Henry Irving 8 July 2019
A recent report explains how the government is thinking about expanding its dormant accounts scheme to include some pensions, shares, and bonds, and free up billions of pounds for good causes.
Their suggestion is to expand the scheme slowly, applying it to investments where the provider hasn’t been able to get in touch with the investor for at least 12 years, and there’s been no activity on the account. If you hold only cash in your account (as opposed to investments) then after six years it will be considered dormant.
It suggests money could be allocated to good causes by the National Lottery Community Fund. The report also recommends following the approach of the current dormant accounts scheme – which gives people the right to reclaim their money at any time – forever.
The dormant accounts scheme has been running since 2011, and so far £1.2 billion in dormant bank and building society accounts has been earmarked for good causes.
3 ways to help avoid losing your accounts
Make it easy
It’s a lot easier to keep on top of things if you don’t have loads of pensions, investments, and savings accounts in different places. Look through what you have, and see whether you can consolidate them with a single service, without losing any valuable benefits.
Let your loved ones know
Draw up an assets register, outlining what you have, and where your accounts are. You should keep this securely with your will so nothing goes missing after your death. You should also talk to a loved one about savings and investments. Not only does this mean they’ll know where your money is, but you can then both be involved in the investment decisions that affect you both.
Review them regularly
Give yourself time to go through your finances at least once a year, or when your needs change, and update your assets register. It’s not only a good way to keep track of what you have, it’s also a useful time to review things like interest rates and investment performance.
How to find lost accounts
With workplace pensions, you’ll need the name of the employer or the scheme, plus the dates you worked there. Once you have a phone number or address, get in touch and ask for contact details of the administrator. For personal pensions, try to dig out any old paperwork to give you an idea of where your money is.
If you can’t find any paperwork, try the government’s Pension Tracing Service. It will search over 200,000 schemes and supply contact details of companies you might have a pension with. You can then call the company concerned and get them to unearth your forgotten pots.
Once you’ve been reunited with your lost pension, you might consider transferring it to the HL SIPP. You’ll have more control and the freedom to choose your own investments. And transferring is easier than you might think.
Transferring to HL
If you’re a client, the fastest way to transfer is online. Otherwise just send us a transfer form. Over 1.1 million investors trust Hargreaves Lansdown with over £85 billion, and we want to empower you to save and invest with confidence with a secure, lifelong home for your savings and investments.
Lost investments and other accounts
If you know the company you held investments or other accounts with, you can contact them and they’ll help reunite you with them.
If you don’t have any paperwork, it’s worth trying My Lost Account, a free tool launched by the banks, building societies, and NS&I, which lets you search for accounts. It’ll take up to 90 days for all the institutions to get back to you and let you know if you have an account. Then you need to contact them directly. The drop-down menus show you all the companies it is searching, so you can see if your investment company is covered.
Alternatively you can use the Unclaimed Assets Register. This service, run by Experian, does come with a fee, but it lets you search the records of around 75 different providers including investment firms and pension companies, so it could save you some legwork.
Child Trust Funds
You can track down your child’s CTF through the government website – as long as you have parental responsibility for the child. You need to sign into the Government Gateway, or sign up for an account. Then you can fill out a form with your child’s details, and they’ll tell you where the CTF is held.
Once you’ve been reunited with your child’s CTF, you should seriously consider transferring the money to a Junior ISA. Cash JISAs tend to offer higher interest rates, while investment JISAs may have wider investment choices and lower charges. Unlike cash, investments will fall as well as rise in value so your child could get back less than you invest.
Cashback Transfer a pension to HL
By having all your pensions together in one place it can open up a wider investment choice and make it easier to manage.
We’ll give you between £50 and £500 as a thank you, when you transfer pensions worth £5,000 or more to the HL SIPP. Terms apply.
To keep the cashback, all we ask is that you keep your SIPP with us for at least one year.
Apply to transfer by Tuesday 3 September 2019 and you’ll automatically qualify. If you’d like more time, email email@example.com and we’ll extend your deadline by six months.
This article is not personal advice, if you are unsure whether transferring is right for you seek advice. The HL SIPP is a type of pension for investors happy to make their own investment decisions.
Before transferring, you should check for exit fees and make sure you won’t lose any valuable guarantees or benefits. Pensions are usually transferred as cash. This means your pension will not be invested in the stock market for a period. While this may work in your favour if the market falls, you won’t benefit from any growth if it rises.