This may sound like a silly question but research from a major British insurance company has shown that up there are up to 2.5 million forgotten UK pension plans. Furthermore, the UK government estimates that the size of these forgotten and unclaimed funds could exceed £400 million.
Among those with a forgotten pension, the majority believe they have misplaced one pot (77%), although 17% think they have forgotten about two and 6% have forgotten three or more. At the same time, almost three in five (59%) UK adults are worried about not having enough money to last them in retirement. If this is you, there are steps you can take.
By law, UK pension providers and administrators must issue a statement to all policyholders and scheme members every year but if you have moved house and not provided them with an up to date address, whether in the UK or the UAE, you will not be receiving these.
How to find an old pension
There are three options for tracking ‘lost’ pensions:
- Contact your previous employer
- Contact the insurance company
- Use the UK Government’s Pension Tracing Service
If you can recall the name of the employer or insurance company you can contact them directly but one problem is that companies get taken over or change name making this tricky in some cases. A pension fund will not disappear though, so with some work it can be traced.
There have been many insurance company takeovers and mergers in the past 30 years so many names from the past have disappeared. In other cases, a block of pension plans may have been bought by another company to manage thus further complicating issues. In most cases, I can give you the name of the current insurance company administering a personal pension plan.
It is harder to trace companies that are no longer trading, although in some cases there will be public records that show who took them over.
If you can’t find the employer or the insurance company the Pension Tracing Service will tell you who to speak to in order to track down a dormant fund.
What should I do when I have found it?
You will have options but the best course of action will depend on the type of plan, whether personal or part of a company scheme, your age, the size of the fund, and other retirement provision. There are cases where it makes sense to consolidate a number of smaller arrangements, not least as it is far easier to manage and keep track of, especially if retirement is somewhere on the horizon.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to pensions and retirement planning and I will look at every situation individually and advise what is best given your specific circumstances. In some cases a transfer is not your best course of action but many people never review their pension funds, or have them properly managed by an expert adviser, so could well be in under-performing funds.
At every stage in life, professional and qualified advice is required in respect of pension plans and your financial life goals.
For independent information on your pensions, other retirement plan, investments or have any queries about any aspect of personal financial planning, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aviva UK. Research conducted in 2016 by Censuswide
ABI Key Facts 2015