What happened to pensions in February 2024?

Clare Reilly

by , Chief Engagement Officer

at PensionBee

04 Mar 2024 /  

A bee, in winter, sitting on a flower.

This is part of our monthly pension update series. Catch up on last month’s summary here: What happened to pensions in January 2024?

In the UK, inflation levels (4%) are simmering down, while interest rates (5.25%) are holding steady for the fourth month running. The good news for savers is that both are expected to continually decline over the course of 2024. From April, energy bills will fall by more than 12% for most people in England, Scotland and Wales.

The BBC reported that while wages are currently outpacing inflation, the pace of pay rises is slowing down. This has led to concerns, particularly in sectors like healthcare and education, where workers have repeatedly gone on strike for better pay. In fact, 70% of UK workers intend to explore new job opportunities this year, according to new research.

This trend of increased job mobility raises questions about how individuals manage their pension savings, which are currently tied to specific employers. This is where the proposed ‘pot for life’ reform comes in. This policy seeks to create a system where workers who are switching jobs can choose where their pension contributions are paid.

Keep reading to find out how markets have performed this month and what the pot for life proposal could mean for you.

What happened to stock markets?

In the UK, the FTSE 250 Index fell by almost 2% in February. This brings the year-to-date performance close to -3%.

FTSE 250 Index Source: BBC Market Data

In Europe (excluding the UK), the EuroStoxx 50 Index rose by almost 5% in February. This brings the year-to-date performance close to +8%.

EuroStoxx 50 Index Source: BBC Market Data

In North America, the S&P 500 Index rose by over 5% in February. This brings the year-to-date performance close to +7%.

S&P 500 Index Source: BBC Market Data

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index rose by almost 8% in February. This brings the year-to-date performance close to +17%.

Nikkei 225 Index Source: BBC Market Data

In the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), the Hang Seng Index rose by almost 7% in February. This brings the year-to-date performance close to -3%.

Hang Seng Index Source: BBC Market Data

‘Pot for life’

The UK government is currently exploring a significant overhaul of the private pension system through the proposed ‘pot for life’ policy. The core idea behind the policy is to provide workers with more control over their retirement savings. Traditionally, when an individual changes jobs, their new employer selects a new pension scheme for them. Over time, this leads to multiple pension pots scattered across various providers.

The new proposal would allow employees to choose their preferred pension scheme and ask any future employers to contribute into that single pot. According to PensionBee research more than three-quarters (76%) of pension savers said they’d consider opting for the new model, while only 5% said that they wouldn’t be interested.^

^Nationally representative survey of 1,000 people, November 2023.


Supporters of the ‘pot for life’ initiative argue that it offers several advantages to employees.

  • Consolidation for simplicity - combining all retirement savings into one pot simplifies tracking and management, and provides better oversight of fees.
  • Reduced lost funds - as employees change jobs, pension pots are sometimes mismanaged or even forgotten. This initiative aims to reduce the value of these “lost” pensions.
  • Increased engagement - having control over pension choices could stimulate greater engagement and more active planning for retirement.


The ‘pot for life’ policy isn’t without its critics and potential challenges.

  • Reduced employer involvement - some experts suggest this policy could decrease employer responsibility and engagement with their employees’ retirement planning.
  • High set-up cost - implementing the ‘pot for life’ proposal may require significant resources and system changes from the government.
  • Outcome uncertainties - there’s concern that this may lead to less favourable outcomes for some workers, particularly if they choose pension schemes with poor returns.

When will we see ‘pot for life’?

It’s already technically possible to ask an employer to pay into a personal pension of your choice, rather than to use the Auto-Enrolment provider offered by them. However, employees rarely ask their employers to do this - and few employers agree.

The ‘pot for life’ policy is still in the proposal phase. The UK government is currently gathering evidence and consulting industry experts. No implementation timeline currently exists, therefore changes may not be seen for several years.

This is part of our monthly pension update series. Check out the next month’s summary here: What happened to pensions in March 2024?

Have a question? Get in touch!

You can check out our Plans page to learn how your money is invested in different assets and locations. You can always send comments and questions to our team via engagement@pensionbee.com.

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.

Be pension confident!

Combine your old pension pots into one new online plan. It takes just 5 minutes to sign up.

Get started

Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Apple Store logo Google Store logo