Will Pensionbee’s float create a buzz and should you buy in?


Pensionbee founder Romi Savova set up the business after finding it hard to transfer her pension

Pensionbee founder Romi Savova set up the business after finding it hard to transfer her pension

Millions of Britons have several pension pots from past jobs. They would love to find a way to make the most of these savings – but fear any such process will be a hassle and a soul-crushing bore.

Providing a simple solution to as many as possible of these savers is key to the fortunes of Pensionbee, the online pension provider which makes its stock market debut this week.

The initial public offering (IPO) is open to customers and the deadline for online applications is 11.59pm today.

Anyone buying the shares will be taking a chance on the company’s ability to create more of a buzz than its giant competitors, including AJ Bell, Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and Vanguard, the US group which is launching an advice service in UK.

There may be as many as 45m dormant pots, so the business that triumphs against mass pensions apathy will be a power player.

Founded in 2014, Pensionbee has already made it possible for about 137,000 people to consolidate these pots in one plan and to invest for a more comfortable retirement.

The bulk of the £55million raised in the float will be spent on marketing and technology to expand its clientele. The success of this drive will depend on compelling advertising and an intuitive app. 

Pensionbee seems to have these and more. Simon Bussy of the specialist consultant Altus says: ‘Pensionbee has a top drawer senior team. It also has clear, simple, and focused proposition, supported by superior data analytics and its “Beekeeper” staff – the competition in this sector can be faceless.’

He continues: ‘I have been particularly impressed with their social media marketing through Instagram and Facebook. Pensionbee really gets it. Most financial services organisations do not.’

It is not only the experts who are impressed by the Pensionbee’s mix of informality, efficiency and links with major players. Its investment partners include Blackrock, L&G and State Street.

Forgotten funds: There may be as many as 45m dormant pension pots, so the business that triumphs against mass pensions apathy will be a power player

Forgotten funds: There may be as many as 45m dormant pension pots, so the business that triumphs against mass pensions apathy will be a power player

Forgotten funds: There may be as many as 45m dormant pension pots, so the business that triumphs against mass pensions apathy will be a power player

More than 12,000 customers have registered to buy shares – a vote of confidence worth noting. One commented: ‘Pensionbee solved the problems I, like so many of my friends, was having with my pensions.

‘On that basis, I felt the shares were a decent bet.’

Pensionbee will join the main market’s high growth segment and be valued at between £346million and £384million.

The shares will be 155-175p – the price will be set tomorrow. You can only apply if you are already a Pensionbee customer, or become one and initiate the transfer of a pension to the company (not as complicated as it sounds). 

You must also register with Primarybid, the platform that enables retail investors to participate in share offers. But while Pensionbee may be well positioned to expand rapidly, it would be dangerous to rely on a quick profit from the shares since the Deliveroo debacle has caused a distaste for tech IPOs.

Like Deliveroo, Pensionbee is loss-making, but this is where the similarities end, according to a spokeswoman: ‘We are very different. Our customer retention rate is 99 per cent, which is like an annuity in terms of fee income.’

Romi Savova, the 35-year-old chief executive and co-founder set up the business after finding it hard to transfer her pension. 

Her role as an outspoken consumer champion in the bewildering world of pensions is cited as a reason to consolidate pots with Pensionbee rather than with a rival.

Savova could be worth £140million after the float. But, like fellow executives, this queen of tech is not selling any of her holding. She is also an advocate for shareholder democracy, stating: ‘I passionately believe in one share one vote.’

Deliveroo’s dual-share structure seemed, to many, elitist.

One reason to apply for Pensionbee shares would be to sit tight and wait for the boost that should come from the long-awaited (to put it politely) arrival of the Government’s Pensions Dashboard – which is now due in 2023.

This system will show all your pensions in one place and should serve as a nationwide wake-up call to reorganise these pots, and save more.

If Pensionbee invests its IPO cash wisely, it could be the helpmate that comes first to mind.

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