Where is my pen­sion pot?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

I worked for a well-known re­tail chain as a trainee man­ager for eight months from 1973 to 1974. I made con­tri­bu­tions to my pen­sion and as­sumed there were also em­ployer ones.

No­body con­tacted me re­gard­ing this pen­sion un­til this year, when I learnt that Aviva had taken over the run­ning of it. The let­ter in­formed me that the value of the pen­sion was £40. AC, WEST MID­LANDS.

As your 65th birth­day ap­proached, Aviva wrote to you about a pen­sion de­riv­ing from a con­tracted out grad­u­ated pen­sion. This was part of the Na­tional In­sur­ance Scheme which stopped in April 1975.

Equiv­a­lent ben­e­fits from this were by de­fault in­te­grated into the com­pany’s scheme when you joined the re­tailer.

These had to be no less than your en­ti­tle­ment was when you had been con­tracted in. The sum was fixed from the out­set so wouldn’t in­crease over time. This meant there was no re­quire­ment to send out state­ments.

Typ­i­cally the amounts in such pen­sions are mi­nus­cule. An an­nu­ity pur­chased on your be­half would pay the equiv­a­lent of £2.64 per an­num. You have a right to con­vert this to £40 in cash.

As for the other pen­sion rights you thought you might have, the sit­u­a­tion be­gan to be more favourable with the in­tro­duc­tion of the So­cial Se­cu­rity Act on April 6 1975.

Be­fore then, which is the case with you, a scheme mem­ber of an oc­cu­pa­tional pen­sion scheme could lose most or even all their pen­sion rights if they left the scheme early. Their con­tri­bu­tions would have been re­funded.

As a ges­ture of good­will to apol­o­gise for any con­fu­sion, Aviva has sent you a teatime ham­per.

There are still many di­verse pen­sions with a legacy of ar­chaic rules, which peo­ple such as your­self, who are reach­ing re­tire­ment age now, are hav­ing to grap­ple with.

Gen­eral ad­vice is avail­able from The Pen­sions Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice at pen­sion­sad­vi­so­ry­ser­vice. org.uk and on 0300 123 1047. Over the years I have, along with many read­ers, found this or­gan­i­sa­tion most help­ful.

All our bank ac­counts are in credit. I have two credit cards, the bal­ances of which are paid off at the end of each month and I never ex­ceed my credit limit.

For many years I have used a pay-as-you-go mo­bile phone through Voda­fone. I can­not re­ceive any other sig­nal in my house so am stuck with it. I wish to up­grade to a SIMonly con­tract but have twice been re­fused credit for this and do not know why. This is em­bar­rass­ing. PG, CHESHIRE.

Your credit ref­er­ence re­port re­vealed noth­ing more detri­men­tal than that you have no credit his­tory. Such a blank can­vas can lead to the kind of re­jec­tion you ex­pe­ri­enced and may oc­cur be­cause the cus­tomer opened their bank ac­count or took out their mort­gage be­fore 2000.

This is roughly when providers started seek­ing per­mis­sion to pass pay­ment in­for­ma­tion on to credit ref­er­ence agen­cies across the board. Favourable credit his­to­ries of such long-stand­ing cus­tomers who have not agreed to this can­not be shown ret­ro­spec­tively, al­though such clients can ask providers to pass it on in fu­ture.

An­other stum­bling block can oc­cur if the ad­dress or date of birth does not match the data be­ing re­ferred to. Or if the ap­pli­cant does not fea­ture on the elec­toral roll.

Providers do not dis­close their ac­cep­tance cri­te­ria, which are com­mer­cially

sen­si­tive. I have teased out of Voda­fone that what hap­pened to you has noth­ing to do with your credit his­tory.

Af­ter my in­volve­ment, it ap­proved the ap­pli­ca­tion af­ter all. You say that, as long as the good net­work cov­er­age con­tin­ues, you will go along with this. You now have your phone con­tract plus, I un­der­stand, some ex­tra megabytes.

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