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Transfer activity rises as The Pensions Regulator announces latest scam-fighting strategy

Transfer activity rises as The Pensions Regulator announces latest scam-fighting strategy

24 Aug 2022

The proportion of members transferring rose to an annualised rate of 41 members per 100,000, representing a 41% increase on the month before, according to the XPS Transfer Activity Index. This is the highest rate recorded since January but remains far below the volume of transfer activity of recent years.

XPS’s Scam Flag Index showed that 94% of transfer cases reviewed by the XPS Scam Protection Service registered as having one or more scam warning signs. Despite the slight fall, this marks the second month in succession where the rate has been in excess of 9 in 10 cases, with the overseas investment amber flag again being the most common warning identified.

Following a six-month period of decline, XPS Pension Group’s Transfer Value Index ended slightly up at the end of July at £210,000. The increase was due to a small fall in gilt yields over the month. Despite being the first increase in 2022, the XPS Transfer Value index remains 22% below the record high seen in December 2021.

Mark Barlow, Head of Member Options, XPS Pensions Group, said: “Many pension scheme members will be finding that their household finances are under pressure due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Although this is only one month, we have seen a rise in the number of members transferring, possibly to meet their increased income needs. Whilst pension transfers can play a valuable role, it is crucial that members have appropriate support, including access to unbiased advice, to ensure that they make the right decision for them.”

Helen Cavanagh, Client Lead, Member Engagement Hub, XPS Pensions Group, added: “Despite the small fall in scam warning flags last month, we have now entered a period where almost all transfer requests lead to MoneyHelper referrals. Whilst many will ultimately be legitimate transfers, we are always wary that new more sophisticated scam practices will continue to evolve. We welcome The Pension Regulator’s recent announcement of its plan to further help educate members and trustees about scams, to renew its effort to co-ordinate scam-fighting intelligence and to bring offenders to justice.”

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.

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