Defined Benefit  

DB transfer values recover after February fall

DB transfer values recover after February fall

Defined benefit transfer values increased last month to recover around a third of the fall seen in February, according to figures from XPS Pensions Group.

Data from the consultancy’s indices showed the transfer value rose to £246,000 for a typical pension scheme member in March, from £242,000 in February.

According to XPS, the increase was largely due to rising expectations of future inflation increasing the expected value of members’ pensions.

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Transfer activity, meanwhile, remained broadly steady at an annual equivalent of 0.68 per cent of eligible members in March, up from 0.66 per cent in February.

The number of scam warnings continued to decline this year, with half (52 per cent) of transfers in March showing at least one warning sign of a potential scam, down from three in five (58 per cent) in February, according to XPS’ red flag index.

Helen Cavanagh, consultant at XPS Pensions Group, said: “We are pleased to see the continued fall in the red flag index.

“However, more than half of cases are still showing warning signs that could indicate a scam, or at the very least, the potential for poor member outcomes. This remains much higher than the level of red flags we were seeing before the pandemic. 

“Our scam protection service is identifying many cases which are described as being ‘poor practice’ in the new FCA guidance.”

The Financial Conduct Authority published its finalised DB transfer guidance for advisers in March to help firms identify weaknesses in their existing advice processes in a move to drive up standards in the market.

In the guidance, the regulator said it had seen “too many poor practices in the advice process based on a misunderstanding of the requirements, poorly designed systems, outdated processes or inadequate disclosures”, even where the advice was suitable.

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