The UK has £20 billion in unclaimed pensions, research from the independent Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) has revealed, adding pressure on the government to act over the delayed pensions dashboard.

The PPI surveyed half of firms in the private defined contribution (DC) pension market, looking at 12 large insurers, and found 800,000 lost pensions worth around £9.7 billion.

Using this research on half the market, the PPI estimated there are 1.6 million lost, or unclaimed, pots in the UK today worth £19.4 billion.

The PPI said the figure could be even higher as it did not look at trust-based schemes or public sector pensions.

The issue of lost pensions is likely to get worse as workers are now changing jobs more regularly, with the PPI commenting the average person will now change jobs 11 times in their lifetime.

Yvonne Braun, director of policy, long-term savings and protection at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said the research demonstrates the importance of the government delivering on the pensions dashboard.

‘The industry has stepped up its efforts to reconnect savers with their lost nest eggs, developing a new framework launched earlier this year to help pension providers trace ‘gone-away’ customers more consistently,’ Braun said.

‘But industry efforts can only go so far – we need a radical digital solution to cope with the way society is changing, or the problem will get worse. It is important that the government stands by its promises to take forward the pensions dashboard.

‘This project has cross-party support, with the backing of consumer groups, and could mean a more secure retirement for millions of savers.’