How can I find out about pensions from previous employers?

Tracing pensions from previous employers

Keeping track of pensions from one or more previous employer isn’t as easy as you might think. If you were in more than one scheme or changed employer throughout your career, you’ll need to put some effort in and trace it.

It’s your pension and it could be worth a lot. In fact, it could be the difference between having a comfortable retirement and being on the breadline.

Track it down

Check to see if you have a certificate or whether your old payslips reveal your payments into an occupational pension scheme. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have a pension as way back, contributions were often refunded when employees left a company. A lot depends on when you left a company.

When did you leave?

Before April 1975? Unless you were in a scheme for a minimum of 15 years, your contributions would have been refunded.

Between April 1975 and April 1988? You’d probably have a pension to track down if you’d worked there at least five years and you were over 26. If not, your contributions would have been refunded.

After April 1988? If you were employed at a company for two years or more, you should be entitled to a pension.

Here’s what to do

  1. Contact the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 1223 170 or at – it’s funded by a committee of Independent Financial Advisers, is completely free of charge and without obligation. Even if the pension firm you paid into was taken over, merged with another or changed its name without telling its policyholders, this service should be able to help.
  2. Pull together all the information you can – the name of employer and any other names it may have changed to, the kind of business it was, any business addresses and when you were employed there and a member of the pension scheme. Give these to the Pension Tracing Service.
  3. Request details of schemes you were in from the Pension Tracing Service, including the names and address of the providers.


Tracing Tip

Your previous and current employers and/or company scheme administrators could have the information you need. They usually have a customer helpline that you can call.