Punter Southall Aspire links with providers to push ‘National Pension Tracing Day’

Jenna Brown reports

Punter Southall Aspire has joined forces with four of the country’s biggest pension providers to launch National Pension Tracing Day on 31 October to highlight the issue of missing or lost pots, which total £19.4bn.

Scottish Widows, Legal & General, Standard Life and Aegon have supported the initiative that urges people to use the ‘extra’ hour when the clocks go back to get started on finding their missing pension pots.

Punter Southall Aspire said an estimated 1.6 million pots, worth more than £19bn – or £13,000 each – are currently lost or forgotten by the people who saved into them. It said people who have changed jobs or moved house are often likely to overlook telling their pension provider and then lose track of their money.

The financial advice business added the problem would likely increase over time with the Department for Work and Pensions estimating that, by 2050, there could be as many as 50 million unclaimed pots.

Punter Southall Aspire employee benefits managing director Alan Morahan said: “We’re delighted that four of the largest pension providers in the UK are backing this campaign as founding sponsors.

“We’re confident the wider financial services community will get behind this simple way to highlight something people wrongly fear is complicated. We want the message to go far and wide.”

He added the firm would launch an online resource centre in October to help consumers take the first steps toward tracking down their missing pots.

Scottish Widows retirement expert Robert Cochran said: “Our research tells us that whilst savers already have the option of combining their pensions, one in 10 have no idea how to do this, while 12% say it’s just too much hassle. As a result, 44% say they’ve never bothered to track down savings from a previous employer.”

He added: “The issue of lost pots will only increase as people change jobs and are enrolled into new pension schemes.”

Aegon chief marketing officer Andy Manson backed the initiative: “Our research indicates around one in five people don’t know the value of their pensions and with many accumulating multiple pots, it’s more important than ever that people track down the money they’ve worked so hard to save. We hope the awareness day will capture the public’s imagination and act as a prompt for people to trace any missing savings.”

Emma Byron, managing director of Legal & General Retirement Solutions, said: “It can be easy to lose track of your pensions. People change jobs and move house more frequently now than in the past, and their lost and forgotten pots can make all the difference, particularly as we see such a significant number of people reaching retirement without adequate pension provision.

“We know the value that spending time on your retirement planning – even if it’s just an afternoon – can make once you reach retirement. We hope to see many people taking advantage of the 31 October as an opportunity to start their search for their lost and forgotten pots.”

Gail Izat, workplace managing director at Standard Life, said: “Just knowing where to start looking for a lost pension can be daunting and that’s why we have developed a range of online support to help reunite our members with their pensions and plan for the retirement they’ve worked so hard for.

“No matter how small, if you’ve contributed to a pension in the past, the money’s yours, and we want to help you find it. For some, this could turn out to be the most valuable hour of the year.”