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DB pension transfer activity increases marginally in May as transfer values remain stable

DB pension transfer activity increases marginally in May as transfer values remain stable

26 Jun 2024

The rate at which people are transferring out of their DB pensions increased slightly last month after last month’s new record low, while the value of a typical transfer remained stable having fallen to its lowest point in six months in April, new analysis from XPS Pensions Group has found

XPS’s Transfer Activity Index saw a slight increase in May 2024, reaching an annualised rate of 19 members in every 1,000 transferring their benefits to alternative arrangements, up from 14 members in every 1,000 in April. Despite this, the Index remained below 20 members in every 1,000 for the sixth consecutive month reflecting the continued long-term trend of low transfer volumes.

Meanwhile, XPS’s Transfer Value Index increased slightly during May 2024 from £155,000 to £156,000 after a decline of 3.4% during April. This marks a continued period of stability for the Index, with month-end values fluctuating within a £5,000 range since the start of the year. This stability reflects the small increases in gilt yields, coupled with similar increases in long-term inflation, resulting in lower volatility in transfer values.

According to XPS’ Scam Flag Index, 89% of cases reviewed by the XPS Scam Protection Service in May raised at least one scam warning flag. This represents a small increase of 1% compared to the previous month. This marked a lower rate than average over the previous year and is the fifth consecutive month that the index has remained below 90%.

Helen Cavanagh, Senior Consultant, XPS Pensions Group, said: "We continue to see a long-term trend of low transfer volumes, alongside relatively stable transfer values, throughout 2024. Among those transferring, whilst the majority are still transferring to personal pensions, we continue to see an increasing number are opting to purchase annuity policies, likely due to more competitive pricing driven by higher gilt yields.”

Chart 1 - XPS Transfer Value Index

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Chart 2 - XPS Transfer Activity Index

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Chart 3 – XPS Scam Flag Index

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Table 1 – Transfer Watch over the past 12 months

download (6).pngSource: XPS Pensions Group – All data is at the end of each month.


XPS Transfer Watch is part of XPSArena, a free-to-access destination for learning support and development for people in pensions.  Users will be able to scrutinise the latest data contributing to the headline Scam Flag Index, with filters available to compare warning flag prevalence over time and by several demographic groupings.

XPS Transfer Watch monitors how market developments have affected transfer values for an example member, as well as how many members are choosing to take a transfer value.

XPS Pensions Group’s Transfer Value Index shows the estimated Cash Transfer Value of a 64-year-old member with a pension of £10,000 a year with typical inflation increases. The value changes over time with market movements. Mortality assumptions are reviewed periodically.

XPS Pensions Group’s Transfer Activity Index represent the annualised proportion of members that transfer out of pension schemes administered by XPS. If replicated across all private sector, funded, UK, DB schemes this indicates that approximately 10,000 DB members leave their schemes each year

XPS Pensions Group’s Scam Flag Index tracks the percentage of monthly transfers reviewed by the businesses’ scam protection service that are identified as having warning ‘flags’ which indicate that the member is at risk of being scammed. The flags monitored include both the DWP’s set list of amber and red warnings and further areas of concern identified and monitored by XPS’ Scam Protection Service. The service is provided to the Trustees of approximately 500 occupational pension schemes.