It’s just over 10 years since auto-enrollment brought more and more people into workplace pension schemes. But with the average person working around 11 jobs in their lifetime, when it comes to retirement age it’s easy to lose track of everything you’re entitled to with sums of money wrapped up in numerous frozen and dormant pensions. This is on top of any personal and self-invested pension plans you might have.
Even something as simple as moving home without updating your pension provider of your new address can lead to you losing track of pension pots.
So, if you’re wondering how to find your old and lost pensions, there are a number of options available. Our team of professional pension advisors are always happy to help you through the process.
Tracing Old & Lost Pensions
Gather the right information
If you’re trying to find lost pensions from many years ago, you’ll need certain information at hand to help locate your savings and prove to pension providers that each scheme belongs to you.
Information that can help includes:
- The names of every employer you’ve worked for (including previous trading names)
- Business address (including any changes)
- The name of the pension service provider each employer used
- Dates of when you worked at each company and belonged to the scheme
- Short description of what each business does
- Your National Insurance number
- Your name and address (including previous names and addresses)
How to find old pensions with your national insurance number
To find old pensions using your National Insurance number in the UK, you can use the free Pension Tracing Service offered by the UK government.
Firstly, go to the Pension Tracing Service website. The service will guide you through the process, where you’ll be asked to provide the necessary details. It’s important to be as accurate as you can to ensure the search is effective. This information includes your National Insurance number, which is used to track your pension contributions.
The Pension Tracing Service will then search its database and provide you with contact details for the administrators of your pension scheme. You will then need to get in touch with your pension providers to confirm your identity to access information about your pension.
Remember that the Pension Tracing Service can only provide contact details for your pension scheme administrators. They cannot provide information on the value of your pension, but the pension scheme administrators should be able to assist with this once you contact them.
How do I find out if I have a pension from a previous employer?
To find out if you have a pension from a previous employer, you should action the following steps:
- Contact your previous employer: Start by getting in touch with your previous employer’s Human Resources department. They should be able to tell you whether you were enrolled in a pension scheme and provide you with the necessary contact details for the pension provider.
- Search for pension scheme details: If you can’t contact your previous employer (for instance, if they’ve gone out of business), search for any paperwork you might have that relates to your pension. This could be annual statements, welcome packs, or even emails. These documents usually have the pension scheme provider’s contact details.
- Check your personal tax records: Your P60 or payslips might show whether you were contributing to a pension scheme.
- Contact the pension provider: Once you have their details, contact the pension provider directly. They should be able to tell you the value of your pension and the details of the scheme.
If you’re still having difficulty tracking down your pension, you should speak to a financial advisor. At Almond, we can provide expert advice on your pension and guide you on the best course of action for your individual circumstances.
Remember that if you have moved homes, it’s possible that the pension scheme provider might have lost contact with you. So it’s crucial to keep your contact details up-to-date with any pension providers
Also, keep in mind that factors such as your age and length of service at each company can also affect whether or not you’re automatically entitled to their pension scheme. In some cases, any funds you’ve built up may have been refunded years ago â Money Helper explains more about this here*.
Government Pension Tracing Service
The Pension Tracing Service has been helping people since 2012, and in 2016 a new website* was launched.
You can use this service to help locate contact details for any of your historic personal or workplace pension schemes. It’s free to use, and scans a database of more than 320,000 pension schemes to find the contact details you need. You’ll need to provide the names of each employer you’ve worked for, and once you get the details you’ll still need to contact each provider â so always have information outlined previously to make the most of the scheme.
Recently, new services such as Gretel have also entered the market which can help to find lost pension details.
Money Helper has created a downloadable template* to draft a pension-tracking letter for any pension providers you contact.
How to find lost pensions when someone has died
If a friend or family member has passed away, or you’re the beneficiary of their will, you may also need to locate their old and lost pensions. The process is similar to searching for your personal pensions, and it’s useful to know as much information as possible about the person’s employment history. Money Helper provides more information* about what to do in this circumstance.
Get help from a pension advisor
Taking the time to locate old or lost pension pots may seem like a burden but it’s worth remembering that, like any other investment, the more you put into a pot, the more it’s likely to grow. Consolidating all of the pension funds you own, no matter how small, could boost your current scheme.
Even with lots of helpful tools like the Government’s pension tracing service*, managing your finances for retirement can be confusing. Getting help from specialist experts in pension advice can make the process simple.
To find out more, book an appointment with one of our professional pension advisors.
*By following external links on this page you are departing from the regulatory site of Almond Financial. Neither Almond Financial nor Quilter Financial Planning are responsible for the accuracy of the information contained within the linked site.