Government Kicks Off Pensions Reunited Service

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A massive campaign to reunite retirement savers with millions of lost pension funds is underway.

Pension minister Steve Webb is aimed to help millions of savers take maximum advantage of new flexible access rules that start in April.

The campaign will be spearheaded by the free government Pension Tracing Service.

In a bid to reach more savers, the service is tripling staff numbers to 49 to cope with an already surging demand.

Last year, just over 144,000 pension savers asked the service for help in finding forgotten investments lost when they moved jobs or employers merged or were acquired by other firms.

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Lost savings

The service managed to successfully resolve 87% of cases, reuniting millions of pounds of savings and savers.

The increase in calls was up almost two-thirds on the 94,000 inquiries with a success rate of 88% handled in 2013.

In April, the Department of Work and Pensions expects around 300,000 pension savers to take some or all of their funds under the new flexible access rules.

Boosting numbers at the Pension Tracing Service is an attempt to handle the expected extra workload.

Webb said: “Workers have an average of 11 jobs in their lifetimes, so keeping track of pensions dating back many years can be difficult.

“The government is proposing to let pension funds follow job moves from later on in the year to try to resolve this problem, but too many people have scattered savings and it will take a lot of time and work to reunite them.”

The Pension Tracing Service has forecast savers will have lost touch with around 50 million pension pots by 2050.

Bogus services

Savers can find a lost pension by filling in an online form or contacting the service by phone or post.

Searching online for the free pension tracing service also throws up some bogus web sites masquerading as the official government site.

Some of these sites have similar names and charge a fee for doing the same job as the government site.

One tip for spotting sham web sites is the Pension Tracing Service is only available through the .gov.uk online portal – which can be directly accessed through the find a lost pension link above.

Finding lost pensions for a fee can be lucrative as the government estimates around 33 billion is locked in forgotten schemes.

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