When you are thinking about consolidating your pensions, it is important that you choose a new pension provider wisely and consider a wide range of factors:
Do they offer the investment choices that you need? This might be a wide fund choice, a curated shortlist of funds from which you can choose or a range of ready-made investment portfolios that match your needs.
Do they offer all the options you need, such as regular income withdrawals, ad-hoc withdrawals, the ability to view and change your investments online or make additional contributions?
Are their charges transparent, simple and competitive? Some pension providers have a wide range of additional charges, such as fees for taking income withdrawals, buying and selling investments and buying an annuity. Others have one single charge. You should consider the charges you will pay depending on how you plan to use your new pension both now and in the future. See Individual personal pension charges and Workplace pension charges for more information about charges. Some providers bundle your ISA and pension investments together when calculating charges. If you also have a stocks and shares ISA, a provider that levies charges based on your total savings, rather than calculating charges for each individual product, may offer the best deal.
The total charges you pay is usually a combination of the cost of administration – often called the ‘platform charge’ – and the fund management charge for the funds you choose. When comparing providers, you should add these two charges together to get a more accurate picture of how much you will pay.
Do they charge you if you transfer away in the future? Although you may start a new pension with the intention of keeping it forever, things change. For example, your needs might change or the pension provider you choose introduces new and unexpected charges. In these situations, having the option to move your savings elsewhere without having to pay for the pleasure is important.
What is their customer service like? At some point, everyone has a problem they need to resolve and it isn’t immediately apparent how you might do that online. At times like these, good customer service is important to help you solve your problems quickly and easily.
Are they a provider that you know and trust? If you already have dealings with a financial services provider you will have experienced what it’s like to be a customer. Has that experience been good or bad?
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