Defined Benefit 

More than 50,000 savers leave DB schemes

More than 50,000 savers leave DB schemes

Between 50,000 and 70,000 savers transferred out of their defined benefit schemes last year, according to data from XPS Pensions Group.

The consultancy based this on its own client data which it applied to the whole of market. 

XPS administers about 1,000 DB schemes, and said about 1-1.5 per cent of eligible members - on an annualised basis - were leaving these schemes each month.

XPS, which has started publishing figures on transfer activity alongside its monthly DB transfer values, stated the data means there has been a steady decline in activity since mid-2018 as the rush to transfer has started to slow down.

However, XPS expects activity levels to remain significant going forward, given the attraction of relatively large transfer values and pension freedoms.

There was a significant dip in activity in December, which may have been linked to complications around guaranteed minimum pensions equalisation, it added.

FTAdviser reported that many schemes had halted the transfer process at the end of 2018 after a landmark ruling on GMPs last summer, in which the High Court ruled trustees must equalise benefits between women and men who have GMPs because of contracted out benefits.

Due to the ruling final salary scheme members who contracted out are set to receive millions of pounds in back payments, and pension schemes and administrators were concerned they shouldn’t process transfers until equalisation has taken place.

Some pension scheme administrators have now started to include equalised contracted out benefits in their transfer values after months of deliberating how they should be calculated.

XPS data showed a small fluctuation in transfer values, from £243,900 at the end of March to £242,300 at the end of April.

Over the last month, movements in gilt yields and inflation expectations were more settled compared with March, XPS stated.

By the end of the month, gilt yields had increased slightly (resulting in lower transfer values) as had inflation expectations (which lead to higher transfer values).

With the change in gilt yields being a little bit more than inflation this resulted in the small reduction in values overall, it concluded.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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