How your pension account builds up

In simple terms, you and your employer pay money into your pension account. This all happens automatically. The image below shows you how your pension account grows.

Your contributions are invested in the funds you choose and held in your pension account in Atlas. Your pension account will continue to grow as more money gets paid into it and your investments hopefully grow. Then, when you get to retirement (currently age 55 or above), you can use your pension account, or continue to work and let it grow some more until you decide to take it.

Investment profiles

When you’re a member of Atlas, you can choose how involved you want to be in the investment of your pension account.

There are three options, known as ‘Investment profiles’, to choose from. Click on each box below to find out a bit more about these investment profiles.

'Do it for me' profile investing

This means that as you approach your target retirement date, we start to gradually switch your investments into lower risk, more predictable funds. These funds work on the principle that you invest in more risky funds when you are younger to get the highest returns. As you get closer to retirement, your pension account is switched into less risky funds over a period of time to protect the value of your pension account before your retirement day. This is the standard investment profile so if you don’t choose your own investment profile, this is where your pension account is invested.

If you don’t want to take an active involvement in managing your pension account, you can opt for our ‘Do it for me’ profile investing. This is also called ‘lifestyling’. If you don’t make any investment decision at all, this will be where your pension account is automatically invested.

Lifestyling works by automatically moving your investments on a set path between different funds as you approach retirement.

To find out more:

Click here if you are a member of the Capita section.

Click here if you are NOT a member of the Capita section.

’Help me do it’ profile investing

With ‘Help me do it’ profile investing, you can choose an investment approach based around risk level and retirement outcome.

Although it’s unlikely that when you start saving for the future you’ll know how you want to take your pension account, it’s worth having a read about the three different options available to you when you retire. You can buy a regular income (known as an annuity), take your account as cash (subject to tax), or take a series of lump sums as and when you need them (known as ‘drawdown’). You can find more details of these in our How to save for retirementleaflet.

To find out more:

Click here if you are a member of the Capita section.

Click here if you are NOT a member of the Capita section.

'Let me do it' profile investing

If you decide to go with the ‘Let me do it’ profile, you are in full control. You choose where your pension account is invested and you can invest in as many or as few funds as you want.

The trustee will not make any changes to your fund choice, so you’ll  need to keep an eye on your investments as you get closer to retirement. We suggest that you choose this option only if you are confident about investments and your goals for retirement. Please note that some funds have higher charges than others as they might be actively managed or invest in more specialist assets.

There are many different funds to choose from, ranging from higher risk equities, through to property, bonds and cash. There’s also an ethical fund (which invests mainly in an ethical screened and diversified spread of UK equities), a Sharia compliant fund (which invests in company shares from around the world and is compliant with Islamic Sharia principles) and a sustainable fund, which looks to invest in line with Atlas’ environmental, social and governance principles.

Have a look at the investment guide for more details about the individual funds available.

Investing for your retirement

Whether you’re new to investments or not, your approach to investments can change. It all depends on what you want to do with your personal account, your level of savings and what you want to do in retirement.

Use the link below to see your options on retirement. Depending on the option you may want to take, your investment approach may change. When you’ve read about retirement, have a think about the investment options so you can get to grips with making your pension account work for you.

Retirement options

Investment charges

You can find all the information you need about the transaction costs and charges for your section of Atlas in the investment guides which you can find in the library. Simply select your employer to see your specific guide and view the transaction costs and charges pdf.

Transaction costs

The costs and charges incurred as a result of the buying, selling, lending or borrowing of investments.

These costs can vary over time, depending on the level of activity the manager undertakes. For example, our passive managers have lower charges because they essentially do less work to manage the fund. Actively managed funds charge more because they do more work. You’ll find more information in our value for money assessment in the Atlas’ Report and Accounts.

Annual Management Charge (AMC)

These are the costs and charges you pay, other than transaction costs and those incurred as a result of the holding or maintenance of property.

For Atlas members, the AMC is made up of two key component parts:

  • An administration charge, covering things such as general record keeping, collecting and investing contributions, paying member benefits, providing annual updates and producing statutory accounts.
  • An investment charge, which is the amount we pay for investment services.
Total Expense Ratio

The combination of administration charge, investment charge and additional fund expenses is referred to as the Total Expense Ratio, or TER.

Transaction costs and charges

You can find the transaction costs and charges for each of the funds available to you. They also show the effect of these charges over time. Simply visit the library and select your employer to find the transaction costs and charges relevant to you.

These are only illustrations only we can’t guarantee your pension account will grow in the same way.

More information

You can ask us for more information on your actual investments and others available to you by contacting the Atlas Administration Team on 0345 121 3389 or by email at Alternatively, you can write to them at PO Box 555, Stead House, Darlington, DL1 9YT.

If you want to do more research into the individual funds you can ask us for the International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) of the fund or funds. This is a unique reference number for each individual investment funds using this number you can get information such as the fund’s aims and past performance.

Investment profile assessment

Schroders (our investment managers) commissioned independent reports to review the costs during the management of our three core investment profiles. This independent valuation was important as we expect the three investment profiles to have higher transaction costs because they are actively managed funds. What we were keen to understand if those costs represent good value for members. You can read the Clear Fund reports, dated as at September 2019, by clicking on the links below.

Risk, why you need it

The level of investment risk you need to take varies depending on what you’re looking for out of your pension account and how close to retirement you are.

The greater the level of risk, the higher the potential reward but also the potential of loss. Depending on your retirement goal, your attitude to risk can vary. Make sure you have a plan for your pension account so you can make sure it’s working in a way that suits your future plans.

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