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Pension tracing service expanding with huge demand

A service which helps people locate pension pots they have lost track of will increase its number of staff to meet record numbers of enquiries.

The Free Pension Tracing Service will have its headcount tripled to 49 by April.

In 2014, the service was contacted 145,000 times – double the number of contacts it dealt with in 2010.

It helps people to find pension providers they have lost contact with, often after switching jobs.

Estimates by the National Association of Pension Funds indicate that there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pension pots by 2050.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “Whilst we have plans to help people combine their pension pots in future when they change jobs, there are still too many scattered and lost pensions.

“We are working hard to make sure people get what they are entitled to.”

‘Better position’

Jill Scott, operational manager at the PTS, pointed out that finding this money can help people enter retirement “in a much better position”.

“While it may sound strange, losing track of a pension is easily done, as people tend to move around the jobs market far more frequently than might have been the case in the past,” she said.

From April pension holders will also have access the government’s new “pension wise” service, which offers guidance to people over 55 about how they can make the most of the new pension freedoms which will come into force the same month.

Changes announced by George Osborne in 2014 will mean that around 300,000 people a year will be able to access their defined contribution (DC) pension savings on demand, depending on their marginal tax rate in that year.

It replaces the present system in which people are directed towards a retirement annuity.

Concerns were raised this month on Radio 4’s Money Box that the new advice service will not have enough staff to deal with the requests expected when the new rules come into force in April.

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