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Lost track of a pension? – what you need to know

If you’ve lost a pension, you could be missing out on thousands of pounds in retirement income. Here’s how to find a lost pension.

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.

Most of us will have several jobs during our working lives and we could have a pension in each one of them.

As time passes, we might move house, contact details get lost and we lose track of a pension. This can have major implications on our retirement income.

The pension might only be small, but over time it has the potential to grow. You could be missing out on thousands of pounds.

This could prove the difference between having to scrimp and save to get by in retirement or being a bit more comfortable.

It could also give you the flexibility to retire a little earlier or go part-time in your final working years.

However, our recent research* showed that almost a quarter of us believe we’ve lost track of a pension and so risk a retirement income that’s not as good as it could be.

Knowing how to track these lost pensions down is vital to our long-term financial security.

*HL survey conducted by Opinium, 2,000 respondents in September 2023.

How to track down a lost pension

Our recent Freedom of Information request showed just under 230,000 pension tracing calls were received over the last five tax years. An online service is also available, but it’s likely it covers only a fraction of the potential need with the Pensions Policy Institute last year estimating the number of lost pension pots at 2.8mn.

Tracking down a lost pension could have a transformative effect on your retirement. So, take time to think through what pensions you have. Try to fill in any gaps as best as you can as it could leave you much better off in retirement.

Make a list of everywhere you’ve worked so far and check to see if you have pension paperwork for all of them.

If you’ve lost details of an old pension scheme, the government’s Pension Tracing Service can help you track down these pensions.

It won’t tell you if you have a pension, but it will help you find contact details for a workplace or personal pension scheme.

You need the name of the company you worked for or the name of the pension provider.

You can call the Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 - Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Whenever you move home, add pension providers to the list of people you need to notify so they have up-to-date contact details.

If you have several old pensions, it might make sense to consolidate them to give you a clearer idea of how much you have.

However, think carefully before you consolidate. Some pensions might operate expensive exit fees, or you might miss out on valuable benefits like guaranteed annuity rates if you transfer.

Get advice or guidance to help you come to the right decision if you feel like you need it.

How to combine your pensions

It’s important you’re in control of your pension savings – particularly as you approach retirement.

Depending on your needs and the kind of pension you have, it could make sense to consolidate and transfer to one easy-to-manage account.


This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure what’s right for your circumstances, ask for financial advice.

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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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