Pensions  

Pension switching times worsen slightly

Pension switching times worsen slightly

Providers’ pension switching times have slightly deteriorated in the past year, with switches now taking an average of 13.2 days to complete.

Data from Origo published last week (January 28) showed transfers in the year to September 2021 took 13.2 days to complete, 0.7 days more than in the year to June 2021.

Simpler transfers took on average 10.9 days to complete, up from 10.2 days in the previous period.

According to Origo, simple transfers are those where the ceding provider has complete control over the entire ceding process, therefore they are not complicated by external factors. 

The index is produced on a quarterly basis and shows average switching times over the previous 12 months through the Origo Transfer Service.

NFU Mutual has consistently been the best performer in 2021, averaging 6.1 days overall for transfers, and 4.6 days for simpler transfers in the latest 12-month period.

It was followed by MetLife which stood at 7.1 days.

Hargreaves Lansdown was the worst performer averaging 35.7 days overall for transfers and 34.4 for simple transfers.

However, the provider had improved on its times from the previous 12-month rolling average, shaving 6.3 days off both overall and simple transfers.

A spokesperson for Hargreaves Lansdown said: “We’ve made some big strides here already and continue to work hard to improve our transfer times.

"We believe that publishing our transfer data is the right thing to do, and we encourage all other firms to do the same.”

The firm was followed by Quilter who took 27.6 days and 12.6 days for simpler transfers.

A Quilter spokesperson said: “Transfers between providers should be simple and quick, and we are working hard to make sure this happens.

"The figures published by Origo are 12-month rolling averages and not a reflection of the current position.

"Our transfer speeds today are already significantly faster, which will gradually filter through to the 12-month averages used in the Origo analysis.”

Vanguard was the latest company to join the Origo Transfer Index, which brought the total number of providers and platforms to 28, which collectively account for 80 per cent of all completed switches through the Origo Transfer Service.   

Anthony Rafferty, CEO at Origo, said: “We are delighted that Vanguard has joined the Origo Transfer Index. We now have a significant number of platforms and providers openly publishing their data through the Index, including most of the leading providers in the market.

“The more participants that engage with the index the better it is for the industry and for customers, as it provides an overall industry benchmark against which providers and platforms can measure their performance and where they may be able to improve the standard of service for consumers.”

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.

amy.austin@ft.com

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