Are you owed a slice of £20 billion?

Experts believe that there is as much as £20 billion in lost pensions savings in the UK today. Could some of it be yours?

The average person has 11 jobs in their working lifetime and several of them might have had pensions attached, but in this fast paced modern world it is all too easy to lose track of what you have saved.

More than one

Two out of every three of us have more than one pension pot we need to keep track of, so how do you go about trying to find out what you may have saved so far?

This will eventually be made much easier once the much delayed pensions database is established, but as it is still very much in the planning process you will need to turn detective to track everything down.

Misplaced

Auto enrolment has recruited many more people to the ranks of pension savers and some of them may be saving more into a pot than they realise.

The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) believe in more pots will be ‘misplaced’ in the future as young workers move homes and jobs, either of which means they may lose contact with their pension provider.

Former pensions minister Steve Webb recommends going through your old wage slips or P60s for clues about membership of a pension scheme.

Work history

He said: “Go through your work history and check if you were a member of a pension scheme for each of your past jobs.

Try to track down former colleagues who may have contact details for the provider.”

The National Insurance Office and HMRC are also potential sources of information and their records might help you to prove membership of a scheme.

Pensions Tracing Service

Even though the pensions database is not yet operational, the government already runs a free Pension Tracing Service.

It currently has 40,000 requests a week and can supply the contact details for a provider if you can supply the name of your former employer.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t follow that if you were a member of a scheme there is some money waiting for you.

It is possible you cashed out when you left the job or transferred to a new scheme.

Help coming

But if you’re struggling to get answers don’t worry because help is coming. The pensions dashboard will allow savers to view all of their pots in one place.

The theory is that all providers will contribute their records to a single database which will then allow savers to find the answers to their questions.

Committed

The new government has just committed to establishing the scheme along with other measures dealing with protection of savers’ cash, but no time scale has been given for its completion.

There are also fears that if the industry does not fully back the project there will be gaps in the information it can provide.

Said Steve Webb: “The pensions dashboard should help people find more of their lost pensions, but if scheme data is imperfect there will still be gaps.

It will still be necessary to turn into something of a private detective in order to track down all of your missing pots.”