Behind the Idea Europe Wealthtech

Behind the Idea: Penny

In an era where fintechs are dismantling traditional barriers and injecting clarity into finance, there’s one app striving to demystify the maze of pensions for ordinary individuals.

Meet Penny, the app-based pension solution that’s helping users discover their lost pension savings. With the increasingly fragmented career trajectories of today’s workforce, this mission has never been more critical.

In this week’s, Behind the Idea, we hear more about the company’s journey, its ethos and the promising road ahead. 

Tell us more about your company and its offering

Penny is an app based pension company which helps ordinary people track down their lost pension savings. With more people changing jobs more often, many lose track of their pensions. Penny is a platform for people less familiar with pensions. We have tried to remove the jargon and hidden fees common in financial services to help make pensions clear and easy for everyone to understand.

What problem was your company set up to solve?

Back in 2012, the UK government announced auto-enrolment. This meant more than 10 million people had now been enrolled in a workplace pension. For the first time in history, every employed adult has access to pension wealth, however, the majority don’t know how to see or manage this. As the average length of employment has fallen to three years since this policy change, there is a large growing group of individuals who have small pensions across various accounts that they cannot see.

Over the last four years, the number of lost pension pots in the UK soared by 75 per cent. The total value of this lost money comes to over £26billion and the average unclaimed pension pot is £9,500.

Young people are often the worst affected as they are more likely to switch jobs or have been made redundant. Our automated pension finding technology helps people from all backgrounds find their lost savings and plan a better retirement.

Since launch, how has your company evolved?
David Henderson Head of Pensions penny
David Henderson, head of pensions, Penny

We’ve added to the team to ensure that our users receive a knock your socks off service that they are unaccustomed to in the finance world. We have live chat through a company called Intercom that makes query handling quicker and creates better engagement. Instead of days we respond in minutes. And yes, there is a real person at the other end!

David Henderson joined in the past six months. He adds massive experience in pensions and financial services having worked at Hargreaves Lansdown for almost 20 years. David had senior roles there including head of pensions and head of transformation. It was during his time at HL that we first reached out to David for advice about starting Penny.

What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?

Working with the incumbent for sure! Most of them are great to work with and we have good relationships with the teams but there are one or two (you know who you are!) whose administration, communication and training leaves a lot to be desired.

We have daily contact from users frustrated with their existing pension provider, the use of jargon, wrong information being sent, long call wait times, all stuff that shouldn’t be acceptable in this day and age. To be honest though, the poor service some of them provide just reassures us that we are on the right track and individuals are looking for a better way to manage their pension savings.

What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?

We have won a few awards recently, such as Pensions Tech of the Year at the Europe FinTech Awards, Start up of the Year at the FinTech Awards South West and Most Innovative Company of the Year at The Financial Services Forum 2023 Awards for Innovation and Transformation.

Awards are great for the team as it recognises the hard work they are doing behind the scenes and hopefully makes them proud to work for a company that is being recognised in the industry.

Penny co-founders
Penny co-founders (from left to right) Ben Stokes, Josh Stott, Nate Stott
How would you describe the culture of your company?

Well, we are still a startup so that means it can be all hands on deck at times. Employees at all levels get exposure to different areas of the business, work with all other team members and have autonomy to build processes for their own departments.We really want everyone to have a voice on how we grow the company.

The team all work remotely and we have found that works well for them. We still do lots as a team, such as weekly VR golf tournaments and monthly in person away days which the team all enjoy.

What’s in store for the future?

We have just launched our new SIPP (self invested personal pension) and are busy onboarding new users. We are also looking to add more tools and support features for users to help them plan for retirement. AI will definitely play a part in that and it is something we are exploring. The potential for AI to transform the future of financial services and improve outcomes for individuals over coming years is huge.


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