Defined Benefit  

Pension transfer values drop in April

Pension transfer values drop in April

Defined benefit (DB) transfer values slightly decreased to £232,000 at the end of April, according to actuarial firm Xafinity.

This value is below the previous month's figure, when it stood at £235,000, according to the specialist in pensions actuarial, consulting and administration.

Over the first quarter of 2018, transfer values initially dropped, before returning to levels seen at the beginning of the year.

During 2017, transfer values remained high, but in line with the figures of the previous year - at an average of £234,000 at the end of 2016.

The difference between maximum and minimum readings of the index in April was £6,700 (or around 2.9 per cent).

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.

According to Sankar Mahalingham, head of defined benefit growth at Xafinity Punter Southall, the slight decrease was due mainly to an increase in gilt yields, with inflation remaining relatively stable.

He said: "There was more volatility in transfer values during April than in recent months (at almost 3 per cent); though this is still low compared to the volatility we saw during 2017, where in some months the index fluctuated by over 5 per cent."

Since the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, the number of people transferring out of their defined benefit pensions has been soaring, as savers seek to take advantage of sky-high transfer values and to move their nest eggs into defined contribution (DC) schemes in order to access their cash.

According to the Office for National Statistics, funds transferred out of pension schemes almost tripled to a record £34.2bn in 2017.

Alistair Cunningham, financial planning director at Wingate Financial Planning, said he pays "absolutely no attention" to monthly differences in transfer figures.

The values offered by schemes to its members should be "actuarially fair, and reflect overall market conditions and the state of the scheme at the time," he concluded.

maria.espadinha@ft.com