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Moved job a few times? – here’s how to trace your old pensions

These days it’s very rare for people to stay in a job for life, or even for very many years. Moving from job to job can be great news for your career and your salary but things can quickly get confusing when it comes to your pension. These can get forgotten about and when you reach retirement you will need to know how to trace your old pensions.

Indeed, many people have moved jobs and completely forgotten about the pension schemes they once paid into. In fact, in the UK, there is an estimated £3 billion in unclaimed pensions sitting in more than a million accounts.

If you’ve lost track of one or more of your pensions, it makes sense to reclaim them as soon as you can – and potentially consolidate them with your current pension.

Luckily, it’s easier than ever to trace old pensions, and you can do it in a number of ways. Read on to learn how it can be done.

  1. Contact the personal pension provider

If you had a personal pension that you lost track of, you can reclaim it by getting in touch with the provider. Provide them with as much information as you can, such as the plan number, your date of birth, your National Insurance number and the period during which you paid into it.

Sometimes it can be tricky to trace the provider though, especially as many pension providers have merged with others under new names. For example, longstanding firm Scottish Equitable was taken over by Aegon in 1998 and rebranded under that name in 2009. A number of other firms no longer exist under their original name.

If you don’t know the name of your pension provider, don’t worry. We’ll explain how you can trace them in a few moments.

  1. Contact your former employer

If you are trying to trace a workplace pension, then a good first port of call is your former employer. Again provide them with as much information as you can, including the dates you started and stopped working for them. They should be able to tell you which provider holds your pension contributions.

In some cases, your employer may no longer exist, which means you’ll have to take a different route to track down your pension. Read on to find out how to do it.

  1. Use the Pension Tracing Service

This free service is there to help you trace any lost pensions. You simply need to give the Pension Tracing Service (PTS) authorisation to act for you and it will write to various pension providers to locate your pensions. Once they’ve found your pensions, they report back to tell you who holds your contributions and how much they are worth.

It’s a very convenient service, and you can start your search either directly on the government website at www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.

Tracing your lost pensions is now so simple that everyone should reclaim the pots from every scheme they’ve paid into.

What you do with the pensions once you’ve reclaimed them is up to you – though we’d strongly recommend you talk to an Independent Financial Advisor before transferring or consolidating any of them.

At THP Chartered Accountants we work with a number of carefully chosen IFAs from our offices in  CheamChelmsfordWanstead, and Saffron Walden who will be pleased to help you with this. Just get in touch and we’ll take it from there.

Avatar for Jon Pryse-Jones
About Jon Pryse-Jones

Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”

Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board.  “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says.  He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.

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