Your investments

How your money grows.
A woman and child counting money on a couch.

The amount of money you have in your pension pot to use at retirement will depend on where you invest it and how well those investments perform. You need to think about the types of investment you want and how much risk you are willing to take. This may change over time, so it’s a good idea to regularly review your investments. 

For example, if you’re a long way from retirement, you might be willing to take more risks to give your pot more chance to grow. If you’re close to retirement, you might take fewer risks to protect the value of your pot. 

The value of your pension pot will go up or down from day to day. This is normal. The aim is to make sure that, between now and when you retire, it increases overall.

What happens if you do nothing

If you do nothing your money is invested in the default investment option.

The default option uses something called a Lifestyle strategy which assumes you want to grow your money in the earlier years of saving and protect its value as you get closer to retiring. If you don’t make a different choice, we will:

  • Set your target retirement age at 65
  • Invest your money in the Moderate Growth Fund until you’re 55
  • Transition your savings into the Cautious Growth Fund and Cash Fund over the 10 years between 55 and 65

Types of investment

The investment funds you can choose from invest in different kinds of assets such as equities, bonds or cash. These assets have different levels of risk and likely returns.

Equities

Equities (or shares) represent ownership in a company. Money you invest in equities will increase or decrease as the value of the companies owned goes up or down. Equities may also provide income from the companies as they pay a share of their profits to their owners. Over many years they generally increase in value more than less risky options like cash and bonds. If you’re far from retirement, it’s often recommended to invest in equities to maximise the money you make. However, equities carry more risk, and can reduce in value as well.

Bonds

Bonds are investments that have a bit more risk than keeping your money in cash but are usually safer than investing in equities. When you invest in bonds, you’re essentially loaning money to companies or governments for a specific period. In return, they pay you back the amount you lent plus an agreed-upon interest rate. They can fall in value when interest rates go up but overall they are designed to provide a steady income, which means they will not deliver high returns.

Cash

Cash is the most stable choice when investing, but it usually generates low returns. Cash funds will pay interest on your money, similar to a bank account. When interest rates are low, you can end up losing money. Over time, the price of things generally increases - this is inflation. Over a long period of time, the money you make on cash investments may not keep up with inflation. This means that when you come to use your money, you can buy less with it than before you invested it.

Investment options

You can make all of your investment choices yourself or you can choose a Lifestyle strategy. Lifestyle strategies move your money into lower risk investments as you get closer to your retirement date.

If you do not make a choice, your pot will be invested in the default option. The default option has been created by the Trustees and their investment advisers. It is designed with an assumption about the way that most members will want to use their pot at retirement. Alongside the default option, the Trustees have selected a range of other investment options for you to choose from. The range and types of options that need to be made available are set out in the rules of the Fund. The Trustees are responsible for selecting the particular investment funds and who manages them.

Lifestyle strategies

The Lifestyle strategies use 2 investment funds when you are further away from retirement to grow your pension pot. As you approach retirement, they automatically start to move your money into investments that match how you want to use your pot when you retire.

When considering which Lifestyle strategy to use, you need to think about how much risk you want to take, and what you want to do with your pension pot when you retire.

How much risk to take

The Lifestyle strategies use either the Moderate or Cautious Growth Fund until you are less than 10 years from your selected retirement date.

The Cautious Growth Fund is less risky than the Moderate Growth Fund. It aims to achieve higher returns over the long term (5 years or more) than the Cash Fund – with a moderate chance of going down in value over the same period.

The Moderate Growth Fund is riskier than the Cautious Growth Fund. It aims to achieve higher investment returns over the long term (5 years or more) than the Cautious Growth Fund – with a higher chance of going down in value over the same period (compared to the Cautious Growth Fund).

How you want to use your pot at retirement

When you are 10 years or less from your selected retirement date, the Lifestyle strategies will automatically start to move your money into investments that match how you want to use your pot at retirement.

The strategy for taking all your pot as cash will gradually move your investments to the Cash Fund. This is to give greater certainty as you get closer to retirement of the amount that will be available. This may be particularly important if you want to take all your pot at retirement as a lump sum.

The strategy for using your pot flexibly - where you leave it invested and drawdown an income from it - will gradually move your investments to the Cautious Growth and/or Cash Fund. This is to give some certainty on part of the pot you may want to take as a lump sum, but will leave at least part of the pot in investments that can continue to grow after you retire.

The strategy for using your pot to buy an annuity - an income for life - will gradually move your investments to the Bond Fund. This may be useful if you intend to use the pot at retirement to get a guaranteed income for life from an insurance company (buying an annuity). This is because changes in the value of this fund will aim to track changes in the cost of buying an annuity.

Selecting your retirement age

It’s a good idea to regularly check that your retirement age is in line with your plans so that your money doesn’t start to move at the wrong time. If you don’t make a different choice, your target retirement age is set to 65. You can change this at any time.

Change retirement date in PlanViewer.

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