46% of savers unaware how many pension pots they hold

Nearly half (46 per cent) of pension holders have no idea how many pension pots they hold with previous employers, according to research from Scottish Widows.

The survey also found that, of those who believe they’ve lost track of pension pots, 14 per cent said they’ve haven’t looked into it and 13 per cent revealed they don’t know how to track previous pension pots.

In addition to this, a further 10 per cent didn’t know it was possible to track down previous pots and 9 per cent thought the process is too long and difficult.

Industry experts have also raised concerns over lost pension pots after research from the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) revealed that the total value of lost pension pots has risen 37 per cent to £26.6bn between 2018 and 2022.

However, despite industry efforts to encourage savers to take action to trade down their lost pensions, the research from Scottish Widows revealed that just over a third (34 per cent) of pension holders do not plan to consolidate their pots.

The research also found that 36 per cent don’t think it will make a difference to their overall retirement income and almost a third (29 per cent) said that it’s not a current priority.

Furthermore, although 49 per cent of those surveyed said that consolidating their workplace pension pots was a priority, nearly a fifth (16 per cent) of these savers said they don’t know how to go about it, which Scottish Widows highlighted as evidence of the need for greater understanding and education.

Indeed, this was also shown in findings around pension investments, as the survey revealed that more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of those surveyed are unaware of where their pensions are invested, despite more than a third (37 per cent) being keen to know.

However, there were some "encouraging" results, as more than half (52 per cent) of those who plan to consolidate their pots plan to seek financial advice, with financial advisers (55 per cent) being the most popular source for insight.

Commenting on the findings, Scottish Widows senior corporate pension specialist, Robert Cochran, stated: “The latest statistics tell us that millions of workers run the risk of short-changing themselves and being unable to plan properly for their retirement, as they lose track of pension pots from previous employers.

“While the rollout of the Pensions Dashboards Programme will help in years to come, there is no need to wait.

"Workers can start tracking down their missing pots today using simple services such as the government backed website, MoneyHelper.

“The first question we ask customers planning for retirement is ‘what have you got?’ and we found that over 10 per cent of those who completed a poll at our Pension Engagement Season event in the last month thought they had more than five separate pots.

“With pension consolidation potentially unlocking better spending power and simplifying planning, keeping track of your different pots is key to securing the financial future that works best for you and your family.”

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