PensionBee Review 2023 – Is Pension Bee Worth it?

 

 

 

Deciding what to do with your pension is a big decision and one you are going to want to make sure you get right. This PensionBee review looks at how they can help you source and consolidate old pension pots as well as let you know how to save for your future pension. They have various plans for you to pick from, with varying risk levels and returns which means that when it comes to sorting out your future finances there should be one of their pension option that suits you and your needs perfectly. 

Who are PensionBee? 

London-based PensionBee is a forward-thinking company with 9 years of trading behind them and close to a million customers. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2021 and has been making inroads within the pensions industry, the company’s focus being to make it simple for customers to assess and consolidate their current pension plans.

With many UK employees having a number of employers and often a number of smaller pension funds gained, this can leave smaller funds suffering from high charges and often poor performance. Pensions are often forgotten, either completely, or simply left unmanaged.

They take the effort out of the somewhat cumbersome job of tracing lost or forgotten pensions through The Pension Service. They carry out this service and offers to consolidate existing pensions into a new single, easy-to-manage pension plan.

This allows money purchase agreements or personal pension plans to be consolidated by them at no initial cost to the holder. 

PensionBee – How it Works 

One of the best things about having your pension with them is that they have several plans for you to choose from. This means that whatever level of risk and return you are looking for, there will be something to suit you. Not only that, but they operate a service that allows you to transfer in existing pensions that may be held elsewhere – they’ll even help you track these down if the details you have on the pension you hold are sketchy. Once you’re all set up, you can then manage your payments via their website and/or app by making regular or ad-hoc payments (great for those that are self-employed). You’ll get the usual government top-ups and can check your balance at any time by logging into the website or using the app. It’s a really easy-to-access service which aims to make pension management and consolidation as simple as possible. 

Transferring an Existing Pension

UK pensions can generally be transferred to another UK-registered pension scheme, or, if you wish to retire abroad, an overseas option is generally permissible. Customers are able to check the current rules on the gov.uk website. 

Ideally, you’ll be able to give them details of any existing pensions that you hold and they’ll be able to get in touch with these providers and request that your pension pot is transferred to them.

However, if you don’t know all of these details then the beauty of PensionBee is that they’ll seek out any old pensions and handle the transfer for you. Simply let them know what details you do know and they’ll do the rest – with the website or app using a timeline to keep you updated with how the search is progressing.

What You Will Need To Know In Order to Initiate a Transfer

The process of transferring an existing pension can be either started by contacting your existing pension provider or your future provider. You will be required to give your name, address, National Insurance Number and date of birth. You will also require your future provider’s HMRC registration number and trading name, the type of scheme offered and the details of the schemes administrator.

There will be security checks and possible verification checks that you’ll need to go through, but they talk you through all of these and helps to ensure that the process is as smooth sailing as possible. 

The good news is that they are well-versed in tracking down and transferring pensions, so you can feel confident that your requirements are in safe hands. They have a section on their website that keeps you up to date with how any transfers are progressing and they contact you directly if they need any further information from you in order to make a successful transfer.

Be aware that the current UK pension regulations require compulsory financial advice to be given if you want to move an existing final salary pension scheme with guaranteed benefits of £30,000 or greater.

Starting a New Pension

For those that are self-employed whether you already have a pension pot started or you’re looking to get started on the pension ladder, they have everything you could need to get started. If you’re a PAYE employee or not self-employed then you’ll need any existing UK pension in order to take advantage of their services.

If things look complicated or you aren’t sure where to start then looking through their Pension Academy and some of the videos they provide there is an excellent place to start. However, realistically it’s a great financial decision to make and one that you shouldn’t overcomplicate.  

It is a good idea to start a pension as young as you can, although it is not unusual to leave this until you are older to get started. Although this isn’t a problem, the later you leave it the more you’ll need to put aside each month if you want to build up a significant pension pot ready for retirement.

Setting up a new pension pot with them is a simple process that you can do via their website or app and they’ll help you with pension contributions from the government and even how to diversify your pension portfolio should you wish to. With an average time of 12 weeks, depending upon your existing pension provider, to complete the process, it can be completed quickly and efficiently.

PensionBee Plans with Risk Levels

Although there are different benefits to shifting your pension to them as this PensionBee review shows, one of the best things is that they have various plans for you to pick from. This is great because it means that you have the choice to pick the best option that suits you, your needs and the type of risk/return that you feel most comfortable with.  PensionBee offers 7 plans and although they don’t recommend any particular plan they do make it easy for you to do your research. It’s important that you spend some time considering your options and ensuring that you make the right choice for you and your finances.

Low-Risk Funds

 

Preserve

Their Preserve Plan works on the basis that it only makes short-term investments. By investing your money into credit-worthy companies the plan is low risk, but it does mean that your returns are likely to be less too. 

Medium-Risk Funds

 

Tracker

Their Tracker Plan works on investing your money in a range of opportunities. They tend to follow the world’s markets which mean that your money could be invested in a range of assets. Possible places your pension pot could be invested include equities, bonds, global shares and cash. The fact that it is so diverse means that your money is at medium risk, but this should also be reflected in any returns that you get. 

Tailored

Their Tailored Plan works based on your age as well as how far you are away from retiring. It works on the basis that the younger you are the more risk you and your pension pot can afford to take. It isn’t tailored personally to you but instead based on your age and as you reach 10 years or less to retirement they start to make less risky investments with your funds. 

4 Plus

Their 4 Plus Plan works on the basis that you would like to have a growth of around 4% per year. It is said to be suitable for anyone that is likely to access their pension in the near to medium term future and therefore would like their returns to be actively managed by a team of experts. 

High-Risk Funds

 

Pre-Annuity

Their Pre-Annuity Plan invests your money in bonds that should on average return the same cost of purchasing an annuity. 

Ethical Investment Funds

 

Fossil Fuel Free

Their Fossil Fuel Free plan works on the basis that your money won’t be invested in companies that are involved in fossil fuel and/or tobacco. This means that your money is invested only in companies that align with the Paris Agreement Goals.  It’s one of the newest PensionBee pension plan options and tracks the FTSE All-world TPI transaction index in order to decide how and where to invest your money. 

Shariah

Their Shariah Plan allows people to set up a pension that makes investments based on their faith. This plan only invests in Shariah-compliant companies which have been approved by an Independent Shariah committee.

What are PensionBee Fees?

Signing up to PensionBee is free of charge and if you have an existing UK pension or you are self-employed then you can sign up via their website at any time. 

They offer to transfer and combine your pensions without charge. It is worth bearing in mind that depending on your existing provider(s) terms and conditions, they may charge you an exit fee.  They will ask for your confirmation of this is higher than £10.

They charge a single yearly administration and management fee, this charge ranges between 0.5% and 0.95% according to the plan you have chosen. The fee is charged at the full percentage for fund values of up to £100,000. For greater sums, the charge is reduced by 50% for the additional amount.

A majority of their customers are on Tracker (charged at 0.50%); Tailored (charged at 0.70%) or Fossil Fuel Free (charged at 0.75%) plans. However, the information is there for you to do all the research you need and make the right financial decision for you. 

As the stock market fluctuates you may see a change in value following a transfer, as markets can go up or down, your new fund your fund may accordingly change in value. 

The good news is that working out the annual management fee for using PensionBee is made easy with a calculator on their website that allows you to see what you would expect to pay if your investment is with them. 

 

How to Get a Pension Bonus from the Government

You can choose to make regular or ad-hoc payments with them and as any PensionBee review will tell you, the process is easy. On top of that, if you’re making a personal pension contribution then you could be eligible for tax relief. The great news is that they handle this for you and claim your 25% top-up from HMRC automatically on your behalf and adds it to your balance. You can get tax relief on pension contributions up to £40,000 or 100% of your salary (depending on which is lower) for 2022/2023. They also have plenty about this on their website as well as keeping you updated with any HMRC contributions you have received via your account dashboard.

Pensions and Pension Bonus for the Self-Employed

If you read any PensionBee review, most of them will talk about how they are ideal for those that are self-employed. Although employers can contribute to any pension, the nature of being able to make ad-hoc payments into your own pot makes it ideal for freelancers and those that are self-employed – especially when you consider that they automatically claim any tax relief and top-ups from HMRC for you. 

If you are self-employed and unsure what the best financial decisions are for you and your current finances it is well worth seeking some advice, although their website has a pretty comprehensive FAQ section too!

How to Draw Your Pension from PensionBee 

From the age of 55 customers can then choose to purchase a Pension annuity through PensionBee’s partner, Legal & General, or choose to receive their pension through drawdown and can take up to 25% of their fund as a tax-free lump sum payment. If you choose an annuity, this will guarantee you receive a regular income throughout your life, this income is calculated from your annuity rate. Advice should be taken from an independent financial advisor if you are in doubt about your best course of action at retirement age.

Should I Consolidate My Pensions? 

Any financial decision such as consolidating your pension is one that should be researched to ensure it is the right decision for you. If you have a significant amount in any pension funds then it could be worth seeking independent advice before you go ahead with any transfers. In fact, if you have a large pension pot then PensionBee will often insist that you do this before you can go ahead with the consolidation. For example, if you have any guaranteed benefits over £30,000 with an existing pension provider then you must seek guidance from an Independent Financial Advisor before you can transfer it.

That said, if you have a number of pensions dotted around with various providers then it can be cost-effective and easier to manage to bring this under one umbrella. After all, it’s pretty important to keep track of any finances and retirement savings for the future. 

They authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority and is a safe pension provider, correctly registered and legally trading within the UK. PensionBee also has great customer feedback and high review scores. These often mention the ease of transfer, helpful and competent customer service and low fees. With a TrustPilot score of over 4.5, it is amongst the highest-scoring companies in the notoriously low-scoring financial sector. With almost a million customers, these PensionBee reviews give good reasons to trust in PensionBee and what they can do to improve your future financial outlook.

PensionBee Customer Reviews

It stands to reason that if you are going to use any company for financial investment and planning you want it to be a company you can trust. It is a good idea to glance over a PensionBee review or two before making your decision – although you’ll find that there are plenty of positive reviews online.  

Everyone’s financial situation is different, so you should do plenty of research before deciding if PensionBee is the right platform you for you. That said, if you are looking to open up a pension pot or consolidate your pensions to a dashboard operated by a trusted pension company then PensionBee could very well be the right one for you.

Customer reviews for PensionBee are generally very good; this can be seen with a quick browse of their TrustPilot page where over 8000 reviews have been published. Further customer reviews on sites like Google are fewer in number, but often include the same points of praise, low fees, excellent customer service and ease of use. Often with online reviews in the financial sector, it is unsatisfied customers who speak the loudest. The common positive nature of an average PensionBee review is a welcome turn of direction within the sector and shows what a good financial organisation is capable providing to their customers repeatedly and consistently.

Can I Take My Money Out of PensionBee? 

You can withdraw up to 25% of your pension fund tax-free when you reach 55. This happens automatically on your 55th birthday and withdrawing this money is made easy, you’ll just need to log into your account and upload some photo ID. Your request is either processed that day (if done before 12 pm) or the next day and as long as everything is as it should be, you should have your funds within 10 working days.

If you decide to withdraw up to 25% the rest will stay invested and can be withdrawn as you wish. It is worth keeping in mind that you’ll pay income tax on anything you withdraw over your 25% tax-free allowance.

Money can be withdrawn earlier in certain circumstances but there may be additional fees or charges. Poor health under the age of 55 may entitle you to draw upon your pension early; this can depend upon your condition, or conditions and life expectancy. This is something to contact PensionBee about directly so that they can give you the best possible advice.

Leaving your fund intact at 55 can lead to greater returns on your investment and careful consideration should be given to any withdrawals. A financial advisor can advise those facing this decision.

PensionBee Summary

Getting your finances on track can mean different things for different people, however knowing your pension is sorted can be a great relief. For many people, the thought of retirement seems so far away that they don’t want to worry about their future finances, however, that generally doesn’t work well. 

The great thing about them and what pretty much any PensionBee review will tell you is that it is completely hassle-free to get started with. This is great news because it means that even if your retirement seems like a time in the distant future, you can probably find a few minutes to get your pension pots aligned – giving you financial security for the future.

They provides a simple and easy-to-use consolidation service for those with more than one smaller pension. They can provide a more efficiently performing pension fund with lower management fees than many other pension providers.

As far as pension providers go, they are a low-cost and easy-to-use platform which will allow you to set up pension pots for the future as well as consolidate old ones all into one place. With life being busy and employee’s often changing jobs it can be hard to keep track of pensions, where they are held and how much is in them. Bringing them all together under one dashboard takes away this worry and puts everything under one roof – and they won’t even charge you anything for doing that.

A quick look at the PensionBee review site will quickly show the positive view held of the company by its customers. The great thing is that they offer several investment plans for you to choose from, low fees and the facility to do all of your pension management via an app. 

Until next time.

Nikki x

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