Britons warned high pension charges could cost up to £18,000 in retirement - can you get a lower rate?

Couple looking worried

High pension charges could cost someone thousands over time

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 21/04/2024

- 11:46

There are around 2.8 million lost pensions in the UK worth around £26.6billion

Pension savers risk losing thousands of pounds in retirement by having multiple pension pots.

Merging pots together could reduce account fees and give savers access to a wider range of investments.

With the average person having up to 12 jobs over a lifetime, it’s vital they don’t lose out on money that they've paid into their workplace pensions.

There are around 2.8 million lost pensions in the UK worth around £26.6billion – an increase of 73 per cent in the past four years alone.

While it is easy to lose track of old pension pots, experts warn that doing so could see thousands of pounds wiped off their pension savings.

In 2015, the fee that new pension schemes could charge was capped at 0.75 per cent, but this cap did not apply to anyone who joined a scheme before this date.

Couple looking at laptop

One way to avoid these high charges is to consolidate one's pension


Those opted into pension schemes before the 2015 rule was introduced could be paying a high charge without even realising.

One way to avoid these high charges is to consolidate one's pensions.

Once employees have located lost pensions, if there are several it might make sense combine them all into one.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, director, WEALTH at Work said: "Pension consolidation isn’t just about making it easier for someone to manage their finances.

"Their different pensions could be invested in very different ways, which may mean they are taking more or less risk with their investments than they realise.

“Consolidating pensions means that you don’t have to check the performance of multiple accounts, it could save money on the fees charged, and ensures a joined-up investment strategy that matches the amount of risk that someone is prepared to take.”

Data from wealth firm Quilter showed that savers in old pots are often charged fees of one per cent, or in some cases even higher, which is a lot compared to modern workplace pensions.

By switching that into a new scheme charging 0.25 per cent, people could save thousands.

Quilter gave examples of how much each pension would be worth over 20 years assuming a five percent growth rate, The Sun reported.

For example, if someone had a £10,000 pension and continued to keep the cash in a pension scheme charging a one per cent fee, after 20 years they would have £22,225.

If they switched that pension to a provider offering a 0.25 per cent fee, after 20 years you would have £25,808 - meaning they would be £3,583 better off for retirement.

If they had a £50,000 pension at a one per cent rate, they could expect to get £111,129 after 20 years.

However, if they consolidated to a 0.25 per cent rate, they would be a whopping £17,914 better off as your predicted pension would be £129,043.


Ian Cook, chartered financial planner at Quilter, said: "As the data shows, consolidating your pensions down into one can save you considerable sums of money over the long-term.

"The difference is charges may not seem like much but over the long-term, this can compound and cost you thousands in your retirement."

And there are other reasons you might opt to combine your pensions besides just the charges.

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