· 6 min read

Top 5 Best Private Pension Providers You Should Consider

Choosing the right private pension provider is a crucial step in securing your financial future. With numerous options available, it's essential to understand what each provider offers to make an informed decision. This comprehensive review aims to guide you through the top private pension providers, highlighting their key features and benefits.

Key Takeaways

1. Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company and the largest investment platform in the UK. Its core mission is to build long-term client relationships by becoming a trusted partner and financial champion, ultimately helping you increase your financial security for the future. If you choose to invest with Hargreaves Lansdown, you will gain access to over 15,000 instruments, including over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, bonds, ETFs, ETCs, investment trusts and more.

With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your pension portfolio in three ways. You can pick your own investments to match your values and goals, select ready-made portfolios, or pay a financial adviser to choose investments for you. The ready-made portfolios can be used as all-in-one investments. Pick one from the different risk levels, and you are good to go.

As independent financial advisors, we at Finanz2Go can help expats in Berlin navigate the complexities of setting up a personal pension scheme with Hargreaves Lansdown. While we don’t offer tax advisory or real estate planning, our independent pension advisory services are designed to help you make the most of your retirement savings.

Investment Options

Hargreaves Lansdown offers a variety of investment options, including 4 ready-made portfolios, 70 wealth shortlist funds, and over 13,000 shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. Customers have the choice of four HL ready-made managed portfolios split by risk from cautious to adventurous.

Customer Experience

Hargreaves Lansdown has a customer experience rating of 66% according to Fairer Finance. While it charges one of the higher platform fees (up to 0.45%), the platform fee for shares is capped at £200 per year. There is no trading fee for funds, but it has one of the highest share trading fees at £11.95.

Why We Picked It

Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company with over 1.7 million clients. Other accounts include a general investment account, ISA, Lifetime ISA, and Junior ISA. Its comprehensive range of investment options and tools make it a standout choice for those looking to grow their money.

2. AJ Bell

AJ Bell is a popular choice for those looking to manage their private pensions with flexibility and a wide range of investment options. With one of the lowest platform fees among mainstream providers, AJ Bell offers a cost-effective solution for your retirement planning needs. You can manage your pension fund online or through their dedicated app, making it convenient for tech-savvy users.

3. Fidelity

Fidelity is a well-known investment company with over 1 million clients in the UK. The Fidelity SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) offers a wide range of investment options, including funds, ETFs, investment trusts, and shares. There is no upper limit to the amount you can invest, but there is a high minimum investment amount of £1,000. Fidelity’s fees compare well to its competitors, but the tiered system means you are most likely to get value for money if your pot exceeds £250,000. You will not need to pay any service fees on a junior pension.

4. Vanguard

Vanguard is an investment platform that stands out because it is owned by the funds that customers invest in. This unique structure means there is a greater focus on investor outcomes rather than shareholder profits. Vanguard offers a variety of options for building up your pension pot, including ready-made products and the ability to build your own portfolio from over 75 own-brand funds. These include ETFs, active funds, and index funds, but note that Vanguard does not offer stocks and shares.

Vanguard's focus on investor outcomes rather than shareholder profits makes it a unique choice for your pension needs.

If you are considering Vanguard, you have a couple of options:

  1. Invest your money with Vanguard and take advantage of their low-cost funds.
  2. Join the Vanguard SOS campaign if you are concerned about their ethical stance.

Vanguard is renowned for its low-cost index funds and ETFs, providing a cost-efficient way to grow your retirement savings. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced investor, Vanguard has something to offer. For those who prefer a hands-off approach, the LifeStrategy and Target Retirement funds are excellent choices. Alternatively, if you like to have more control, you can pick from over 75 individual Vanguard funds to build your own portfolio.

For expats in Berlin, Finanz2Go can help you navigate the complexities of setting up a private pension with Vanguard. While we don't offer tax advisory or real estate planning, our independent pension advisory services are designed to help you make the most of your retirement savings.

5. Penfold

Penfold is a modern, flexible pension provider that has been gaining popularity for its user-friendly approach and excellent customer service. Penfold reviews on Trustpilot highlight its strong reputation, with many users praising its ease of use and transparency.

Why Choose Penfold?

Penfold offers a range of benefits that make it an attractive option for those looking to set up a personal pension fund. One of the standout features is its low-cost plans, which come with no minimum initial investment amount. This makes it accessible for everyone, regardless of their financial situation.

Key Features

Customer Reviews

Penfold has received numerous positive reviews, particularly for its customer service and ease of use. Many users appreciate the transparency and flexibility that Penfold offers, making it a top choice for those looking to manage their pensions independently.

At Finanz2Go, we specialize in helping expats in Berlin navigate the complexities of setting up a personal pension fund. While we don't offer tax advisory or real estate planning, our independent pension advisory services are designed to help you make the most of your retirement savings.

Discover how Penfold can help you optimize your investments and save up to 48% in taxes with a tailored pension plan. Our independent and certified financial advisors have over 7 years of experience working with expats in Germany. Don't miss out on securing your financial future.


Choosing the right private pension provider can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By understanding your financial situation, comparing different providers, and seeking professional advice, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs. Remember, the flexibility and potential for higher returns make private pensions an attractive option, especially for self-employed professionals. So take control of your financial future today and start planning for a comfortable retirement. Your future self will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a private pension plan?

A private pension plan is a retirement savings scheme managed and funded by an individual or employer, separate from state-sponsored pension plans. These plans offer more flexibility and potential for higher returns.

How does a private pension differ from a state pension?

Private pensions offer greater investment control and flexibility but may come with fewer tax advantages compared to state pensions, which are generally more secure and offer predictable payouts.

What types of private pension plans are available?

There are several types of private pension plans, including Personal Pensions, Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), and company pension schemes for self-employed individuals.

Why should I choose a private pension plan?

Private pension plans offer unmatched flexibility and the potential for higher returns, making them an attractive option for those looking to customize their retirement savings based on their financial goals.

What is the difference between a personal pension and a SIPP?

A personal pension is managed by a pension provider who makes investment decisions on your behalf. A SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) gives you full control over your investment choices but requires more involvement in managing the pension.

Why do self-employed professionals need a private pension scheme?

Self-employed professionals do not have access to employer-sponsored pension schemes, making it crucial for them to set up private pensions to ensure financial security in retirement.

How can I assess my financial situation before choosing a pension plan?

Understanding your financial situation, including income, expenses, and existing savings, is essential before choosing a pension plan. Seeking professional advice can also help you make an informed decision.

How do I choose the right pension provider?

When choosing a pension provider, consider factors such as fees and charges, investment options, the provider's reputation, and any additional benefits they offer. Comparing multiple providers can help you find the best fit for your needs.