How to find lost pensions, savings or investments

More than two in five savers have lost track of thousands of pounds in pensions, ISAs and savings accounts. We explain how to trace lost accounts and pensions, and what your options are.

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(Image credit: © Getty images)

Millions of people have lost track of old pensions, investments and/or savings accounts. The good news is there is a growing number of ways to trace and recover old assets.

Research by wealth manager Netwealth has found that more than two in five UK savers have lost track of £30,000 or more in self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs), ISAs and savings accounts.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that an affluent saver has, on average, lost access to between £20,000 and £30,000 – spanning various types of financial accounts including SIPPs, workplace pensions, ISAs, savings accounts and Premium Bonds. Research by tracing service Gretel predicts that 20 million people have thousands of pounds unclaimed, totalling £50 billion.

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Meanwhile, analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), on behalf of the pension provider PensionBee, reveals that an estimated 4.8 million pension pots are already missing in the UK, with that figure set to rocket by 130% by 2050. 

Charlotte Ransom, CEO and founder of Netwealth, said: “The very high number of people struggling to track down all their financial assets is deeply worrying. More needs to be done to ensure savers can easily find and access their investments and, ideally, view them holistically.”

However, there are a growing number of options available to customers looking for old accounts. For example, Aviva has launched the UK’s first "Find and Combine" pension tracing, checking and consolidation service.

It says customers only need 10 minutes to get started, and that it has successfully tracked down and reconnected savers with £87 million of lost pensions since the pilot launched in 2022.

The government's much-anticipated but much-delayed Pensions Dashboard should also help savers keep track of their pensions, but this won't launch until 2026.

We explain the different ways you can use now to find lost pots of money.

How to find lost pensions

Forgotten assets can be in a variety of places, from investments, shares and savings accounts to insurance policies. But the biggest source of forgotten wealth is money in pension funds. 

Gretel estimates that £37bn is waiting in lost pensions. No wonder – most of us have switched jobs a few times in our careers, leaving behind workplace pensions. It is easy to forget about pension pots built up from previous jobs. Combine that with a house move and it is easy for pension firms to lose track of us, so we no longer receive annual statements.

The number of misplaced pension pots has risen by 75% over the last four years to almost 2.8 million, totalling approximately £26.6bn in value, according to the Pensions Policy Institute. These lost pots are worth an average of £9,470 each, which could make a massive difference to someone in retirement. According to Netwealth, over a quarter (28%) of respondents have lost £50,000 or more in SIPPs.

1. Contact your pension provider
To trace a pension, you can reach out to your pension provider and request the latest account statements or access to their online accounts, said Ransom.

She added: “[You] will undoubtedly be asked security questions or may need documentation such as proof of residence, passport etc."

2. Contact your old employer

If you don’t know the pension provider’s details, ask your previous employer – they should be able to provide them.

You'll likely need to provide the following information: your National Insurance number, dates you started and stopped working there, and dates you joined and left the pension scheme.

3. Use the Pension Tracing Service website
You can also use the government’s free Pension Tracing Service, where you can search your previous employers by name to help find your pension providers’ names and contact details.

4. Look at MoneyHelper
The government's MoneyHelper website has lots of guidance on how to track down your old personal pensions. 

5. Use Gretel, a free tracing service

This is a free service you can use to track down lost pensions, child trust funds, shares and investments. 

Gretel will attempt to trace your pensions using information like your name, current address and date of birth. You don't need to know the names of the pension providers or your policy numbers.

6. Use Aviva's Find and Combine service

This free pension tracing service also checks pensions for certain valuable or safeguarded benefits and fees. Customers are presented with their own online pension report in an easy-to-understand format, to help them consider their next steps. 

There is no obligation to transfer your pensions to Aviva by using its Find and Combine service.

7. Avoid losing your pension details in the first place...
Becky O'Connor, director of public affairs at PensionBee, suggests ways to avoid having to track down a lost pension: “It’s a good idea to always keep hold of old pension paperwork or, if it is only stored digitally in your emails, create a folder on your computer."

It can also be a good idea to tell someone in your household where all your old pension details are kept.

“A misplaced pension does not just affect you – it can affect your family too if you pass away and it gets lost in the ether. Remember to update past pension providers of a change of address as well as present ones.”

You could also consider consolidating your pension pots to make it easier to keep track of them.

How to find lost ISAs and savings accounts

A fifth of UK savers have lost £50,000 or more in savings accounts while a fifth have lost £50,000 or more in ISAs, according to Netwealth.

You can trace lost or dormant bank and savings accounts using the My Lost Account service, which is run by the British Bankers' Association, Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments (NS&I). All you need to do is complete one online form free of charge.

You could also try Gretel to find old bank accounts. You will need to enter your name, current address, and date of birth to make a search - and be able to verify past addresses.

How to find lost shares

UK financial organisations hold £2.8 billion in forgotten or unclaimed investments, according to Gretel.

You could lose track of investments because the company managing them stopped trading or merged, your independent financial adviser (IFA) has shut down, or changes in your own life such as house moves, marriage or divorce. If you have company shares but have lost your share certificate, you can contact the company to request a replacement.

You can also apply to a company registrar such as Computershare and Equiniti, which will search their records and give you a replacement certificate in exchange for a fee.

Another way to track down investments such as funds is through the Investment Association’s Unclaimed Assets Portal.

How to find lost Premium Bonds

The easy way to find lost Premium Bonds is to use the prize checker on the nsandi website, or you can download the official prize checker app. 

For the website, you will need your Premium Bond holder number, and for the app, you'll need your 11-digit NS&I number. 

Or you can use NS&I's tracing request form to trace Premium Bonds or other NS&I products, such as savings certificates, accounts and ISAs.

Alternatively, you can use My Lost Account, which searches for NS&I accounts, including Premium Bonds. 

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings accounts and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping, among many other titles both online and offline.


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