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Best UK workplace pension providers: Which scheme is right for you?

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Choosing the best workplace pension provider can be tough. Today, there are a number of workplace pension schemes available, all with a unique blend of pros and cons.

What’s worse, it isn’t always easy to compare different providers - particularly when each scheme seems to have a completely different fee structure. Which provider actually offers value for money?

In this guide, we’ll take a thorough, candid look at the best UK workplace pension providers around, including Penfold's workplace pension.

One last thing. You’re reading a pension provider comparison article by one of those being compared (us!) so you might be assuming that we’re just going to big ourselves up. Well, you’re only partly right. 

We work really hard to offer the best product out there because we know that pensions can be better than they currently are. 

We want every pension provider to be better, because people really need them to be if they’re going to have a comfortable retirement. If they’re boring or difficult, it’s too easy for people to switch off. 

So let’s see what’s on offer.

What are the top workplace pension providers in the UK?

First, let’s draw up the shortlist.

For this list, we’ve looked at the top workplace pension scheme providers available to businesses of any size. This means we’ve excluded some of the bigger providers due to their high fees and more ‘hands-off’ approach to support. That leaves us with five options:

  • NEST
  • People’s Pension
  • Smart Pension
  • NOW: Pensions
  • Aviva
  • Cushon
  • Royal London
  • Penfold

Our UK workplace pension providers comparison

To help you compare workplace pension providers and find the right option for your business, we looked at these providers across several areas. We considered how user friendly each pension is, the features they offer and how users rate them, along with their performance and cost. You can see all of this in the chart below. We’ve also provided a bit more information about each below.

As you can see, Penfold makes it effortless for companies and their employees to manage their pension. 

By offering an online dashboard and first-rate app, it’s easy to check in on how their pension is doing (and see just how their employer is contributing) whenever they like.

We’re also the only workplace provider that offers one-on-one relationship management, integrating directly into your company messaging platform so that we’re available, whenever you need us.


Another crucial part of choosing a pension is performance. How well will your scheme help your team grow their pots?

The graph below looks at 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 between June 2019 and December 2022.

Best workplace pension providers for small employers

Now we’ve compared some of the best workplace pension schemes available, let’s change the focus a little. Which of these providers is best for small or scaling businesses?

Great workplace pension providers for small employers will need to offer a little more than usual - 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 rolling.

At Penfold, we have 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 customer manager who will own your pension scheme - you’ll never need to answer a pension question from your team again.

Request more information or book a free demo today to discover how we can transform your company pension.

Or find out more about Penfold's award-winning workplace pension.

Helping businesses deliver great pension experiences for thousands of employees

Why Penfold Workplace?

Digital, fast-growing businesses love Penfold for our:

Easy-to-use app

Discover the intuitive pension app that your employees will love.

Find and combine old pensions, set savings goals and get a notification whenever your employer contributions land.

Dedicated support

Enjoy 1-2-1 account management and support from our friendly team of pension experts.

Always available online, on the phone or directly via your Slack or work chat.

Education programme

Access free training and workshops to improve your teams' financial literacy and support their wellbeing.

We provide guides, videos and FAQs so your team gets the most value out of your most expensive benefit.

Sustainable funds

Let your employees save in line with their ethics with investments that aim to make a positive impact on the world without sacrificing growth.

Or they can choose from our Lifetime, Standard or Sharia funds.

Photo of Penfold customer Katherine holding a phone

Engage, attract and retain the best talent

Boost your employer brand with a better pension scheme.

90% of UK workers say their company pension influences whether they stay or leave their current role.*

Get a free pension consultation so you can design the right scheme for your business, benchmark your current scheme against your peers and step up your pension offering as you grow.

*Based on a 2022 survey of 2,000 UK employees.

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Photo showing Penfold's workplace pension app on the yearly retirement income screen

Level up your benefits package

Keep your team happy and engaged with a pension they’ll love.

Support your teams’ financial wellbeing with an engaging pension experience they’ll use and appreciate.

Help your team reach their retirement goals with our highly rated app with goal setting for contributions, a track-and-transfer service for complete visibility of savings and a forecast tool to understand their future pension pot.

Access a free of charge education programme to improve your teams’ financial literacy.

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Photo of Penfold workplace pension account manager Bel and a customer conversation

Speak to a real human, whenever you need to

Industry-beating account management at no extra charge.

Jargon-free pension support is only a phone call away with dedicated 1-2-1 account management that offers payroll support and weekly check-in calls.

Switching is easy with fully-managed onboarding for your team.

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Loved by your team

Photo of Emma Bagshaw

Emma Bagshaw, Writer

"Penfold have the tools and service to make you think and feel confident about your future, and help you make the right decisions along the way."

Photo of James Bardwell

James Bardwell, Executive

"I really can’t imagine losing the visibility and slick experience Penfold's app provides and so will be sticking with Penfold throughout my career."

Photo of Laura Barr

Laura Barr, Manager

"Penfold opened my eyes to what value a pension can actually bring you. I now have full control with Penfold as my source of truth for all pensions!"

Ready to switch?

We’ve helped hundreds of businesses change providers so we know how to deliver an accurate and efficient switch over for you and your team.

Fully managed by us

We do the work involved in switching you over, including contacting your current provider to initiate the change and un enrolling your employees.

Help with communication

We provide a suite of guides, templated emails, FAQs and dedicated account management to support you and your team throughout.

You set the pace

We can work to your timelines. The switchover can be completed within a few weeks or stretched over a quarter. It’s entirely up to you.

If you're interested in finding out more about Penfold's workplace pension, simply enter a few details and we'll get back to you with more information.

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