Fintech must Bee for a clear purpose

pension bee add 4

I’m looking forward to a breakfast meeting at the CSFI to hear a conversation between Romi Savova and several sceptics who don’t get the Pension Bee proposition.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog several times, I admire Pension Bee and its founder Romi and I do so because they have a clear purpose in what they’re doing. I am one of a substantial number of people who has downloaded the app but have yet to transfer my savings to Pension Bee. What’s stopping me?

Well certainly not the Pension Bee marketing, here’s the email I got this morning Bee ad

Ok – so far so good, I want to see what is going on with my pension and I have an iPhone with no app for my pension. I’m interested.

Here’s the pitch.

Bee ad 2

Frankly, when you get to 56, remembering the decisions you took in your twenties is hard work. The past is another country but the idea that I could unlock these dormant expensive plans is appealing. A guide to how I can find my pensions is exactly what I need.

And now the call for action. I am not a customer of Pension Bee – in the sense that I generate them any revenue, but I am made to feel like one.

Bee ad 3

Well I’d sooner follow Chris Johnston than many of the pension experts I find at pension conferences. He has an email , a landline and if I want to take things further, he’s on hand.

Fintech must have a clear purpose.

The purpose of Pension Bee is obvious. It is meeting a need I have and a need that’s shared by tens of thousands of others , who – like me – get emails like this from the Bee Keepers every week.

What is stopping me calling Chris and pressing that button? If I analyse my own feelings – the answer is fear. I am fearful of making the wrong decision because I do not have enough information either on Pension Bee or on the DC pots I could bring to it.

What I need is a clear way of comparing one pension pot with another, a way to understand the impact of the charges mentioned in the email, a way of comparing performance and an understanding of whether the performance delivered by the funds of the Bee Keepers has been achieved  by luck or judgement.

What will I be asking the Queen Bee this morning?

What I want to know is why it is so hard for me to compare my pensions.

I can compare flights, I can compare utility bills, I can even compare ISAs. But when it comes to pensions, I can’t compare one pension pot with another?

Of course I could give a hundred (good) reasons why it is difficult to compare an old and a new one, a with-profits and a unit-linked one, one with life cover and one without.

But I can only think of one (very good) reason why I should find it easy. It’s only money!

It should not be hard

Having read nearly 20 IGC reports, I am left with a sense of overwhelming difficulty in establishing what value for money is, how you measure it and how you apply it to making day to day decisions on pension management.

There are millions of ordinary people in the UK who are not going to use an IFA to aggregate their pensions, partly because they are fee averse and partly because IFAs want to deal with the wealthy.

This is the problem identified by the FCA’s Financial Advice and Markets Review.

It strikes me that “Robo-Advice” is no more than the replication of a financial adviser in the form of an algorithm. But if the algorithm has no purpose, then the “Robo-Advice” will be as mystifying as the advisers behind it.

What is different about Pension Bee is that they the bee-keepers are not holding themselves out as wealth-managers. The investment choices for investors are few and they are simple to understand.

Pension Bee is doing a very simple job and it appears to be doing it very well. If I could but find a way to take the final step – I would.

How do I work out if my money is better with the bee-keepers than with my current pension providers?


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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