Should I transfer my pension to a robo adviser?

19 July 2021

Question by David

Hi. Trying to get a bit more pro-active with my pension. I have just over 100k in an Aviva pension mixed investment 40-85% fund with a 0.6% charge. If the money had been in an online managed fund like Nutmeg for example, is it reasonable to assume that as the markets fell last year the funds would have been managed in real (ish) time to limit the damage and therefore not suffer the loss the Aviva fund did? If so, is it therefore a no-brainer to transfer my pension to an online managed pension like Nutmeg (0.35% charge over 100k) or is it not quite as simple as that?! Thanks for your time

Answered by Boring Money

Hi David,

Fabulous that you are being pro-active about your pension fund.

Taking a look at fees and performance is exactly the place to start.
I can’t comment here about the relative merits of Nutmeg and Aviva, because we don’t know each other well enough and I don’t have the full context - for that kind of advice you need to seek out a regulated financial adviser (try

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However, hopefully I can give you some pointers.

Firstly, (I’m afraid) all ‘managed’ funds work in the same way.

Aviva, Nutmeg and many other providers will all be looking at the potential for different markets and allocating your money in a way that they believe will bring you the best future return. With varying levels of success, it has to be noted.

And different managed funds offer different risk levels – for example, Nutmeg have 10 – with higher numbers relating to greater equity exposure and the lower numbers holding higher proportions in less volatile stocks.

Sadly, 2018 wasn’t a great year for stock markets, so all but the very lowest risk managed funds will have struggled. Including your Aviva fund. And, I note, all of the Nutmeg managed funds.

But dips come with the territory I’m afraid.
As long as you don’t panic, you stay invested, and have time to wait for markets to settle down, things should eventually turn around.

For those with additional spare cash, dips can even be a chance to invest more.

If you are feeling nervous, however, you might want to look at lowering the amount of risk you are taking so that, next time, you are not hit quite so hard.

Apart from risk, the only other things you have control of are the amount you invest and the charges you pay. And thankfully (combined with the right risk) these are also the two biggest indicators of long term success.

As you are already building funds in your pension, the next question is to take a look at how you can minimise your fees but still invest appropriately.

Index-tracking, managed funds, also referred to as ‘passive multi asset’, are a great place to start because of their combination of good diversity and generally, very low fees. This is what many of the robo advisers offer. And, nowadays, so do many of the more traditional providers

If you are willing to do your own research, Boring Money have some Best Buy tables on here that would be a decent place to start. Or an adviser could do the research for you, and you could get a good deal without having to do the work.

A final word on fees, though.
Nutmeg actually charge 0.75% on the first £100K, then 0.35% on the balance above that.

There is then an additional charge of 0.27% for the investment fund and the effect of spread on the underlying investments.

So the effect of charges on £120,000 is actually 0.95% (£950) pa.

However, this does not necessarily mean they are more expensive than Aviva’s declared 0.6% pa.

Nutmeg should be congratulated for being so open about all the fees you will face. What you need to make sure is that you know all the charges you will face, regardless of provider.

A good start would be to ask potential providers for their total ‘Ongoing Charges Figure’.

This is still not an ideal measurement, but is a much better option for comparison than a single ‘Annual Management Charge’ or ‘Product charge’, if you want to see what the true annual costs of investment will be.

Answered by

Boring Money