Our Collections

Our collections are at the heart of what we do

All the records and collections held by the Pensions Archive Trust are professionally stored and archived within the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) in compliance with all relevant data protection and privacy regulations. We have absolute confidence in our partners at the LMA to protect the collections they hold in trust for us: our focus now is on expanding these archives with new material.

We work with large corporations and SMEs who operate occupational pensions schemes, focusing on collecting business records that detail how pensions schemes were operated. We are also trusted by a range of NGOs connected with the pensions management sector, with national bodies such as the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and Society of Pensions Professionals holding many of their documents in our archives. We are always happy to speak with any business or organisation who could potentially help us preserve and document this important facet of Britian’s social and business history.

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How to visit our archive

Our archive is accessible via the reading rooms at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) at 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB.

All visitors to the LMA need to pre-register for a History Card. This can be done online in advance, or when you arrive at the LMA in person. You will need to provide an acceptable form of identification in order to register.  Find out more here

It is not necessary to book an appointment to view catalogued material, however, if you would like to view an uncatalogued collection, please contact LMA in advance to allow staff enough time to locate the items you need.

To check the cataloguing status of any PAT collection, please go to our collections page and click on the links in the table of Pensions Archive collections, or contact the enquiries team at LMA before arranging a visit. You can contact them by phone (020 7332 3820) or email.

There is no charge for bona fide researchers, students and other beneficiaries to visit the archive, however, we do ask users to make some reasonable contribution towards the added cost of extraction, analysis or copying of materials on their behalf.

The LMA recommends ordering documents in advance, with details of how to do this available on its website, along with complete opening days and times.

FAQs about depositing records with us

Q. Who can deposit records with PAT?

PAT welcomes offers of material from potential depositors which will further its aim of preserving materials documenting the history, management and development of occupational pensions in the United Kingdom. This could be from pension scheme sponsors or trustees, pension scheme members, professional pensions bodies, businesses providing services to pension schemes (actuaries, lawyers, administrators, auditors for example) and prominent individuals in the pensions’ world.

Q. What sort of materials can be deposited?

We accept material connected with pensions management, oversight, development and advice: this material would typically include annual reports and accounts, committees or board minutes, Trust deeds and rules or memorandum and articles of association, and publicity materials. We also welcome deposits of personal papers from those involved in pensions management or research, as well as printed material for the PAT library.

To ascertain the precise types of archival and printed material that PAT can accept from depositors, please read our Collections Policy.

Q. What are the conditions of agreement?

Collections can either be donated to or deposited with PAT, who will then enter into an agreement with its primary partner, London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) or, where appropriate, other repositories to arrange for the long-term storage of the collection.

Q. Who should I contact if I have an exploratory question?

Please contact the Chairman (Jeff Highfield) or the Secretary of PAT (Grant Lore) via email in the first instance, or you can enquire with the LMA via email at asklma@londonmetarchives.libanswers.com.

Q. What does my company have to gain by depositing records with PAT?

Business who are willing to deposit their records with us are contributing to the public good by adding to the knowledge-base which can in turn, promote best practice across all related industries. Therefore, we believe that choosing transparency in this way is an act of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Depositing records with PAT at the LMA

As potential depositors will understand, we must ensure that the collections held in the Pensions Archive are of real historical value to prospective users. Maintaining an archive involves a significant commitment of resources in the management, long-term storage and preservation of collections, and therefore all material offered to PAT is carefully assessed to make sure that only that worthy of permanent preservation is accepted.

This assessment is normally carried out by our staff member at the LMA during a survey of the records in-situ at the potential depositing organisation. They will assess a collection in accordance with both PAT’s Collection Policy and the PAT-LMA collection agreement and will record the findings in a Survey Form. A collection will be assessed to ascertain whether the material will contribute value to the archive, if it contains potentially sensitive or personal information, and if it duplicates any material already held in the Pensions Archive collections.

The final step before any collection can be formally received at LMA involves our archivist presenting the findings of their survey to LMA's Acquisitions Group. This group is made up of archivists and senior archivists responsible for all collection areas. The details of the collection are given to this group, and then a formal recommendation is given to PAT on whether to accept it or not, based on the criteria of the Collections Policy.

Deposit agreements

Once a decision to accept a collection has been made, deposit agreements are signed between the depositor and PAT for the acquisition of the material, and also between PAT and LMA for the storage and care of the material. The nature of these agreements and status of a deposit is split into two categories:

  • Gift – if the depositor gives their collection to either PAT or LMA as a gift, this entitles PAT or LMA to the ownership of the items and of all copyright rights in the items which are held by the donor.
  • Loan – if a collection is presented as a loan, the usual period for this is given as 20 years, at which time any signed agreement is reviewed.

There is a clause in all deposit agreements which will allow a depositor to withdraw their collection from storage at LMA. However, at least three months’ notice must be given and a charge will be imposed for storage and conservation costs incurred while the material was stored at LMA.

Once the status of the deposit with either PAT or LMA has been agreed, the collection can be brought in to the LMA stores. An initial conservation check is carried out by conservators in a preliminary document reception area, before the deposit is transferred to the climate-controlled stores to await cataloguing.

Digital collections

As well as printed material, PAT is also willing to collect material which has been created digitally for preservation at LMA. The preservation and storage of this are kept in line with LMA's Digital Preservation Policy . Material collected in digital format will also be made available to potential users in the reading rooms at LMA.

Types of material held in the Pensions Archive

Pensions Scheme Documents:
  • Trust Deeds and Rules:
    including all formal documents which govern the running of the pension scheme and set out how benefits are calculated and payable.
  • Minutes, reports and other policy documents:
    often including specific committees or Trustees’ meetings within a scheme or organisation, as well as actuarial reports which evaluate the ability of a pension scheme to meet its liabilities; successive actuarial reports give a good history of how a scheme has developed and are highly valuable for future analysis.
  • Annual reports and accounts:
    including audited accounts and any reports by the Trustees on the progress of the scheme. The range of information we hold has changed in response legislation, enabling us to trace the impact of policy changes on real-world pensions administration.
  • Pension Manager’s Records:
    including correspondence from the Pension Manager.
  • Member ledgers and Contribution Record Books:
    these registers give the names of members of schemes and usually include some personal information about these individuals. As most of these ledgers were produced during the 20th century, access by general researchers is restricted by the Data Protection Act.
  • Pensions scheme communications material to members:
    these include member newsletters and explanatory booklets which were produced to outline what members could expect to receive from the scheme, how their contributions were made, and different types of membership they can obtain.
  • A range of publicity material:
    including leaflets, promotional films, posters and videos.

(As PAT collections focus on the operation of pension schemes, and not the individuals enrolled in these schemes, they will be of limited use to family historians.)

Archives of related professional institutions and individuals:
  • Personal collections relating to pensions
  • Records of organisations, such as professional institutes and trade bodies
  • Conference papers including delegate lists, magazines, event programmes and speakers’ manuscripts
  • Statutes and Government regulations
  • Guidance notes, codes and standards of practice
  • Books, magazines and trade directories
  • Reports to Governments (e.g. Pickering, Goode and Sandler)
  • Research Papers
  • Conference reports
  • Demographic (including Census returns)
  • Life expectancy, mortality and morbidity
  • Investment performance and portfolio structure
  • Survey returns (e.g. Schemes, The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) etc.)

Highlighted collections

The George Ross Goobey collection

Pensions Archive Trust holds papers of the late George Henry Ross Goobey (1911-1999) who was the first manager of the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund and a leading light in the development of equity investment by pension funds.

Association of Consulting Actuaries Collection

PAT has been the grateful recipient of a breadth of written records from Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) which was recently digitised by specialists from the London Metropolitan Archives Digital Services team. Find out more and view the documents online.

What about pre-existing material held at the LMA?

In 2012 and five years after PAT formally partnered with the LMA, we completed a year-long survey of the pensions related material already held within the London Metropolitan Archives; this survey unearthed a wealth of information which has now been put together into a Research Guide. The Trust wishes to thank the late Malcolm Deering for his invaluable work in undertaking this extensive project which is a valuable resource for all pensions researchers.

Discover our Research Guide

Beyond our collections at the LMA

As part of our work to ensure that the history of occupational pensions is preserved and accessible into the future, PAT has also been working to map the holdings of other archive material relating to occupational pensions that can be found at archives and record offices around the UK.

Learn about our The National Archive’s pensions material

In 2018, for private sector defined contribution schemes, the average total (member plus employer) contribution rate was 5.0%, rising from 3.4% in 2017

Office of National Statistics,
Occupational Pension Schemes Survey, UK: 2018