How to find a lost pension

How to find a lost pension

National Pension Tracing Day is on Sunday 29th October this year. Knowing where all your pensions are located is important, as you could be losing some of your past hard-earned money. How to find a lost pension is an increasingly pressing issue for many people. Let’s look at what you can do to track down missing pension plans.

1 in 20 people might have a pension they didn’t know they had
(National Pension Tracing Day)

Tracing a missing pension

There are many reasons why a pension might go missing. It could be a small workplace pension scheme from an old employer, whom you worked for many years ago. The pension provider should send you an annual statement. But if you have moved house and haven’t informed them of your new address, you may not have received these documents.

Below are some steps you can take to try and locate a lost pension:

  • Make a list of all the places you have worked. Check your CV for past employer details or you might have kept old payslips, P45s or P60s.
  • You might find old pension scheme details stored with past employment contracts or employee handbooks.
  • If you come across some pension details, then try and locate a pension statement. This will give you an indication of how much you paid into the scheme.
  • It’s worth noting that you might have chosen to opt out of the company’s pension scheme, for example, if you were working on a short-term contract.
  • Back in the 1980s and 1990s, it was common for people to ‘contract out’ of the State Pension scheme to pay lower National Insurance contributions. In some cases, these contributions might have gone into a private or workplace pension scheme.
  • If you’re sure you paid into a pension for an old employer, contact the company’s HR department to see if they can help. Ask them for the provider’s name for the group personal pension or group stakeholder plan.

When companies have changed

Sometimes people find that a company changes their name, or they have merged or been bought out by another company. If you are unsure, use the Companies House website, which lists past and present company information. Contact the new parent company and explain your situation. There should be records of any old group pension schemes, which should have transferred over to the new company.

If your old employer has ceased to trade, use the government’s free pension tracing service. You will need to know the dates when you were employed, as well as your National Insurance (NI) number. They should be able to check their records and advise you of the pension provider’s name and possibly the policy number too.

Your NI number is your unique identifier, which enables the government, company payroll teams and pension providers to find your old pension contributions. This number can be found on your current or previous payslips, as well as P45s or P60s.

Speaking to pension providers

Once you have the details of the pension provider, contact them to explain your situation. They will require your National Insurance (NI) number and formal identification to prove you are who you say you are.

As the clocks go back on the same day as National Pension Tracing Day, why not use your extra hour to find any missing pensions? It’s also worth checking the pensions you are aware of to make sure your contact details are up to date for each one. If any information is missing, inform the pension provider or administrator.

Financial advisor, Nottingham and Lincoln

Pension planning is a key part of our financial planning services. We can offer advice on how to find lost pensions and how to combine multiple pensions, if appropriate. We’ll check your pension income forecast and current contributions to see whether you’re on track with your retirement planning. If you have any other sources of income, such as savings or investments, we will assess those too, along with any potential tax implications.

Our aim is to ensure you have enough pension income to last you throughout your retirement, so you never run out. We will suggest ways to bridge any gaps by advising on a suitable savings strategy. Based in Nottingham and Lincoln, we provide financial planning advice in-person and via video calls.

Need pension advice? Get in touch to speak to our financial planning team.