Aviva pensions review

Discover what we thought when we analysed the Aviva pension and how much it costs.

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. Find out how it works, some features, fees and pros and cons.

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 valueAnnual charge
Amount above £500,0000%

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


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


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

Compare Aviva with alternatives

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Fee for a £50,000 pension pot Brand description
Interactive Investor Pension
Any lump sum or £25 a month
Over 3,000 funds
Annual fee: £239.88, fund fees: £50-500
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
£1,500 (initial investment)
7 funds
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
Over 2,000 funds
Annual fee: £125, includes fund fees
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
9 funds
Annual fee: £250-475, includes fund fees
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
Annual fee: £225 (£200 cap if holding shares), fund fees included
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
No minimum
4 portfolios
Annual fee: £375-455, fund fees included
Moneybox Pension
3 funds
Annual fee: £225, fund fee: £60
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
UK: £2.95
US: $3.95
EU: €3.95
Your first 100 trades are free with Fineco (T&Cs apply)
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. The minimum deposit with Fineco is £0. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply. The minimum deposit with eToro is $200.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. The minimum deposit with HL is £1. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0.50 + $0.004 per share
Degiro is widely seen as one of the best low-cost share brokers, for people who are looking to trade regularly. The minimum deposit with Degiro is £0. Capital at risk.
interactive investor Trading Account
£7.99 (with one free trade per month)
£9.99 per month
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. The minimum deposit with ii is £0. Capital at risk.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
InvestEngine stocks and shares ISA
Offer - £50 welcome bonus for new customers. Subject to minimum investment. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
Moneybox stocks and shares ISA
0.45% and £1 monthly subscription fee (free for first 3 months)
Moneybox offers a smart and simple way to invest. Sign up in minutes and start investing with £1 via their award-winning app. Capital at risk.
interactive investor stocks and shares ISA
Any lump sum or £25 a month
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
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm stocks and shares ISA
Moneyfarm helps you meet your investment goals with fully-managed portfolios designed around you. Capital at risk.
Fidelity Stocks and Shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
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
Legal & General is a big financial services company which offers insurance, lifetime mortgage, pensions and stocks and shares ISAs. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Stocks and Shares ISA
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.

Compare up to 4 providers

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. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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