Defined BenefitMay 25 2023

DB transfers continue to fall

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DB transfers continue to fall
(Pexels/ Mikhail Nilov)

The number of defined benefit transfers has fallen to its lowest level in nine months.

XPS Pensions Group’s transfer activity index showed an annualised rate of 34 members out of every 10,000 transferred their DB pensions in April.

This was down from an annualised rate of 38 in March and 42 in February.

The transfer activity index has been falling steadily since 2017 when there were some 200 members out of every 10,000 transferring.

The value of these transfers also fell in April, finishing the month at an average of £169,000 and returning to a similar level as February 2023. 

The fall is primarily due to a slight rise in gilt yields over April, coupled with decreasing long-term inflation expectations, XPS said.


In addition, the XPS red flag index found 94 per cent of transfers showed at least one warning sign indicative of a potential scam or poor member outcomes. 

This compared to 94 per cent the previous month and is the eleventh consecutive month of this index exceeding 90 per cent.

As part of regulations introduced in November 2021, trustees are now able to pause or block pension transfers if they deem necessary, by raising a ‘red flag’.

In addition, they can raise an ‘amber flag’ if they suspect a potential scam, which will mean the member will have to provide evidence they have taken specific scam guidance from the Money and Pensions Service before they are allowed to transfer.