Are you owed some of “Britain’s missing billions”?

Did you know, asks Richard Collinson of AAA members, that an estimated £89 billion is currently going unclaimed in some 28 million forgotten bank and savings accounts, premium bonds, pensions, insurance policies and Child Trust Funds? But how do you go about checking one of them is yours or a relative’s?

A recent ITV report, using data from the asset tracking service, shows that one in three of us has money waiting to be claimed in forgotten or lost accounts.

Gretel have calculated the average value of a lost Child Trust Fund to be over £2,100 and life insurance currently accounts for over £2bn of unclaimed assets in the UK, while the average lost pension pot could equate to more than £23,000 – with over 2.8 million people missing pension pots they have paid into in previous jobs.

The problem, they say, is steadily getting worse as auto-enrolment of workers means more and more of us are paying into pensions that we then forget about as we change jobs. And while most pension providers are obliged to send you a statement each year, moving home can mean they lose track of us.

What to do about a lost pension

The government’s free pension tracing service ( can be the best place to start if you don’t have any paperwork to hand. You simply need the name of your previous employers or pension providers to use this service, and while this service will not tell you whether you have a pension, or what its value is, it will provide the contact details you need to make an enquiry.

Child Trust Fund scheme

If you have put money into a Child Trust Scheme and forgotten about it, you’re not alone: there are almost a million unclaimed funds worth £1.7 billion. A Child Trust Fund is a long-term tax-free savings account for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011. And while you think that you’d remember setting one up, many of us omitted to do so when we had children, and the government itself did it for us in about 25% of cases.

With many children now reaching the 18 mark, and able to make use of those funds for their education, now might be a good time to check if there is a useful pot of cash waiting to be claimed.

To help trace a missing Child Trust Fund there is a government website – where you’ll be asked to enter the child’s name, date of birth, NI number and address. Don’t be duped into using a service that will charge you to do this for you. The government tracing service is free.

It’s also worth remembering that, if you can afford to do so, you can continue to add up to £9,000 a year into an existing Child Trust Fund account. There’s no tax to pay on the Child Trust Fund income or any profit it makes, and it will not affect any benefits or tax credits you receive.

Tracking down lost savings and Premium Bonds

Gretel estimate that the average lost bank account is worth over £300, and services like provide a single online search facility free of charge to trace lost bank and building society accounts and lost National Savings and Investments products.

The service will also help you locate Premium Bonds: there are more than £79 million waiting in unclaimed premium bond prizes. Could it be you?

If you want to make sure that YOUR personal plans to retire are on track, simply log on to your RetireEasy LifePlan and update it with your latest data. You can then run different scenarios to see how (for instance) your plans would be affected if you were to retire later, gift a family member, receive an inheritance or downsize.

Please share: