Pension freedom stats shows pick-up in annuity transfers

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Pension freedom stats shows pick-up in annuity transfers

New data from Origo’s Options Transfers reveals the total value of pension transfers has increased, with an extra £2bn being moved between pensions and into drawdown between April and October 2015, compared with the previous six months.

There was a 6 per cent increase in the average size of pension pot transferred from £46,000 to £54,000.

Pension to annuity transfers were down 67 per cent over the last year.

However this trend may have bottomed out, as numbers have increased over the last four months.

Additionally, transfers of pensions into drawdown products since April 2015 are up 101 per cent, while over the year, transfers into self-invested personal pensions are up 36 per cent.

Pension to pension transfers are up 31 per cent over the year.

Origo’s Options Transfers service was delivered to the industry in 2008 to cut the transfer time for pension transfers and has been extended to cover instant savings accounts and guaranteed interest accounts as well as bulk scheme transfers, reducing transfer times by more than 80 per cent.

Paul Pettitt, managing director of Origo, said: “The doubling of transfers into drawdown, combined with the increased activity into Sipps and between pensions, would suggest that consumers are looking to take advantage of the pensions freedoms and are moving their money where they are more able to access it under the new rules, which has resulted in these percentage uplifts.

“What also is interesting is that, following a massive drop off in volumes of transfers into annuities after the Chancellor’s pensions freedoms announcement in the 2014 Budget – 80 per cent when comparing quarter one 2014 with quarter one 2015 data – the latest figures reveal a 35 per cent increase in pension transfers into annuities since the first quarter of this year.

“Although pension freedoms have seen more people move towards drawdown products, the figures suggest that there has been a partial return to the security that annuities offer.

“Clearly, we are at an early stage and, from statistical perspective, at least another six to nine months data would be needed to be sure about this trend.”