Why do people persist with multiple pension pots?

Sun Pension Pot

One in 3 over 55s with a private pensions have more than one pension pot but this group are the least likely to consider consolidating multiple pensions, according to new research.

Older savers aged 55 and above were more likely to have multiple private pension pots (33% v 31% of all UK adults with a private pension).

However only 31% of over 55s have considered merging pension pots compared to 58% of all those with private pensions and 63% of those in the 35-54 age group.

Research from Canada Life found that the average UK worker will have had 11 jobs by the time they look to access their pensions and many will have accrued several pensions.

Number of Pension Pots





Have more than one pot





Have three or more pots





Have considered consolidating their multiple pots





Base: UK adults with a private pension

Only 23% of younger savers aged 18-34 have multiple pensions pots but this figure steadily rises with 36% of 35-54-year-olds revealing they have more than one pot.

Andrew Tully, technical director, Canada Life, said the figures indicated that many older pension savers who could benefit from consolidating pension pots were failing to do so.

He said while there were pros and cons to consider, charges could be lower and more modern pension schemes could be more flexible. However guaranteed annuity rates and enhanced tax free cash could be lost so regulated advice was key.

Research was conducted among 2,000 UK adults (including 1,222 with a private pension) in August 2019.


This article first appeared in financial planning magazine

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Why do people persist with multiple pension pots?

  1. Peter Tompkins says:

    I think we need to look at consolidation with caution. For myself I have some DB (left well alone to do what it says on the can and some DC with good terms no longer available which I keep because it’s good value.

    What is important is to migrate people off expensive poor value for money policies. So I’m consolidating a couple of expensive ones into a newer better value product.

    The most important thing is for people to see their whole picture and check that the invested profile across the piece meets their risk appetite.

  2. Ron G says:

    I also think some caution is required.

    When I was growing up you didn’t “put all your eggs in one basket”. And there is good reason there – as Peter says some have a mixture of DB and DC (I have a little DB, which could be turned into a pot, but the promise of some income, as a neat underpin to my hoped for other benefits is important).

    Whilst I see a lot of advisers recommending consolidation, it’s in a model with would quite happily throw away “cheaper” schemes (and if given the chance some Safeguarded and the Benefits) at any opportunity. But where people are looking to phase in benefits in the short to medium term, it might be beneficial to line up different eggs to pay out at their previously set points and benefits, and to exhaust Small Pots while leaving more promising benefits to later maturity, or consolidation.

    It seems all too easy to forget why policies were taken out originally and follow a pied piper to a better and consolidated future without evaluating the diversity that you already have.

  3. Brian G says:

    I have one big pot, one small pot I can cash in without triggering the MPAA and one other pot with protected tax free cash. Plus one DB pot.

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