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  • £3.7 billion in forgotten insurance, pensions and investments – could you be due a share of it?

    Lost track of an old pension or investment account? Here’s how to claim it back and put it to work.

    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

    This article is more than 6 months old

    It was correct at the time of publishing. Our views and any references to tax, investment and pension rules may have changed since then.

    Losing sight of old savings and investment accounts is all too easy. Billions of forgotten financial assets in the UK have been left unclaimed, sitting in old bank accounts, pensions, life assurance and investments. Thankfully, the dormant asset scheme puts some of these forgotten accounts to good use.

    Under the scheme, if a bank account is left untouched for 15 years, the cash in the account can be transferred into the scheme. This is only if no one responds to any of the bank’s efforts to contact the owner. The cash is then put towards social and environmental initiatives across the UK.

    To date, £1.35 billion has been transferred to the scheme, and over £745 million of it has gone to good causes – including £150 million to support those affected by coronavirus.

    The government has recently confirmed plans to expand the scheme to cover other things like certain pensions and investments.

    Below we discuss how to find out if your lost savings could be affected, but this isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure what course of action is best for your circumstances, look for guidance or advice.

    How will this affect pension savers and investors?

    It’s estimated this expansion will cover forgotten assets worth £3.7 billion, including certain pensions and investments.

    But don’t panic, there’s no need to worry about your money being given away without you knowing. The scheme’s first priority is to reunite owners with what’s theirs. Even if you’ve had assets transferred into the scheme, you’ve got the right to get all your money back at any time.

    If you’ve lost pensions or investments, there is a range of ways to track them down. There are also some handy ways to avoid losing track of your money in the first place.

    Finding lost pensions

    If you’ve had more than one employer in your lifetime, chances are you have more than one pension pot too. If you have a vague memory of joining an old employer’s scheme you could have a tidy sum left lying around.

    Unfortunately, your pensions won’t come looking for you. It’s up to you to track them down. The government's free Pension Tracing Service can help you find them. You just need the name of your old employer, or the name of the pension provider.


    Tracking down investments

    If you don’t remember the name of the company you hold investments with, you’ll need to do a bit of digging. Go through any old paperwork. If you come across the name of the company, simply call them and they’ll help reunite you with your lost investments. If you don’t have any paperwork, it’s worth trying My Lost Account.

    The Unclaimed Assets Register could also help, but there is a fee. It lets you search the records of around 75 different providers, including investment firms, so it could save you some legwork.

    How to avoid losing accounts in the future

    Life is busy and finding the time to juggle different providers can be a stretch. It’s much easier to keep on top of things if you don’t have lots of pensions, investments and savings accounts in different places. Look through what you have and see if you can consolidate them with one provider who can accommodate all your accounts and needs. Just make sure you won’t lose any valuable benefits or guarantees before transferring.

    Could HL be the home for your savings and investments?

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    Review your accounts regularly

    To avoid losing your accounts, give yourself time to go through your finances at least once a year. This is a good way to keep track of what you have. But also a useful time to review things like interest rates and how your investments are doing. If these no longer suit your goals or needs, you could think about making some changes. Our experts offer insight and research to help you stay up-to-date with the latest on investments.

    If you want to keep up to date with the latest investment stories, make sure you sign up to our weekly Editor’s choice email. Every Saturday morning we’ll send the week’s top insights.

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      Important notes

      This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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