There are an estimated 2.8 million unclaimed pensions in the UK, worth £26.6 billion, according to research by the Pension Policy Institute (PPI)*. That’s nearly £10,000 per pension – so it’s worth taking the time to track down your lost pensions.
*Source: PPI Briefing Note Number 134, Lost Pensions 2022: What's the scale and impact, October 2022
1. Get the details of your old pensions
Take a look at your CV. For every job you’ve had you might have had a workplace pension, and some pensions can be tracked down just by knowing the name of the company you worked for.
Check your files to see if you’ve got any pension statements from your previous providers. They’ll give you the details of any old plans. The more information you have about your previous plans, the better.
Even if you have a certificate from a previous employer, it doesn’t always mean that you have a pension entitlement. For example, you may have had a refund of your contributions when you left that employer.
Many older workplace pensions may have also needed you to be a member for a certain number of years, before you were entitled to a pension.
2. Contact your old pension provider
Once you know which provider your old pension was with, the first step is to contact them. When you get in touch, you should give them as much information as possible to help them reunite you with your pension savings. This includes:
- Your plan number, if you’ve been able to find it on your old paperwork
- Your date of birth
- Your National Insurance number.
Royal London has been around since 1861, and in that time, a number of pension providers have joined us. You may be surprised at just how many companies we have records for.
So it could be worth having a look at our database to see if any of your missing pensions are with one of those providers.
Choose a company to get the contact details you need
When you speak to your previous provider, it’s a good idea to make sure they have the most up to date contact details for you. If you’ve moved house and not updated your address, there’s a chance you’ll be missing out on important paperwork like your yearly pension statement.
3. Fill in any gaps by using the Pension Tracing Service
If you think you have a missing pension, but you can’t find any information about it at all, you can try the government’s free Pension Tracing Service. You can visit their gov.uk website or give them a ring on 0345 600 2537.
You should try to collect as much information as you can about the pension you've lost before using the Pension Tracing Service. Ideally, this should include:
For a workplace pension:
- Name of the employer
- Type of business
- Your last address
- When you worked for the employer
For a personal pension:
- Name of the pension
- Your last address
- The name of any bank, insurance company or building society associated with your personal pension
The Pension Tracing Service can then use this information to search through their database of over 300,000 pensions and may be able to give you the contact details for a workplace pension or personal pension you've lost touch with. This includes details of the new company or provider name if your old pension has been taken over or changed its name over the years.
The Pension Tracing Service will only tell you the contact details of the pension’s administrator. You'll then need to contact the pension administrator to find out whether you have a pension, what value it is and to ask for it to be paid out.
Do you have a lost Royal London pension?
If your lost pension is with Royal London, you can give us a call on 0345 605 0050. Lines are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.
What to do with the pensions you track down
Leave them where they are
You might be happy with having your pension savings with different providers – so you can leave them where they are.
If you change your mind, you can always revisit your options later on.
Combine your pensions
Bringing all your pension savings together could make it easier to keep track of them and plan for the retirement you want.
If you already have a Royal London pension, you may be able to transfer other pensions to us.
Get financial advice
If you’re not sure what the best option for you is, we recommend speaking to a financial adviser. If you don’t already have an adviser you can find one in your area.
Advisers may charge for their services – though they should agree any fees with you up front.