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XPS Transfer Watch shows values increase slightly in March but activity remains low

XPS Transfer Watch shows values increase slightly in March but activity remains low

25 Apr 2024

  • Transfer activity saw a marginal increase last month, with volumes 50% lower than this time last year.
  • The Transfer Value Index saw a decrease of ~2% over Q1 2024, partly driven by increases in gilt yields.
  • XPS Pensions Group welcomes potential changes to transfer regulations, but cautions that Trustees need to ensure they implement robust scam protection processes.

XPS’s Transfer Activity Index saw a marginal increase over March 2024, to an annualised rate of 19 in every 1,000 members transferring their benefits to alternative arrangements. The trend of low transfer volumes continued throughout Q1 2024, with the Transfer Activity Index being 50% lower than this time last year. This decrease may be driven by members being deterred by lower transfer value quotes, particularly if they have previously received a much higher quotation.

XPS’s Transfer Value Index rose slightly during March 2024 to £160,000, leading to an overall decrease of ~2% over Q1 2024, primarily driven by increases in gilt yields. However, this did not offset the falls in the preceding months. Although transfer values were relatively stable across Q1 2024, the March month-end value is significantly less than a year ago, when it stood at £175,000.

According to XPS’s Scam Flag Index, 88% of cases reviewed by the XPS Scam Protection Service in March 2024 raised at least one scam warning flag. This represents an increase of 1% compared to February 2024, marking the sixth successive month that the Index has remained at or below 90%. In comparison, the previous six months to March 2024 had just one instance of the index falling to 90% or below. The DWP has recently been engaging with industry bodies as it considers changes to the transfer regulations to strengthen Trustees’ ability to protect members against scams, while allowing safe transfers to be processed in a timely manner. The DWP’s changes are expected to include a removal of the overseas flag and encouraging Trustees to operate a ‘green list’ of approved service providers.

Helen Cavanagh, Head of Member Options, XPS Pensions Group, said: "In early 2024 we saw transfer values experience their most stable quarter since 2022, but values still remain ~10% lower than a year ago. Lower transfer values could be driving the Transfer Activity Index to its lowest recorded level.

Potential changes to the transfer regulations may lead the Scam Flag Index to fall in future. Changes to the regulations are welcomed but Trustees will need to continue to have a robust scam protection process in place.”

Chart 1 - XPS Transfer Value Index 

TW April 1.png

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

TW April 4.png
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 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 services that is 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. 

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