How to trace lost pensions

Caroline Cassidy
the word pension funds on blue...
the word pension funds on blue...

These days people change jobs quite frequently, and along the way, some will have lost track of pensions. If you have worked for more than one employer, you may have more than one pension. Here's how to track down and claim the money you could be owed.

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Contact your employer
If you don't know the name of the pension provider from whom you believe you may be owed money, you can still claim. If the policy was either a workplace or stakeholder pension, you should contact your former employer who should be able to give you details. Your employer may ask for your National Insurance number, the date you started and stopped work with the company, and the dates your pension scheme was likely set up and left. It is useful to find out what type of scheme it was too, so ask whether it was a defined benefit or defined contribution scheme, and who the provider of the pension was.

Contact the pension provider
If you had a personal pension and know which provider the policy was with, you should contact the firm directly. In order to resolve the matter quickly, it is wise to have as much information about the policy to hand as possible, including the plan number, your date of birth, NI number and the date you began paying into the scheme.

Once the provider has the correct details, it is important to ask questions in order that you may estimate what you will receive upon retirement. For example, find out how much has been contributed and what the current value of the pension pot is, as well as how much it will likely pay out on your chosen date of retirement.

Other questions to ask are whether there are management charges on the scheme and how much, how the pot is being invested, how much would be paid in the event of your death and who would receive the monies. It's also important to find out whether there would be a charge for transferring the pot to another provider, which you may want to do if it benefits you in the long term.

Try the Pension Tracing Service
If you struggling to trace your lost pension, the Pension Tracing Service offers help free of charge, and is able to search a database of more than 200,000 workplace and personal pension schemes. Before you contact the service though, try to gather as much information about your former employer as possible, including any previous names it might have had, the type of business, any changes of address, and the dates when you would have been paying into the scheme.
Providing as much information as possible will make it a swifter, easier process, but it is worth contacting the service on 0845 6002 537 to find out if you can track any lost pensions.

For more information, as well as tracing request forms and template letters, visit the Money Advice Service online.

Have you managed to trace a lost pension? What advice would you give to others looking to do the same? Leave your comments below...

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