Over £19 Billion of lost pension money in the U.K
Many expat retirement savers have lost track of their UK pensions. In fact, there is roughly £19.4 billion waiting to be claimed in lost pensions by as many as 1.6 million people.
Only 1 in 25 people inform their pension providers when they change address and given people on average move home 8 times in their lives, the task of tracking them down becomes almost impossible for providers. Add a move abroad into the mix, and the odds are even slimmer.
Another key factor contributing to the situation has come from providers switching from paper to digital records, which often results in some data loss.
The average missing pot is £13,000, which is not to be sniffed at and be a welcome boost to any retirement pot. Government figures indicate that these numbers are only increasing, and they anticipate as many as 50 million unclaimed pension pots by 2050.
Pension providers do actively try to link savers with their money and in 2017 they handed back £1 billion to as many as 375,000 missing customers. However, that is a relatively small proportion of the total.
The simplest way to avoid this situation is to notify your pension providers when you change address. At some stage, your pension provider may have sent a letter asking that you verify your name and address. This letter could come from a company you do not know, resulting in it being ignored, but in likelihood this is not a bid for your business, but means another company has taken over the company you worked for.
How to Find Your Lost UK Pension?
If you have any lost private or workplace UK pension pots, the first step in how to find them is by searching your own records. Pension providers issue a statement every year detailing the value of your fund, so you may have one to hand. Old bank statements will also show who you made pension payments to. Do not forget to search your email archive as many providers deliver messages and statements online. If you are in touch with old workmates, asking them about their pensions could point you in the right direction.
Armed with this information, you can pull together some details to contact the provider.
To help the provider track your missing money, it is helpful if you supply as much of the information listed below as you can:
National Insurance number
Date of job started
Date you left your job
Date you joined the pension scheme
Date you left the pension scheme
Address the company held for you at the time of your employment
UK Pension Tracing Service
The Pension Tracing Service is a comprehensive database of 242,000 workplace and personal pensions designed to reunite retirement savers with lost money. The web site handles more than 1.25 million searches a year. The service is a bridge to finding lost pensions. The response will not confirm you have a lost pension or the value of the fund but will tell you who to contact to fill in the details.
The Pension Tracing Service may not offer the results you are looking for. The search results are as good as the information loaded into the database, which can hold errors, but that does not mean it is not a quick way to find lost pensions for most people.
The Pension Protection Fund
If the employer running a workplace pension has ceased trading, the government’s Pension Protection Fund may have taken over the scheme. The PPF has a full list of schemes under supervision online.
What if I find more than one missing pension?
If you recover more than one pension fund, you should consider if combining them into a single pot has advantages.
If you think you had pensions in the UK and would like help looking into them, Hoxton Capital are happy to help.