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60 second read…how to trace lost pension savings

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
There’s an estimated £400m sitting in unclaimed pension savings. Here are the essentials you need to know if you’ve lost track of your pension pot.

If you’ve had a number of jobs and set up new pension schemes with each, or you’ve moved address and haven’t updated your contact details, there’s a chance you may have lost or forgotten about existing pension savings.

While every pension scheme works differently, in general, with a Defined Contribution (DC) scheme, six months ahead of this, your provider will get in touch in preparation for your upcoming retirement.

If it’s not possible for the scheme to contact you, it may move your savings into ‘safer’ investment funds or some other type of account. Typically, your savings will still exist until they are traced – although some schemes may convert them into an annuity at age 75 making it more important to find them as soon as you can.

If you’ve lost touch with a Defined Benefit (DB or final salary) scheme and you’re missing out on pension income, the provider will normally take this into account by increasing payments once you trace it.

For savings in a workplace scheme, you can use the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) free site via the Pension Tracing Service which has a register of all workplace schemes or you could contact your former employer.

For personal pension savings you can contact the Pension Tracing Service or you can go through the Pensions Advisory Service which will help guide you through what to do. You’ll need to give as much information as possible regarding the scheme, dates of employment and copies of any certificates you still have.

The government confirmed the pensions industry would launch a pensions dashboard by 2019 allowing savers to see all their pensions in one place.

Martin Tilley, director of technical services at Dentons Pension Management, says: “While all these tracing options exist, they do take time so my recommendation would be to always stay in touch with your pension providers, if you move house for example and if you’ve lost touch try to reconnect well before a benefit date.

“While the pensions dashboard will be up and running in some guise in 2019, it will only be as useful as all the pension companies that contribute to it, and some of the closed book pension businesses are reluctant to do so as there is likely to be cost implications for them. It is however precisely these closed books that often lose touch with their members.”

Related: See’s four-minute video on how to consolidate your various pensions.

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