A pension that works for you

We know that working for yourself comes with important decisions. The same can be said when saving for your retirement. Unlike those in full-time employment, being self-employed means investing in a pension yourself, without the benefit of a workplace scheme.

By choosing a Ready-Made Pension, our experts are here to help you plan for the future, letting you stay focused on your business.

  • If you’re years away from retiring, we invest your pension savings for you to give you the best chance of growth.
  • As you approach retirement, we move your portfolio into lower-risk investments to help protect your pension’s value.
  • Keep track of your pension savings and make additional contributions anytime using the Mobile Banking app or Internet Banking.


Why choose a Ready-Made Pension with us?

  • A trusted brand: Bank of Scotland serves and supports millions of customers across the UK, working in partnership with pension and retirement experts, Scottish Widows.
  • Expert support: We do the hard work for you, so you don’t have to – from investing your pension for you, to guiding you through your retirement options when the time is right.
  • Easy to manage: You can monitor your pension on the go anytime, anywhere – just like you do with your Mobile Banking app.
  • Straightforward fees: We keep our fees competitive so more of your money is left in your pension to grow.
  • Easy to open: You can apply in minutes using Internet Banking or the Mobile Banking app.
  • Flexible contributions: Set up regular payments and make lump-sum contributions whenever you like. If you have any old pensions that you no longer pay into, you can combine them into the one pot.



Tax relief benefits

For every £80 you put into your pension, HMRC will usually add an extra £20. If you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you could also benefit from extra tax relief through self-assessment. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to change.

How a Ready-Made Pension could be a smart business move

Discover how planning for your future today could make things easier when you decide to retire.

  • Being self-employed, you’ll want to keep your tax bill to a minimum. Regularly contributing to a pension is a way of helping you do that.

    Unlike savings accounts and ISAs, the government gives you tax relief on the money you pay into your pension.

    The way you claim this tax relief depends on how your business is set up.

    If you’re a sole trader

    You make contributions from your after-tax income. If you’re a basic rate taxpayer, HMRC will then top up your contribution by 20%. Higher and additional rate taxpayers can claim more through self-assessment.

    If you work for your own limited company

    You can make contributions directly from your company. This will have the effect of reducing your profits, reducing your corporation tax liability. Also, you won’t pay income tax on any money paid directly into your pension. This option isn’t available with our Ready-Made Pension right now. You can still pay in from your own personal account.

  • When you reach your planned retirement age, you can access your pension in several ways, taking up to 25% as a tax-free lump sum. The rest is subject to your standard level of income tax.

    How and when you take your pension depends on what you want for your retirement. Please see the Retirement options page for more information.

  • If you’re self-employed, making regular contributions to a pension can feel like a big commitment. Especially if your earnings fluctuate and cash flow is always on your mind.

    That’s why you can start a Ready-Made Pension by contributing just £150 a month (after tax relief). Plus, you can stop, or increase the amount at any time and top up with lump sums when business is going well.

    You don’t need to choose between investing in your business or investing in your pension. It’s good business to do both.

  • Nobody wants to work forever. As you get older, you’ll probably want or need to slow down a bit. And that can be tricky if your business is your only source of income.

    By saving into a Ready-Made Pension, you’re essentially creating an alternative source of income to support you in retirement. It means that if you want to keep on working you can do so because you want to – not because you need to.

  • The rising cost of living could potentially eat away at the spending power of your money over time.

    It’s important to give your long-term savings the best chance to grow, and putting your money into a pension does just that.

    The money you put into a pension is invested in different assets, such as shares and bonds. Over time, these tend to generate higher returns than cash left in a standard bank account.

    And because HMRC tops up your contributions by adding back the basic rate of tax, more of your money is invested. This could help your pension grow even more.

  • If you were employed before starting your own business, you may have one or more old pensions you’ve left untouched.

    You might be able to transfer these old pensions into your Ready-Made Pension. This may make it easier to keep track of your retirement savings.

    Plus, having all your savings in one pot makes it easier to access your pension when the time is right. If it’s all in one place with a single provider, you could save time, money, and have less admin to manage.

  • After years of working, many of us hope to make the most of our retirement – whatever that looks like for you.

    But if you die before the age of 75, it’s good to know that your loved ones can inherit your pension. This means they can normally access all the money you’ve saved, without paying any income or inheritance taxes.

    If you’re 75 or over when you die, the beneficiary won’t pay any inheritance tax. However, they may have to pay income tax depending on how you chose to take your pension.

How we invest your Ready-Made Pension

We want to make it easy to save for your retirement. That’s why we do the hard work and invest for you through our partners, Scottish Widows.

We invest your pension based on the age at which you’re planning to retire. 

If you’re years away from retiring, we invest to give you the best chance of growth. As you approach retirement, we move your portfolio into lower-risk investments to help protect your pension value.

For more information, please see the Ready-Made Pension Investment guide (PDF, 306 KB) and "Our funds' past performance" below.

Please note that this graph is a guide for illustration purposes only and not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The potential performance of a £10,000 initial investment and £250 monthly contribution from age 25 (minus charges of 0.7% and adjusted for inflation at 2%). By age 65, this could result in a pension value of up to £113,995 if markets achieve a low growth of 3% per year. Alternatively, this could also be £229,718 for 5% growth, or £512,614 for 8% growth.

  • Our Retirement Portfolios invest in funds that are managed by our expert investment partner, Scottish Widows.

    The funds are from their “Manage Growth Fund’ range, which invest in stocks and shares (also known as equities), fixed interest investments (also known as bonds) and Property.  You tell us the age at which you expect to retire, and we’ll invest your money in a Retirement Portfolio that targets the five-year retirement period in which you told us you expect to retire. For example, someone who’s 40 in 2024 and wishing to retire at 60, would be placed in a Retirement Portfolio that targets the years 2041-2045.  We’ll then use a process called ‘lifestyling’ to gradually reduce the level of risk in your portfolio as you get closer to retirement.

    If you take out a Ready-Made Pension more than 10 years from your retirement age, your Pension’s Retirement Portfolio will be fully invested in the higher risk Managed Growth Fund 6, to give you the best chance of growth. This is the ‘Growth phase’. As your Retirement Portfolio reaches 10 years before its five-year target retirement date range, it moves into the ‘De-risking phase’, when the risk level of your investment starts to be reduced each year, through lifestyling.

    We gradually move some of your Pension from the higher-risk fund into our Managed Growth Fund 2, which is a lower-risk fund.  Although this reduces the growth potential of your Pension, it also aims to help protect what you’ve built up if there are any downturns. When you reach the five-year range of your chosen retirement age, your Retirement Portfolio will move into the ‘At Retirement Phase’. From then on, most of your Pension will be invested in the Managed Growth Fund 2.

    Everything happens automatically so you don’t have to worry about it.  To help you understand how the funds have performed over a longer period, see our graph below. This goes back 5 years and shows the percentage of growth in the fund over time and is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The performance data includes the ongoing charge and all transaction costs within the fund, but does not include the 0.3% account fee.

Pensions are a long-term investment. The retirement benefits you receive from your pension plan will depend on a number of factors including the value of your plan when you decide to take your benefits, which isn’t guaranteed and can go down as well as up. The value of your plan could fall below the amount(s) paid in.


Fees and charges

Our fees are clear and straightforward, making it easier to plan for your future.

You’ll need to pay an annual account fee and investment charge. What you pay will depend on how much you invest.

  • Annual account fee of 0.30% (or a minimum of £5 a month)
  • Ongoing investment charges up to 0.24%

We won’t charge you for pension transfers – whether you’re transferring in or out. And we also don’t charge you to top up or drawdown your pension.

More on fees and charges

How to open a Ready-Made Pension

Choose one or more of these options.

Regular payments

Topping up regularly could help you achieve the retirement you want.

You can make monthly payments from £150 or more, after any added tax relief.

Use our pension calculator to see how changing your regular contributions could make a difference.

One-off lump sum

If you have some extra money, a lump sum could give your pension a boost. If eligible, these payments will include tax relief.

You can open an account with a minimum lump-sum payment of £5,000. Once opened, you can pay in lump sums at any time and of any value over £100.

Pension transfers

If you change jobs, you may have one or more pensions you no longer pay into. You can combine them into a single pot.

Transfers must be at least £10,000 when you open an account. Once opened, transfers can be £1,000 or more.

How to combine pensions

More on our Ready-Made Pension


Whatever retirement looks like for you, find out how a Ready-Made Pension could help you invest for the future. Find out how to contribute, how much it costs, and how our experts invest your pension to give it the best chance of growth.

When the time feels right to retire, we’ll help guide you in deciding how you’d like to access your pension savings with us.

More about Ready-Made Pensions

Apply for a Ready-Made Pension

Before you start

Please make sure:

  • you open your Ready-Made Pension with at least one of the following:

    •  one or more pension transfers (with a total combined value of at least £10,000)
    •  a lump sum of £5,000 from a personal account (inclusive of tax relief)
    •  regular monthly payments of £150 from a personal account (inclusive of tax relief)
  • you’re a UK taxpayer, you’re not a US person, and you’re under 74 years old
  • you're transferring pensions that are with a UK-based provider
  • you haven't taken an income or a tax-free lump sum from the pensions you're transferring
  • your pension doesn’t have any features or guarantees you wouldn’t want to lose if transferring.

Apply now

To start your application, you'll need the following:

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • If transferring, the provider name, policy number, and the type and value of each pension.

Signpost logo   •  Log in to your account
   •  Find the Wealth and Retirement section on the left menu
   •  Select the Ready-Made Pension page

You must be an existing customer to open an account. Please check your personal details are up to date before continuing. If you don't already use Internet Banking, it's easy to register.

Log in and apply

Apply now

To start your application, you'll need the following:

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • If transferring, the provider name, policy number, and the type and value of each pension.

Signpost logo   •  We recommend you use the Mobile Banking app to apply
   •  Log in and search 'Ready-Made Pension'

You must be an existing customer to open an account. Please check your personal details are up to date before continuing. If you don't already use Internet Banking, it's easy to register.

To apply through browser, please use Internet Banking.

Log in and apply

Got an existing Ready-Made Pension?

Top up your account with a one-off or lump-sum payment, set up a Direct Debit, or transfer in another pension.