The government has tripled the staff of the Pension Tracing Service (PTS), a facility which aids those who have lost track of pension pots they previously paid into.
The PTS will have its number of staff increased to 49 by April. This is in order to ensure it is prepared to cope with the anticipated increase in the number of calls after sweeping changes to the pension system are implemented on April 6th.
It is on this date that those over 55 years of age will have a much greater range of options as to what they could do with their pension finances instead of simply having to purchase an annuity. The government has introduced an assistive service named Pension Wise and has anticipated that service directing many of those who contact it to the PTS.
The minister of pensions, Steve Webb, commented on the expansion stating: ìWith people having an average of 11 different jobs during the course of their working lives, it can be very easy to lose track of pensions they may have built up with previous employers.î
He went on to alert people that ìIf you contributed to a pension in a previous job and donít have any details any more, it would be worth contacting our free PTS to see how you can be reunited with your lost pension pot.î
Last year the PTS was contacted 145,000 times, which was a record and amounted to double the number of times from 2010. In 87% of these cases customers were successfully directed towards their lost pension provider whilst 98% of requests from the public were dealt with within four days. The announced expansion is part of the plans to maintain and improve the success of this clearly popular service.
The PTS works by exploring a database which holds the contact information for over 200,000 pension scheme administrators. In an idea to supplement this system, the government plans to publicize a ìpot follows memberî facility next month, which is set to be in place by the autumn of 2016. This facility would allow pension pots from previous employers with a valuation of £10,000 or below to be transferred to an employeeís current pension scheme.
Latest research show this service will become increasingly significant with the National Association of Pension Funds estimating that by 2050 there could be up to 50 million dormant and lost pension pots.
The operational manager at the PTS, Jill Scott, further highlighted the ease in which pensions can get caught up in the system and implored those who think they may have a case to contact them as it would definitively put those about to go into retirement ìin a much better position.î
Jill Scott also moved to justify the decision to expand the service. She said: ìEvery day we take a huge amount of satisfaction through the work that we do in helping hundreds of people to track down money that is rightfully theirs.î The benefits of this scheme are sure to be felt as it goes from strength to strength.
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