Britons missing out on billions as pensions go missing - how to find a lost pension

On the government website, there is a service provided which allows users to find contact details for their own workplace or personal pension schemes. Individuals can even use the service to track down someone else’s pension scheme so long as they have their permission. For workplace pensions, individuals will need the name of an employer or pension provider to use the service.

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If the user is having trouble finding or remembering the contact details for previous employers, they can contact the Pension Tracing Service by phone or by post who can help.

It’s important to note that the tool they provide will not detail specifics on individual pensions, including values. It’s a tool only for locating contact details.

The first step requires the user to detail what kind of pension they’re looking for. There are three options: a workplace pension which is normally set up by an employer, a personal pension which will likely be set up by the individual themselves, or a Civil Service, NHS, teacher or armed forces pension.

Workplace Pensions

For this selection the tool will ask for either the employer’s name or pension scheme. Providing the exact name for a company may be difficult if the person has not worked there for a number of years.

To help with this, the government suggests a few ways to narrow down the search.

Users are encouraged to look through old paperwork, ask former colleagues if they know the employer or scheme name or they could use the Companies House website.

This website is run by the government and it holds the names of all closed and existing companies registered in the UK.

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The company name will need to be quite specific. The results will bring up any company associated with the words the person has entered, meaning quite a few options could come up.

However, when the correct details have been found the user will be presented with an abundance of options.

The next page will provide details on all the pension schemes associated with that company.

The website will detail that before these schemes are contacted the user will need to have certain details ready. This includes obvious details like a full name and address but also other specifics like phone numbers and email addresses.

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To start with, the tool will present all open pension schemes associated with the selected company. It will detail the scheme name as well as the contact details for whichever company is currently managing it.

Examples of managers that will likely be recognised can include Standard Life or Aviva. On top of the open schemes, the tool may also present details on any archived schemes associated with the company.

The likelihood of seeing these details will depend on how old the pension and/or company is.

People who are hunting down old schemes as they’re approaching retirement will likely find this section useful.

The tool explains that, understandably, the contact details for these archived schemes may not have been updated for some time.

This may make it harder to track down but they offer solutions. A form can be filled out to track down the details for these schemes.

The form asks for the users full name, email address, the name of the company they worked for, the type of company and job role. Once these details are entered the Pension Tracing Service will get to work. The user can expect a reply within 10 working days.

Personal Pensions

For Personal Pensions, the tool will initially ask for a pension provider or scheme name. To help with this, it advises looking through old paperwork or even bank statements. The Financial Services Register will also have details on providers within the UK.

Once the correct provider has been found, the tool will detail the company’s address so that the user can contact them directly.

Civil Service, NHS, Teacher or Armed forces pensions

This section of the tool will simply provide links for the various organisations involved. For the NHS, it links to NHS – England and Wales, NHS Scotland or Northern Ireland Health and Personal Social Services.

For teachers, it links to Teachers – England and Wales, Teachers – Scotland or Teachers – Northern Ireland. Civil Service is also split into England, Scotland, Wales, North Ireland or overseas.

Finally, for armed forces there is just one link which covers the whole of the UK. Clicking on any of these links will bring the user to an external site which has all the contact details they’ll need for the pensions concerned.

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