Pension Provider Comparison

Staging Date
Number of Employees
Payroll Frequency
Payroll Software
'green' pension providers are seamlessly integrated with your payroll software, meaning you can electronically upload pension data securely and efficiently
Pension
provider
Best
for
Overall
Score
87%

About Legal and General Worksave Pension Plan

Legal & General Group is a British multinational financial services company head-quartered in the UK. Its products include life insurance, general insurance, pensions and investments.

For more information please visit the Legal and General Worksave Pension Plan website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
There is an Annual Management Charge of 0.5% which is amongst the best for employees.
Money Matters Score
Scheme members have a wide range of funds available to choose from. Full at retirement options are available within the scheme and there are no limitations on contributions and transfers and it is easy for members to pay more into their scheme.
Diverse Workforce Score
A Sharia fund is available. Communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Legal and General Worksave Pension Plan. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Legal and General Worksave Pension Plan.
Ease of use
For payrolls that match Legal and General's frequency i.e. monthly, they are excellent.
Customer support
Based on our experience and survey responses from payroll users, we rate the level of customer support as 4/5.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
The information provided is sparse and difficult to navigate.
Employer Charge
There are no employer charges
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
86%

About Aviva (Company Pension)

Aviva provides around 31 million customers worldwide with insurance, savings and investment products. They are the UK’s largest insurer and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. This destination is for their Company Pension proposition, which is their workplace pension scheme for auto-enrolment.

For more information please visit the Aviva (Company Pension) website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
The charges are dependant on the number of employees and the level of contributions.. The average charge for auto enrolment schemes to February 2017 is 0.61% and this is the figure we have based our rating on.
Money Matters Score
Scheme members have a wide range of funds available to choose from. For members wishing to access their funds, a good level of access is available. Finally, there are no limitations on contributions or transfers.
Diverse Workforce Score
A Sharia fund is available. Communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Aviva (Company Pension). This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Aviva (Company Pension).
Ease of use
Overall Aviva (Company Pension) is good for EaseOfUse (4/5).
Customer support
Our experience and that of their clients we have surveyed is that customer support is excellent. This score is supported by their helpdesk statistics.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
Aviva provides excellent support for employers including template project plans, communications and a step by step guide.
Employer Charge
Aviva states monthly ongoing charges are typically between £30 and £50. We obtained a range of quotes that validated this statement. The score is based on the fact that this is clearly more expensive than the free providers. We consider it more than the fixed fee options of other providers as it is open ended. However, it is at the lower end of the regular fees so not the lowest score. For higher numbers of employees (over 20) we have increased the score as the cost per employee is reduced.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
Listed on The Pensions Regulator website Yes
84%

About NEST

NEST has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment. They exist to make sure that every employer has access to a workplace pension scheme that meets the requirements of the new pension rules.

From April 2017, NEST's restrictions on contributions and transfers are removed.

For more information please visit the NEST website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
There is a 1.8% contribution charge and then 0.3% Annual Management Charge (AMC). Whilst the AMC is low, the one-off 1.8% charge on each contribution can make the overall cost to the employee significantly higher, especially in the early years. Transfers in to NEST do not attract the 1.8% contribution charge.
Full details can be found on the NEST website.
Money Matters Score
There is a limited range of investments available for any members who wish to choose their own funds. The options at retirement are to take a cash lump sum or transfer to another scheme for a wider range of options. The original restrictions on contributions and transfers no longer apply.
Diverse Workforce Score
There is a Sharia fund, communications are available in a range of languages and the scheme is excellent for managing seasonal workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and NEST. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to NEST.
Ease of use
NEST is easy to use. Minor improvements could be made e.g. making payment processing smoother.
Customer support
In our experience customer support is very good.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
NEST has extensive support materials but they tend to be overly long and can be difficult to navigate.
Employer Charge
There is currently no employer charge. As a mastertrust, you are governed by the trust deed and rules and participation agreement so you may be liable for charges in the future.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
Mastertrust Assurance Framework Yes
Listed on The Pensions Regulator website Yes
82%

About People’s Pension

The People’s Pension is provided by B&CE. It’s a flexible and portable workplace pension, designed for people, not profit. With no shareholders, any surpluses are used for the benefit of its members

For more information please visit the People’s Pension website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source by default but Net Pay available
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
There is an Annual Management Charge of 0.5% which is amongst the best for employees.
Money Matters Score
For members wishing to choose their own investments, there is very little choice. They have excellent options around access to funds via the pension freedoms and it is easy for members to pay additional contributions.
Diverse Workforce Score
There is a Sharia fund, communications are available in a range of languages and the scheme is excellent for managing seasonal workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and People's Pension. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to People's Pension.
Ease of use
We rate their ease of use as average. The scheme set-up could be improved.
Customer support
Our experience and that of their clients we have surveyed is that customer support is very good.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
The coverage of the Peoples' Pension support materials is extensive but the navigation could be improved hence the average rating.
Employer Charge
A single fee of £300 if set-up via an adviser or £500 if an employer goes direct.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
Mastertrust Assurance Framework Yes
Listed on The Pensions Regulator website Yes
80%

About Scottish Widows Assist Me

Scottish Widows has been helping people plan their financial futures since 1815, and they’re proud to be one of the strongest life and pensions companies in the UK.

For more information please visit the Scottish Widows Assist Me website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
The Annual Management Charge (AMC) is dependant on the initial level of contributions. Whilst it may be as high as 0.75%, it very quickly comes down and as there are no other charges, we rate Scottish Widows Assist Me highly
Money Matters Score
Members have a wide range of funds to choose from. In addition, for those over 55 who wish to access their funds, there are a number of options. There are no limits on contributions or transfers and members can easily pay additional contributions
Diverse Workforce Score
A Sharia fund is available. Communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Scottish Widows Assist Me. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Scottish Widows Assist Me.
Ease of use
Scottish Widows Assist Me is not very easy to use.
Customer support
In our and our survey respondents, the customer support is poor.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
Scottish Widows Assist Me has reasonable level of support available on their website.
Employer Charge
There are no employer charges.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
80%

About Smart Pension

Smart Pension was founded by experienced finance & technology professionals and has been designed specifically to support UK businesses faced with the challenges of auto enrolment. Their team spent over a year developing & testing the platform whilst also establishing the partnerships necessary to meet regulatory requirements and deliver a seamless end-to-end experience

For more information please visit the Smart Pension website

Tax Relief Status Net Pay
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
The Annual Management Charge is 0.75%. This is the maximum allowed by legislation. However, there are no other charges levied on the Employee unlike some other providers.
Smart Pensions website has more information on their Employee charge structure, and compares it against other providers' Employee charges.
Money Matters Score
For members wishing to choose their own investments, there is very little choice. Similarly, for those members over 55 who wish to access their funds, they cannot take advantage of the options introduced via pension freedoms such as flexible access without transferring to another scheme. It is very easy for members to pay additional contributions.
Diverse Workforce Score
A Sharia fund is available. Communications are mainly in English with some Polish videos available. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Smart Pension. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Smart Pension.
Ease of use
In general we rate this as good (4/5). The initial scheme set-up for payroll could be improved but regular monthly processing is relatively painless.
Customer support
Based on our experience and survey responses from payroll users, we rate the level of customer support as 4/5.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
The Smart site has been designed to make the employer journey as smooth as possible. Particularly around sign-up, they have achieved this. The information on auto-enrolment in general is also good.
Employer Charge
There is currently no employer charge. As a mastertrust, you are governed by the trust deed and rules and participation agreement so you may be liable for charges in the future.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
Mastertrust Assurance Framework Yes
Listed on The Pensions Regulator website Yes
73%

About Standard Life Group Flexible Retirement Plan

With Standard Life Savings, you’ll have easy access to help, guidance and financial planning tools, so you can confidently take control of your life savings and make informed decisions about your future.

For more information please visit the Standard Life Group Flexible Retirement Plan website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
The Annual Management Charge is 0.75%. This is the maximum allowed by legislation.
Money Matters Score
Members have a wide range of funds to choose from. In addition, for those over 55 who wish to access their funds, there are a number of options. There are no limits on contributions or transfers and members can easily pay additional contributions
Diverse Workforce Score
A Sharia fund is available. Communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Standard Life Group Flexible Retirement Plan. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Standard Life Group Flexible Retirement Plan.
Ease of use
Whilst Standard Life Group Flexible Retirement Plan does not yet support data automation, their traditional means of processing is relatively easy to use.
Customer support
In our experience customer support is good.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
Standard Life Group Flexible Retirement Plan has good quality materials available and they are well laid out.
Employer Charge
The employer charge is £100 per month which commences when the first person joins the scheme.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
Listed on The Pensions Regulator website Yes
71%

About Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC)

Aegon is an international provider of life insurance, pensions and asset management. With approximately £542 billion assets under management, they have businesses in over 25 countries around the world and around two million customers in the UK alone.

For more information please visit the Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC) website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
We have rated this as equivalent to a 0.75% Annual Management Charge (AMC). An employer may request there be a fixed charge and a reduced AMC but for most employers this will not apply.
Money Matters Score
A wide range of funds are available for members who wish to select their own investments. We consider the options to withdraw funds as good. There are no limits on contributions or transfers and it is easy for members to pay in additional contributions.
Diverse Workforce Score
There is no sharia fund and communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers.
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC). This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC).
Ease of use
Our users rate Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC) as one of the worst providers in terms of ease of using the system.
Customer support
Our experience of customer support is poor.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
Their site is average in terms of its content for employers. The information required is there but could be better presented and more extensive.
Employer Charge
There are no charges for the employer
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
65%

About Royal London

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with Group funds under management of £84.5 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.1 million policies and employ 2,988 people. (Figures quoted are as at 31 December 2015). Note that in order to open a scheme with Royal London, you will need an adviser.

For more information please visit the Royal London website

Tax Relief Status Relief at Source
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
The Annual Management Charge is 0.75%. This is the maximum allowed by legislation.
Money Matters Score
A wide range of funds is available for members who wish to manage their own investments. Similarly for members withdrawing funds, there is a good range of options. There are no restrictions on contributions or transfers.
Diverse Workforce Score
A Sharia fund is available. Communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and Royal London. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to Royal London.
Ease of use
Our users rate Royal London as one of the worst providers in terms of ease of using the system.
Customer support
Our experience of customer support is poor.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
The quality of their support materials is high. However, it is aimed more at advisers than employers/payroll.
Employer Charge
Ranges from nil to £75 per month. For most small employers, it will be at or near the £75 per month level hence the single star rating.
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating
62%

About NOW: Pensions

In collaboration with ATP of Denmark – one of the largest pensions funds in Europe and the Board of Trustee Directors, NOW: Pensions has set out to bring cost-efficiency, performance and simplicity to the UK pensions industry.

For more information please visit the NOW: Pensions website

Tax Relief Status Net Pay but NOW tops up by the basic tax rate for any non-taxpayers
Employee's perspective
This is a combined score for the provider for Employee Charge, Money Matters and Diverse Workforce scores
Employee Charge
NOW: Pensions couples an Annual Management Charge (AMC) of 0.3% with a monthly administration charge.

For members earning more than £18,000 p.a. the monthly charge is £1.50 when contributing and £1.00 when they leave. For those earning less than £18,000 p.a. the monthly charge is £0.30.
Full details can be found on NOW: Pensions website.
Money Matters Score
Members have no investment choice and there are few options to withdraw funds once over minimum pension age. However, it is easy for members to pay additional contributions and transfer into the scheme.
Diverse Workforce Score
There is no sharia fund and communications are in English only. We consider this provider is average for seasonal/transitional workers.
Payroll's perspective
This is an average score Ease of use and Customer support. We do not include Automation in the score as that impacts the availability of the provider instead.
Automation enabled
As you have not chosen a payroll software we are familiar with, we have assumed there is no automation between your payroll and NOW: Pensions. This means that your payroll team will probably have to export member contribution data and manually upload it to NOW: Pensions.
Ease of use
With their data automation and updated website for traditional methods, NOW: Pensions is very easy to use.
Customer support
NOW: Pensions have recently made significant investment into their customer support centre in Nottingham, and into a new customer portal and API (to lower the burden of customer data transfer). Recent customer feedback has been positive.
Employer's perspective
This is the combined score for Employer support materials and Employer Charge
Support materials
The support materials available are excellent, well laid out and simple to use.
Employer Charge
There is a monthly charge for employers.
Full unsupported rate £36 per month
5 or more employees administered by a payroll bureau £20 per month
1-4 employees administered by a bureau £12.50 per month
Expert's perspective
Defaqto Rating

! IMPORTANT

  • This selection of pension providers represents a sub-section of the pension providers in the UK market.

  • Our aim is to gather factual information about each pension provider (which could be obtained by a UK Employer themselves via the World Wide Web) and present that information onscreen alongside opinions and feedback collected from 3rd parties and our employees.

  • This selection of pension providers is not an exhaustive list of pension providers that can accept applications for new schemes from UK Employers.

  • Our company (systemsync solutions ltd) reviews the information we collect on pension providers at frequent intervals and has taken reasonable steps to ensure the information presented here is factually correct on this date: 13 November 2017

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  • If you believe any information presented here is mis-leading or inaccurate please contact us