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Pension transfer activity falls to lowest level in four years

Pension transfer activity falls to lowest level in four years

24 Jan 2022

XPS Pension Group’s Transfer Activity Index showed that an annualised rate of 50 members out of every 10,000 transferred their pensions in December, the lowest rate since XPS started tracking this activity in July 2018.

The Transfer Value Index also fell by 5% (over £12,000) in December to an average of £258,000, falling from a record high of £270,000 at the end of November on the previous month. The decrease was driven by a rebound in gilt yields over the course of December.

The Scam Flag Index remained below 50% for the fourth successive month, with 41% of transfers showing at least one warning sign indicative of a potential scam or poor member outcomes. This compares to a peak of 76% this time last year.

Mark Barlow, Head of Member Options, XPS Pensions Group commented:

“We often see a slump in transfer activity over the festive period, but this is the lowest rate of transfers we have seen since we started the index in 2018. Although it’s unlikely to be affecting activity significantly yet, it’s interesting that this fall comes immediately after the introduction of the new transfer regulations, which provided trustees with the power to block transfers."

Helen Cavanagh, Client Lead, Member Engagement Hub, XPS Pensions Group added:

“Although the Scam Index remains at a high level, given all the recent focus on preventing pension scams, it’s encouraging to see a fall in the number of transfers displaying warning signs of a pension scam. With the new Government regulations in force placing more requirements on trustees, it’s important that they are able to understand the landscape of how scams might be affecting their members."

Charts 1 and 2 - XPS Transfer Value Index and XPS Transfer Activity Index

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, (the bars on the chart) 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 50,000 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 250 occupational pension schemes. 

Related links

XPS Transfer Watch

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