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DB Transfer Values fall to lowest month-end figure since 2018

DB Transfer Values fall to lowest month-end figure since 2018

25 Oct 2023

XPS’s Transfer Value Index decreased by over 3% during September, with the month end figure of £154,000 being 15% lower than one year ago. Transfer values have now fallen by a third since 30 June 2018, when the index was first launched.

The primary driver of this fall in transfer values is the increase in gilt yields. Gilt yields have increased, whilst inflation expectations have remained stable following the Bank of England’s decision not to raise interest rates in September. This fall in the Index continues the overall downward trend.

XPS’s Transfer Activity Index also fell over September 2023, to an annualised rate of 21 members in every 1,000 transferring their benefits to alternative arrangements. The volume of activity over Q3 2023 is considerably lower than the previous quarter, whilst also remaining close to the lowest recorded value of the Index recorded in July 2023.

92% of cases reviewed by the XPS Scam Protection Service in September raised at least one scam warning flag, according to XPS’s Scam Flag Index. This represents an increase from 86% from the previous month and has seen the Index return to a similar level to that observed since the introduction of the 2021 transfer regulations. This follows the spike in volumes of members transferring to purchase an annuity, which has a lower risk of scam activity, falling back to the levels seen in previous months. 

Helen Cavanagh, Client Lead at XPS Pensions Group’s Member Engagement Hub said: “With the Transfer Value Index falling to a record month-end value, we’ve also seen the number of members electing to transfer remaining low. This continues the trend of falling transfer activity, with two months of the last quarter containing the lowest transfer volumes we have witnessed since starting the Index. It may be that lower transfers values are resulting in fewer members concluding that transferring is the best option for them.”

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

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Source: 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 20,000 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 350 occupational pension schemes. 

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