More than £50 billion in U.K. pension benefits were at risk of being misplaced in abandoned accounts or scattered across multiple lost pots in 2023, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of PensionBee Ltd.

It noted at least 4.8 million U.K. pension pots were considered lost in 2023, with nearly one in 10 workers believing they’ve lost a pension pot worth more than £10,000.

The study also found the total number of U.K. pension pots is expected to rise by 130 per cent, from 106 million to 243 million by 2050, noting the number of lost pensions could skyrocket due to more frequent job switching among younger workers and as a result of some plan sponsors’ automatic enrolment policies, which have significantly increased participation since its introduction in 2012.

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Among 2,000 adults, workers younger than 35 have accrued a higher average number of pensions (2.4) than mid-career workers aged 35 to 54 (2.1) and those aged 55 and older (1.7), despite having a shorter career history.

Younger workers (25 per cent) were more likely to believe they’d lost a pension pot than mid-career workers (17 per cent) and older workers (eight per cent) who, on average, had fewer pots to manage. Notably, the research also found smaller pots, defined as being worth less than £10,000, are more prone to being misplaced compared to larger ones (13 per cent and nine per cent, respectively).

Meanwhile, the report forecasted workers aged 18 will accrue, on average, five pension pots by age 68, adding some people could accumulate more than twenty separate pensions during their working lifetime.

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