Savers warned they could be missing out on £9,500 each as millions of pension pots lost

Pensioners look at calculator and laptop

Millions of pension savers and pensioners could be missing out on lost retirement savings

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 22/10/2023

- 07:00

Moving jobs and therefore stopping pension contributions and moving house without updating an address are some of the ways in which pension pots have got lost

Britons could be missing out on 2.8 million lost pension pots, with a total value of £26.6billion, according to research by the Pension Policy Institute last year.

The pots are worth an average of £9,500 per pot, so tracing lost pension pots could certainly be worthwhile.

The research suggests as many as one in 20 people could have a pension they didn’t know they had, and it could be a big help in retirement.

The two primary reasons people become disconnected from a pension – moving jobs and stopping contributing to the pot, which automatically defers the pension, and failing to update addresses after moving house.

Pension saver looks at phone while at desk

Changing jobs and moving house are life events associated with losing pension pots


With Britons estimated to change jobs 11 times and move house eight times during their lifetime, losing a pension pot can seem like more of a possibility.

To raise awareness of the issue and to encourage people to trace lost or forgotten pensions, retirement planning business Punter Southall launched National Pension Tracing Day in 2021.

With the annual day set to fall next Sunday, on October 29, Alan Morahan, Chief Commercial Officer at Punter Southall Aspire, spoke to GB News about the five easy steps to finding a lost pension.

Step 1: Retrace your career steps

The first stage to tracking down a pension pot is looking back at one’s career, Mr Morahan suggested.

He said: “List out everywhere you’ve ever worked and see if you have a pension that relates to that period of employment.

In 2012 some companies had to start automatically enrolling people into pensions and by April 2017 all employers were doing so.

It’s very possible that you were put into a pension scheme and although you would have received statutory communication you may have no recollection of it happening.”

Step 2: Identify career gaps

If a person has any career gaps, the next step is to search through paperwork and emails they may have for any indication of membership of a scheme, the pension tracing expert said.

He continued: “It could be a policy document, a statement or even just a letter from a pension provider or scheme.

“You’re looking for anything that relates to a pension.

“Also, did you ever ‘contract out’? Contracting out was popular in the late 1980s and 1990s. You stopped building up part of the state pension.

“In return you either paid lower National Insurance contributions, or some of your National Insurance contributions went into a pension for you. This could have been a workplace or personal pension – so there could be a missing personal pension for you.”

Step 3: Check contact details

“If you do find anything you should check if your contact details are current – if not, make sure to get them updated," Mr Morahan said.

Step 4: Speak to HR departments

The next stage is to speak to HR departments or use the Pension Tracing service.

The expert said: “If you do find that you’ve got gaps in your pension history, i.e. you had a period of time when you were working but have no pension related to that time, it’s worth contacting that company’s HR department to see if they can help you out or you could try the government’s Pension Tracing Service.

Money in hands in pictures

Pension pot tracers should gather as much information they can, then contact the pension provider or administrator, the expert suggests


“This is the point where you might need to get a bit forensic but remember it could be worth a lot of money to you so it’s worth spending a bit of time on this.”

Step 5: Make contact with providers or administrators of schemes

After gathering as much information as possible, pension tracers are directed to contact the provider or administrator of the pension scheme, "to see if they've got any record of you", Mr Morahan said.

He warned: "They’ll almost certainly need your NI number and date of birth but any other information you’re able to provide will obviously help your cause.

“And once you’ve found where all your missing pension pieces are, it’s time to build them into your retirement vision.”

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