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Free pension tracing body to expand


A service which helps people track down lost pensions is to expand

A service which helps people track down lost pensions is to expand

A service which helps people track down lost pensions is to expand

A free service which helps to reunite people with their long lost pension pots is to be expanded to meet growing demand, the Government has said.

The Newcastle-based Pension Tracing Service (PTS) will triple its number of staff, taking the total headcount to 49, ahead of a rising number of calls from people seeking help to find pots they had previously forgotten about, perhaps after switching jobs a long time ago.

Last year, the service was contacted a record 145,000 times, which was double the number of contacts it dealt with in 2010. In 87% of cases staff successfully managed to put customers back in touch with their lost pension provider. Recruitment of the new staff members is under way and will be completed by April.

Estimates suggest that there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pension pots by 2050.

Jill Scott, operational manager at the PTS, said: "Helping people to find their hard-earned money means they can look forward to retirement in a much better position.

"While it may sound strange, losing track of a pension is easily done, as people tend to move around the jobs market far more frequently than might have been the case in the past."

From April the PTS will be complemented by the Government's new "pension wise" service which will offer guidance to people over 55 about how they can make the most of the new pension freedoms which will come into force the same month.

The freedoms will mean that around 300,000 people a year will be able to access their defined contribution (DC) pension savings how they wish, subject to their marginal tax rate in that year, instead of being herded towards buying a retirement annuity.

The Government said it expects that many customers will be referred to the PTS to track down lost cash.

People can contact the PTS by telephone, in writing or via the website. Customers should provide the name of the company or pension scheme they are trying to trace. Additional information, such as dates of employment, type of business or its location, also help.

The PTS searches its database, which contains contact addresses for more than 200,000 pension scheme administrators. It is then down to the individual to contact the scheme to find out if they have a pension.

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said: "With people having an average of 11 different jobs during the course of their working lives, it can be very easy to lose track of pensions they may have built up with previous employers.

"If you contributed to a pension in a previous job and don't have any details any more, it would be worth contacting our free PTS to see how you can be reunited with your lost pension pot.

"Whilst we have plans to help people combine their pension pots in future when they change jobs, there are still too many scattered and lost pensions, and we are working hard to make sure people get what they are entitled to."

To find out more about the PTS, visit www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension.

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