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Where you choose to invest your money is up to you. If you do not choose your own fund or funds (you can select up to ten different funds for contributions to be invested in on Orbit), contributions will automatically be invested in the ‘default’ option.

The default option, since 1 October 2018 is the Scottish Widows Balanced Pension Investment Approach (PIA) – Targeting Flexible Access. The PIA is a default investment strategy that is lifestyled to gradually de-risk as retirement approaches. During the growth (or accumulation) phase, which is 15+ years from retirement, the strategy invests in a growth-oriented fund, with monies being gradually switched into less risky funds that invest in government bonds and cash as your retirement approaches. Click here to find out more.

If you joined before January 2014 the default fund was the 6 Year Lifestyle Investment Approach. Please click here to find out more.

If you joined between January 2014 and September 2018 the default fund was the 10 Year Lifestyle Investment Approach. The aim of this approach is grow your pension fund by way of investment returns during the period up to ten years before the target retirement date (age 65) and within ten years of the target retirement date (the consolidation phase). Click here to find out more.

You can choose where your money is invested from a range of funds based on your requirements and how you feel about taking risks with your money. You can choose to invest all your contributions in one fund or you can choose to spread your money across a range of funds. You can do this by logging on to Orbit and accessing the ‘Fund Centre’ for more details.

Broadly speaking there are 3 levels of risk you can take:

  • Low risk
  • Medium risk
  • High risk

Low risk funds have a smaller chance of loss; however the growth of your money will normally be less. Low risk funds tend to be cash or cash-like investments. Low risk does not mean that there is no risk.

Medium risk:  if you like the idea of taking a small amount of risk, but don’t want to invest in high risk funds, you may want to consider choosing a medium or balanced fund. The money invested in those funds is invested in a combination of high and low risk investments although the overall level of risk in balanced funds is greater than the level of risk in low risk funds.

High risk funds can be volatile, particularly over the short term, with prices rising and falling. The size of the potential increases and falls in value are greater; however, they have the potential for greater returns as the risk being taken is higher.

Remember that pension savings should be seen as long-term investments. Also remember that the past or current performance of any fund is not always an indication of how that fund may perform in the future.

If you are considering choosing your own investment funds you are recommended to seek independent financial advice. If you do not have an independent financial adviser you can find information on how to find one at

For a glossary of investment terms, please click here.