How to trace old pension pots

How to trace old pension pots

There are thousands of pounds of unclaimed pension savings in the UK. This is largely due to people changing employers or their address and forgetting about old schemes. As time goes on pension schemes may change their name, close, or merge which can make it difficult to track down old pension pots even if you can remember the name of the old scheme. It is important you have access to all the savings you have built up for retirement so that you can make the best use of your money. At iSIPP, it is possible to consolidate your pensions into one easy-to-manage SIPP. Follow our guide to tracing your old pensions and decide if pension consolidation is right for you and your circumstances.

Lost pension pots

If you have changed jobs, careers, or moved house, you may be one of the thousands of people in the UK with pension pots they have forgotten about. If this is the case it is important you track them down to make the most of your money in retirement. But are they truly lost? Over the years pension rules have developed and changed and this could mean an old pension may have already been refunded or may not exist. Consider the dates you worked at a specific employer you are trying to track your pension contributions for. As a rough guide, the below dates will impact the status of your pension fund once you left the employer. However, details may vary depending on the specific scheme.


Tracing old pension pots


If you left your employer before April 1975

In this scenario, it is possible you already had your contributions refunded to you. Also, some schemes did not require the member to make contributions. If you didn’t pay contributions, you may not be entitled to any benefits.

If you left your employer between April 1975 – April 1988

If you were over the age of 26 and had been with the employer for five years or more when you left, then you might have a pension fund. If you had worked for the company for less than five years your contributions may have been refunded.

If you left your employer after April 1988

Providing you had completed 2 years of service with your employer, you could be entitled to a pension, otherwise, you may have had your contributions refunded to you.

How to track down old pensions

If you have existing pensions, the provider should send a statement to you each year. This should be your first point of call. Check old paperwork for details of the past schemes, the scheme administrator, or your past employment.

If you have changed your address, you may not have been receiving these statements for some time. In this case, you will need to contact one of the following to help track down your old pension scheme:

Pension provider: You may already know who the pension provider was. If this is the case then they should be your first point of contact. To help find your pension, you should provide the scheme number if possible, your date of birth, your National Insurance Number and the date the pension commenced. You should also ask some questions of the provider to get a good overview of the fund. Some examples of the questions you will need to ask are;

  • What is the value of the pension pot?
  • Who are the Death Benefit Nominees?
  • What contributions have been made?
  • What charges are associated with the plan?

The aim here is to get a full picture of the scheme. MoneyHelper, the government’s pensions and money information service, provide a template letter for approaching scheme providers here.

Your past employer: If you are tracing a workplace pension, approaching your old employer (if the company is still trading) may be the best way to find your old pension pots, particularly if you do not know the scheme operator’s details. Contact your past employer if the scheme is a workplace pension. If your employer gave you access to a stakeholder or personal pension, then the provider should be your first point of call. As well as personal information such as your date of birth, you should also provide your past employer with the date you stopped working there, the date you started working there, and when you joined the pensions scheme.

Pension Tracing Service: The Government have a free service where you can try to track down the contact details for your past pension schemes. They have a database of over 200,000 workplace and personal pension schemes with contact details for each. This is particularly useful if you don’t have contact details for your old employer or the details of a provider of a personal pension.

You can call the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 or you can fill out a tracing request on the GOV.UK website here.

You can read more about the Pension Tracing Service here.

How to trace old pension pots

What to ask when tracing your old pension pots

MoneyHelper advises that you ask the following questions of personal pension providers or past employers, to get a full picture of your past pension pot:

  • What is the current value?
  • Are there any nominees for death benefits?
  • How much has been contributed?
  • What are the charges for the management of the scheme?
  • How much income is the pension pot likely to pay out at retirement?
  • How is the fund being invested and can this be changed?
  • Are there any transfer charges if you wanted to transfer to another provider?
  • Are there any special features or benefits, such as a guaranteed annuity rate or a guaranteed minimum pension?
  • What are the death benefits?

Consolidating your pension funds

Once you have the information you need, know how many pension pots you have, and the value of each fund, you are ready to decide on whether you would like to consolidate your pensions into one pot. The advantages of pension consolidation are:

  • The ability to track and manage your pension in one place.
  • Better control and full oversight for more informed decisions.
  • Only one company to deal with, saving you time and effort.
  • With iSIPP, you will have a fixed annual administration fee, as well as straightforward platform and fund management charges.

Through iSIPP you can consolidate your old pensions into one easily managed SIPP, giving you more control and flexibility when it comes to your finances. If you would like to know more about iSIPP and how we can help you look after your financial future you, can take a look at what we do here. If you are ready to sign up you can easily do this here.

To read more about pensions and pension consolidation, visit MoneyHelper for free impartial guidance.




The content of this article is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or taxation advice. You should not rely on the information contained in this article as legal, financial or taxation advice. The content of this article is based on information currently available to us, and the current laws in force in the UK. The content does not take account of individual circumstances and may not reflect recent changes in the law since the date it was created. It is essential that detailed financial and tax advice should be sought in both jurisdictions and any legal advice, if required.

This notice cannot disclose all the risks associated with the products we make available to you. When making your own investment decisions it is important you understand that all investments can fall as well as rise in value and it is possible you may get back less than what you have paid in. You should also be satisfied that any investments you choose are suitable for you in the light of your circumstances and financial position. You should seek financial advice if you are not sure of what’s best for your situation.


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