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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

UK could have £37bn in unclaimed pensions

Nearly a quarter of UK adults below the age of 55 may have lost track of at least one of their pensions, equating to a huge £37bn in unclaimed retirement savings.

Many losing track of pensions ©iStock
Many losing track of pensions ©iStock

The findings were made by Profile Pensions, which revealed that the average unclaimed pension pot stands at £23,000, with around 1.6 million thought to be missing.

Finding a pension of this size could mean being able to retire 2.5 years earlier, according to the researchers, who said that Birmingham has the largest number of lost pensions.

“With auto-enrolment, and the fact that people are working longer, people have more pensions than ever to keep track of,” said Profile Pensions chief investment officer, Michelle Gribbin.

“We believe the government’s pensions dashboard is the ultimate long-term solution to the missing pensions crisis we’re seeing unfold."

The study also found that the average UK adult is aware of 2.2 pensions, but that they are likely to have closer to 2.7 pensions.

With the highest average pensions of £44,400, £40,000 and £37,500, residents of Twickenham, Harrogate and North West London respectively may benefit most from finding lost savings.

Moreover, the findings show that Birmingham, Sheffield and Peterborough are the regions with the highest number of missing pensions, on 229, 218 and 133 respectively.

Those aged between 25-34 are most likely to have lost track of a pension, with 29% believing they have done so, and a further 10% not sure if they have or not.

The UK government gave the green light for a pensions dashboard in April last year, but has so far refused to commit to a timetable for all pension data to be included.

"It’s extremely important people know where their pensions are," Gribbin continued.

"Not just so they can access it a retirement, but also because they can make positive changes to their pensions pre-retirement, such as consolidating their pensions into a cheaper, well invested plan."

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