Interactive Investor

Pension types

Learn more about the different types of pension, and what they mean for your retirement.


Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution pensions

What is a defined contribution pension?

A defined contribution pension is built up through your contributions, tax relief and any investment returns. If you use this scheme through your workplace, your employer will also contribute.

What is a defined benefit pension?

A defined benefit pension pays a guaranteed income based on your earnings. These include final salary pensions and ‘career average’ pensions.

Defined Benefit vs Defined Contribution

There are several key differences between defined contribution and defined benefit pensions. 

State pension

What is the State Pension?

The State Pension is a regular retirement income paid for by the government to people who reach State Pension age. The amount you get will depend on the number of qualifying years that you have made National Insurance contributions.

Personal and private pensions

What is a private pension?

A private pension is a pension you can set up yourself, rather than through your employer.

What is a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)?

A SIPP is a defined contribution pension that gives you control over your investments. A SIPP allows you to choose from a range of investment options including stocks, funds, trusts and ETFs.

What is a stakeholder pension?

A stakeholder pension is a defined contribution pension where the retirement income depends on how much you contribute and how your investments perform. Anybody can invest in a stakeholder pension which makes them attractive to the self-employed or unemployed.

Other pension types

AVC pensions

An additional voluntary contribution (AVC) pension lets you build a pension pot alongside your existing workplace pension.

SSAS pensions

A SSAS pension – or ‘Small Self Administered Scheme’ – is a defined contribution pension established by an employer for fewer than 12 members. It is most common for small or family-run businesses.

Self-employed pensions

The self-employed have access to a range of options including personal pensions, self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) and stakeholder pensions.

Ethical pensions

An ethical pension lets you invest in companies or sectors that meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

Get more from an ii SIPP

We don’t believe in charging a percentage fee that goes up as your investments grow.

Our award winning SIPP gives you fixed, transparent pricing, with no percentage-based fees. So you can watch your portfolio grow while your costs stay the same.

Open a SIPP and pay no SIPP fee for six months. Following the offer period, the ii SIPP fee is only £10 a month. Terms apply

The ii SIPP is aimed at clients who have sufficient knowledge and experience of investing to make their own investment decisions and want to actively manage their investments. A SIPP is not suitable for every investor. Other types of pensions may be more appropriate. The value of investments made within a SIPP can fall as well as rise and you may end up with a fund at retirement that’s worth less than you invested. You can normally only access the money from age 55 (age 57 from 2028). Prior to making any decision about the suitability of a SIPP, or transferring any existing pension plan(s) into a SIPP we recommend that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified financial adviser. Please note the tax treatment of these products depends on the individual circumstances of each customer and may be subject to change in future.