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Lost Pensions in the United Kingdom

When it comes time to collect their pensions, workers may have difficulty finding their retirement plans if their former employers have changed locations, been bought out by other companies, or changed their names. The United Kingdom has established a national pension plan registry so that workers need only contact a single source to trace a lost pension. They can make a request by telephone, mail, or the Internet to the Pension Tracing Service. The Pension Tracing Service and Pension Schemes Registry (PSR) are part of the U.K. government.

Workers in the United Kingdom filing a tracing request form with the PSR are asked information such as the full name and last known address of the former employer.  The tracing service then tries to find a current address for the pension fund. It provides this service without fee to persons requesting it. The cost of the PSR is covered by a levy collected from each of the registered pension plans in the U.K. Active plans are required to provide updated information to the registry at the same time that they pay their annual levy. 

The success rate for people contacting the registry varies from year-to-year but uniformly has been high. Between fiscal years 1991-92 and 1997-98, the registry had a total of 74,605 requests, an annual average of almost 11,000 or nearly 900 requests a month. A survey conducted by the PSR indicated that 34 per cent of those who used its tracing service received some financial benefit and there was an 85 per cent success rate in tracing contact details. In the year 1999/2000, the service received 18,000 requests and had a 95 percent success rate in tracing lost pensions.  The number of requests increased to 21,000 in 2000/2001 and the success rate was 92 percent.

For further information about the Pension Tracing Service

Read Lost Pensions In Three Countries.

Also see "Retirees ISO Their Lost Pensions," by David Blake and John Turner.