A significant number of you will probably have come across the term managed pension at some point in your lives. And, you may (or may not!) have wondered what it actually means? The name managed pension describes your investments and how your pension is overseen, so in a sense how it is actually ‘managed.’ The term managed pension is most often associated with a type of investment fund that your payments go into and which grows your money.
Of course, all pensions are managed in some way or another and this includes handling your payments, sending you regular updates, and making sure your pension complies with the many legislative and regulatory requirements.
Money purchase and defined contribution schemes are typical managed pensions. These are where your pension depends on how much you (and your employer, if relevant) pay in and how well it grows over time. Workplace pensions such as the group personal pension are the best known schemes that link to managed pension funds, but company pensions and stakeholder pensions can be too.
A managed pension fund groups together the money you and other savers pay into your pensions. Your provider will then invest that money in a few different types of investment. The fund managers make all the decisions so that you don’t have to, and that approach suits most people. By spreading your money out across these different investments your provider ensures that you are not relying solely on just one type of investment to grow your pension pot.
The mix of investments can include stocks and shares, property, bonds (effectively governments or companies borrow your money and in return they pay you interest) and cash deposits. A managed fund can vary the amount of each investment it includes, and you then simply choose how much risk you want to take, so typically a low, medium or high risk.
Choices, choices, so what do you do? Recognising the huge selection of funds that are available to savers these days, most employers select a managed pension as their recommended choice for the scheme members. It’s known as a ‘default fund’ and it’s a very popular choice if you can’t decide where to invest your pension contributions. The default managed fund is generally medium, or average risk and that outlook suits most people.
They continue to be a popular choice for pension savers as they offer a good spread of investments and are value for money when it comes to charges. In recent years millions of new savers have started pensions because of auto-enrolment and there are now many more choices of how to take your pension at retirement, so change is in the air.
The providers are seeking to change the managed pension funds into something that is able to more easily change the amount and type of investments used more readily when markets are doing well, or in tougher economic times. They’re called diversified growth funds and are essentially still a managed pension but with a slightly different approach and name.
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