House moves behind £19.4bn in lost pensions

House moves behind £19.4bn in lost pensions

There are about 1.6m pension pots worth £19.4bn which are going unclaimed due to savers failing to contact their pension provider when they move house, according to the Association of British insurers (ABI).

Research from the organisation, published yesterday (May 5), found people rarely contact their pension provider when they move house, causing many to lose significant amounts of pension money they have simply forgotten about.

Providers are attempting to reunite people with their lost pensions, life insurance and investments by sending a letter to their addresses but with only one in 25 people telling their pension provider when they move home this can be difficult, according to the ABI.

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Out of 2,000 savers surveyed, the majority (89 per cent) thought about telling their GP or dentist about their change of address, while 67 per cent would tell their utility provider and 66 per cent would notify their bank.

But a mere 4 per cent thought to tell their pension provider of their move, which compared with 3 per cent saying they would notify Amazon.

Dr Yvonne Braun, director of policy, long-term savings and protection at the ABI said: “During the lockdown many of us have been focussing on those jobs that never get done, so now is the perfect opportunity to check all your financial information is up to date with the correct address. 

“It is simple to do. All you need is to check the address on your last annual statement or log in to your provider’s website."

She added: “To ensure more people than ever are reconnected we will continue to work with government to explore ways data can be used to verify customer addresses.”

The government predicts that there could be as many as 50m dormant and lost pensions by 2050.

In 2017 more than 375,000 attempts were made to contact customers, leading to £1bn in assets being reunited with them.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said people should look to consolidate their pensions, investment and savings accounts where possible to make it easier to keep track of them.

Another technique is for an individual to make a list of every company they have dealings with, and work through them methodically when notifying them of a change of address.

Ms Coles added it may be worth paying Royal Mail to redirect post for at least a year, to cover any companies sending annual statements. 

Ms Coles said: “There are some things we’re only too keen to leave behind when we move house – like noisy neighbours or tiny kitchens. But it’s probably best if we avoid leaving £19.4bn worth of pensions too.

“There’s so much to keep on top of when you’re moving house, that it’s ridiculously easy to lose track. So while we remember to tell our bank we’ve moved, pensions can slip through the net – along with things like updating our optician or the pet microchipping company. 

“While some people have more busy and stressful lockdowns than others, most people have a bank holiday at home on the cards this week, so it could be a great time to track down your old pensions. It could be the most financially rewarding bank holiday you ever have.”