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Hargreaves among slowest providers for pension switching

Hargreaves among slowest providers for pension switching

Hargreaves Lansdown continues to be the provider that takes the longest to process a pension switching request, at 30.2 working days.

Fintech company Origo yesterday (October 22) published data showing how long pension providers took on average to process a pension switching request in the year to September 2019.

Hargreaves came out the slowest at just more than 30 days, followed by Yorsipp at 27.6 days and Liberty Sipp at 23.6 days.

The numbers compare with an industry-agreed future target of 14 days for pension switches and 15 days for occupational scheme transfers, as set out by the Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group framework published in July.

A partnership called Star, which was launched in October 2018, is currently working towards delivering that target.

Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said Origo's list was not exhaustive and there could be providers taking longer than Hargreaves.

He said: "We believe transparency of performance is important, which is why we agree to the publication of our data by Origo, where others with poorer numbers do not.

"We are also pleased that our performance is improving. We are fully committed to the Star initiative and will keep working to get all pension providers complying with the industry agreed standards."

Yorsipp has been approached for comment, while Embark, which owns the Liberty Sipp book, declined to comment.

At the upper end NFU Mutual and Canada Life were the fastest providers, with 4.9 and 5.1 working days respectively.

Origo's pension switching service has been used by more than 100 firms to date, including pension consultancies, life companies, platforms and self-invested personal pension providers.

It achieved a milestone in the last quarter, when it reached 4m pension switching transactions processed since the launch of the service for defined contribution providers in 2008.

In the 12 months to September 2019, 730,305 pension switching requests were completed, a 26.5 rise in volume when compared with the previous period. 

The overall average pension ceding time is now 8.9 calendar days, which compares with 9.3 calendar days in March 2019.

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

Anthony Rafferty, Origo’s managing director, said: “Through the Origo Transfer Index, we are looking to further improve both the speed, security and the transparency of the transfer process.

“By publishing the times taken to transfer out of a pension, Origo and its community of administrators, master trusts, platforms and providers are encouraging other organisations to commit to greater transfer transparency and so create a benchmark for the industry as a whole to aim for. 

“We encourage other organisations to participate in the index, thereby helping to improve outcomes for individuals.”

According Mr Rafferty, the latest milestone was achieved due to a general rise in pension switches across the Origo Transfer Service community and new companies, such as Nest, signing up to the service in the past 12 months.