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Additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)

By joining the Scheme, you’ve already started saving towards your retirement.

But have you considered whether it’s enough? Don’t leave it too late to plan for your future. 

The good news is that the Scheme offers you ways to increase your pension savings if you’d like. 

It is no longer possible to buy additional years of service by paying additional contributions, unless you have already taken out a contract. The exception is for male employees who joined before 1 April 1988 who may be able to buy additional service to offset the effect of the reduction which will be applied to the pension you earned before 17 May 1990 (known as the “Barber reduction”). If you think this applies to you and you require further information, please contact your pension scheme administrator, Railpen.

What are additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)?

Additional voluntary contributions – or AVCs – are extra payments you can make towards your pension from your pay, aside from your Scheme contributions. 

You decide how much you want to pay (subject to limits). Your employer collects contributions before your wages are taxed, so you get tax relief immediately. 

Your AVCs will be paid into the investment funds you choose from the range available. The value of your AVC account when you retire will depend on the performance of your chosen funds and how much you pay in. 

Please be aware that the value of investments can go down as well as up. The Trustee cannot give you any advice or guidance on your investment, but you may want to consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decisions about your finances. If so, you can find details of advisers in your local area at  

Find out more about AVCs in the guide below or use the application form to apply to start paying AVCs:

Already paying into AVCs?

Remember, you should check your investment funds regularly to make sure they’re still suitable for you. 

Check out the ‘Attitude to risk' section below to learn about the risk ratings of different funds and which suit your needs. 

You can log in to Pru Retire to check your AVC account. If you haven't already registered, you can do so here. There's also a short video showing you how to register and log in to your online account.

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Attitude to risk

See how your attitude towards risk affects your choice of investment funds.


Are you saving enough?

Use the modeller to work out how much income you might need when you retire.