1.6m ‘lost’ pensions – here’s how to track down a lost pension


MoneyPlus Features Team

13th November 2018 at 11:00am

It seems UK savers have misplaced 1.6 million pension pots. That’s a lot of pension savings which could make a huge difference to many people, so if you think you might be one of them, there is good news– all is not lost.

Those lost pots are worth around £20bn according to the Pensions Policy Institute. While that’s an eye-watering amount, it’s easy to see how so many have gone astray.

The average worker now changes employers every five years. For some, it could be more often, and each change could mean a new workplace pension.

Once you’ve had a few jobs and built up a few pension pots – and perhaps an older personal pension – it can be easy to lose sight of them.

But it’s your money for your future so you’ll want to know where it is, how it’s growing and what you can do about it if it isn’t.

And if you’re in the run up to taking your pension savings… well, they’re yours and you’ll want to make the most of them.

Here’s what we suggest you do.

Check in with your pension regularly

All pension providers should send you a statement each year, telling you how your pension is performing and keeping you up-to-date with everything you need to know.

But something as simple as a change of address can mean you lose touch with each other unless you update your provider, as you would with your bank or your mobile phone company.

The average worth of the 1.6m unclaimed pensions is £13,000, so you could have a forgotten pot with thousands in it – enough to potentially make a big difference to your retirement fund.

How to go about finding a misplaced pension

Contact the pension provider or your former employer to get the ball rolling. If you don’t have the details of either of these, you can use the Pension Tracing Service.

All you need is the name of your employer or pension provider to get started, it’s as simple as that.

What’s the next step?

Once you’ve found your pension pot, what’s next?

You could file that information away along with pension paperwork from your other providers, but there is an option which might make it easier to stay in control of your savings.

It could make sense to bring everything together

It’s worth thinking about combining your pots into one pension.

It’ll be easier to see how your funds are doing so that you know how much you’re paying in, and if you need to increase your pension payments.

You’ll have everything in one place, which makes it simple to check that your pension savings are in the right kind of investments for you, and to change them if they’re not.

If you’re thinking of bringing all of your pensions together, check you’re not giving up any valuable benefits or guarantees if you transfer, as you may want to keep these – that’s really important.

There’s no guarantee that you would get more as a result of transferring your pension savings. It makes sense to speak to an expert to get information on your own situation. Transferring isn’t for everyone, and you need to consider all of the facts to decide if it is right for you.

Read more about bringing your pensions together in our Bring your pensions together: we suggest nine things to think about article. You can also find out more on our ‘transfer my pension’ page.

Managing your savings and investments online or on a mobile app can make it really easy to keep track of how they’re performing. Visit our website to find out how Standard Life’s online services can help you.

A final thought. The Government predicts that there could be as many as 50 million dormant or lost pensions by 2050 – taking some simple steps now could ensure yours isn’t one of them.


The information here is based on our understanding in November 2018 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice. A pension is an investment, the value can go down as well as up and you could get back less than you paid in.