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Man finds lost pension pots worth nearly £18k | Personal Finance | Finance

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Robert Sullivan

Rob managed to boost his retirement savings by nearly £18,000 after finding six lost pension pots (Image: Supplied)

A man has stumbled upon a small fortune, boosting his retirement fund by nearly £18,000 after tracking down six lost savings pots.

The UK is awash with an estimated three million “lost” or “forgotten” pension pots, totalling a staggering £26.6 billion, and 46-year-old Robert Sullivan was once just a number in this statistic.

The reasons for misplacing pension pots are numerous, often due to frequent job changes or moving house.

Robert, a former British army serviceman who now installs EV charging points, had moved through various contracting roles without giving much thought to the pensions he was accruing along the way.

Speaking to The Mirror, Robert revealed: “I’ve been in and out the army four different times and I’ve had around 11 contracting jobs since leaving but I’ve not thought too much about my retirement and my pension.

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You could be due an unexpected windfall (Image: Getty)

“Although it’s creeping up, it’s still I’d like to think it’s still a long way away. I have always banked on my army pension really, and anything else would’ve been a bonus.”

Robert, who is currently receiving his service pension and the state pension, knew he might have additional pension pots due to the various contract jobs he had taken on.

Each of these roles offered a new pension scheme, but updates were sparse, with only an occasional yearly statement letter.

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Others are now being urged to check missing pensions (Image: Getty)

In December 2022, Robert turned to the pension tracing app Penny for help in locating his lost savings pots. The app also provides plans and pension investment options.

However, it’s worth noting that Penny charges a 0.75% Annual Management Charge (AMC) on the value of the pension, which they claim falls within the Workplace Pension charge cap of 0.75%.

It’s crucial to remember that individuals can track down their lost pension pots independently. This process involves contacting former employers and sifting through old paperwork.

If this isn’t feasible, the Government offers a free Pension Tracing Service tool. To use this service, you’ll need the name of an employer or a pension provider.

If you locate an old pension pot, the service will provide contact details for pension schemes run by employers, as well as private schemes by pension providers.

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Rob found he was sitting on money he didn’t know about. (Image: Getty)

However, you will only be able to access your pension savings details after contacting the firm for verification. The service won’t disclose your pension pot amount; for that, you’ll need to reach out to the pension administrator directly.

To use the Pension Tracing Service, visit the GOV. UK website or call them at 0800 731 019.

Upon registering with the Penny app, Robert inputted details of potential pension companies. Penny then scoured records on his behalf.

Weeks later, he got an alert about his first rediscovered pension pot. He recalled: “This was when I first started contracting for the army, and it was £385 and although it wasn’t a mad amount, it was quite nice knowing that they found something from that long ago that I wouldn’t have had.”

Robert regularly received updates about additional pension pots being located, each bringing a thrill of anticipation. In total, he uncovered seven pension pots, though one was empty due to fees.

He shared: “It was always surprising when another was found, I always hoped that I would hit the motherload each time I got the notification.

“One of the pension pots had so little in it, and with all the charges added to it over the years, it just ran dry. So that was a little disappointing.”

Out of the six pots, one contained an unbelievable £11,000. Robert expressed his surprise saying: “I was properly shocked at the amount of that one, because of the ones we found, they were all a few hundred quid, just short of a grand, not really too much at all in the grand scheme of things.

“So I thought I was definitely not going to have that much in the pot but then when that one came through, I thought, blimey, this is worth it.”

This unexpected windfall has significantly altered Robert’s retirement plans and he may even be able to lessen his workload sooner than expected. “Being in a trade, well eventually your body is going to wear out, I won’t be able to crawl through people’s lofts and keep pulling cables, so it’s nice being given a cushion, and knowing it is there.

“If I do need to call time early, then I have it there. It’s a joke with my missus and my kids, that when the time comes I’ll become a Chelsea Pensioner. Honestly, knowing that I’ve got this in the pocket, has really helped make the future less bleak.”

As per Robert, the process wasn’t easy as it entailed long hours and a considerable amount of paperwork to consolidate his pensions into a singular pot. He had a tough time with one pension provider.

It took him over a year to get his money moved. He conceded: “In the end, I actually had to go to the Pensions Ombudsman about the issue and they ruled in my favour so after 13 months, I managed to get the money moved, and I was refunded some charges and received some compensation.

“So eventually it’s all worked out and I’ve transferred it all.”

These trials have prompted Robert to pay closer attention to his pension pots. Now whenever he lands a new contract, he prioritises analysing the associated pension provision.

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