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Find out Today Whether Some of The Unclaimed £78 Billion is Yours

Vicky Parry 17th Oct 2023 5 Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post is sponsored by Gretel


October 29 is National Pension Tracing Day. However account tracing service Gretel are here to remind us that it is not only pensions that need tracing and that a suspected £78 Billion lies in dormant account. Could this be the answer to all of your financial woes? 

It almost sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well Gretel is a free service that we can all use to help us see if we are due a lost fortune.



Let’s start with pensions. Whilst we all think we would never just lose a significant amount of money, losing or forgetting a pension is way more common than you would think. Recently we discovered that 1 in 4 pensions in the UK are currently “missing” or “unclaimed”, valued between £27bn and £64bn. How has this happened? And how likely are you to be someone who has an unclaimed pension?

There are four primary reasons that people lose track of their pensions:

  • You received the pension with a job that you left
  • Life’s changes – house moves, marriage and divorce, becoming widowed
  • Consolidation across the financial services industry
  • Distrust unsolicited letters as a result of pensions scams

It is important that we share these reasons as people start to see that it could possibly happen to them.

So you can see that it isn’t simply a case of losing a bank card. If absolutely any of these sound possible, then contact Gretel. It is free to use and could help you find any missing amounts. So, if you have even 1 per cent doubt. Click THIS Link.

Unclaimed Life Insurance

Unclaimed insurance makes up a staggering £2 Billion sitting in dormant products such as life and annuity policies. A huge number of people, some two and a half million to be precise, don’t even know they are owed it.

Gretel suggest that the main reasons you could have lost a life insurance policy are if you:

  1. Didn’t realise there were benefits due or you thought it had become worthless
  2. Had one you think might have lapsed after you stopped paying the premium
  3. Misplaced the policy details through house moves, lost pieces of paper, or as a result of any number of other life events
  4. Are unsure if the financial organisation holding your policy still exists

Residual benefits on a cancelled or old policy remain the most common reason people haven’t claimed. Duncan Stevens from Gretel says “even if you paid into a policy, but stopped years ago – there may well still be entitlement on it, never just assume there is nothing as you don’t currently have one”.

Missing Bank Accounts


Whilst it feels like we track every penny we spend and couldn’t possibly have mislaid a whole account, over 11.5 million lost and forgotten bank, building society and National Savings accounts exist, with a total of £4.5 Billion sitting unclaimed as a result. So that’s a huge number of us that actually do have unclaimed money owed to us.  One possibility is that you simply stopped using the account and left it open to accrue interest on a tiny amount, or much like the pervious accounts you have a distrust of scams. Gretel state the main reasons for having lost a current account are:

  1. Someone took it out for you, possibly a long time ago
  2. You changed banks and the abandoned account accrued interest
  3. Major life events – house moves, marriage and divorce, becoming widowed
  4. Changes in in bank and building society brand names
  5. Account was with a failed provider (e.g. Bradford & Bingley) but was actually protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  6. Distrust as a result of scams

Child Trust Funds


The Child Trust Fund scheme was launched in January 2005 for children born on or after 1 September 2002. Its aim was to ensure every child had savings at the age of 18. Approximately 6.3 million of these accounts had been set up by the time they were replaced with Junior ISAs in January 2011. While the majority of these were set up by parents who were made aware of the scheme, some 1.76 million were set up by the Government – HMRC to be precise – as the child was either in care or the parents took no action. While the Government paid in between £250 and £500 depending on circumstances, parents and other family members could also make regular contributions to increase the end value.

By the Spring of 2023, an incredible 42% of 18-20 year olds had not claimed their savings – that’s almost a million accounts already unclaimed, with many more potentially lost but due to a child under the age of 18. With 18 years between the account being set up and when it matures, and with the account typically held in the name of an adult as Registered Contact until that point, the most common causes of lost CTFs are:

  1. It was set up by HMRC without you or your parent’s knowledge
  2. Major life events for parents – house moves, marriage and divorce, bereavement
  3. Consolidation amongst CTF providers

In order to for Gretel to search for a child trust fund all they will need:

  • Your name, current address, and date of birth (or those of the adult who was noted by the provider as Registered Contact, if the child is still under the age of 18)
  • The ability to verify past addresses

Lost Shares

This one seems far more plausible and even if you don’t play the market, there are chances you were given shares as some sort of employment or contract.

In fact, the privatisation of state-owned businesses in the 1980s led to a wave of first-time shareholders in the UK.

British Gas’s now famous ‘tell SID’ campaign was part of this, incentivising people who had previously never dabbled in the stock market to create one of the biggest share registers in the country. To this day a huge amount of these lie unclaimed.

Also there is the issue with historic shares being held on paper. Certificates can easily become lost or invalid. Gretel estimates that over 2 million shareholdings worth approximately £2.5 Billion remain unclaimed.

How Long Will it Take For Gretel to Help Me?

Once you have decided to take them up on their free search (and let’s face it, we have nothing to lose and a lot to gain) then it takes literal minutes for them to tell you about anything they can find. Even if you don’t immediately uncover a lost account, Gretel will continue searching for you every 14 days, to capture information from new companies that have added their customer data to the service. In the event of a future match, you will receive an email from Gretel advising you to log into your account, so you don’t even need to keep checking.

So, what are you waiting for? Let us know if you find anything as we would love to hear your success stories and whether some of the lost billions has found its way home.

Create a Gretel account here. 

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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7 months ago

More free services like this, please!

7 months ago

At first I was going to scoff at this – if you manage to lose thousands of pounds then maybe you have no business spending it – but having read this I suppose it’s easier to lose track of things than I first assumed. I like to think I have all my eggs in order but I will certainly give it a try.

7 months ago

oh if theres any money i can claim out there i would love it cos times are tough right now

7 months ago

I haven’t a CLUE if I could possibly have missing money, but must be worth a try. I’ll go in expecting nothing and wait to be pleasantly surprised

7 months ago

Wow – I’ve often wondered if there’s money out there I don’t know about. I’ve had a few jobs in my time, must be a few pensions, but I’ve never really known where to start. Gretel sounds very interesting, especially because it’s free. Thanks MM team!

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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