Defined Benefit 

Pension transfer values near record highs

Pension transfer values near record highs

Defined benefit transfer values were close to record highs during May as the number of transactions increased, according to data from XPS Pensions.

The consultant’s transfer value index ended the month at £241,500, down from £242,300 at the end of April, however, values had neared the high end of the scale during May, at £242,370.

The rise was driven by a fall in government bond yields over the month, which partially offset by a fall in inflation expectations.

Since the index was launched three years ago XPS has updated its assumptions to reflect recent life expectancy data, which reduced the index by about 2.5 per cent in May.

XPS transfer activity index – which the firm launched last month – shows a slight increase in the number of transfers that the administration business processed during May, compared with April.

This means transfers may be increasing again after slowing down in recent months.

The transfers processed would imply an annual equivalent of 0.94 per cent of eligible members, compared with 0.87 per cent in the previous month. 

Mark Barlow, senior consultant at XPS Pensions Group, said: "There’s been a slight increase in members transferring during May.

"The index seems to be settling at a figure of around 1 per cent of eligible members transferring each year, but we will see whether the current high transfer values result in more members taking a transfer in the coming months."

Mr Barlow also commented on the recently launched Pensions Transfer Gold Standard, which has been adopted by almost 800 advisers since its launch.

He said: "We are really pleased that the Industry appears to be embracing the recently-launched Pension Transfer Gold Standard.

"High quality advice is crucial to ensure that members make the right decision and aren’t tempted by such high values. Particularly as we are in pension scams awareness fortnight, any steps to improve the overall quality and transparency of advice has to be a good thing."

The gold standard badge and guide is an initiative brought to life by the Pensions Advice Taskforce, a group set up by the Personal Finance Society to increase consumer awareness and protection in areas of complex pension advice.

It includes a consumer guide on good advice and states that firms must help clients understand when advice is appropriate.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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