£64 billion in pension savings could be lost track of due to savers not updating their details when moving house

Laura Dunn-Sims

by , PR Manager

08 Nov 2021 /  

08
Nov 2021

Man and women moving house

New research from leading online pension provider, PensionBee, finds that almost a third of savers (32%) believe that it doesn’t matter whether they inform their pension provider(s) of a change of address, as they will still be able to find and contact them. This belief could be extremely detrimental to pension savers as an estimated £64 billion in pension savings could be lost track of due to out of date contact details (1).

Moving house and changing jobs are the most common reasons that savers lose track of their pension(s) - either forgetting to update their contact details with their provider or losing their providers’ details themselves.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a flurry of house move activity, with droves of city dwellers looking to move to rural regions in the pursuit of more space, free from the ties of office working. In June 2021, the number of homes changing hands in the UK rose to the highest level on record, with 213,120 sales registered with HMRC (2). These high levels of movement look set to continue with an estimated 160,000 homes changing hands in the last month alone (3).

Of the respondents surveyed by PensionBee, 40% shared that they had either moved since the pandemic, or were planning to move in the next year. More than half of respondents (67%) reported that their home move had been influenced by the pandemic, citing reasons such as having more time to act on a move, wanting to be closer to loved ones or changes in their financial situation.

Almost 70% of respondents reported that they still receive annual paper statements by post. Yet despite this continued dependence on paper correspondence, only 37% of respondents revealed they had updated their address with their pension provider(s) in advance of moving, with 28% planning to update their contact details once their move was complete.

On the other hand, 18% of respondents admitted they hadn’t got round to updating their provider(s) yet but it was on their ‘to-do list’, while 15% revealed that they hadn’t thought about updating their provider(s) at all.

Overall, most of the respondents (67%) agreed that by not updating their provider(s) of a change of address, they run the risk of losing track of their pension savings. This was felt by the majority of women (66%), compared to only 34% of men. Additional risks include delayed withdrawals and investments, records being lost due to mergers of pension providers, and fraud with consumer information being sent to an old address.

Romi Savova, CEO of PensionBee, commented: “It’s extremely shocking and concerning to see just how much UK savers risk losing track of in pension savings. As house moves are increasingly popular at the moment, it’s never been more important for savers to ensure that their providers have up-to-date contact details.

Losing track of hard-earned savings can have a significant impact in later life, and could see millions of people working for far longer than they would otherwise need to, before they can afford to comfortably retire.

Pensions are a long-term investment so changes in personal details are expected over the years. All providers need to offer digital solutions so savers can easily update their personal information and manage their savings in a few clicks, instead of relying on the outdated practices of the past.”

Appendix

Table 1: Attitudes towards informing pension providers about a change of address

Attitudes towards informing pension providers about a change of address Female respondents Male respondents Overall respondents
By not informing your provider, you run the risk of losing track of your pension 66% 34% 67%
Updating your address doesn’t matter; your provider will still be able to find and contact you 46% 54% 32%
Other 1% 1% 1%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Table 2: Pension savings at risk

Number of workers in UK aged 16+ 32,416,000 (4)
Moved/moving home 40% (5)
At least one private/workplace pension 72 (6)
Hadn’t thought about updating provider/ ‘It’s on my to-do list’ 33% (7)
Average pension pot size £21,164
Estimate for total pension savings at risk of being lost £64,412,071,207

Table 3: Moving house during the pandemic

Are you currently planning to move house or have moved home recently? Proportion of respondents
No, I’m staying where I am for the foreseeable future 58%
Yes, I’m planning to move in the next year 25%
Yes, I’ve moved house since the pandemic 15%
Other 2%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Table 4: Motivation for moving house during the pandemic

Has your decision to move house been influenced by the pandemic? Proportion of respondents
No, the pandemic did not contribute to my decision to move house 33%
Yes, the pandemic contributed to my house move in a general way 19%
Yes, the pandemic gave me more time to think about or act on a house move 17%
Yes, the pandemic made me want to move closer to my loved ones 12%
Yes the pandemic lead to a change in my financial situation, which led my decision to move house 11%
Yes, being able to work remotely means I can choose where I live 8%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Table 5: Communication methods used by providers

How do you stay informed about how much you have saved for retirement? Proportion of respondents
My provider sends me an annual statement in the post and I can view my balance online 37%
I can see my pension savings easily online whenever I want to 33%
My pension provider sends me an annual statement in the post 30%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Table 6: Informing pension providers about changes of address

Have you contacted your pension provider(s) to tell them about your change of address? Proportion of respondents
Yes, I have updated my provider(s) with my new address 37%
I haven’t yet but I plan to as soon as I know my new address 28%
I haven’t yet, but it’s on my to do list 18%
I hadn’t thought about updating my new address with my pension provider(s) 15%
Others 2%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Footnotes

  1. PensionBee research
  2. The Guardian
  3. Gov.uk
  4. Office for National Statistics
  5. PensionBee research
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid

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