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What is a frozen pension and what can I do if I have one?

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The term ‘frozen pension’ refers to a pension that you had in a workplace that you no longer pay into. This is also called a deferred or a preserved pension.
Just because you have left the workplace doesn’t mean you should not be ensuring it continues to be well invested and it may well still benefit from the new pension freedoms and you should ensure that you receive an annual statement detailing the current value and future forecast of the pension.

There are two main types of pension, a final or average salary scheme pension (otherwise known as a Defined Benefit Scheme) and a Money Purchase scheme. With a ‘Money Purchase Scheme’ a pot of money is built up and what you get when you retire (your income in retirement) will depend upon how much you and your employer contributed and how well or badly the fund has been invested over the years.

It is really important that you know what type of pension it is and how much it is worth and what it may be worth in the future if you want to understand what your income will be when you stop working. Unless you prefer to bury your head in the sand and leave it too late to make plans that will maintain your required lifestyle when you retire.

If you have moved address and not updated the scheme administrators then you may be able to track old pensions using the free government service which is the Pension Tracing Service and you can call them on 0845 6002 537.

Although you are no longer paying into the pension it should continue to grow.

The statements that people receive are varied and rarely clear so it would be a good idea to have a qualified independent financial adviser have a look through them.For final salary schemes it is often always the case that it is best to leave them where they are as the benefits are guaranteed with no investment risk.

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There may be rare occasions that it is suitable to transfer out from such a scheme and this could be discussed on a case by case basis. For money purchase schemes you can leave the pensions where they are and access them at the normal scheme retirement age, or you may want to consider moving them where the charges may be lower and performance may potentially be better.

Once you know where your pension pots are and how much is in them, you may wish to review them and look at consolidating them into one pot.

Why might I want to consolidate my pensions?

  • Easier to manage/understand
  • May reduce charges
  • Receive ongoing advice
  • Wider choice of  funds
  • Flexible access at retirement
It may not be a good idea to move them if you would be subject to exit penalties or if they benefit from valuable guarantees or if the funds are performing well. A pension switching report will help you to make an informed decision. The main thing is that you are aware of what you have in place and what income this is likely to provide in retirement.

Part of our main work at Veracity Financial Planning is reviewing existing pensions, explaining what they are worth and what they may be worth in the future in simple terms, tidying them up and giving advice that is tailored to an individual’s circumstance.

Please contact us by calling 0115 967 0888 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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