The Pension Tracing Service, the government body responsible for helping people track down their misplaced workplace pensions, has released shocking figures revealing the jaw-dropping scale of their work.
According to the statistics at least £3 billion from over a million savers has been misplaced, and The Pension Tracing Service was called on by some 150,000 savers on 2013, almost double the figure for 2010.
The research (somewhat unrealistically) predicts that by 2050 there’ll be more than £750 billion worth of lost pension funds from some 50 million misplaced funds.
So why so many forgotten pension pots?
“It’s symptomatic of the change in job culture over the past 30 years”, said James Cartwright, Chase Belgrave’s Senior Product analyst.
“The days where someone would spend all their working life at a single company are long behind us, and it’s easy to simply forget about those pension contributions you may have made in your early twenties.
“As time goes on and companies close down or are merged with larger organisations, and if a saver doesn’t keep in contact and make them aware of a change of address then those pension funds end up getting lost in the ether”.
In an attempt to tackle this problem the government has recently implemented “pot follows member” rules, which mean any pension pot under £10,000 will automatically follow a saver when they move job.
However, even these attempts have been met with criticism. The National Association of Pension Funds, the Trades Union Congress, Which?, Age UK and the Engineering Employers’ Federation have all called on the government to change its plans.
In a jointly signed letter, the various organisations argued:
“Savings could be switched out of investment assets into cash and then reinvested from cash into investment assets every time the member changes jobs and joins a new pension scheme, thus exposing savers to repeated transaction costs.”
However, pensions minister Steve Webb argues that delaying the plans any longer will lead to even more funds being lost: “Now is the time for action, and pot follows member is what the public say they want”
If you have concerns about a lost pension you can fill out an online form at –