month of your employer adding you to the scheme, your payments will be refunded. After the first month, you can still opt out at any time, but any payments you've made will stay in your pension until your retirement.


You can still rejoin your employer's workplace pension scheme at a later date if you want to. But they do not have to accept you back into their workplace scheme if you've opted in and then opted out in the past 12 months.


Your employer is also required by law to re-enrol you back into the scheme approximately every three years, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria.

5. How do I track down all my pensions with multiple employers?

To track down all your pensions, you need to contact your pension providers, the government's Pension Tracing Service, or your former employers if it was a workplace pension.


If you're contacting your former employers, the Money Advice Service has created a template letter you can send to your former employers. The key details you'll need to provide to your employers include: 


  • Your National Insurance number, 
  • The date you stopped working there, 
  • The date you started work with the employer, and 
  • The dates you joined and left the pension scheme.


This link to the Money Advice Service website has all the information you need.

6. Can I cash in my pension at 35?

No. You usually can't take money out of your pension pot before you're 55 (increases to 57 in 2028), but there are some rare cases when you can, e.g., if you are too ill to work or if you have a severe illness, which means you're expected to live for less than a year.


In the case of the State Pension, the earliest you can get that is when you reach your State Pension age. If you're currently aged between 20 and 39, your State Pension age will likely be 68. If you retire before this age, you'll have to wait to claim your State Pension.


If you have questions, ask the community!

You might also like 🤓

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  3. Stakeholder Pension vs SIPP
  4. Best Stakeholder Pension Providers
  5. Introduction to Pensions
  6. Best Stocks and Shares ISA
  7. Best Share Dealing Accounts
  8. Best Investment Apps
  9. Best Money Saving Apps
  10. Best Budgeting Apps


Credits

  1. Gov.uk
  2. Money Advice Service


Best Stakeholder Pension Providers

Compare some of the best stakeholder pension providers below:

You usually can't access the money in your pension pot until you are at least 55 years old (increases to 57 in 2028) when you can take 25% as a tax-free lump sum.

Capital at risk. Other charges may apply.

Aviva - Ready-made stakeholder pension; Offers financial advice

Aviva's Logo
Product
Stakeholder Pension
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£20 per month
Annual Fund Management Cost
Capped at 1%

The Aviva Stakeholder Pension allows you to invest your money in a range of funds that offer you access to various assets such as stocks, shares and property. And you can choose from a range of high to low risk funds, depending on your attitude to risk. With Aviva, you can start your Stakeholder Pension with as little as £20 a month, and pay money into your pension plan either regularly, e.g. every month, or make one-off payments. You can also change that amount or stop and start payments when you need to. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), you will have a number of options about how you can use your pension savings, including taking an income, lump sum or a combination of both of these. The Aviva Stakeholder pension also lets you create a pension pot for your children or grandchildren. You can deposit up to £2,880 for each child per year.

With Aviva, you pay only an annual fund charge, which is capped at 1%. And you will not have to pay any charges for setting up your investment or for switching money between funds. Aviva offers financial advice at a separate fee.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Standard Life - DIY and ready-made stakeholder pension

Standard Life
Product
Stakeholder Pension
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£16
Annual Fund Management Cost
Capped at 1%

The Standard Life Stakeholder Pension allows you to invest your money in 30+ funds and 2 Lifestyle Profiles. You can invest in up to 12 funds at any one time, but if you decide to pick a Lifestyle Profile, you can only combine this with a with-profits fund. The Lifestyle Profiles are ready-made investment portfolios that invest your money in funds and move them as you get closer to retirement, to try and get you the best possible returns for your goals. If you do not want to choose a fund, Standard Life will automatically invest your money in a Lifestyle Profile depending on goals and risk preferences.

Standard Life charges an annual management charge of 1% of the value of the funds you are invested in each year.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Best Private Pension Providers UK

Compare some of the best private pension providers in the UK below.

You usually can't access the money in your pension pot until you are at least 55 years old (increases to 57 in 2028) when you can take 25% as a tax-free lump sum.

Capital at risk. Other charges apply.


Interactive Investor - One free trade every month; Lots of research

Interactive Investor
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
 £156 (£12.99 per month)

Interactive Investor is the UK's number one flat-fee investment platform with more than 40,000 investments to choose from, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. The Interactive Investor Pension allows you to build a pension in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot using Quick-start Funds, which is an easy way to start investing where you choose from six low-cost funds prepared by the team of experts at Interactive Investor. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds and shares and build their pension portfolios themselves. With Interactive Investor, You can combine your other pensions into one SIPP for simpler retirement planning. You also get a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), Interactive Investor will provide a range of options for taking an income from your pension, and there is no extra charge for this.

Interactive Investor charges a flat fee of £12.99 per month, so you know exactly how much you will be paying each month. The higher your pension pot, the lower this fee becomes on a percentage basis. Interactive Investor has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA, Trading Account, and Junior ISA.

Special offer: Open a SIPP and pay no monthly fee for 6 months. Terms apply.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Hargreaves Lansdown - Lots of investment options, research and tips

Hargreaves Lansdown
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£100 lump sum or £25 per month
Annual Platform Fee
0.45% - 0% (Funds)
0.45% (Shares - max £200/year)

Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company and the biggest investment platform in the UK. Hargreaves Lansdown allows you to build a SIPP portfolio from over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, investment trusts and more. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your pension portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by choosing from a range of ready-made options where the team of experts at Hargreaves Lansdown will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares and other investments and build their pension portfolios themselves.

The Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP is free to set up and low cost to run. There is a yearly charge for holding investments, but it is never more than 0.45%. Some of the investments on offer have their own annual charges, so please check these before investing. It is also free to buy and sell funds. Other dealing charges depend on the type of investment and how often you trade. If you need a financial adviser to help you choose investments, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a financial advice service at a fee. Hargreaves Lansdown also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA and Fund and Share Account.

Please note: The Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP is intended for investors happy at making their own investment decisions. When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk. The charges quoted here are not exhaustive - other charges apply.

GO TO SITE

AJ Bell Youinvest - Lots of investment options, ideas and research

AJ Bell Youinvest
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£1,000 lump-sum. No minimum for a regular payment
Annual Platform Fee
0.25% - 0% (Funds)
0.25% (Shares - max £10/month)

AJ Bell Youinvest is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and it is on a mission to make investing as easy as possible for you. AJ Bell Youinvest was the first investment company in the UK to offer an online SIPP. Investors can select from thousands of investments, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. With AJ Bell Youinvest, you can build your pension portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can get a little, or a lot, of help from AJ Bell Youinvest’s specialists by selecting one of the investment ideas on offer. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from thousands of investments and build their pension portfolios themselves. The AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP is suitable for both the self-employed and those looking to open a personal pension to complement their workplace pension. AJ Bell Youinvest also lets you combine your existing pensions in a SIPP, so you can see and control everything in one place. This helps you understand how your pension is performing and exactly what you're paying in charges.

It’s free to open an AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP, and you can buy investments from as little as £1.50. There is a yearly charge for holding investments, but it is never more than 0.25%. AJ Bell Youinvest also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA and Dealing Account. AJ Bell Youinvest does not offer advice.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk. Pension rules also apply.

GO TO SITE

Bestinvest - Lots of investment options and ideas; Beginner-friendly

Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
0.4% - 0% (DIY)
0.2% - 0% (Ready-made)

Bestinvest is a UK investment platform offering about 2,500 funds, UK shares, investment trusts and ETFs. With Bestinvest, you can build your pension pot in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by selecting one of Bestinvest’s ready-made investments. These investments are fully diversified and created and managed by the team at Bestinvest. Once you’ve picked one, you don’t need to do anything else. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares, ETFs and ITs and build their investment pension portfolio themselves. Bestinvest also has an investment search tool that makes it easy to browse and filter all of the investments, and you can use their free guides and articles if you need any inspiration. They are quite popular for their Spot the Dog guide which shows a list of poorly performing funds you probably want to avoid.

There are no set-up fees or fund dealing charges with the Bestinvest SIPP. Additionally, Bestinvest will pay up to £500 towards your exit fees when you transfer your pensions to them (terms apply). Bestinvest allows you to invest via a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account and SIPP.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Penfold - SIPP & Workplace Pensions; Ethical investments available

Penfold Pensions Logo
Product
SIPP
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
0.88% - 0.75%
(0.4% or 0.53% on pots over £100k)

Penfold is a modern pension provider offering customers a quick and easy way to build and contribute to their pension pots. The platform is digital-first and built for everyone regardless of whether you are employed, self-employed or running your own business. With Penfold, you can open a private pension, self-employed pension or be auto-enrolled via your workplace. Once you sign up, you can choose from four plans: Lifetime, Standard, Sustainable and Sharia, depending on your goals and values. Set up only takes 5 minutes, and you can adjust your contributions at any time. Penfold can also track and transfer your old pensions - even if you do not know the details, so you can combine all your pensions from previous employments in one place. If you are ever confused about anything relating to your pension or retirement, they have a team of experts happy to provide jargon-free answers to your questions.

There is no minimum deposit when you set up your pension with Penfold, and you can pay nothing each month if you like. If you do make a contribution, the minimum amount Penfold can process is £10. Penfold charges an annual fee between 0.75% and 0.88%, depending on the plan you choose. If your pension pot size is larger than £100,000 the fee is reduced to either 0.4% or 0.53%, depending on the plan you choose, on the portion of your savings over this amount.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Moneyfarm - Offers financial advice and ethical investments

Moneyfarm Logo
Product
SIPP
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£500
Annual Platform Fee
0.75% - 0.35%

Moneyfarm is a UK robo advisor that provides you with a personalised investment plan based on your risk preferences. Investors can choose from seven globally diversified risk-rated portfolios, including ethical investments. The team at Moneyfarm actively manages your investments, but each investment portfolio is made up of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other passive trackers. Customers also benefit from free and personalised digital financial advice from Moneyfarm's investment consultants, and you can chat, phone, email, or meet your consultant in person. If you tell Moneyfarm when you aim to retire, the team will manage your portfolio around your target retirement date - reducing your risk as the date approaches. It is easy to transfer your existing pensions to Moneyfarm. Just fill in your details in-app or online. Moneyfarm will then talk to your existing provider and move your pensions over to your Moneyfarm account. The process typically takes about 3 - 4 weeks and is as paperless as possible, depending on your provider. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), Moneyfarm will provide a range of flexible options for taking an income from your pension. This is called a pension drawdown, and there is no extra charge for it.

Moneyfarm charges a yearly account management fee starting at 0.75% and reducing to 0.35% depending on the size of your portfolio. The annual average investment fund fee is 0.2%, and the annual effect of market spread comes to about 0.09%. Moneyfarm has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA and General Investment Account.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Vanguard - Offers financial planning and educational resources

Vanguard Investor'
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£500 lump sum or £100 per month
Annual Platform Fee
0.15% (max £375/year)

Vanguard is a popular low-cost investment platform with over 75 own-brand funds, including ETFs, active funds and index funds. Vanguard does not offer stocks and shares, but there are various ETFs on offer for those interested in exchange-traded securities. The Vanguard SIPP allows you to build a pension in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by selecting one of the Target Retirement funds, which give you access to thousands of bonds and shares in a single investment. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from over 75 individual Vanguard funds and build their pension portfolios themselves. It is pretty straightforward to transfer your existing pensions to Vanguard, and it is completely free to do so - although your existing provider might charge you a fee, so do check with them first.

To open a Vanguard SIPP, you need to have at least £100 per month or a lump sum of £500. There is a yearly management fee of 0.15% (capped at £375) per year. Some of the funds on offer have separate charges, so please check these before investing. Vanguard has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA, General Account and Personal Financial Planning.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Aviva - Ready-made stakeholder pension; Offers financial advice

Aviva's Logo
Product
Stakeholder Pension
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£20 per month
Annual Fund Management Cost
Capped at 1%

The Aviva Stakeholder Pension allows you to invest your money in a range of funds that offer you access to various assets such as stocks, shares and property. And you can choose from a range of high to low risk funds, depending on your attitude to risk. With Aviva, you can start your Stakeholder Pension with as little as £20 a month, and pay money into your pension plan either regularly, e.g. every month, or make one-off payments. You can also change that amount or stop and start payments when you need to. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), you will have a number of options about how you can use your pension savings, including taking an income, lump sum or a combination of both of these. The Aviva Stakeholder pension also lets you create a pension pot for your children or grandchildren. You can deposit up to £2,880 for each child per year.

With Aviva, you pay only an annual fund charge, which is capped at 1%. And you will not have to pay any charges for setting up your investment or for switching money between funds. Aviva offers financial advice at a separate fee.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Standard Life - DIY and ready-made stakeholder pension

Standard Life
Product
Stakeholder Pension
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£16
Annual Fund Management Cost
Capped at 1%

The Standard Life Stakeholder Pension allows you to invest your money in 30+ funds and 2 Lifestyle Profiles. You can invest in up to 12 funds at any one time, but if you decide to pick a Lifestyle Profile, you can only combine this with a with-profits fund. The Lifestyle Profiles are ready-made investment portfolios that invest your money in funds and move them as you get closer to retirement, to try and get you the best possible returns for your goals. If you do not want to choose a fund, Standard Life will automatically invest your money in a Lifestyle Profile depending on goals and risk preferences.

Standard Life charges an annual management charge of 1% of the value of the funds you are invested in each year.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Best Pension Providers for Self-employed People

Compare some of the best pension providers for self-employed people below:

You usually can't access the money in your pension pot until you are at least 55 years old (increases to 57 in 2028) when you can take 25% as a tax-free lump sum.

Capital at risk. Other charges apply.

AJ Bell Youinvest - Lots of investment options, ideas and research

AJ Bell Youinvest
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£1,000 lump-sum. No minimum for a regular payment
Annual Platform Fee
0.25% - 0% (Funds)
0.25% (Shares - max £10/month)

AJ Bell Youinvest is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and it is on a mission to make investing as easy as possible for you. AJ Bell Youinvest was the first investment company in the UK to offer an online SIPP. Investors can select from thousands of investments, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. With AJ Bell Youinvest, you can build your pension portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can get a little, or a lot, of help from AJ Bell Youinvest’s specialists by selecting one of the investment ideas on offer. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from thousands of investments and build their pension portfolios themselves. The AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP is suitable for both the self-employed and those looking to open a personal pension to complement their workplace pension. AJ Bell Youinvest also lets you combine your existing pensions in a SIPP, so you can see and control everything in one place. This helps you understand how your pension is performing and exactly what you're paying in charges.

It’s free to open an AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP, and you can buy investments from as little as £1.50. There is a yearly charge for holding investments, but it is never more than 0.25%. AJ Bell Youinvest also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA and Dealing Account. AJ Bell Youinvest does not offer advice.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk. Pension rules also apply.

GO TO SITE

Hargreaves Lansdown - Lots of investment options, research and tips

Hargreaves Lansdown
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£100 lump sum or £25 per month
Annual Platform Fee
0.45% - 0% (Funds)
0.45% (Shares - max £200/year)

Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company and the biggest investment platform in the UK. Hargreaves Lansdown allows you to build a SIPP portfolio from over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, investment trusts and more. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your pension portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by choosing from a range of ready-made options where the team of experts at Hargreaves Lansdown will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares and other investments and build their pension portfolios themselves.

The Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP is free to set up and low cost to run. There is a yearly charge for holding investments, but it is never more than 0.45%. Some of the investments on offer have their own annual charges, so please check these before investing. It is also free to buy and sell funds. Other dealing charges depend on the type of investment and how often you trade. If you need a financial adviser to help you choose investments, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a financial advice service at a fee. Hargreaves Lansdown also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA and Fund and Share Account.

Please note: The Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP is intended for investors happy at making their own investment decisions. When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk. The charges quoted here are not exhaustive - other charges apply.

GO TO SITE

Bestinvest - Lots of investment options and ideas; Beginner-friendly

Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
0.4% - 0% (DIY)
0.2% - 0% (Ready-made)

Bestinvest is a UK investment platform offering about 2,500 funds, UK shares, investment trusts and ETFs. With Bestinvest, you can build your pension pot in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by selecting one of Bestinvest’s ready-made investments. These investments are fully diversified and created and managed by the team at Bestinvest. Once you’ve picked one, you don’t need to do anything else. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares, ETFs and ITs and build their investment pension portfolio themselves. Bestinvest also has an investment search tool that makes it easy to browse and filter all of the investments, and you can use their free guides and articles if you need any inspiration. They are quite popular for their Spot the Dog guide which shows a list of poorly performing funds you probably want to avoid.

There are no set-up fees or fund dealing charges with the Bestinvest SIPP. Additionally, Bestinvest will pay up to £500 towards your exit fees when you transfer your pensions to them (terms apply). Bestinvest allows you to invest via a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account and SIPP.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Interactive Investor - One free trade every month; Lots of research

Interactive Investor
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
 £156 (£12.99 per month)

Interactive Investor is the UK's number one flat-fee investment platform with more than 40,000 investments to choose from, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. The Interactive Investor Pension allows you to build a pension in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot using Quick-start Funds, which is an easy way to start investing where you choose from six low-cost funds prepared by the team of experts at Interactive Investor. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds and shares and build their pension portfolios themselves. With Interactive Investor, You can combine your other pensions into one SIPP for simpler retirement planning. You also get a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), Interactive Investor will provide a range of options for taking an income from your pension, and there is no extra charge for this.

Interactive Investor charges a flat fee of £12.99 per month, so you know exactly how much you will be paying each month. The higher your pension pot, the lower this fee becomes on a percentage basis. Interactive Investor has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA, Trading Account, and Junior ISA.

Special offer: Open a SIPP and pay no monthly fee for 6 months. Terms apply.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Moneyfarm - Offers financial advice and ethical investments

Moneyfarm Logo
Product
SIPP
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£500
Annual Platform Fee
0.75% - 0.35%

Moneyfarm is a UK robo advisor that provides you with a personalised investment plan based on your risk preferences. Investors can choose from seven globally diversified risk-rated portfolios, including ethical investments. The team at Moneyfarm actively manages your investments, but each investment portfolio is made up of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other passive trackers. Customers also benefit from free and personalised digital financial advice from Moneyfarm's investment consultants, and you can chat, phone, email, or meet your consultant in person. If you tell Moneyfarm when you aim to retire, the team will manage your portfolio around your target retirement date - reducing your risk as the date approaches. It is easy to transfer your existing pensions to Moneyfarm. Just fill in your details in-app or online. Moneyfarm will then talk to your existing provider and move your pensions over to your Moneyfarm account. The process typically takes about 3 - 4 weeks and is as paperless as possible, depending on your provider. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), Moneyfarm will provide a range of flexible options for taking an income from your pension. This is called a pension drawdown, and there is no extra charge for it.

Moneyfarm charges a yearly account management fee starting at 0.75% and reducing to 0.35% depending on the size of your portfolio. The annual average investment fund fee is 0.2%, and the annual effect of market spread comes to about 0.09%. Moneyfarm has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA and General Investment Account.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

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Penfold - SIPP & Workplace Pensions; Ethical investments available

Penfold Pensions Logo
Product
SIPP
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
0.88% - 0.75%
(0.4% or 0.53% on pots over £100k)

Penfold is a modern pension provider offering customers a quick and easy way to build and contribute to their pension pots. The platform is digital-first and built for everyone regardless of whether you are employed, self-employed or running your own business. With Penfold, you can open a private pension, self-employed pension or be auto-enrolled via your workplace. Once you sign up, you can choose from four plans: Lifetime, Standard, Sustainable and Sharia, depending on your goals and values. Set up only takes 5 minutes, and you can adjust your contributions at any time. Penfold can also track and transfer your old pensions - even if you do not know the details, so you can combine all your pensions from previous employments in one place. If you are ever confused about anything relating to your pension or retirement, they have a team of experts happy to provide jargon-free answers to your questions.

There is no minimum deposit when you set up your pension with Penfold, and you can pay nothing each month if you like. If you do make a contribution, the minimum amount Penfold can process is £10. Penfold charges an annual fee between 0.75% and 0.88%, depending on the plan you choose. If your pension pot size is larger than £100,000 the fee is reduced to either 0.4% or 0.53%, depending on the plan you choose, on the portion of your savings over this amount.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

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Vanguard - Offers financial planning and educational resources

Vanguard Investor'
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£500 lump sum or £100 per month
Annual Platform Fee
0.15% (max £375/year)

Vanguard is a popular low-cost investment platform with over 75 own-brand funds, including ETFs, active funds and index funds. Vanguard does not offer stocks and shares, but there are various ETFs on offer for those interested in exchange-traded securities. The Vanguard SIPP allows you to build a pension in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by selecting one of the Target Retirement funds, which give you access to thousands of bonds and shares in a single investment. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from over 75 individual Vanguard funds and build their pension portfolios themselves. It is pretty straightforward to transfer your existing pensions to Vanguard, and it is completely free to do so - although your existing provider might charge you a fee, so do check with them first.

To open a Vanguard SIPP, you need to have at least £100 per month or a lump sum of £500. There is a yearly management fee of 0.15% (capped at £375) per year. Some of the funds on offer have separate charges, so please check these before investing. Vanguard has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA, General Account and Personal Financial Planning.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

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Aviva - Ready-made stakeholder pension; Offers financial advice

Aviva's Logo
Product
Stakeholder Pension
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£20 per month
Annual Fund Management Cost
Capped at 1%

The Aviva Stakeholder Pension allows you to invest your money in a range of funds that offer you access to various assets such as stocks, shares and property. And you can choose from a range of high to low risk funds, depending on your attitude to risk. With Aviva, you can start your Stakeholder Pension with as little as £20 a month, and pay money into your pension plan either regularly, e.g. every month, or make one-off payments. You can also change that amount or stop and start payments when you need to. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), you will have a number of options about how you can use your pension savings, including taking an income, lump sum or a combination of both of these. The Aviva Stakeholder pension also lets you create a pension pot for your children or grandchildren. You can deposit up to £2,880 for each child per year.

With Aviva, you pay only an annual fund charge, which is capped at 1%. And you will not have to pay any charges for setting up your investment or for switching money between funds. Aviva offers financial advice at a separate fee.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

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Standard Life - DIY and ready-made stakeholder pension

Standard Life
Product
Stakeholder Pension
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£16
Annual Fund Management Cost
Capped at 1%

The Standard Life Stakeholder Pension allows you to invest your money in 30+ funds and 2 Lifestyle Profiles. You can invest in up to 12 funds at any one time, but if you decide to pick a Lifestyle Profile, you can only combine this with a with-profits fund. The Lifestyle Profiles are ready-made investment portfolios that invest your money in funds and move them as you get closer to retirement, to try and get you the best possible returns for your goals. If you do not want to choose a fund, Standard Life will automatically invest your money in a Lifestyle Profile depending on goals and risk preferences.

Standard Life charges an annual management charge of 1% of the value of the funds you are invested in each year.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

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Best SIPP Providers

Compare some of the best SIPP providers in the UK below.

You usually can't access the money in your pension pot until you are at least 55 years old (increases to 57 in 2028), when you can take 25% as a tax-free lump sum.


Capital at risk. Other charges apply.

Interactive Investor - One free trade every month; Lots of research

Interactive Investor
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
 £156 (£12.99 per month)

Interactive Investor is the UK's number one flat-fee investment platform with more than 40,000 investments to choose from, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. The Interactive Investor Pension allows you to build a pension in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot using Quick-start Funds, which is an easy way to start investing where you choose from six low-cost funds prepared by the team of experts at Interactive Investor. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds and shares and build their pension portfolios themselves. With Interactive Investor, You can combine your other pensions into one SIPP for simpler retirement planning. You also get a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), Interactive Investor will provide a range of options for taking an income from your pension, and there is no extra charge for this.

Interactive Investor charges a flat fee of £12.99 per month, so you know exactly how much you will be paying each month. The higher your pension pot, the lower this fee becomes on a percentage basis. Interactive Investor has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA, Trading Account, and Junior ISA.

Special offer: Open a SIPP and pay no monthly fee for 6 months. Terms apply.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

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AJ Bell Youinvest - Lots of investment options, ideas and research

AJ Bell Youinvest
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£1,000 lump-sum. No minimum for a regular payment
Annual Platform Fee
0.25% - 0% (Funds)
0.25% (Shares - max £10/month)

AJ Bell Youinvest is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and it is on a mission to make investing as easy as possible for you. AJ Bell Youinvest was the first investment company in the UK to offer an online SIPP. Investors can select from thousands of investments, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. With AJ Bell Youinvest, you can build your pension portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can get a little, or a lot, of help from AJ Bell Youinvest’s specialists by selecting one of the investment ideas on offer. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from thousands of investments and build their pension portfolios themselves. The AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP is suitable for both the self-employed and those looking to open a personal pension to complement their workplace pension. AJ Bell Youinvest also lets you combine your existing pensions in a SIPP, so you can see and control everything in one place. This helps you understand how your pension is performing and exactly what you're paying in charges.

It’s free to open an AJ Bell Youinvest SIPP, and you can buy investments from as little as £1.50. There is a yearly charge for holding investments, but it is never more than 0.25%. AJ Bell Youinvest also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA and Dealing Account. AJ Bell Youinvest does not offer advice.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk. Pension rules also apply.

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Hargreaves Lansdown - Lots of investment options, research and tips

Hargreaves Lansdown
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£100 lump sum or £25 per month
Annual Platform Fee
0.45% - 0% (Funds)
0.45% (Shares - max £200/year)

Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company and the biggest investment platform in the UK. Hargreaves Lansdown allows you to build a SIPP portfolio from over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, investment trusts and more. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your pension portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by choosing from a range of ready-made options where the team of experts at Hargreaves Lansdown will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares and other investments and build their pension portfolios themselves.

The Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP is free to set up and low cost to run. There is a yearly charge for holding investments, but it is never more than 0.45%. Some of the investments on offer have their own annual charges, so please check these before investing. It is also free to buy and sell funds. Other dealing charges depend on the type of investment and how often you trade. If you need a financial adviser to help you choose investments, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a financial advice service at a fee. Hargreaves Lansdown also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA and Fund and Share Account.

Please note: The Hargreaves Lansdown SIPP is intended for investors happy at making their own investment decisions. When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk. The charges quoted here are not exhaustive - other charges apply.

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Penfold - SIPP & Workplace Pensions; Ethical investments available

Penfold Pensions Logo
Product
SIPP
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£0
Annual Platform Fee
0.88% - 0.75%
(0.4% or 0.53% on pots over £100k)

Penfold is a modern pension provider offering customers a quick and easy way to build and contribute to their pension pots. The platform is digital-first and built for everyone regardless of whether you are employed, self-employed or running your own business. With Penfold, you can open a private pension, self-employed pension or be auto-enrolled via your workplace. Once you sign up, you can choose from four plans: Lifetime, Standard, Sustainable and Sharia, depending on your goals and values. Set up only takes 5 minutes, and you can adjust your contributions at any time. Penfold can also track and transfer your old pensions - even if you do not know the details, so you can combine all your pensions from previous employments in one place. If you are ever confused about anything relating to your pension or retirement, they have a team of experts happy to provide jargon-free answers to your questions.

There is no minimum deposit when you set up your pension with Penfold, and you can pay nothing each month if you like. If you do make a contribution, the minimum amount Penfold can process is £10. Penfold charges an annual fee between 0.75% and 0.88%, depending on the plan you choose. If your pension pot size is larger than £100,000 the fee is reduced to either 0.4% or 0.53%, depending on the plan you choose, on the portion of your savings over this amount.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Moneyfarm - Offers financial advice and ethical investments

Moneyfarm Logo
Product
SIPP
Account Type
Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£500
Annual Platform Fee
0.75% - 0.35%

Moneyfarm is a UK robo advisor that provides you with a personalised investment plan based on your risk preferences. Investors can choose from seven globally diversified risk-rated portfolios, including ethical investments. The team at Moneyfarm actively manages your investments, but each investment portfolio is made up of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other passive trackers. Customers also benefit from free and personalised digital financial advice from Moneyfarm's investment consultants, and you can chat, phone, email, or meet your consultant in person. If you tell Moneyfarm when you aim to retire, the team will manage your portfolio around your target retirement date - reducing your risk as the date approaches. It is easy to transfer your existing pensions to Moneyfarm. Just fill in your details in-app or online. Moneyfarm will then talk to your existing provider and move your pensions over to your Moneyfarm account. The process typically takes about 3 - 4 weeks and is as paperless as possible, depending on your provider. When you reach the retirement age of 55 (57 from 2028), Moneyfarm will provide a range of flexible options for taking an income from your pension. This is called a pension drawdown, and there is no extra charge for it.

Moneyfarm charges a yearly account management fee starting at 0.75% and reducing to 0.35% depending on the size of your portfolio. The annual average investment fund fee is 0.2%, and the annual effect of market spread comes to about 0.09%. Moneyfarm has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA and General Investment Account.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE

Vanguard - Offers financial planning and educational resources

Vanguard Investor'
Product
SIPP
Account Type
DIY & Ready-made
Minimum Contribution
£500 lump sum or £100 per month
Annual Platform Fee
0.15% (max £375/year)

Vanguard is a popular low-cost investment platform with over 75 own-brand funds, including ETFs, active funds and index funds. Vanguard does not offer stocks and shares, but there are various ETFs on offer for those interested in exchange-traded securities. The Vanguard SIPP allows you to build a pension in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their pension pot by selecting one of the Target Retirement funds, which give you access to thousands of bonds and shares in a single investment. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from over 75 individual Vanguard funds and build their pension portfolios themselves. It is pretty straightforward to transfer your existing pensions to Vanguard, and it is completely free to do so - although your existing provider might charge you a fee, so do check with them first.

To open a Vanguard SIPP, you need to have at least £100 per month or a lump sum of £500. There is a yearly management fee of 0.15% (capped at £375) per year. Some of the funds on offer have separate charges, so please check these before investing. Vanguard has other products, including a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA, General Account and Personal Financial Planning.

Please note: When you pay into a pension, your capital is at risk.

GO TO SITE
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