A good pension is a terrible thing to waste but the reality is it’s very easy to lose track of a pension especially one from the earliest stages of your career. Most pension schemes you’ve been a member of must send you a statement each year. These statements include an estimate of the income you’ll be entitled when you retire.
If you’re no longer receiving these statements – perhaps because you’ve changed address – then don’t despair because tracking down a lost pension is actually easier than you’d think. According to the Money Advice Service there are three bodies you can contact:
- The pension provider
- The Pension Tracing service, or
- Your former employer if it was a workplace pension
Contact the personal pension provider
If you know which pension provider your pension was with, then your first step should be to contact them.
There’s a link below to a template letter for you to complete and send to them, but however you choose to contact them, you should provide as many of the following details as possible:
- Your plan number
- Your date of birth
- Your National Insurance number
- The date your pension was set up
And by asking the following questions, you’ll get a thorough overview of your pension pot:
- What is the current value of the pension pot?
- Is there a nominated recipient for any death benefits?
- How much has been contributed into the pension pot?
- What charges are you paying for management of the pension pot?
- How much income is the pension pot likely to pay out at your chosen retirement date?
- How is the pension pot being invested and what options are there for making changes?
- Would there be any charges if you wanted to transfer the pension pot to another provider?
- What are the death benefits – in other words, how much money would be paid from the pension if you died?
Tracing a workplace pension
If you want to trace a workplace pension – a scheme run by an employer – then your first point of contact should be the employer.
However, if your employer provided access to a personal or stakeholder scheme, then you should contact the pension provider if you know their details.
If you don’t have the pension provider’s details, ask your former employer – they should be able to provide the details.
Again, you’ll find a link below to a template letter you can use for this purpose, but the key information you’ll need to provide to the employer is:
- Your National Insurance number
- The date you stopped working there
- The date you started work with the employer
- The dates you joined and left the pension scheme
And the key questions to ask are what type of plan it is (for example, defined benefit or defined contribution?) and, unless it’s a defined benefit scheme, which pension provider your pension is with.
Contact the Pension Tracing Service
If you’re still struggling to make progress – perhaps because you can’t find the contact details of an old employer, or you don’t know the provider of an old personal pension – you can contact the Pension Tracing Service.
This is a free service which searches a database of more than 200,000 workplace and personal pension schemes to try to find the contact details you need.
You can phone the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 or you can use the link below to complete an online request form.