Pension tracing service Find your missing funds
Finance

Pension tracing service: Find your missing funds

4 min read |

If your pension has gone missing, you may need to use a pension tracing service to get it back.

Even if you’re not there yet, your workplace pension(s) are integral to your financial stability when you retire.

Losing track of a pension pot could be a real blow to your retirement finances, so you need to get it back.

This article will cover how to use a pension tracing service and why it’s so important.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • A pension tracing service is an online system for finding lost pensions. 
  • You may have multiple pension pots over your working life, and these can sometimes go missing amidst life changes. 
  • It’s important to keep track of your pensions, even if you’re not about to retire – it could save you hassle later on.
  • But if they do go awry, a pension tracing service can help locate the money you’re owed for your retirement.
Why do people have more than one pension

Why do people have more than one pension?

Most people are entitled to a State Pension from the government when they reach their eligible age based on the year they were born. 

This is thanks to National Insurance contributions paid throughout your working life. 

But you may also be enrolled in other pension schemes, either through your workplaces past and present. 

Or in private pensions which you set up and pay separate contributions to, meaning you have more control over them.

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Is it possible to lose track of a pension?

Unfortunately it’s not that difficult to lose track of a pension. 

And this means that you could be missing out on money owed to you. 

Moving house, changing your contact details or new jobs are just some of the reasons pensions can go AWOL.

There are many ways a pension can get lost in the chaos of life’s changes which we’ll explore further. 

How does it happen?

If you’ve been enrolled in multiple pension schemes through different employers over your career, it’s easy to lose track.

Plus pension schemes close, merge and get renamed making it difficult to keep track of yourself despite your best intentions. 

Pensions can get complicated at the best of times, and with so many other finances to monitor it’s easy to let something slip. 

Especially if you’re not near retirement or haven’t had to think about it for some time.

What happens if you lose track of an old pension?

Let’s face it, you’re not going to get into trouble with any authority if you lose track of your pension. 

But you sure will be kicking yourself when you realise that you can’t access the savings that you’re owed.

In fact, the ABI estimates that around £19.4 billion in pension money is unclaimed due to lost pension pots.

That’s valuable income meant to finance your retirement, lost to matters of bureaucracy. 

How do you know if your pension is lost?

If you are approaching retirement, it’s a good idea to check your pension pots regularly.

Checking regularly ensures you can plan for retirement based on what you’ll get as well as spot anything out of place. 

That’s because otherwise you won’t necessarily know a pension is lost until you need the money but it’s not there. 

The earlier you spot any shortfall in your anticipated pension income, the easier it will be to fix it.

What is a pension tracing service

What is a pension tracing service?

If you’ve come to the realisation that your pensions just aren’t adding up, you might benefit from using a pension tracing service. 

A pension tracing service does what it says on the tin – it finds your pension and helps you get it back. 

They can trace pension pots that have been lost and unclaimed over the years due to companies losing track of the recipient. 

Or changes to the companies themselves that make them harder to keep track of.

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Is your pension actually lost?

Before spending the time and effort to trace a lost pension, you should be sure that it is, in fact, lost.

Remember that you may not always have automatic entitlement to a pension scheme depending on your circumstances. 

So it’s important to ascertain whether you actually had a pension from a particular employer in the first place. 

Checking old payslips for contributions, old documents or contacting the employer directly is a good way to do this.

What details do you need to use a pension tracing service?

If you suspect a pension from a particular employer has gone missing, you need to collect as much information as you can. 

At the very least, you’ll need the name of your previous employer or pension service. 

But you may also be asked for details about the business and its registration and when you belonged to the scheme.

If your old company no longer exists your pension may be in The Pension Protection Fund.

 

What details do you need to use a pension tracing service

How do they work?

Pension tracing services use the details and search their databases for pensions that match. 

This could be your name, addresses and date of birth to find pension pots that match your personal details. 

As well as details about your previous employer to search for pension schemes they participated in. 

When they have located potential schemes, they do some further digging to find evidence of your personal pension within the scheme.

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Which pension tracing service should I use?

There are a number of pension tracing services that offer impartial support to people looking for their lost pensions. 

You need different levels of details for each one, so research your options carefully before using a service.

The Pension Tracing Service

The Pension Tracing Service is not affiliated with or managed by GOV.UK.

But they will contact HMRC, DWP, pension providers, trustees, previous employers and use expert knowledge to find missing pots.

They have access to the pension scheme registry, which holds up to 200,000 schemes.

Plus, get access to independent financial advice on what to do with pension pots to get the most out of your money.

Gretel

Gretes is a free service that helps you to locate and recover assets which have gotten lost in the system.

By providing your personal details, they match you with accounts and assets that use the same details. 

They don’t just do pensions – you can search savings, trust funds and investments too. 

Plus, the platform continually searches for your lost assets as new information becomes available. 

GOV. UK Pension tracing service

The UK government also has its own version of a pension tracing service. 

Unlike other services, it only provides you with contact details of a previous employer to search for a lost pension.

It won’t tell you whether you actually have a pension through them, or what its value is.

You just need the name of the employer or a pension provider to use this service.

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Do you have to use a pension tracing service?

If you know the name of your employer and can contact them, getting in touch directly should be your first move. 

Sharing details relevant to the time you worked with them means they may be able to search their own records. 

Having your unique National Insurance number to hand is important here, as it’s a better way to identify yourself. 

Remember that you may need to provide proof of an old address or name change if your circumstances have changed.

And once you’ve found your pensions you could use a service such as PensionBee to consolidate those funds.

Why is it worth finding lost pensions

Why is it worth finding lost pensions?

If you’re feeling stressed at the thought of searching for old pensions which might not be worth your time, think again. 

Even if it turns out you have no extra pensions to claim, going through the consolidation process can be useful. 

This is because some older schemes are more expensive, so you may not be getting your money’s worth. 

Plus, some pension tracing services offer advice on how to optimise your pensions for the best return.

Worried about mum

Worried about mum or dad?

If you’ve noticed your loved one struggling with things they could once do, they may be showing early signs of needing care. 

But this doesn’t mean goodbye to independent living, as your loved one can continue to live well at home with support.

Start a care request to find care near them, with just a few details about the help they need. 

And connect with local carers to get your loved one the right support. 

Just click below.