Treasure hunt for UK’s lost pensions

13 January 2017

Aviva is in talks with LinkedIn about a partnership that could help millions of savers to locate forgotten pension pots.

An article from The Times states that the British insurer Aviva UK digital is piloting schemes with LinkedIn, the online networking website and other companies with large numbers of digital users, to create an easy way for people to trace pensions that they have built up with previous employers.

Chris Wei, global chairman of Aviva UK digital, said that in 2017, “we’d like to partner with LinkedIn to create a scheme which could be called the UK’s biggest treasure hunt”.

Aviva found from a survey in December 2016 of 10,000 people that almost one in eight has at least one pension that they have lost track of, equal to 2.5 million pension policies. The difficulties are pronounced for former employees of companies that change their name or are taken over, or if the individuals themselves switch job several times or move to new addresses and so no longer receive information about old pension plans.

According to government figures, there is an estimated £400 million in unclaimed pension savings nationally. People will have an average of 11 different jobs in their lifetimes, which could mean that they have 11 different pension pots, the government has found. Failing to tap unused money is particularly serious as almost three in five adults are worried about not having enough to last them in retirement, the Aviva research found.

The pensions industry is working with the government to address the problem, which will involve creating a pensions dashboard (reported September 2016 that this will be ready by March 2017). This will be an online service that will allow people to log on and see all of their pension savings together in a single place.

The Times report says that although the idea is a simple one, industry experts are struggling to deliver it as it involves designing a system that can confirm a person’s identity, match it against a range of pension pots, including the state pension and defined-benefit as well as defined-contribution schemes, and deliver it back securely in an understandable format.