Punter Southall Aspire is launching the UK’s first ‘National Pension Tracing Day’ on Sunday 31st October by urging: when the clocks go back, use the extra hour to trace lost pensions.

Together with Scottish Widows, Aegon, Legal and General and Standard Life, we’re calling on the pensions industry to support the initiative to help people take action over an estimated 1.6 million pots worth £19.4 billion – the equivalent of nearly £13,000 each – which have been lost or forgotten.

A big factor is people changing jobs – on average 11 times – and moving house, typically eight times, but forgetting to tell their pension company.

It’s set to get worse. The Department for Work and Pensions believes that, by 2050[i], there may be as many as 50 million lost pensions.

Punter Southall Aspire’s director of communications, Johanna Nelson, said: “Think of it as buried treasure. We’re going to give people the equivalent of a map to start their own search. The extra hour at the end of October is an ideal time to make a start.”

Robert Cochran, Retirement Expert at Scottish Widows, 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 per cent say it’s just too much hassle. As a result, 44 per cent say they’ve never bothered to track down savings from a previous employer.

“The issue of lost pots will only increase as people change jobs and are enrolled into new pension schemes.  For all these reasons, Scottish Widows is delighted to support the National Pension Tracing Day initiative to reunite people with what’s theirs and take control of their financial futures.

Andy Manson, Chief Marketing Officer at Aegon, said: “This is an important initiative to reconnect people with their pensions and we’re proud to be lending our support. 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 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 31st October as an opportunity to start their search for their lost and forgotten pots.”

Gail Izat, Workplace Managing Director at Standard Life, said: “At Standard Life, we’re delighted to support National Pension Tracing Day. 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.”

Punter Southall Aspire’s employee benefits managing director, Alan Morahan, added: “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.

“We will launch an online resource centre in October to help everyone take the first steps to discovering what may be a missing or misplaced windfall.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.