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Transfer activity falls to lowest level in over five years

Transfer activity falls to lowest level in over five years

30 Aug 2023

XPS Pension Group’s Transfer Activity Index continued its downward trajectory during July, with an annualised rate of only 19 members per 100,000 transferring out of their current scheme to an alternative arrangement. This is the lowest level of activity seen since the Transfer Activity Index was first published in May 2018, and is approximately half of the level measured by the index this time last year.

XPS Pension Group’s Transfer Value Index continues to remain stable, finishing the month at £161,000. July becomes the third consecutive month where we have seen little fluctuation in the Index. This can be attributed to fewer changes in gilt yields and long-term inflation expectations over the past few months, compared to more significant movements seen over 2022 and the start of 2023.

93% of cases reviewed by The XPS Scam Protection Service in July raised at least one scam warning flag, according to XPS’s Scam Flag Index. While the figure represents a slight fall compared to June, it continues the prolonged trend of this index remaining above 90%.

Helen Cavanagh, Client Lead at XPS Pensions Group’s Member Engagement Hub, said: "Transfer activity levels have declined dramatically over the past five years, and this trend may have been further compounded by more recent falling transfer values. However, we are still seeing that most transfers are made as members approach their retirement and it is clear that transfers remain an important part of the retirement decision making process for many."

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

TransferWatch Aug 4.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 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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