· 13 min read

Who Are the Best Private Pension Providers? A Comprehensive Review

Choosing the right private pension provider is an essential step in securing your financial future. With numerous options available, it's crucial 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 manages around £120bn on behalf of over 1.7 million clients, making it the largest UK fund platform. Customers can access a range of guides, research, and investment tools to get a better understanding of how to help their money grow. You can also choose from either a good selection of ready-made portfolios or Hargreaves Lansdown’s cash management service.

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.

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.

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.

Investment Options

AJ Bell provides a vast selection of investment choices, including 9 AJ Bell managed funds, 6 ready-made portfolios, and over 15,700 shares, funds, ETFs, and investment trusts. This extensive range ensures that you can tailor your investments to match your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Customer Support

AJ Bell excels in customer support, offering a 6-day-a-week telephone service and a live chat facility. This ensures that you can get help whenever you need it, making your pension management experience smoother.

Fees and Charges

While AJ Bell is known for its low platform fees, it's important to note that there are charges for fund switches and share trading. This can make it expensive for active investors who frequently trade. Here's a quick overview of their fee structure:

Fee Type Cost
Platform Fee (Funds) Up to £250,000: 0.25%, £250,000 to £500,000: 0.10%, Over £500,000: No charge
Platform Fee (Shares) 0.25% (capped at £10 per month)
Fund Trading Fee £1.50 per trade
Share Trading Fee £5 per trade (reduced to £3.50 for frequent traders)

Customer Reviews

AJ Bell has received positive feedback from its users, with many praising its research and customer support. According to Trustpilot, AJ Bell has a high rating, with many users sharing their positive experiences. This makes AJ Bell an excellent all-rounder for those looking to invest in their future.

AJ Bell is a publicly-listed investment platform with 490,000 customers. It offers a range of options on retirement, making it a versatile choice for various investment needs.

For expats in Berlin, Finanz2Go can help you navigate the complexities of setting up a private pension with AJ Bell. 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.

3. Fidelity

Fidelity is an investment company with over 1 million clients in the UK. The Fidelity SIPP 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.

Choice of Investments

Fidelity offers over 6,100 shares, funds, ETFs, and investment trusts. This extensive range makes it a versatile option for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

Customer Experience

Fidelity has a customer experience rating of 62% according to Fairer Finance. Extensive support is available, including a 5-day-a-week telephone service, messaging facility, and a face-to-face investor centre in London.

Fees and Charges

Fidelity’s platform fee is tiered:

Investment Amount Platform Fee
Up to £25,000 0.35% (regular savings plan) or £90 (no regular savings plan)
£25,000 to £249,999 0.35%
£250,000 to £999,999 0.20%
Over £1 million 0.20% on first £1 million then no further charge (Non-tiered)

Pros & Cons



Private pension plans offer a level of flexibility that is unmatched by state-sponsored options, making them one of the best private retirement plans for self-employed professionals.

Whether you're looking to invest in ETFs or other financial instruments, private pension plans provide the autonomy to navigate your retirement income avenues in a way that best resonates with your envisioned lifestyle.

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.

Why We Picked It

Vanguard is a global investment management company with over 30 million customers. They offer five LifeStrategy ready-made managed portfolios, which are split by the proportion of equities to bonds, and 11 Target Retirement managed portfolios that switch assets into lower-risk options as you approach retirement. Alternatively, you can choose from over 80 active and passive Vanguard funds across a range of assets and regions.

How Ethical Are Vanguard Pensions?

Vanguard is the world’s second-largest asset manager and owns shares in nearly every public company in the US. It is top-rated by Which? for value for money and customer satisfaction. However, Vanguard has committed to align less than 5% of its assets under management with net-zero goals, which has drawn some criticism.

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

Take Action

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.

At Finanz2Go, we specialize in helping expats in Berlin navigate the complexities of setting up a personal pension scheme. 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. PensionBee

PensionBee is a specialist in helping savers find their old workplace pensions and is able to provide the tools, knowledge, and experience in consolidating multiple pots into one personal pension scheme. This could be extremely useful for the millions of workers who have had multiple jobs over the years, meaning they have contributed to more than one workplace pension scheme. It is worth noting that if you have paid into a defined benefit or final salary pension scheme in the past, you could end up worse off.

Key Features

Customer Reviews

PensionBee has received excellent reviews on Trustpilot, with an average score of 4.6 out of 5.0 from over 10,000 reviews. They are known for their responsive customer service, replying to 100% of negative reviews in less than 2 days.

Fees and Charges

PensionBee charges an annual fee ranging from 0.25% to 0.95%, depending on the plan you choose. There are no hidden costs, making it transparent and straightforward for users.

At Finanz2Go, we specialize in helping expats in Berlin navigate the complexities of setting up a personal pension scheme. 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.

6. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a robo-advice platform that has been operating in the UK since 2011. It offers access to relatively low-cost fully managed portfolios made up of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In order to gauge your appetite for risk, Nutmeg asks you to grade yourself from the least risky (1) to the most risky (10). Users cannot choose their own assets and Nutmeg only invests in ETFs, but it is an easier and cheaper process than dealing with an independent financial adviser. It is unlikely to be a good match for savers.

Investment Options

Nutmeg customers can choose from four investment options: fully managed, fixed allocation, smart alpha, and socially responsible portfolios. We examine each option in detail in our full platform ‘Nutmeg Review’. You can also read our take on its pension options in our ‘Nutmeg Pension review’.

Fees and Charges

Nutmeg has a tiered fee structure based on the amount you invest. Here's a quick breakdown:

Investment Amount Management Fee
Up to £100,000 0.75%
£100,000 - £250,000 0.35%
£250,000 - £1,000,000 0.25%
Over £1,000,000 0.10%

Administration and Trustees

The Nutmeg personal pension is invested and managed by Nutmeg, while the administrator is Hornbuckle and the trustee is Embark Trustees Limited.

If you're looking to open a personal pension and have a minimum of £500 to contribute, Nutmeg could be worth considering. It's a straightforward option for those who prefer a hands-off approach to investing.

At Finanz2Go, we specialize in helping expats in Berlin navigate the complexities of setting up a personal pension scheme. 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.

7. Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor is a robust platform that caters to both beginner and advanced investors. With over 400,000 clients, it offers a wide range of investment options, including 5 ready-made managed portfolios, 6 quick-start funds, and over 40,000 shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. The platform's fixed fee structure is particularly appealing to those with higher-value pension portfolios, as it can be more cost-effective compared to proportional fees.

Key Features

Pension Plans

Interactive Investor offers two main pension plans: 'Pension Essentials' and 'Pension Builder'. The 'Pension Builder' plan, priced at £12.99 per month, becomes particularly cost-effective once your pension reaches a value of £50,000. For those just starting out, the 'Quick-start Funds' are a great way to dip your toes into investing.

Interest Rates on Cash Balances

Interactive Investor also offers competitive interest rates on cash balances:

Balance Range Interest Rate (Gross)
Up to £10,000 2.00%
£10,000.01 - £100,000 2.75%
£100,000.01 - £1 million 3.75%
Over £1 million 4.75%
With retirement edging into view, the investor aims “to make the most of any pension and investment opportunities” in the next five years, with a key focus on maximizing returns.

Why Choose Interactive Investor?

For expats in Berlin, Finanz2Go can help you navigate the complexities of private pension plans. While we don't offer tax advisory or real estate planning, our independent financial advisors are here to provide you with tailored pension advice.

8. Bestinvest

Bestinvest offers a variety of investment options, including around 2,500 funds, investment trusts, UK shares, and ETFs. You can choose from three main options: pick your investments yourself, opt for a ready-made portfolio, or get advice from a qualified financial planner. It is unusual for a platform to offer all three of these options. Bestinvest is also a relatively cost-effective option, though some of its ‘expert’ portfolios can prove expensive over time.

Investment Options

Bestinvest provides 19 ready-made managed portfolios and over 3,500 shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. This extensive range makes it a good choice for both beginners and experienced investors.

Customer Experience

The platform is easy to use, which can make Bestinvest a good option for beginner investors looking for a wide range of options. Extensive support is available, including a 6-day-a-week telephone service and live chat facility.

Fees and Charges

Bestinvest is a good all-rounder, with low fees for some ready-made portfolios and a good choice of investments. However, some of its ‘expert’ portfolios can prove expensive over time. The platform fee can go up to 0.40%, and there is no cap on the platform fee for shares.

Pros & Cons


Overall, Bestinvest may appeal to investors wanting a low-cost, ready-made portfolio, along with financial coaching.

9. Moneyfarm

Moneyfarm is one of the largest digital wealth managers in Europe and has been operating in the UK since 2016. Unlike other robo-advice firms, with Moneyfarm you are designated an investment consultant who can offer guidance, but not advice. The Moneyfarm Pension involves investing via a recommended portfolio based on your savings goals, your planned retirement date, the amount you want to pay in and your overall appetite for risk. Investors can choose between 7 risk-based fully managed portfolios.

10. Wealthify

Wealthify is another of the UK’s growing number of robo-advisor platforms. It gives customers the choice of five investment plans handily named Cautious, Tentative, Confident, Ambitious, and Adventurous. You can choose the one that best matches your risk profile, with the added bonus of an ethical investment option for each plan. This is a great extra for savers looking to make sure that their investments match their position on issues like environmental damage.

Wealthify fees vary depending on which option you choose and how much you invest, plus the annual platform fee of 0.6%. You can find out more by reading our full ‘Wealthify Review’.

Wealthify is a UK-based independent robo-advisor which invests in ETFs to keep clients' investment management costs to a minimum.

Customer Service

Wealthify has received a 4-star rating on Trustpilot. Do you agree with Wealthify's 4-star rating? Check out what 2345 people have written so far, and share your own experience.

Investment Options

Wealthify offers a range of investment options, including ethical investments. This allows you to align your investments with your personal values, such as environmental sustainability.

Fees and Charges

Wealthify charges an annual platform fee of 0.6%, which varies depending on your chosen investment plan and the amount you invest. This fee structure is designed to keep costs transparent and manageable.

Ethical Investment

One of the standout features of Wealthify is its ethical investment options. Each of the five investment plans—Cautious, Tentative, Confident, Ambitious, and Adventurous—has an ethical counterpart, allowing you to invest in a way that aligns with your values.

User Experience

Wealthify's platform is user-friendly and designed to make investing as straightforward as possible. Whether you're a seasoned investor or a beginner, the platform offers tools and resources to help you make informed decisions.

Discover the benefits of Wealthify and how it can help you optimize your investments for the future. With our expert guidance, you can save up to 48% in taxes and secure a tailored pension plan that meets your needs. Don't miss out on the opportunity to maximize your financial potential.


Choosing the best private pension provider can feel like navigating a maze, but it's a crucial step for securing your financial future. Whether you're self-employed or working for a company, the flexibility and potential for higher returns make private pensions an attractive option. Remember, it's all about finding a plan that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle. Don't hesitate to seek professional advice to help you make the best decision. With the right plan in place, you'll be well on your way to a comfortable and secure retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are private pension providers?

Private pension providers are financial institutions that offer pension plans not sponsored by the government. These plans allow individuals to save and invest for their retirement independently.

How do I choose the best private pension provider?

Choosing the best private pension provider involves assessing your financial situation, comparing different providers based on fees, investment options, and additional benefits, and seeking professional financial advice if needed.

What is a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)?

A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is a type of private pension that offers more flexibility and control over investment choices compared to standard personal pensions. It allows you to invest in a wide range of assets.

Are private pensions better than state pensions?

Private pensions offer greater flexibility and potentially higher returns compared to state pensions. However, they come with their own set of risks, such as market volatility and fewer tax benefits.

Can I customize my contributions to a private pension plan?

Yes, one of the significant advantages of private pension plans is the ability to customize your contributions. You can increase or decrease your contributions based on your financial situation and retirement goals.

What are the tax benefits of private pensions?

While private pensions may offer some tax benefits, they are generally less significant than those provided by state-sponsored pension plans. However, contributions to private pensions can still reduce your taxable income.

How do I set up a private pension if I am self-employed?

Setting up a private pension as a self-employed individual involves choosing the type of pension plan that suits your needs, such as a personal pension or a SIPP, and then contacting a pension provider to open an account.

What are the risks associated with private pensions?

The main risks associated with private pensions include market volatility, management fees, and the potential for lower-than-expected returns. It’s important to diversify your investments and regularly review your pension plan.