Firm pays out £100m a month in pension transfers

Firm pays out £100m a month in pension transfers

Pensions administrator JLT Employee Benefits has revealed it is processing £750,000 of transfer payments per working hour which equates to £100m of transfers paid out each month.

Malcolm Reynold, managing director of JLT Employee Benefits  said: "We have been monitoring the trends for two and half years now.

"In the first year of pension freedoms, we did £1.5bn in pension transfers and in the first half of this year the figure is approaching £700m.  At least 50 per cent of the demand comes via IFAs."

The figures from JLT echo demand for pension transfers that other providers have experienced while the Financial Conduct Authority is currently reviewing the market following fears of another 1980s style of pension mis-selling scandal erupting. 

Recently, Scottish Widows said in the second quarter of this year there was a 182 per cent increase in the number of requests for its transfer value analysis report service on the same period last year.

Overall there were more than 1,200 requests in the three-month period – a 9 per cent increase on the previous quarter, according to the life company.

Earlier this year Prudential said it had seen an “eight-fold” increase in demand for its transfer value analysis report service over the past two years. While it did not provide figures, Prudential said demand was “broadly in line” with the high levels already seen earlier this year.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “Throughout the first half of 2017, we have continued to see strong demand for our Tvas service as advisers assess the advantages and disadvantages for their clients of transferring from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes.”

According to the latest figures from Xafinity, transfer values fell slightly in June 2017 but remain at near record highs.

Transfer values decreased by 3.7 per cent over the month, with average transfer values now stand at around £232,000 for a pension worth £10,000 a year at age 65.

The huge demand for DB transfer is is not really a surprise to advisers, as people seek to benefit from both high transfer values, and the opportunity to access their entire pension pot if they transfer from a DB scheme to a defined contribution scheme.

Allan Maxwell, chartered financial planner of Corporate Benefits Consulting in Glasgow, said the current trend on DB transfers will continue until there are some changes in the economic environment.

"The key driver at the moment is low interest rates which are driving up the transfer amounts."

He added: "There are other factors such as relatively high assets values, the drive from companies to reduce their DB liabilities and of course the pensions freedom legislation which gives individuals much greater control over how and when they draw their retirement income.

He concluded:  "My biggest concern over this trend is my feeling that many people are under estimating the longevity risk.  Statistically 50 per cent of people live longer than average."