Aviva pensions review

Aviva is a pensions and investments provider. We analysed its offering so you can see if it's the right pension provider for you.

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Aviva offers a self invested personal pension (SIPP for short). It’s designed to let you choose how your money is invested and is flexible for you to make changes when you fancy it. If you need to, you can simplify your life a little by moving all of your pension pots into one.

How does Aviva’s personal pension work?

It’s pretty simple – you can pay a lump sum into your pension whenever you like – a nice way to share any bonuses or unexpected tax refunds with yourself in the future. You can put your money into investments to help it grow, and can pay in a monthly amount from £50 per month.

There’s a nice little tax benefit to saving money into a pension. Aviva claims basic tax relief of 20% on any contributions you pay in. So for every £80 paid in, £100 goes into your pension.

What does Aviva do with my money?

Your money is invested in a way that suits you. You can choose to invest in shares, fixed interest, property and money markets. Aviva lets you choose a ready-made fund or you can choose your own.

Personal pension

A personal pension is a pension pot that’s completely separate to your workplace pension and state pension. Unlike the workplace pension, it’s set up and paid into by you. It’s kind of like a savings account that you can’t access until you turn 55, but the money is invested to help it grow.

The money is locked away until you turn 55, after which you get to enjoy the money you’ve saved up. How much you get depends on how much you saved over the years, how well your investments performed, any charges that apply to your account, and how you choose to draw down your pension.

Features of Aviva’s personal pension

  • Choice of investments. Aviva has ready-made funds, a shortlist selected by its investment experts and a full fund list, so you can choose in a way that’s comfortable for you.
  • Flexibility in payments. You can choose how often you pay in and stop or start payments when you want to, allowing for the odd boiler breakdown.
  • Flexible retirement options. You have loads of choices when it comes to your retirement, from lump sums to a guaranteed income for life.
  • Payments to a beneficiary. In the case that you die before you receive all of your pension, you can choose someone to receive the remainder. They have the same flexibility in how they receive it as you do.
  • Clear fees. It’s really nice when a provider has a clear fee structure. Aviva removes any surprises when it comes to payments.
  • Single lump sum. Received a nice tax refund or a great bonus? You can share it with future you and make a lump sum payment to your pension pot. You’ll thank yourself later.

Pension fees

Aviva is really transparent with its pension costs.
There are two costs:

  • Aviva charge. This is up to 0.4% of the value of your investments.
  • Fund manager costs. This charge depends on which funds you choose.

Costs are calculated daily and charged monthly.

Aviva charge

The Aviva charge depends on your investment value. As with most investment services, the more you invest, the less you pay in fees. Aviva shows you your exact charge when you log into your account if you’re not sure where you fit into all this.

Invested value Annual charge
£50,000 0.40%
£200,000 0.35%
£250,000 0.25%
Amount above £500,000 0%

It’s worth noting that if you have more than one of Aviva’s investment products already, such as a stocks and shares ISA or an investment account, then you only pay one fee to use all of them. Handy.

Fund manager charge

Each fund has an individual charge associated with it. You can find this charge on the Key Investor Information Document.

How do I pay fees?

Your fees are charged from the cash in your account or out of your investments. Aviva lets you know if it’s going to take it out of your investments.

What do I need to open an Aviva pension?

You’ll need to register with Aviva – it’s free and takes five minutes.
You’ll need:

  • Your national insurance number (get this from a payslip, your online tax account or dig out your old national insurance card if you received one)
  • Bank details or debit card information to make or set up payments

Bringing all your pensions into one

You can bring all your pensions into one to make them easier to manage and to help you understand them. This can also reduce the costs if you find yourself in the next tier up in the costs table, but you’ll need to check out how they compare.

Aviva helps you decide if you’d like to transfer old pensions to it. You might decide not to if you have any special features or benefits on your account, as you’ll lose those, such as tax-free cash, loyalty bonuses, enhanced life insurance or death benefits, early access to your money or pension, or a pension with a guaranteed income.

Our verdict

If you want a pension provider and aren’t really interested in getting involved with how it all works, this is a good option for you. If you’re interested in investing and want some exposure to how it works, you might be better off with a provider that gives you more involvement. You’re not given much explanation of your investment spread or the risk factors.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Can transfer your pensions from other providers
  • Easy to view dashboard with graphs and calculators

Cons

  • Doesn’t give you any insight or knowledge into investing

Compare Aviva with alternatives

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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
Moneyfarm Pension
£1,500 (initial investment)
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0.35%-0.75%
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
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0.05-0.25%
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PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100 or £25 a month
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor Pension
Any lump sum or £25 a month
Over 3,000 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
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Penfold
Penfold
No minimum
4 portfolios
0.75-0.88%
Moneybox Pension
£1
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0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
£2.95
£2.95
Zero platform fee
Your first 50 trades are free with Fineco, until 31/12/2020. T&Cs apply.
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. Capital at risk.
IG
0% commission on US shares, and £3 on UK shares
From £5
£0 - £24 per quarter
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
0% commission, no markup, no ticket fee, no management fee
N/A
Withdrawal fee & GDP to USD deposit conversion
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
No fees
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
£1.75 + 0.022% (max £5.00)
£1.75 + 0.022% (max £5.00)
Portfolio transfer fees (in & out)
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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor stocks and shares ISA
Any lump sum or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.75%
£0
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm stocks and shares ISA
£1500
0.75%
£0
Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Fidelity stocks and shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £20 a month
0.61%
N/A
Legal & General is a big financial services company which offers insurance, lifetime mortgage, pensions and stocks and shares ISAs. Capital at risk.
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.

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