Defined Benefit  

Pension transfers surge 587% in two years

Pension transfers surge 587% in two years

Transfers from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) schemes have increased 587 per cent in two years, according to data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

In a freedom of information response published on its website, the watchdog revealed there were 34,738 DB transfers between October 2017 and March 2018, the latest data available.

This compares with just 5,056 transfers in the same period in 2015/16.

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DC to DB transfers

Oct-Mar 2016


Apr-Set 2016


Oct-Mar 2017


Apr-Set 2017


Oct-Mar 2018


Earlier this year, the FCA disclosed that the value of money transferred from DB to defined contribution schemes had leapt to £20.8bn in 2017 from £7.9bn in 2016.

The data provided covers DB to DC transfers included in the Retirement Income Data Request, which is collected from a sample of 54 firms, the FCA said.

The regulator estimates the survey covered 95 per cent of DC contract-based pension scheme assets when it was introduced in 2015, but this is likely to have changed slightly according to developments in the market.

It does not include, however, trust-based occupational pension schemes or DB schemes, which make up the majority of assets in the workplace pensions savings market, it noted.

The FCA also said the number of firms providing the DB to DC data had increased over time, which might indicate that changes in the data are not necessarily due to market changes, but may be due to more firms reporting data over time.

The watchdog also stressed the figures provided have not been adjusted to make an estimate for the entire market.

FTAdviser reported earlier this month that the number of quotation requests for DB transfers and the value of payments made have fallen in the third quarter of 2018, in a sign the transfer fever is beginning to subside.