A group of 14 insurers have signed up to a code of conduct on charge disclosure drawn up by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The code requires the disclosure to employees of total charges from the start, to a standard definition, across contract and trust-based workplace pension schemes including entry or exit charges.
It also binds signatories to disclosing to employees the total charges taken from their pot in the previous year, preferably but not necessarily in pounds, as well as the disclosure of the previous year's investment transaction costs in accordance with Investment Management Association (IMA) guidelines.
The code was created in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The signatories, all members of the ABI are Aegon, Aviva, AXA, B&CE, Co-operative Insurance, Friends Life, Legal & General, Lloyds Banking Group, LV=, MetLife, Prudential, Royal London/Scottish Life, Standard Life, and Zurich Assurance.
ABI director of life, savings and protection Stephen Gay said: "This agreement is a vital way of providing savers with greater understanding and confidence in the value of saving for their financial needs in later life."
Pensions minister Steve Webb (pictured) said: "Charges really matter. Small differences can have a big impact on a pension pot over time.
"Auto-enrolment makes it all the more important that people have access to schemes which offer both transparent and value for money charges. The industry must be ambitious in its timescales for achieving greater transparency."
Steven Cameron, Head of Regulatory Strategy at Aegon, added: "In the contract-based world, regulations already make sure there is extensive disclosure. This initiative builds on this, with the additional disclosure of investment transaction costs in line with the IMA code. There is also further work underway to come up with common definitions which will aid comparability and consistency.
"The initiative also aims to deliver consistent disclosure standards between contract and trust-based schemes.
"Members of trust-based schemes not run by FSA regulated insurers don't always receive information on charges at outset. We hope those offering trust-based schemes sign up as this could deliver real benefits to their members."
Paul Bruns and Elaine Parkes
3,000 left to transfer
Record numbers of people aged 90 plus
From 3 to 10 October