Defined BenefitFeb 23 2023

Pension transfers start year on a high

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Pension transfers start year on a high
(Pexels/Kristina Paukshtite)
ByAmy Austin

Defined benefit transfer values rose by 2 per cent over the first month of 2023, ending January at £171,000, according to XPS Pensions.

The slight increase was due to a small fall in gilt yields and a slight rise in long term inflationary expectations during January, which are key assumptions in determining the value of a defined benefit pension transfer value.

This compares to December when XPS Pensions' transfer value index saw values fall by 4 per cent, with transfer values dropping 36 per cent over 2022 as a whole due to significant rises in gilt yields.

Transfer values fell to record lows in the wake of the "mini" Budget last year, which prompted market turbulence due to the unexpected number of unfunded tax cuts.

But although values have risen this year, the appetite for completing a transfer fell, with an average of 39 members out of every 10,000 having transferred their pension.

The numbers for January 2023 were consistent with the index over most of 2022, aside from the large spike in activity in November.

Mark Barlow, head of member options at XPS Pensions, said: “Following the significant fall in transfer values over the past year, it’s perhaps unsurprising we are seeing more stability and fewer people transferring their pension. 

“However, many schemes are continuing to brace for an influx of members wanting to transfer their pension to address the cost-of-living crisis and are implementing additional support and protection to ensure members make the right decision for their circumstances.”

Elsewhere, the number of scam warnings raised on transfers reminded consistent.

According to XPS, 93 per cent of cases in January showed at least one scam ‘warning flag’.

This is the third consecutive month the index has remained at this level and the 8th month in a row where it’s been above 90 per cent.