Who are the Best Workplace Pension Providers in the UK?

  •  By
  •  Frankie Dewar

Choosing the best workplace pension provider is a significant decision for businesses. With various workplace pension schemes available, each offering a unique blend of pros and cons, it can be challenging to compare different providers – especially with differing fee structures. So, which provider truly offers value for money?

In this guide, we’ll take an honest look at the best UK workplace pension providers, including Penfold's workplace pension.

Yes, we are one of the providers being compared here, so you might think we’re going to toot our own horn. And while we’re proud of what we offer, our goal is to ensure every pension provider steps up their game because people deserve better pensions for a comfortable retirement.

We work really hard to offer the best pension out there because we know that pensions can be better than they currently are. If pensions are boring or difficult, it’s too easy for people to to switch off.

What are the Best Workplace Pensions?

For this comparison, we’ve looked at the top workplace pension scheme providers available to businesses of any size. We’ve excluded some larger providers due to their high fees and more ‘hands-off’ support approach. Here are the standout options:

  • Penfold
  • Nest
  • Smart Pension
  • Cushon
  • NOW: Pensions
  • The People’s Pension
  • Aviva
  • Royal London
  • Scottish Widows

To help you compare workplace pension providers and find the right option for your business, we evaluated these providers across three key areas:

  • Saver features
  • Business features
  • Fees, fund performance and ratings

You can see all of this in the comparison tables below. So, let’s dive into what’s on offer.

Workplace Pension Employee Features

Best workplace pension saver features from Penfold, Nest, Smart Pension, Cushon, NOW Pensions, The People's Pension, Aviva, Royal London and Scottish Widows

As you can see, Penfold compares well when comparing workplace pension features for employees. With an intuitive interface and powerful tools, our app gives employees total visibility of all their savings and employer contributions to more easily manage their pension anytime.

Workplace Pension Business Features

Best workplace pension business features from Penfold, Nest, Smart Pension, Cushon, NOW Pensions, The People's Pension, Aviva, Royal London and Scottish Widows

Penfold are the only workplace pension provider that offers a dedicated, named account manager – even offering the option of integrating directly into a company’s messaging platform so that we’re available whenever, or wherever you need us.

Fees, Fund Performance and Ratings Compared

Best workplace pension fees, performance and ratings from Penfold, Nest, Smart Pension, Cushon, NOW Pensions, The People's Pension, Aviva, Royal London and Scottish Widows

Penfold has a simple fee structure – there are no fees for businesses (employer or adviser) and a simple fee for employees which covers everything within our service.

Independant ratings are a great way to understand what people think of their pension - Penfold’s Trustpilot reviews and Workplace pension Defaqto rating score highly.

Performance is another crucial factor in choosing a pension provider. How well will your scheme help your team grow their pots?

The table above shows the annualised growth for each provider’s default workplace pension fund – the plan most employees are on. It compares Penfold with our peers based on actual annualised returns based on data from September 2019 to March 2024

Best Workplace Pensions for Small Businesses

Now that we’ve compared some of the best workplace pension schemes available, let’s focus on which providers are best for small businesses.

Great workplace pension providers for small businesses need to offer a little more – going above and beyond to help you set up, manage, and run your pension.

It might be your first time offering a pension to employees (or even your first real experience with a pension of your own). Thankfully, many of the providers mentioned above have everything you need to get started.

We’ve also written a detailed guide on how to choose a workplace pension provider to ensure you consider everything before making your choice.

The Future of Workplace Pensions is Here

Penfold’s award-winning workplace pension includes a dedicated team of pension experts to help you every step of the way. And once you’re up and running, we won’t disappear.

Enjoy a 1-on-1 relationship with a dedicated account manager who will own your pension scheme – you’ll never need to answer a pension question from your team again.

Request more information to discover how we can transform workplace pensions for you.

Frankie Dewar

Read our side-by-side comparisons

Penfold vs. Nest

Compare →

Penfold vs. Smart Pension

Compare →

Penfold vs. Cushon

Compare →

Penfold vs. NOW: Pensions

Compare →

Pensions that work better for everyone

Accountants and Advisers

✓ Tailored service
✓ Time-saving processing platform
✓ Dedicated account manager


✓ Immediately set up a workplace pension, with no added fees for you
✓ Get started in a couple of minutes
✓ Enrol employees, process contributions

Employees and Savers

✓ Set up in minutes and start reaching your personal retirement goals
✓ Combine pensions into one account
✓ Top-up or adjust contributions any time

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