Choose a different pension
Switch to a pension that suits you and your values
For many, there are already steps you can take to choose a different pension and move your money into providers and funds that suit you are align with your values.
Hear from Leila about her experience:
If you are employed
When you are first enrolled in a pension by your employer, you will have been put in a ‘default’ fund to start. But there are often alternative funds which invest in a different way. Your pension provider may offer you a choice of two or more funds to put your money into – including an ethical option. If other options are more to your liking, you can chose to switch.
The easiest way to switch is to log-in to your online pension account. If you’ve not logged into this before you’ll need some details to do so – you should have been sent these by your pension provider. If you’ve not got your details give your pension provider a call or ask your HR department. For some providers, you can switch in minutes, but with others you may have to do some digging. Check out their FAQs or help section, or search ‘fund choices’.
Don’t forget that there are other factors at play when you switch funds, such as cost and risk and you should make sure you feel comfortable with these. Our friends at Good With Money have written a Good Guide to Pensions, which has lots of information on the cost, performance and investments of different funds offered by pension providers, which is a handy starting point.
While your pension pot is your money, it is your employer that holds the keys, and in some cases the option to switch may not be available to you. You can start independently paying into a provider of your choice, but you may run the risk of losing your employer contribution. Another option would be starting a conversation within your workplace to raise awareness on the issue.
What if I am unhappy with the options available to me?
It’s not unusual for funds that call themselves ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ to invest in some companies that you don’t think are great. In many cases they may be using their investor power to get companies to change their bad practices, but there are also definitely funds that are guilty of greenwashing. We understand that can be frustrating when trying to choose a different pension, and that’s why there are other actions for you to take too. If your ethical fund suits you more than your default fund, then switching can still be a good shorter-term first step, as long as you’re comfortable with the differences in risk and cost. Over the longer-term, talking about this in your workplace or signing our petition could make a big difference to the funds available to you. The more people learn about the impact of pensions, and start taking action, the more those who design funds will have to listen.
If you are self-employed
If you’re self-employed then you have the power and responsibility to set up a pension for yourself and your employees. Our ranking of the top 10 UK pension providers is a great place to begin informing yourself about various providers. Good With Money’s Good Guide to Pensions is a great resource too!
Don’t forget – there are other factors at play when you switch funds such as cost and risk. Make sure you feel comfortable with these.
Past pension pots
If you have pension pots from past jobs, you can usually transfer these to another provider. Your current provider should accept these transfers. You should be able to find out how to do this by logging into your online pension account with them. Alternatively, give them a call.
There are also pension providers that specialise in aggregating pension pots from old jobs.
Again, remember there are other factors at play when you switch funds such as cost and risk. Make sure you feel comfortable with these.