UK fintech start-up hopes to shake-up Irish pension market

Pension Bee is looking for partners in the Irish market as it readies 2018-19 launch

Pension Bee chief executive Romi Savova says firm will “keep our philosophy to always keep fees fair and transparent”

Pension Bee chief executive Romi Savova says firm will “keep our philosophy to always keep fees fair and transparent”


Would you like to have one, easily accessible online platform, where you could track, manage and oversee all your pension funds – without incurring unexpected fees and charges? A UK fintech start-up is hoping to deliver just that to Irish pension savers.

Pension Bee, launched in 2014, allows you to combine all your pensions – new and old – into one online pension plan.

The platform, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, already has 55,000 users, with £100 million in fee-earning assets, and is aimed at solving the issue of people changing jobs multiple times and leaving pensions behind.

Chief executive Romi Savova says the Irish market looks “very attractive” to the company, given the similarities between it and the UK.

“We are looking to grow our business abroad and, while it is still early days, we have an ambition to come [to Ireland] over the course of the next year,” she said.

The company has just received investment from US behemoth State Street, which will see it take a strategic minority stake in Pension Bee. Ms Savova says the company is now seeking a partner in Ireland, such as a fund manager or a partner who could have a very big distribution network. It will also aim to have a consumer offering here, much as it does in the UK.

According to Ms Savova, the imminent introduction of auto-enrolment in Ireland may also present an opportunity for the company.

“It would be different to what we do in the UK but not too dissimilar,” she said.

Three options

Pension Bee currently gives savers a choice of three pension plans, managed by Blackrock, State Street and Legal & General, with annual management fees ranging from 0.25 per cent to 0.95 per cent.

Pension Bee lets savers add existing pensions to the platform – and won’t always even need your policy number to do so. You will be notified should Pension Bee come across any exit fees over £10 that might apply to your existing pension funds.

Pension Bee does not charge an exit fee, and blacklists those providers that charge hefty fees on the other side of the transaction via its Robin Hood index.

Ms Savova said Pension Bee would “certainly keep our philosophy to always keep fees fair and transparent” when doing business in Ireland, but that the company hasn’t made any pricing decisions for the Irish market yet . It won’t however be charging bid/offer, allocation rates, or any of those “sneaky ways of hiding fees”, Ms Savova said.