Moneybox recommend consolidating your old pension pot
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Old pension arrangements will be held by millions, particularly as it is estimated a person changes jobs 17 times throughout their life. Tracking down an old pension may not have been on everyone’s to-do list, but it could prove beneficial.
Duncan Stevens, chief executive officer at Gretel, himself experienced this first hand.
Earlier this year, the CEO decided he would take action to trace a pension he had lost track of some 18 years ago.
While he had not forgotten about the savings arrangement, he was often too busy to make it a priority.
However, after engaging with National Pension Tracing Day in October, Duncan decided now was the time to act.
Unfortunately, the information Duncan had to hand was not entirely extensive, limited only to the name of his previous employer.
He was able to initially contact the Government’s Pension Tracing Service, but found the data had been archived and there was no further guidance available.
Duncan decided he would reach out directly to his former employer, who ended up finding eight different schemes he may have been a member of.
But when they were unable to tell him which one, it was down to the CEO to contact them all.
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Despite only moving house twice in 20 years, and being on the electoral roll, as well as working for high profile finance and pension organisations – Duncan was not tracked down.
After a process of several phone calls and writing letters to the various schemes, he eventually found the pension he was looking for.
Three weeks later, a statement arrived, surprising Duncan with a payout of £100,000.
However, he says this was not an easy process, as the administrator of the pension did not tell him the value of the deferred pot when he first asked.
Duncan said: “Despite this happy outcome, the tragedy is that I could perhaps have done far more with my investment had they only tried to reach out to me or made my information easy to find.
“To add to my frustration, the pension statement itself is full of jargon that even I can’t interpret despite my background.
“So it now sits in a drawer as I’m too frustrated and busy to speak to them to get the help I need.”
Although this was the case for Duncan, he still strongly recommends people start the search for their lost pension.
They may have lost track of it while moving house, leaving the country for an extended period of time, or departing from an old job.
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However, as the CEO proves, old pensions could provide particularly lucrative outcomes and so it can be argued the process is worthwhile.
To track down a pension, people can contact:
- Their old pension provider
- Their old employer
- The Pension Tracing Service.
The more information a person has to hand about their old arrangement, the higher the likelihood the pension will be found with relative ease.
MoneyHelper also suggests people talk to their former colleagues to see if they could help with finding an old pension.
The Government-backed website added: “If you paid into a personal pension, you might be able to check your bank statements to see where your payments were going.
“Was your pension a defined benefit or final salary? Then it’s possible that it’s been taken over by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).
“When an employer is no longer able to pay the pension benefits promised to its members, the PPF will take over and provide the benefits (subject to limits).”
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