The total sum of missing pension savings has been estimated to be worth nearly £20bn in research carried out for the Association of British Insurers.
The Pensions Policy Institute surveyed firms representing about 50 per cent of the private defined contribution pensions market and finds there are 800,000 lost pensions worth an estimated £9.7bn.
It estimates that, if scaled up to the whole market, there are collectively around 1.6 million pots worth £19.4bn unclaimed – the equivalent of nearly £13,000 per pot.
The ABI says this figure is likely to be even higher as the research did not look into lost pensions held in the public sector, or with trust-based schemes typically run by employers.
Nearly two-thirds of UK savers have more than one pension and changing work patterns means that the number of people with multiple pensions will increase.
The ABI adds the average person will have around 11 different jobs over their lifetime, and move home eight times while the government predicts there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pensions by 2050.
Commenting on the research ABI’s director of long-term savings and protection Yvonne Braun says these findings highlight the scale of lost pensions where millions of savers have simply lost touch with their pension provider.
She adds it is important that the government stands by the promise to take forward the pensions dashboard as the project has cross-party support, the backing of consumer groups, and could mean a more secure retirement for millions of savers.