Penfold review

We've listed some of the features of the service that's looking to simplify pensions for the self-employed.

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Instant tax relief
No share dealing option

Penfold is a mobile-only pension provider that’s aiming to make it easier to save up for your retirement. It has a range of pensions aimed at different types of people, including directors, self-employed savers and businesses. You can also open a private pension with Penfold. See what we thought about Penfold, how it works, how much it costs and some of its benefits.

Penfold SIPP
Penfold, the pension for the self-employed
  • Flexible payments, pause alter & top up whenever
  • Combine your old pension pots for free, in one click
  • Get 25% tax relief bonus: £25 for every £100 you contribute
  • Protected by the FSCS
  • Capital is at risk. Pension & tax rules apply

What is Penfold?

Penfold is a digital pension platform, aiming to make the process of setting up a pension simple and easy. Serving as a digital alternative to traditional pension programs, Penfold allows users to set, manage and keep track of their pensions without any real hassle. The service is made for a range of different savers, including self-employed people, freelancers, sole traders, company directors, companies and those that simply wish to save into a private pension. It offers flexibility and ease of use for its customers.

How does Penfold work?

Setting up a Penfold pension is easy and takes only a few minutes to set up online. Registration takes very little time, and all you need is the following documentation:

  • UK ID
  • National insurance number
  • UK bank account
  • Proof of address and tax-payer status

How to sign up for Penfold

It’s really simple to sign up for Penfold, here’s how:

  1. Sign up for Penfold. You can do this on the app.
  2. Choose a plan. There are 7 different ones to choose between, including ethical options. You can always change this later.
  3. Pay in some money, or transfer in another pension. There’s no minimum payment, so you can get started with as little as you like. If you’re transferring a pension in, you can consolidate several pensions. Penfold can deal with the paperwork and faff involved.
  4. Keep track and continue to pay in. You can adjust how much you pay in and change your investments as you see fit.

Private pensions

Penfold private pensions are for people that might already have a workplace pension but want to save into an additional pension. You could opt to combine all of your old workplace pensions into the same pension pot, or transfer an existing pension in. You’re also able to start fresh with regular or one-off contributions.

You’re able to get a 25% top up from the government on your pension contributions in the form of tax relief. This means that for every £100 you put in, the government will add an additional £25.

Directors and limited company pensions

If you’re a director or own a limited company then contributing towards your pension is a little more complex. With this pension, you’re able to pay into your pension through your limited company.

Employer contributions are “allowable expenses” when it comes to filling out a tax return.

When you’re setting up your pension with Penfold, on the final page there’s a toggle to change it so you can pay through business contributions.

Self-employed pensions

There are 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK, which is close to 15% of the workforce. But only 14% of them are saving regularly into a pension. For many, the prospect of setting up a pension while self-employed can seem complicated.
Penfold aims to provide easy to set up digital pensions catered specifically to self-employed people.

Business pensions

Penfold also offers workplace pensions. If you have an entire team in your company, you can auto-enrol them onto. Each employee can log into their account to see (or change) what they’re invested in and watch the money grow over time.

Penfold fees and charges

Penfold customers are charged a single annual fee to maintain their account. For “Lifetime”, “Standard” and “Sustainable” portfolios, you’ll pay 0.75% for your savings up to £100,000 and 0.4% on any amount over this.

For the “Sharia” option, you’ll pay 0.88% for your savings up to £100,000 and 0.53% on any amount over £100,000.

Besides this annual fee, there is no additional charge for pausing, stopping or consolidating pension pots.

It has also eliminated drawdown fees, so anyone aged 55 or over who decides to take money out of their Penfold pension won’t be charged for accessing their funds. Plus, there are no transfer fees for customers who want to move their existing pension over to Penfold.

Penfold’s benefits

Penfold offers its customers a variety of benefits and features that include the following:

  • No minimum monthly contributions.
  • Allows users to deposit lump-sum amounts into their pensions.
  • Like any other pension plan, customer contributions are eligible for tax relief.
  • Allows making pension deposits through personal contributions, which comes with a 25% government tax top-up.
  • Customers can pay into their Penfold pension from a limited company.
  • A £25 promotional bonus upon making your first Pension deposit, if you sign up through this link here.

Can I transfer an existing pension to Penfold?

Yes, you can transfer an existing pension to Penfold. The company offers a free “find & combine” feature that allows the company to look for customers’ other pensions and consolidate them all under the Penfold pension. All customers need to do is provide a name, reference & estimated amount of their previous pension and Penfold will track it down and combine it to your Penfold pension.

What can you invest in with Penfold?

Penfold has a range of different portfolios over 4 different categories: “Lifetime”, “Standard”, “Sustainable” and “Sharia”.


The “Lifetime” plan is an automated plan — it automatically adjusts as you get closer to retirement. This protects your investments from any sudden and unexpected market dips when you’re closer to retirement, as your money is moved into “safer” investments the closer you get.


This is a portfolio that has a broad range of investments. It’s well diversified, which means that you’d be invested in a range of sectors and countries. You can choose between 4 different risk profiles with this option, with Level 1 having the least risk, and 4 having the highest risk.


The sustainable plan is for those that want to consider the environment with their investments. The fund invests in those that have the highest ESG scores in each sector. Your money is invested in companies that are prioritising environmental issues, such as climate change, pollution and waste.


This fund invests only in Sharia-compliant companies, as approved by an independent Sharia committee. This includes Halal investments, which is where the fund excludes investment in industries such as alcohol, tobacco, pork, finance sector, weapons & adult entertainment.

Is Penfold safe?

Founded in 2018, Penfold became regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in June of 2019. This means that the company is subject to a wide range of controls and procedures that are approved by the UK’s financial regulator to keep your pension safe and secure.

Along with approval from a regulatory body, Penfold also partners with Seccl Custody Limited as its custodians for managing payments and added security. With the company specialising in providing financial advisers, wealth managers and fintech firms with fast and flexible solutions for managing clients’ money, you can rest assured that your money will be kept secure.
Along with this, Penfold itself does not manage money. So when you add money into your Penfold pension, it is invested in a special plan provided by either BlackRock or HSBC, which will continue to invest your pension even if Penfold itself ceases to exist.

Given these added measures, customers can be sure that their pensions will be secure with Penfold even though it isn’t a traditional pension service.

Pros and cons of Penfold


  • Instant tax relief
  • Pensions for self employed workers, directors and companies
  • Plenty of portfolio options


  • No share dealing option – ready made portfolios only

Our verdict

Penfold is filling a gap in the market by offering an easy-to-use digital pension option to a range of different types of saver that allows them to set up a basic pension plan. Penfold is definitely a service that has grown extensively in the past few years, and we are looking forward to seeing it develop even further.
Get started by visiting Penfold and opening an account. Still not sure? Compare other share trading platforms with our comparison table.

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.


Written by

Zoe Stabler DipFA

Zoe was a senior writer at Finder specialising in investment and banking, and during this time, she joined the Women in FinTech Powerlist 2022. She is currently a senior money writer at Be Clever With Your Cash. Zoe has a BA in English literature and a Diploma for Financial Advisers. She has several years of experience in writing about all things personal finance. Zoe has a particular love for spreadsheets, having also worked as a management accountant. In her spare time, you’ll find Zoe skating at her local ice rink. See full profile

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