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Investments in uncertain times

Your defined benefit (DB) pension is not impacted by investment market performance. But your additional voluntary contributions will be.

It’s natural to feel anxious if the value of your pension investments goes down. Even if investment markets are not performing well right now, your pension is still a good way to save for your future.

Events like the COVID-19 pandemic, rises in interest rates, energy shortages, global conflict and political crises create uncertainty in financial markets. This uncertainty causes investments to rise and fall more sharply.

It’s important to remember your pension is a long-term investment and fluctuations in value are a natural part of investing.

The Trustee maintains oversight of market movements and takes guidance from its professional advisers, however changes to investment strategies are always considered over the long-term and are not made in reaction to short-term market movements.

Things you can do

Don’t panic

It may feel alarming if you see the value of your pension investments drop, but decisions made in a rush may not help you in the long-term.

Because your savings are invested, your pension value will have fluctuated and will continue to fluctuate in the future. As pensions are long-term savings, it’s key to focus on how they perform over a long period of time.

Even after events such as the global financial crisis in 2008 and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, markets have seen recovery as the uncertainty reduced.

Stick to your long-term plan

Rushing investment decisions may risk locking in losses. If funds recover, you may miss out and there’s no guarantee other investments will perform better.

Your plan for investing should be based on:

  • how much time you have until you retire
  • whether you'll have any other pensions or income
  • how you plan to use your money
  • how much risk you’re willing to take

If your answers to those questions have not changed, then you might want to stick to your plan. If they have changed, remember the options available:

LifePlan

LifePlan does not prevent your money from falling in value. It gives you investment options based on how and when you plan to use your savings.

It’s important to understand the LifePlan options and which one you’re in, so you can pick the best option for you. And if your future plans change, you should make sure your savings are still invested in the way that works for you.

Find out how LifePlan works

PersonalChoice

PersonalChoice allows you to take even more control of where your money is invested. Because you’ll make all the decisions, you should understand how each fund works and regularly check in on your investments.

Find out how PersonalChoice works

If you’re nearing retirement

We understand it can be worrying to see the value of your pension investments drop close to retirement. During uncertain times, there are some things to consider:

  • You could wait longer before accessing your money or take flexible retirement. Although it may not be possible for everyone, keeping your money invested for longer allows more time for your pension investments to recover. To find out how accessing your money later or taking flexible retirement may impact your income in retirement, you can request a quote by contacting the Scheme administrator.
  • Any other sources of income (including defined benefit pensions) you can access, whilst leaving your savings invested for longer.

If you're worried about your pension close to retirement, we recommend speaking with a financial adviser. They can give you guidance based on your specific circumstances.

If you’re further away from retirement

The more time you have until retirement, the longer your pension investments have to recover.

The right course of action will depend on your personal circumstances, and we are not able to give you advice on what you should do. If you are unsure, before taking any action, we recommend speaking with a financial adviser.

At times of uncertainty, there’s an increased risk that trading in some investment funds, such as property, can be limited or suspended for a temporary period. To find out what happens if trading is suspended, visit our investment funds page.

Impact on defined benefit schemes

The amount of pension you receive from a DB scheme depends on your salary and your length of service, not how the scheme’s investments have performed.

Your Trustee and employer are responsible for making sure there’s enough money in a DB scheme to pay each member their pension. There’s also some protection through the Pension Protection Fund, if your employer becomes insolvent and the pension scheme does not have enough money to pay members’ benefits.

Frequently asked questions

If you still have questions about the recent fund performance or the impact it has on your pension, you can download the Fund Performance FAQs.

Getting help

Your account and benefits

If you’d like to ask a question about your specific pension account and benefits, you can contact the Scheme administrator.

Pension help and guidance

The government backed MoneyHelper service:

  • provides helpful information around pensions
  • offers Pension Wise appointments for free providing impartial pension guidance to over 50’s with defined contribution (DC) benefits.
  • has tools and calculators to help manage your pension and wider finances

To find out how they can help, visit the MoneyHelper website.

Find a financial adviser

If you're looking for advice on what you can do with your pension investments, you should speak with a financial adviser.

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