It's all down to a pension scheme called SERPS (State Earnings Related Pension Scheme). SERPS ran between 1978 and 2002. Anyone employed, and making National Insurance Contributions during that time, had a SERPS entitlement. The pension scheme was designed to “top” up your basic State Pension entitlement.
But some people chose to opt out of this scheme (called “contracting out”) choosing instead to redirect some of these payments into their personal pension. This is where a pension tracing service becomes very useful.
You can trace a pension yourself
It's important to know that you can trace your pensions yourself, for free, via the HMRC. It's a long and convoluted process but it is available to everyone. The process is as follows:
Log into your personal tax account where you can find out if you have or haven’t opted out of SERPS
If you have opted out or SERPS you should write to HMRC at the following address SARS, National Insurance Contributions & Employers Office, HM Revenue and Customers, BX9 1AN asking for any relevant information they hold in relation to your pension including policy numbers. Remember to include your address, date of birth and national insurance number
Once HMRC respond you should contact your Pension Scheme Administrator to request full details of your pensions. You can find the details of scheme administrators on the Government website.
If you're struggling with the process described here, keep in mind that expert advisors are here to help: we can request the information on your behalf, help you find lost pensions and manage the investment for you. You can get started by providing the information you have and we'll do all the legwork for you. Start your SERPS pension trace now.