Why we need National Pension Tracing Day


Graeme Bold

Graeme Bold

Workplace Pensions Director

National Pension Tracing Day wants to reunite people with their lost pensions.

As the clocks go back on 29 October, National Pension Tracing Day (NPTD) is urging people to consider putting the extra hour to good use and track down any pensions they might have lost track of. 

We’re one of several providers taking a leading role in supporting this year’s bigger and better industry-wide campaign to help people reunite with their pensions – and which is part of Pension Engagement Season (PES). 

There’s a lot of money at stake which could make a real difference to people’s retirement outcomes. 

Lost pension pots averaging £9,550 are worth an astonishing £26.6billion* in the UK and the ABI (Association of British Insurers) says there are 12 million deferred pension pots under £1,000 no longer being paid into. Around 1 in 20 people may have a pension they didn’t even know they had, according to the NPTD campaign.  

Despite this, when National Pension Tracing Day asked people if they knew how to find a lost pension, more than six in ten people** admitted they wouldn’t know how to go about tracing one, where to start or who to contact – or simply didn’t have the time to deal with it. 

It’s easy to see how this can happen. People change jobs more often nowadays, with an average of 11 roles during their lifetime. Short periods of work, uncertainty about whether they had a pension in a particular job, moving house and lost paperwork all add to the confusion. 

But there are things they can do.

National Pension Tracing Day real-life stories

National Pension Tracing Day makes it easy to find out about lost pensions with its free toolkit offering guidance and real-life case studies of people who have found pensions worth anything from £3,000 to tens of thousands of pounds. 

TV and radio presenter Dennice Robinson found one worth £40,000 which changed her life by allowing her to pay debts, go mortgage free and spend more time with her learning disabled, grown-up daughter.

“It’s their money and they’ve earned it”

Then there’s the HR director who encouraged employees to take part in National Pension Tracing Day. One found pensions worth £80,000 and that’s a life changing amount of money. Others have found smaller amounts – but however much, it’s their money and they’ve earned it, as the campaign says.  

It could go a long way to helping people build up a retirement income where they won’t have to rely on the State Pension. 

What is really appealing is how they make the campaign simple, direct and a bit of fun. “You earned it. You should have it” is a clear incentive for people to get involved. Reading about real people helps the message sink in, too. 

Being themed around a pension treasure hunt with tips, detective work, and ways to retrace career steps, sounds a bit more exciting than ‘pension tracing’. 

It’s a similar approach to what we’ve been doing this year with our online webinars, where employees get to ask questions and learn about their pensions.  

Finding lost pensions and whether it makes sense to consolidate multiple pensions are popular topics and we were able to help employees find ones they’d lost track of. ‘What can I do with my old pension?’ was the single most popular question this year.

How can we support employees?

National Pension Tracing Day is well worth supporting. There are plenty of resources to help people find their money, and guidance for what they can do as next steps.  

People who find old pots often want to move them to a newer pension plan to make it easier to keep an eye on them, if it’s right for them. Whether they’re ready to access their pension, or retirement is years or decades away, bringing pensions together can make things simple to manage. 

It’s why we work hard to make pension transfers easy, too. It can take minutes to do online or in our app. It used to involve a lengthy, seven-page application. 

So, this National Pension Tracing Day, why not encourage employees to spend that ‘extra’ hour finding or tidying up their pensions? Great tracing tips are in the campaign website and the chance to tidy up old plans is possible in the Scottish Widows App.  It could be well worth it. 

You might even find one yourself. 

Follow the campaign on social media #NationalPensionTracingDay.


*  Pensions Policy Institute, UK.

** 62%, You Gov survey, 2023, sample size 2,066.



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