Your pensions are likely to be one of the main ways you’ll generate the income you need to live the lifestyle you want when you retire.
On 30 October 2022, National Pension Tracing Day aims to bring to light the prevalence of the issue of “lost” pensions and provides guidance on how to retrieve them.
This is important, as pensions are surprisingly easy to lose track of. Indeed, the Association of British Insurers report that £19.4 billion worth of pension pots remain unclaimed.
In fact, the National Pension Tracing Day website claims that as many as 1 in 30 UK adults could have a pension they don’t know about.
Read on to discover ways you can check to see if you have any unclaimed pension funds and how you may be able to recover them.
You could have multiple pensions that you have lost track of
It’s certainly not uncommon to lose track of a pension you may have contributed to.
Firstly, in 2012 new legislation was passed that mandated employers to provide a pension scheme for most workers. This is known as “auto-enrolment” and is done automatically by your employers.
Theoretically, you should have a pension for each job you’ve held since 2012. For this reason, there’s a chance that you may have several different pensions – some, even, you may not know about.
Beyond this, as we venture further into the age of digitisation, firms are increasingly moving away from paper-based correspondence with their clients to conduct the majority of their business online.
Since then, your provider may have fallen out of contact with you, resulting in the pension being lost.
Moving home is another common cause of lost pensions and could mean that you have a pension sitting somewhere that you have forgotten about. It should also be noted that changing your name or contact details could also make it hard for your provider to contact you and could result in a lost pension.
Scams are another way that pensions can easily be lost. Using FCA figures, National Pension Day claims that £30 million was stolen from pension funds between 2017 and 2020. Scarily, £1 million was stolen by scammers in 2021 alone, averaging at £51,000 for each individual affected.
You could take an earlier retirement after tracing a lost pension
Just because you’ve lost track of some of your pensions doesn’t mean you can’t easily retrace them – there are plenty of reasons to pursue your funds.
For starters, the process can be much easier than it sounds, which makes it a great reward for a small amount of effort. The funds you recover could allow you to retire earlier than you had planned and help you spend your post-work years the way you dreamed of.
The potential increase to your retirement budget could even mean that you have spare funds to gift to loved ones in your will.
But let’s not forget, this is money you worked hard for and deserve every penny of.
Finding a lost pension could be as easy as looking through old paperwork
Locating lost pensions may not be as difficult as you think and there are different ways of going about it.
Going through old paperwork
It’s worth looking through any and all old paperwork you have. This could include contracts, payslips and pension slips from jobs you held previously – and even your CV if it lists your previous roles!
It may help to take a chronological approach and start as early into your working life as possible. From here, you can use an eliminative process to quickly discern any gaps there may be in your employment history.
Contact any of your past employers whom you don’t have details of a pension from. Even if you’re confident of its whereabouts, getting physical evidence is always useful.
If you were self-employed at any point throughout your life, perhaps try sorting through old bank statements in search of any payments to a pension provider. Payments to a provider that you don’t recognise could indicate that a pension is lost.
Check the details providers have of you are correct
Something as simple as falling out of contact with your pension provider could result in you losing track of that pension, leaving you unable to access the funds.
This could easily happen to you if the personal details you registered with your provider expire or are no longer valid. The shift to online methods of communication can make this especially relevant.
Details to make sure you keep your provider updated with include your:
- Home address
- Contact number(s)
- Email address
Using the government’s free pension tracing service
One of the resources available to you is the government’s free, online pension tracing service.
It was launched in 2016 in response to the growing number of pensions that have been lost, with the website reporting a significant increase in tracing requests in the 10 years building up to the site’s inception.
The service can be found on the government website and allows you to search a database of more than 320,000 pension scheme contact details.
Taking advantage of the Pension Tracing Day’s online resources
The National Pension Tracing Day website has a downloadable and printable step-by-step guide that could make the process a lot simpler for you.
Get in touch
We can also help you to track down old pensions and provide you with advice on what you might do with them once you’ve found them. Please contact us by email at email@example.com or call 0115 933 8433.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). Your capital is at risk. The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested.