These options are specifically designed for employees in workplace pensions who want a low level of involvement in their investments. Whether you’re new to Standard Life or already have a workplace pension, we can help you understand them.

Introducing Active Plus and Passive Plus

These options bring together a mix of investments in one solution, and can be managed for you right up to retirement – so they’re a quick and simple way of investing.

All you have to do is decide how much risk you’re comfortable taking and select the appropriate one from risk levels I (lower risk) to V (higher risk). If your retirement goals and circumstances change, you can always move to another risk level or investment option at any time if your goals or attitude to risk change.

A team at Aberdeen Standard Investments which manages these options will decide what they should be invested in and when, and make sure they don’t take any more or less risk than you said you were comfortable with. The team will also aim to deliver the best possible returns for the level of risk you’ve chosen.

You can choose individual Active Plus or Passive Plus funds. Or, if you want an option that gets your pension savings ready for how you plan to take them, you might want to consider a lifestyle profile.

Lifestyle profiles aim to grow the value of your pension savings, as well as getting them ready for how you plan to take them – whether that’s setting up a guaranteed income for life (an annuity), taking a lump sum, keeping it invested and taking it out as and when you want, or a combination of these. They do this by moving your money into a different mix of investments as you get closer to your retirement date.

More about lifestyle profiles >

The value of all investments can go down as well as up, and may be worth less than was paid in. We recommend that you regularly review your investments to make sure they remain appropriate for you and they’re on track to meet your goals.

How to pick which Active Plus or Passive Plus option is right for you

1. Decide how much risk you’re comfortable taking

It’s easy to work out which option could best suit your goals and how you feel about risk.

You choose the risk level most appropriate for you.

risk chart

  • I - lower risk
  • II - lower to medium risk 
  • III - medium risk
  • IV - medium to higher risk
  • V - higher risk

If you’re not sure which risk level is right for you, our risk questionnaire might help. And remember, you can move to another risk level or investment option at any time if your goals or attitude to risk change.

Before you invest in any option, you should be aware of its objectives and the type of risks it takes, as well as its risk level.

2. If you choose a lifestyle profile, decide how you’re going to take your money in the future

  • Universal lifestyle profiles – if you want flexibility in how you take your money in the future
  • Annuity lifestyle profiles – if you want to take your full tax-free lump sum and set up a guaranteed income for life (an annuity) with the rest
  • Lump Sum lifestyle profiles – if you want to take all your money as a lump sum or a series of lump sums
  • Active Retirement lifestyle profiles – if you want to take a flexible income (also known as drawdown) through the Standard Life Active Retirement investment option

The team at Aberdeen Standard Investments will then get on with managing the option you’ve chosen.

Many workplace pensions use our Active Plus III Universal Strategic Lifestyle Profile as the low-involvement (or default) investment option. This is where your money is automatically invested if you don’t make your own investment choice.

Global, diversified investments

The team at Aberdeen Standard Investments which manages the funds in the Active Plus and Passive Plus options use different types of investments from across the globe to try to get the best possible returns for the level of risk you’re comfortable taking.

Active Plus

For the Active Plus options, they do this through a range of actively managed Standard Life funds. This means the team can integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) into their investment management processes. They have the information and flexibility to take account of ESG analysis and factors when they select investments for their portfolios.

The Active Plus range also invests a portion in passively managed funds. As the investment managers aren't making active investment decisions, they don't actively integrate ESG into their investment processes. However, as a steward of an investment they can influence positive change using engagement and voting rights.

Find out the difference between actively managed and passive funds in our jargon buster >

Passive Plus

For the Passive Plus options, they do this through a range of passive (also known as index-tracking) funds from Vanguard Asset Management.

As the investment managers aren't making active investment decisions, they don't actively integrate ESG into their investment processes. However, as a steward of an investment they can influence positive change using engagement and voting rights.

Find out more about ESG and responsible investments >

Introducing Passive Core

This is a simple option that’s only available as a lifestyle profile – the Passive Core Universal Strategic Lifestyle Profile.

That means as you get closer to your retirement date, your pension savings will be gradually moved into funds designed for if you want to take a flexible income (drawdown) or to give you the flexibility to take your money as you want.

The team at Aberdeen Standard Investments which manages the funds in it uses different types of investments from across the globe. They do this through a range of passive funds from Vanguard Asset Management, Aberdeen Standard Investments and BlackRock.

As the investment managers aren't making active investment decisions, they don't actively integrate ESG into their investment processes. However, as a steward of an investment they can influence positive change using engagement and voting rights.

Find out more about Passive Core >

Review your workplace pension

Visit your workplace pension website or view your plan documents for more information about where you're invested and what options are available. You can also review your investment options online.

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