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Nest joins pension switching platform

Nest joins pension switching platform

The government-backed workplace pension scheme National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) is joining Origo's pension switching platform, which is expected to speed up switching times.

The service, which will be available to Nest’s seven million members before the end of the year, will make more of Nest's features automated and allow for the exchange of transfer information with other providers.

Currently, pension switching at Nest, both in and out of the organisation, take an average time of less than 50 days, with more than 50 per cent taking less than 30 days.

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Following improvements recently introduced by the provider to its processes the average time taken to process a case and the number of cases being completed within 30 days has improved.

However, Nest recognises that the service could be further improved, hence the new partnership with Origo.

Options Transfer is used by more than 95 firms, including major pension consultancies, life companies (which collectively own Origo), platforms and self-invested personal pension (Sipp) providers.

The service currently has an average transfer time of 11 calendar days, with 85 per cent of transfers completing within this timescale, although firms' transfer performance can vary from minutes to weeks, Origo stated.

Origo estimates the vast majority - about 90 per cent - of pension switching in the contract market go through its service.

Nest’s director of customer engagement, Mark Rowlands, said now was the right time to enhance the switching process, as auto-enrolment staging is complete and minimum contributions are rising.

He said: "Managing multiple pots can be complex and cost our members time and money. Having a quicker way to consolidate their funds is exactly what our members tell us they want.

"We’re excited to be working with Origo – they have an excellent track record, are a not-for-profit like ourselves, and we know theirs is the right service to meet the specific demands of our membership."

Anthony Rafferty, managing director at Origo, said Options Transfers was developed specifically to improve the safety and speed of the pension switching process.

He said: "It delivers security and cost efficiencies for the industry whilst enabling the provision of better outcomes for consumers.

"Since its launch 10 years ago, the service has successfully transferred over £150bn of pensions and Isas, taking the previous manual average time for a pension transfer, for example, from 50 working days right down to an average of 11 calendar days.

"Given the importance of auto enrolment to the nation’s workers, we see this as a unique opportunity to help Nest achieve its goal of helping millions more enjoy a better retirement."

maria.espadinha@ft.com