Why should you trace your pensions?
If you were working between 1978 and 2002 (that's most of us!) you should try a pension tracing service; it's free, it's simple and like many of our customers you could find pension funds you'd forgotten about.
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:
1. Log into your personal tax account https://www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account where you can find out if you have or haven’t opted out of SERPS
2. 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
3. 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 by visiting https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details