skip to main content

Finding a lost pension

If you haven’t received your pension statement for over a year, you may have "lost" your pension. Find out how you can take steps to trace it again.

Last updated 1 April 2019 at 16:33

Lost pensions are not a new problem in the UK, although as expats near their retirement age, the realisation that they have not received any information about their pension recently suddenly rings home.

It is estimated by some that there is over £3bn in unclaimed personal and workplace pensions held in the UK in over 1 million pension accounts.

Unfortunately, as with all records, every time you move home and/or job the chances of losing some vital information or forgetting to update the relevant company increases. Similarly for the companies holding your records, they may merge, be bought out or simply update their systems causing crucial information to be lost.

In each case, while far from ideal, there is a decent chance that throughout the years, your pension company has lost track of you, and you have lost track of your pension funds.

If you haven’t received your pension statement for over a year, it is possible that your pension has joined the increasing number of lost pensions.

Lost pensions for British Expats

As a British Expat, since you last worked in the UK you have at least moved home once, and therefore it is possible that you have lost track of your pensions.

If you have lost track of your pension, it may be possible to trace your pension and get your details up to date.

What you’ll need to find a lost pension

If you wish to find any lost pensions you will need some the following information as a minimum:

  • Name
  • Previous addresses
  • Previous employment details (company details, start date, end date)

The following information would significantly increase the chances of finding any lost pensions

  • Date you joined the pension scheme
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Payslips providing evidence of pension payments
  • Previous pension statements (the more recent the better)
  • Employers type of business
  • Employer’s alternative trading names
  • Employer’s head office details (or group HQ)

Success rates for finding lost pensions

Even with the assistance of the HMRC, unfortunately it is not always possible to find lost pension funds.

The success rate will depend on a variety of factors, including the accuracy of information and also the circumstances under which the pension was lost in the first place.

For example, if your pension firm was merged or bought out and your details were accidentally lost in the merging process, it may be harder to trace your pension.

If, however, you simply forgot to update your pension company when you moved abroad, the chances of finding your pension increase significantly, due to it being a minor administrative error.

In no circumstance can an organisation guarantee to find a lost pension, however, most independent financial advisers can assist you in tracing your pensions using a combination of HMRC tools, as well as information about various pension companies’ activities over the years.

In all cases, if you wish to request help you should be prepared to share information about your previous addresses, work history, any pay slips or copies of previous pension statements – all of which will significantly increase the chances of finding pension funds.

What happens if/when you find your lost pension?

Depending on your current situation, there may be a number of options available to you. If you are not yet able to draw an income from the pension, you could simply leave the pension as is, or you might also qualify to transfer it abroad.

This is where an independent financial adviser will be able to provide more assistance. They will be able to review your found pension, as well as evaluate any other investments and pensions and be able to make a recommendation for your best next course of action.

When making the recommendation they will incorporate your objectives, risk profile and any other pertinent factors to propose recommendations for you to make a decision about.

How we can help find your pension

We have a network of independent financial advisers located around the world who have extensive experience helping British expats find their lost pensions, at no cost.

They are also able to provide independent advice on how best to manage your pensions once they are found, incorporating any additional pension schemes and investments you may have.

If you would like help finding a lost pension, enter your details via the form and we will organise for an independent financial adviser from our network to contact you to discuss how they can help you.

Testimonials from people who have used this pension advisor introduction service

The speed of response, the overall professionalism of the consultant and the ease with which business was conducted.

Philip H. Georgia, Pensions

We needed guidance in transferring our UK pensions into a SIPP. Very difficult to find unbiased information from google searches and it was gratifying to be referred to an expert via Experts for Expats. Very useful and clear help both on the website and from the consultation we had.

Mike H. United States, Pensions

My query was regarding transfer of a UK pension to Australia. The advice I received was really helpful and incredibly informative. I'm glad I reached out!

Liana S. United Kingdom, Pensions, QROPS transfer

Experts for Expats has been featured in...

Are you a British expat whose bank account is being closed due to Brexit? Here's what's happening and what you can do about it - Are you a British expat whose bank account is being closed due to Brexit? Here's what's happening and what you can do about it - click to see article
The Guardian - Brexit: how the new rules will change your visits to the EU - click to see article
The Times - Thousands of retiring Britons vote for Brexodus - click to see article
The Observer - How to relocate overseas - click to see article
Saga - Want to retire in the EU? What could the future hold for you? - click to see article
We Checked And, Yes, Harry And Meghan Will Have To Pay Tax - We Checked And, Yes, Harry And Meghan Will Have To Pay Tax - click to see article

What expats say about our experts

My question was simple but handled incredibly efficiently - I would not have the slightest hesitation in using your services for any future issues.

Rebecca P.

UK CGT introduction in United States

My issue is complex so a decision re filing is contingent upon consultation with HM taxes here in the UK. Your consultant was excellent .

Patricia W.

US/UK Tax introduction in United States

I had a speedy response from the website and arranged a call back with the consultant on the same day. My queries were addressed within the first consultation. I can't rate highly enough the service and the consultant I spoke with.

Sohail A.

UK Tax Return introduction in United Kingdom

What is so good about the advisor you pointed to is that he has extensive knowledge of both France and the UK, so he understands the financial set-up in both countries. I also liked him immediately when we met on Zoom for the first time. He grasped my situation and my priorities very quickly. If I have any reservation it is that he didn't always acknowledge and respond to my emails, but I do know that this is a crazy time for advisors with the Brexit deadline.

Alison D.

Assurance Vie introduction in United Kingdom

I had the most comprehensive advice when compared to other potential providers. The session was the length required for my enquiry - not limited to 15 minutes. The advice included elements I could do myself, ie at no fee. Various options I wasn't aware of were raised and explored.

Caroline T.

Common Reporting Standard introduction in United Kingdom

Super quick and provided all the advice I needed - my experience completely exceeded my expectations. Particularly useful service when you’re an expat without all the contacts and understanding that you take for granted in your home country.

Rachel B.

UK Tax Return, Double tax relief claim, Inheritance tax and estate planning introduction in United Kingdom

The consultant who contacted me was extremely helpful and went out of her way to get advice from someone else to answer my particular question.

Elizabeth S.

Pensions, QROPS introduction in United Kingdom

I found the session with the consultant to be very helpful in that it helped allay any concerns I had around my choice to manage my pension post-Brexit. I really valued the opportunity to be able to discuss what I was planning with an someone who could give an independent perspective.

Carl P.

Pensions and Brexit introduction in Spain