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SERPS - opted out, but can't remember many details... HELP!

(11 Posts)

I don't know why, but it just popped into my head that when I was 18 and in full time employment (39 now and not worked for around 6 years) I was persuaded by a financial adviser that was prowling around the office that I should opt out of SERPS and take out a private pension.

I can't remember very much at all... other than it may have been with the Prudential. And that I would have only paid into it for about 18months.

Then followed a pretty chaotic year or so where I moved about a lot living with friends and such - I didn't get my post forwarded.

So... what would have happened to that private pension once I stopped paying? Would the SERPS contribution have kept it ticking over? Or not? And if not, where would the SERPS part have been going...

I'm not even sure it was the Pru. I definitely don't have any policy numbers or anything.

Any way of tracing this stuff or has it all vanished into a hole somewhere?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 21-Jan-13 08:44:03

The private pension will still be there. The SERPS contribs will still be going in and the value of the pension, even though there are no contributions from you, will have been going up or down depending on where the money was invested for you. Worth calling the PRU if that was your first thought. Otherwise Gov.UK offers a Pension Tracing Service which might be of some use to you. Good luck.

Notmadeofrib Mon 21-Jan-13 09:18:14

the SERPs contributions have now stopped too. The advice you were given wasn't necessarily bad advice, but leaving it this long could well have been costly. I would suggest you start the search now and then ensure you give the fund a bit of housekeeping.

Ive been wondering about this, as I remember hazily opting out when I was about 18 as well. Does it mean that I wont get a state pension? Thanks for posting the Tracing Service Cogito as I really cant remember anything about it, which is really bad of me I know.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 21-Jan-13 09:42:25

You still get a basic state pension (assuming you've made the right NI contribs) but you don't get the additional 'earnings related' bit. I'm a bit woolly on it myself but there's more information here. What I do know is that, as of last June, the company pension of which I was a member when I opted out of SERPS still shows regular deposits despite me not having contributed anything since 2000.

Well, I've filled out the tracing form to the best of my limited knowledge... not holding out a lot of hope.

I also recall at the same time the adviser getting me to take out an endowment, too (maybe it was that that was with the Pru and not thepension - argh!). I'm pretty sure I only paid into it for about a year (as I said, live became disastrous and I didn't have the income to pay it) so that just probably vanished into the ether but it is making me think the adviser was probably a bit unscrupulous given I was so young and green...

Thanks cog, feel a bit silly as I was a rather niave 18 year old and had no idea and retirement seem a million years away so just signed the paper. To be honest, like you Manda I feel a bit cross as I think I was easy pickings for the salesman.

Notmadeofrib Mon 21-Jan-13 14:06:04

Agree the advisor shouldn't have cut and run however you could have a lot of money in there and you should ensure you trace it and as I said before, do some housekeeping.
However as advice/thinking on this topic changed when the government changed payment levels SOME, not all companies automatically switched people back into the state system. You can check your situation by obtaining a BR19

https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-statement

Adversecamber Mon 21-Jan-13 17:48:25

I contracted out of SERPS and did it when it was apparently the " best" time to do it. The Gov pension service thing is one f the few Gov depts I actually rate. My fund was taken over is now with Aviva and I got a 500 pay out when they were taken over and have a small pot. I think it s about 1,700 a year on retirement, not sure. I did contract out about 25 years ago though.

I don't know much about the additional earning related bit but have worked part time for a third of working life.

I am relieved that I decided to pay in to my work pension scene, though the promises made aren't as good as when I was 21, which feels like millennia ago.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 18:15:23

Your former employer will be able to tell you who you paid to.

I have recently transferred my opted out payments to a new fund. I left that employment 18 years ago, but it was pretty easy to track down the relevant info (via my former employer) and get it moved.

Thanks for the advice, all. I highly doubt my former employer would be able to help as they are no longer trading as of many years ago!

So, the process has been started anyway...I would have thought my NI number would be a quick way of tracing it but that isn't asked for on the form. Perhaps I'll be back with more tales of woe soon!

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