Pension switching times revealed

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Pension switching times revealed
ByAmy Austin

Hargreaves Lansdown is the provider which takes the longest to process a pension switching request, at 30.5 days on average.

Fintech company Origo today (July 18) published data revealing how long pension providers took to process a pension switching request on average in the year to June 2019.

NFU Mutual came out fastest taking 4.8 days on average, followed closely by Canada Life which took 5.1 days.

Out of the 28 firms which provided data through the Origo transfer service, 13 took fewer than 10 days to process a request and the average switching time across all firms was 9.2 days.

Pension switching involves moving a defined contribution pot from one provider to the next and is different from pension transfers, which see defined benefit pensions being moved into DC schemes.

The 28 companies which agreed to publish their data were involved in more than 80 per cent of all completed transactions on the service.

Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown said: "It is important to note the published Origo data doesn’t include those firms who have not given permission for their figures to be published, and it only covers those transfers which go through Origo. 

"Hargreaves Lansdown is absolutely committed to executing fast and reliable transfers and we’re investing a lot of resources internally to bring down our transfer times."

The number of pension switches through the Origo Transfer Service had increased by 20 per cent over the past year to hit 680,000.

But according to Origo this increase, which occurred between June 2018 and June 2019, was partly due to government workplace pension scheme Nest joining the service at the end of 2018.

The data showed that Nest took 12.2 days on average to process a switch.

Mark Rowlands, Nest’s director of customer engagement, welcomed firms' commitment to reveal their switching times but said he wanted to see more information about firms' charges.

He said: "While we’ll continue to offer quick transfers we also want savers to have clear information about how much each scheme charges.

"This will allow people to build up the retirement pot they want while knowing how much it’ll cost them, helping them to make informed decisions."

This quarter wrap platform Novia also joined the group of providers publishing their data.

Ben Collings, head of technical at Novia, said: "This index will provide increased transparency for the industry and ultimately help to deliver a better service and improved outcomes for investors."

Anthony Rafferty, managing director at Origo, said: "The Origo Transfer Index is a means to bring transparency to the transfer process, publishing the times taken to transfer out of a pension, which on average is typically one of the slowest processes for consumers.