Defined Benefit  

Base rate change fails to slash pension transfer values

Base rate change fails to slash pension transfer values

Pension transfer values saw minimal movement in the month of November, returning to levels seen at the end of October.

According to Xafinity transfer values stood at £232,000 at the start of November and returned to the same figure at the end of the month.

Maximum and minimum readings in the month showed a diversion of £3,000, or about 1.6 per cent.

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The index tracks the transfer value that would be provided by an example defined benefit scheme to a member aged 64 who is currently entitled to a pension of £10,000 each year starting at age 65 and increasing each year in line with inflation. 

The recent rise of the Bank of England base rate from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent the first time since July 2007 was expected to drive down defined benefit transfer values.

But Xafinity's index shows this has not happened.

The firm said this was likely an effect of markets anticipating the change and was already reflected in the fall of the index over September 2017 when it dropped by 4 per cent.

The firm said transfer rates were likely to go back up should the bank decide to delay any further interest rate hikes, which are anticipated for early 2018.

Sankar Mahalingham, head of defined benefit growth at Xafinity, said: “Transfer values remained very stable during November 2017, continuing the trend we have seen since mid-September 2017.

“The rise in the Bank of England official bank rate in early November, which was the first for over 10 years, was widely anticipated by markets and did not result in a reduction in transfer values in November. 

“Another rise is anticipated by the end of 2018, another delay in a rise would mean an increase in transfer values.”

The company also pointed out different schemes calculated transfer values in different ways, meaning a transfer value from one scheme could be significantly different from that quoted by the Xafinity index.

carmen.reichman@ft.com