Lost Pension Perplexity – How to Track Down Your Missing Money!

When you’ve worked hard all your life, it’s distressing to discover that a pension pot you paid into has seemingly vanished. The Daily Mail told the story of one individual’s pursuit to trace their lost company pension and provided expert advice from Steve Webb on how you can do the same. Grab your detective hat because it’s time to unearth those lost funds!

What’s the Problem?

Imagine this: you’ve contributed to a pension in the mid-1980s, only to find out years later that tracking it down seems almost impossible. This is exactly the plight faced by a former employee of Intercontinental Medical Statistics who had their pension managed by the now-defunct Norwich Union. Despite holding a British insurance company’s Employee Benefit Statement, the pension remains elusive. This conundrum highlights a widespread issue affecting potentially many former employees.

Expert Guidance from Steve Webb

Steve Webb, a former pension minister, offers his expertise to guide those struggling to locate their old pensions. Here are his top five strategies to empower you in finding your missing pension pots.

Tip 1: Start with the Paperwork

The first and most crucial step in tracing a lost pension is gathering all existing paperwork. This includes any documents related to your pension, such as policy numbers, which are invaluable for tracking purposes. For our subject, they had a statement from 1986 through Norwich Union, which has since been rebranded as Aviva in 2009. Although initial inquiries to Aviva and Canada Life (another associated firm) were unfruitful, these are critical first steps.

Tip 2: Follow the People Administering Your Pension

Dive deeper into the trail left by administrators and custodians of the pension over the years. For instance, our subject’s pension was transferred multiple times, involving companies like Confederation Life and Willis Consulting, which eventually became part of Willis Towers Watson. Tracking these transitions can lead to potential clues about the current administrator, which in this case led to Capita and Buck Consulting, although the search continues as records were not found there.

Tip 3: Try the Government’s Pension Tracing Service

Don’t overlook the free resources available such as the Government’s Pension Tracing Service. This tool acts like a directory to help pinpoint the current administrators of pension schemes. While it did suggest Capita for our subject, no records were found there. However, this tool remains a vital step in the search process.

Tip 4: Follow the Money

If administrative trails grow cold, look to trace the path of the pension funds themselves. Our case revealed that the funds were moved to Confederation Life, which went into liquidation. Following this thread led to discovery of the fund’s further transfer to Sun Life of Canada and eventually Phoenix, a company known for managing legacy pension policies. Each of these leads, though they didn’t resolve the case, provided clearer insight into the pension’s complex journey.

Tip 5: Use Your Own Networks

Lastly, reconnecting with former colleagues might provide a breakthrough. Someone who’s currently receiving a pension from the same scheme could give you direct contact details for the scheme’s administrator. Although our protagonist had lost touch with former coworkers, this remains a potential avenue for others.