Locating lost pensions

  • Shunil Roy-Chaudhuri, Personal Finance and Investment Writer
  • 20 June 2024
  • 5 mins reading time

It can be easier to lose a pension than you might think.

You may well have worked for several employers during your career. Each could have offered you their own pension plan, leading to multiple pensions in your name.

You may have also moved house several times or even changed your name without updating your contact details with your pension providers. This could lead them to lose touch with you.

Having a collection of possible pension pots, perhaps built up over decades, makes it easy for some of them to get forgotten. Indeed the Pensions Policy Institute estimated £26.6 billion was sitting in UK lost pensions in 2022 (1).

Lost pensions have become a bigger issue since the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012, which requires new employers to enrol you into their chosen pension scheme. In 2012, the Department of Work and Pensions estimated that automatic enrolment would result in around 50 million dormant pension pots by 2050 (2).

But every little helps when it comes to retirement. And locating and claiming even a small lost pension can help support your income in later life.

Who to contact

There are several different ways to find lost pensions.

The first step is to contact your old pension providers. If you’re unsure which providers you’ve used previously, you can try looking through old paperwork. This might contain the name of your employer or pension scheme and may offer details of the scheme’s administrator or provider.

You could also contact the human resources department of your former employer. They should have records of your employment and any pension plans in which you were enrolled. Alternatively, for any personal pensions (as opposed to workplace pensions), you can check your bank statements to see where your contributions were being paid.

If you’re unable to locate details of an old employer or are still unsure of the name of your pension provider, you can contact the Pension Tracing Service for more assistance. This free government service searches a database of more than 200,000 workplace and personal pension schemes to try and find the contact details you need.

One thing to note: if your pension was part of a defined benefit or final salary scheme, then it could have been taken over by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The PPF steps in to manage the situation if an employer becomes incapable of fulfilling the pension benefits of its members. The PPF website contains a list of schemes it looks after.

Information you need

When searching for your lost pension, it’s important to have all relevant information to hand. This will make it easier for pension providers or previous employers to find the pension.

Pension providers might ask for information such as your plan number, date of birth, national insurance number and the date your pension was first set up. A former employer may need your national insurance number, the start and end date of your employment and the periods you were enrolled in the pension scheme.

Once you have located your lost pension you should expect to receive details such as the current value of your pension pot. But you could also inquire about nominated recipients for death benefits, expected retirement income, the pension’s investment strategy and potential charges for transferring the pot to another provider. All these factors will influence your decision about what to do with the pension now you’ve found it.

Proactive measures

Implementing preventative measures can lower the risk of losing your pension in the first place. For example, you could keep detailed records of all your pension plans, including provider names, contact information, account numbers and any documents related to contributions or benefits.

You should also ensure all your contact information is kept up to date with your pension providers, notifying them promptly of any changes to your current address, phone number and email address. This will mean they can keep in touch with you, lessening the chances of your pension becoming lost.

You could also consider seeking professional help to assess your pensions arrangements. At Schroders Personal Wealth one of our key principles is to have regular reviews with a financial adviser. This can help ensure you’re covering all the possible bases when it comes to retirement planning.


(1) Pensions Policy Institute (, ‘Lost pensions 2022: what’s the scale and impact?’, October 2022.

(2) (, ‘New advice to help savers make the most of their pensions’, 17 December 2020.

Important information

This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended as advice.

Fees and charges apply.

The retirement benefits you receive from your pension plan depend on a number of factors including the value of your plan when you decide to take your benefits which isn't guaranteed and can go down as well as up. The benefits of your plan could fall below the amount(s) paid in.

Any views expressed are our in-house views as at the time of publishing.

This content may not be used, copied, quoted, circulated or otherwise disclosed (in whole or part) without our prior written consent.

In preparing this article we have used third party sources that we believe to be true and accurate as at the date of writing. However, we can give no assurances or warranty regarding the accuracy, currency or applicability of any of the content in relation to specific situations and particular circumstances.

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