The Department for Work and Pensions has been directing savers searching for their lost pension pots to a website linked to an independent financial adviser firm rather than the government’s official service, it has emerged.
As first reported in the Financial Times, thousands of savers who intended to use the government's official free Pension Tracing Service to locate a lost pension have instead been wrongly directed to a website offering a similar service but which is an affiliate of an adviser firm and charges a fee.
Numerous pension providers were also said to have made the same mistake.
The government’s free to use Pension Tracing Service, launched in 2016, works by searching an online database of both workplace and personal pension schemes via its official website gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.
But the DWP and others have instead been directing savers to pensiontracingservice.com, a website run by financial advice firm Better Retirement Group.
While the firm does not charge for tracing pensions, it does offer a pensions review with an adviser for a minimum fee of £500.
This site also states that it is not affiliated with the DWP or any government body.
The DWP has launched an internal investigation after it was made aware of its error.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We are aware that an incorrect link was used on our website and externally.
“We amended it as soon as it was brought to our attention and are looking into how this error occurred.”
Consolidator PensionBee has predicted that the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the UK labour market will cause a 32 per cent increase in the number of dormant pension pots in 2020.
Its analysis found that the number of lost pensions would increase from an estimated 16.3m in 2019 to 21.5m in 2020.
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