Introduction to investments

Investing the money in your pension account helps it keep its value and grow. Left as it is, although it would be in your account, it wouldn’t keep its value because of inflation. Whether it be chocolate, petrol or houses, the price of stuff increases over time and you’ll want the money in your pension account to keep up. 

How much it will grow depends on the performance of the investments and the level of risk. You can vary the risk level of your investments by changing where your investments are kept. The value of your investments can go down as well as up – but it’s saving for the long term, so over time the money in your pension account should increase, although this is not guaranteed.

Atlas' role in the investment fund selection

The trustee has selected a range of investment funds for you to choose from. It regularly reviews the investment funds looking at the return rates, fees, and performance of each fund compared to its expected performance (otherwise known as benchmark). The investment funds are broken in to four main types of investment. These are:

  • Equities (or shares)
  • Bonds
  • Cash
  • Property Funds

Scroll down to find out more about these types of fund.

The types of fund available

The investment profiles invest your money in different funds. These funds invest in different asset classes meaning that they offer different returns. If you log in to the member portal you can see all the funds available to you and the factsheet for each fund. These will give you all the details you need to know about the funds, their performance and benchmarks.

How these funds work

To get the rewards that investing your money can offer, you have to be prepared to accept the risk of potential loss. In Atlas we offer funds that invest in the four different types (or class) of asset. Here’s a summary of each type and how they work.


Equities are shares in a company. Historically, equities have outperformed less risky investments, such as bank accounts and bonds over a period of time. If you’re a long way away from retirement, the default position is to invest in these funds to make the most of the potentially higher returns.  However, equities are more risky funds and the value of your pension account can go down as well as up.

What are equity funds?
Equity funds tend to focus their investment on different geographic locations, sectors or industries as a way of diversifying, or spreading risk. There are a number of different types of equity funds, each with their own characteristics and level of risk. Equity funds can be generally split into the following categories:

Developed markets: These are the countries that are thought to be the most economically developed and therefore less risky.

Emerging markets: These are the countries that are less economically developed and are more risky. However, they may offer the greatest potential for growth as their economies grow.

Gilts and bonds

Fixed-interest investments are generally considered the next step up in risk from cash and tend to be less risky than equities (shares).

Investing in gilts or bonds effectively means lending money to companies or governments, for a set period of time, after which your loan must be repaid with the agreed return rate. They are designed to pay you a steady income but you won’t get life changing returns.


Cash is the least risky fund you can invest in, but it doesn’t offer you great returns and there is even the possibility of negative returns (losing money) if charges exceed interest rates, which is a particular risk when interest rates are very low. You can find that your money may not keep up with the cost of living.

Property Funds

Property funds are funds that invest directly in commercial property for example, offices, factories, warehouses and retail space or indirectly, by buying shares in property companies or other property funds. Investment returns are generated through rent and growth in property values. Property investments can go up and down. They are less risky than equities, but may be more volatile than bonds. Property is expected to offer returns in the longer term that are better than gilts and bonds, but less than equities. However, due to the nature of buying and selling property, there is a risk that, in certain economic conditions, it can be difficult to value or sell your investment in these funds and therefore there may be delays before you can access your money.

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