Published On: Sun, Feb 20th, 2022

Pension warning: How to locate lost pension pots | Personal Finance | Finance


Changing jobs or roles even within the same company can see workers leaving behind hundreds or thousands in pension savings. David Woodward, MD of Woodward Financials, shared how savers can reunite with their forgotten pension pots.

When changing jobs it can be easy to forget the little things like organising to move one’s pension pot. 

With so much else to remember and do during this shift, many simply don’t think their odd few pennies in a workplace pension scheme is worth the fuss. 

However, as retirement savings work on a compounding effect, a few hundred today could turn into a fair few thousands once one retires. 

While it can seem like a bewildering task to locate all of the pension pots one has had throughout their career, it can be a fruitful venture. 

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Mr Woodward noted that saving “enough retirement provision for later life is a constant worry” and workplace pensions are not the only victims of general forgetfulness. 

Missing out on workplace and private pension pots can see many coming short on their retirement savings, especially during a time where national savings averages are far below the amount estimated for a comfortable retirement. 

He added that savers should not be put off finding these “pensions lost in the wilderness” as finding savings from “decades ago can be resolved in a matter of hours”. 

He shared: “Thankfully there is a way of finding out via the pension tracing service to see whether you owned a workplace or personal pension scheme, it is not perfect but a good starting point.

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“Savers can now track down contact details for a lost pension whether it be a workplace or personal pension, you should easily be able to locate the contact details needed, such as up to date address and telephone numbers so you can make direct contact with that pension provider.

The pension tracking service can be found at the “Find pension contact details” section of Gov.uk.

Mr Woodward explained that the process starts with searching for one’s employer, which will reveal the pension scheme administrator. 

He said: “Then contact the scheme administrator with your personal information, your National Insurance number is preferred by the scheme, otherwise full name, date of birth and employment dates will assist them in locating you if you do in fact exist within the scheme.”

Mr Woodward cautioned that this process is usually simplest when the policy holder does it or is at least present and does not often need to incur the costs of an advisory firm. 

He added: “However if you do have policy details and are happy to give a financial adviser authority this task may be included in a pension consolidation fee depending on the financial adviser.

“There will be a small number who may find it a little tricky, especially if you do not know the workplace scheme name, which will result in conducting a much deeper search exploring if the employer has changed names or the pension scheme has changed. This can be done by checking companies house for closed or existing UK companies.”

Additionally, savers can also find out this information if they are still in touch with any former colleagues that still work at their previous employer. 

Mr Woodward added: “The DWP are aware of the issues surrounding pensions and keeping track of them and have plans to launch a pension dashboard that will revolutionise how savers of all ages access their pension information and make decisions. Allowing them to see what they have in their various pensions, at the touch of a smartphone screen, at any time they choose.”

“There will be a small number who may find it a little tricky, especially if you do not know the workplace scheme name, which will result in conducting a much deeper search exploring if the employer has changed names or the pension scheme has changed. This can be done by checking companies house for closed or existing UK companies.”

Once savers have located their lost pots, their journey doesn’t stop there, as Mr Woodward explained: “Remember it’s been left in the wilderness to fend for itself for what could have been years, it is certainly recommended to have this reviewed by an independent financial adviser. 

“What have you been invested in? Is the pension invested in line with your attitude to risk? How does it impact your retirement? Does it have an attractive transfer value?”



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