#AskAdam – Question 2 – Pension Schemes

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Q.

Hi Adam, I need your help.  I feel like I’ve got myself in a pickle and I’m not sure what to do.  Over the last 10 years I’ve paid into different work place pension schemes at the two different companies I’ve worked at.  The one at my old job I haven’t kept on top of and now I don’t know how I can access it as I don’t know who it’s with or the account number etc.  Do you know how to find your old pension accounts that you’ve paid into? And once I’ve found it, should I transfer it to the current scheme I’m paying into and how easy is that? Really grateful for any help you can give me.  Thanks Beth 

A.

Hi Beth, thanks for getting in touch. Great question! Lots of people lose their pension when they change jobs, I’ll try my best to get you out of your pickle.
 
I’ll answer in two parts. 
 
Part 1:
 
Finding a lost pension can be difficult, I’d suggest you start here,
 
It works best if you know the name of your old employer, or the name of the pension provider. If you’re not sure on either, then life becomes VERY hard. 
 
You could speak to an ex-colleague to see if they know of any details, or try to find the name of the company you worked for.
 
The site will only give you the contact details of the pension scheme, you then need to contact that scheme to find out the details of your pension.
 
You could also ask your previous employer for details on their workplace pension scheme.  
 
Pension companies often get bought out by other pension companies and the name can change over time.  The employer could know but if all else fails, a quick google should tell you who bought the old pension company. 
 
If you know the following it would help you: 
 
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The date you started and left the previous employer, and name of the company you worked for.
  • The dates you started and left the pension scheme. 

Part 2:

When you’ve found your pension you’ll need to consider a few things before transferring it. If you decide to transfer it is easy to do; contact your current pension provider and ask for transfer paperwork, they should be able to help.

Consider the following:

  • Is the pension product charges more or less?
  • Do you have the same, more, or less investment options?
  • Will consolidation make life easier?

Pros for transferring:

  • Cheaper pension.
  • Better investment choice.
  • Easier to keep track of one pension.

Cons for transferring:

  • More expensive pension.
  • Less investment choice.
  • The old pension has benefits and guarantees that you would lose if you transferred.
Don’t underestimate the impact a small increase in charges can have on the overall value over time!
 
If you’re not comfortable making these comparisons then please speak to an independent financial adviser who will do it for you.  Just remember that you will probably have to pay for the service. 
 
 
 
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