Is your pension part of the ‘lost’ £20 billion?


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Is your pension part of the ‘lost’ £20 billion?

Could you be losing out on £13,000 in lost pension contributions – part of the £20 billion sitting unclaimed by savers across the country?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates that around 1.6 million pension pots remain unclaimed, but the number could be even higher because their researchers didn’t look into public service pensions or those in employer run trust-based schemes.

Jaw dropping

Describing the scale of the problem as ‘jaw-dropping’, the association says people often lose track of their pension pots due to job changes or moving house.

A pensions dashboard scheme designed to help track missing savings is currently being developed and the ABI said bringing it online is more important than ever.

Nearly two-thirds of UK savers have more than one pension and changing work patterns means that the number of people with multiple pensions will increase. People typically lose track of their pensions when changing jobs or moving home.

Lost pensions

ABI director of long-term savings and protection, Yvonne Braun, said: “These findings highlight the jaw-dropping scale of the lost pensions problem.

“Unclaimed pensions can make a real difference to millions of savers who have simply lost touch with their pension providers.

Nest eggs

“The industry has stepped up its efforts to re-connect savers with their lost nest eggs, developing a new framework launched earlier this year to help pension providers trace ‘gone-away’ customers more consistently.

“But industry efforts can only go so far – we need a radical digital solution to cope with the way society is changing, or the problem will get worse.

Promises

“It is important that the Government stands by its promises to take forward the pensions dashboard.

“This project has cross-party support, with the backing of consumer groups, and could mean a more secure retirement for millions of savers.”

Attempts

In 2017 pension providers made more than 375,000 attempts to contact former customers and managed to reunite them with more than £1 billion of assets.

The average person will have 11 jobs in their lifetime and move home eight times. The size of the problem is only going to get worse as the roll-out of automatic pension enrolment gathers pace.

Experts believe there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pensions by 2050.

Astonishing

Pensions specialist Helen Morrissey said: “These figures are astonishing and confirm the need for the Government to move forward with the pensions dashboard as quickly as possible.

“Having a dashboard in place enables people to keep track of the pension savings they have built up with different providers and employers which helps them make more informed decisions about their retirement.”

What can you do?

Until the dashboard is up and running, what can you do to try to track down any of your own lost savings?

Experts advise trying to keep down the number of schemes you are involved in by either transferring your pension when you move jobs or getting your new employer to make contributions to your existing scheme.

Notify

Always notify your pension provider when you move jobs or addresses then they can keep proper track of you. If they don’t have the information, they’re not going to be able to find you.

Go through your old paperwork to check if you have any documentation like annual statements which you can use to contact your provider.

Contact your old employers to see what information they can give you.

Finally, try using the Pension Tracing Service to track down lost pensions at www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

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This post was written by Mike Birkett