Top 10 holdings in your pension

Clare Reilly

by , Chief Engagement Officer

at PensionBee

31 Aug 2022 /  

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This article was last updated on 04/10/2023.

Investment products like pensions often contain a mix of asset types, from bonds to company shares (also known as equities). This strategy of diversification’s designed to spread the level of risk and reward as each asset type performs differently. Bonds are basically loans given by investors to companies and provide a fixed income based on an agreed interest rate. Shares are portions of company ownership where the company’s value, divided by the number of shares in issue, forms the individual share price - which fluctuates in value.

Putting your pension under a microscope, you’ll see that you probably own a miniscule percentage of a multitude of the world’s largest and most successful companies, like Apple, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. These company shares make up some of the equity portion of your pension, and individually are known as holdings within your pension plan. The ‘top’ holdings in your pension refer to the companies you have the largest investment in. When your pension’s invested through PensionBee, these companies are carefully selected by the world’s biggest money managers.

Keep reading to find out the top 10 holdings in the equity portion of your pension plan, and why those companies have been chosen by our money managers.

The following represents the equity holdings only and portfolio weights are normalised. Last available monthly holdings by plan are displayed. Please note that holdings can change at any time and are provided for informational purposes only.

1. Tailored Plan top 10 holdings

PensionBee’s Tailored Plan’s available in eight vintages, depending on your target retirement year, and all of the vintages are managed by BlackRock. The plan invests your money differently as you go through life, moving your money into ‘safer’ investments, such as bonds rather than company shares for example, as you get older. This type of plan’s known as a target date fund. It works by matching your date of birth to a sub-fund of an appropriate risk level. The table below is based on our most popular vintage of the Tailored Plan (LifePath 2037 - 2039).

Top 10 holdings Equity proportion of plan (73%)
1 Apple 3.0%
2 Microsoft 2.4%
3 Amazon 1.3%
4 NVIDIA 1.3%
5 Alphabet C 0.9%
6 Tesla 0.8%
7 Alphabet A 0.7%
8 Meta 0.6%
9 UnitedHealth 0.5%
10  Eli Lilly 0.5%

Holdings as of 31 August 2023.

2. Shariah Plan top 10 holdings

PensionBee’s Shariah Plan’s managed by HSBC and State Street Global Advisors. The plan invests your money into Shariah-compliant companies only. Our Shariah Plan’s socially responsible, as companies included are all approved by an independent Shariah committee.

Top 10 holdings Equity proportion of plan (100%)
1 Apple 7.6%
2 Microsoft 7.3%
3 Alphabet 6.7%
4 Amazon 5.5%
5 NVIDIA 5.4%
6 Tesla 3.1%
7 Meta 2.9%
8 Exxon Mobil 2.0%
9 Eli Lilly 1.9%
10  Visa 1.8%

Holdings as of 31 August 2023.

3. Fossil Fuel Free Plan top 10 holdings

PensionBee’s Fossil Fuel Free Plan’s managed by Legal & General and excludes the fossil fuel and tobacco sectors. This plan’s also socially responsible, as companies included are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals.

Top 10 holdings Equity proportion of plan (100%)
1 Apple 6.9%
2 Microsoft 5.4%
3 Amazon 3.1%
4 Alphabet A 1.9%
5 NVIDIA 1.9%
6 Alphabet C 1.7%
7 UnitedHealth 0.9%
8 Toyota Motor 0.8%
9 JPMorgan Chase & Co 0.8%
10  Home Depot 0.7%

Holdings as of 31 August 2023.

4. 4Plus Plan top 10 holdings

PensionBee’s 4Plus Plan’s managed by State Street Global Advisors. The plan invests your money in a range of assets that are adjusted on a weekly basis depending on market conditions by experts at State Street Global Advisors. This type of target return plan has an actively managed component, so adjustments are made regularly by finance professionals.

Top 10 holdings Equity proportion of plan (52%)
1 Apple 1.4%
2 Microsoft 1.3%
3 NVIDIA 0.8%
4 Amazon 0.4%
5 Novo Nordisk 0.4%
6 Accenture 0.3%
7 Texas Instruments 0.3%
8 Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 0.3%
9 Alphabet A 0.3%
10  Tesla 0.2%

Holdings as of 31 July 2023.

5. Tracker Plan top 10 holdings

PensionBee’s Tracker Plan’s also managed by State Street Global Advisors. The plan invests your money in global company shares and bonds. Investments follow the world’s markets as they move. This type of plan’s passively managed, as investments track global markets.

Top 10 holdings Equity proportion of plan (80%)
1 Apple 3.3%
2 Microsoft 2.9%
3 Amazon 1.4%
4 NVIDIA 1.3%
5 AstraZeneca 1.2%
6 Shell 1.1%
7 Alphabet A 0.9%
8 Tesla 0.8%
9 Meta 0.8%
10  Alphabet C 0.8%

Holdings as of 31 July 2023.

6. Impact Plan top 10 holdings

PensionBee’s Impact Plan’s managed by BlackRock, one of the world’s leading money managers. This plan’s also socially responsible, as it invests exclusively in companies addressing the world’s great social and environmental problems whilst saving for your retirement.

Top 10 holdings Equity proportion of plan (100%)
1 Bank Rakyat Indonesia 2.5%
2 Schneider Electric 1.9%
3 RELX 1.9%
4 Quanta Services 1.8%
5 Ooredoo 1.6%
6 ASML Holding 1.5%
7 Boston Scientific 1.5%
8 Thermo Fisher Scientific 1.5%
9 Zoetis 1.4%
10  Autodesk 1.4%

Holdings as of 31 August 2023.

Preserve and Pre-Annuity Plans

PensionBee’s Preserve Plan’s managed by State Street Global Advisors. The plan makes short-term investments into creditworthy companies, which reduces risk and preserves your money. There’s no equity component to this plan, so there’s no top 10 company holdings.

PensionBee’s Pre-Annuity Plan’s also managed by State Street Global Advisors. The plan invests your money in bonds to provide you with returns that broadly correspond to the cost of purchasing an annuity. Like the Preserve Plan, there’s no equity component.

Summary of holdings

Why are these holdings chosen?

Across the different plans you can see Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon feature as the top holdings, these are currently the world’s biggest companies. Customers often ask us why their UK pension’s invested in US companies. This is because one of the core objectives of a money manager is to maximise investment returns, and pension funds will invest in markets that help them achieve that objective.

At time of writing, the S&P 500 (the main US equity market) has returned over 6% compared to the FTSE 250 (the main UK equity market), which has returned close to -7%, in the same five-year period. These US companies are the most valuable globally, giving investors a strong probability of growing their wealth.

Company Performance over 5 years (%)
Apple +278%
Microsoft +211%
NVIDIA +602%

You may also wonder ‘if they’re so profitable, why do they make up such a small percentage of my pension?’. The short answer is diversification. Those three companies are all US based and within the technology sector.

Spreading your investments, whether that’s geographically, across industries, or across asset classes means if there’s a loss in one of these areas, it won’t severely impact your investment. This reduces the overall risk.

Do other pension providers invest this way?

Yes. This isn’t a unique approach to retirement saving, or even investing more broadly. Using pension provider Nest as an example, we can evaluate their 2040 Retirement Fund:

Top three holdings Equity proportion of plan (58%)
Apple 2.2%
Microsoft 2.0%
Amazon 1.3%

The top three holdings and equity proportion of the plan are comparable to PensionBee’s Tailored Plan (LifePath 2037 - 2039).

Will my holdings be changed?

Yes, your holdings are constantly changing, as the financial fates of the world’s biggest companies play out each day. Currently we’re living in a time where the technology sector is highly lucrative for investors. ‘Big tech’ like Apple and Microsoft have held the top spot of the world’s most valuable companies for over a decade, but this hasn’t always been the case. We know from historical data that the companies of today will not be the companies of tomorrow.

Before that oil and gas giant, ExxonMobil, was the biggest company. And even further back the multi-industry company, General Electric Company, held the top spot. Money managers will make informed decisions based on global appetite and change your holdings accordingly.

Risk warning

As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.

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