Pension transfer times increase 45% in four years

The average time taken to complete a pension transfer has increased by 45% between 2018/19 and 2021/22, new analysis by PensionBee has found.

The research, based on Origo’s Pension Transfer Index, also revealed a 23% increase in the time taken to complete simpler transfers – where the ceding provider has complete control – over the same period.

Most pension providers included in Origo’s first index in April 2018 have increased the time it takes to process transfer requests. Many providers and third-party administrators continue to not participate in electronic pension transfers or publicly disclose their transfer times, showing limited engagement in the industry’s efforts to improve transfer efficiency for consumers.

However, PensionBee did highlight that it is one of just six providers who have increased their transfer times since April 2018. The firm has taken an average of 10 days to complete a pension transfer request over the same four-year period.

“It’s very concerning to see a general malaise in pension transfer times,” commented PensionBee CEO, Romi Savova. “Particularly as a number of key players remain noticeably absent from Origo’s Index, despite slow transfer times being identified as a problem by the FCA back in 2015.

“This latest data proves just how crucial it is to move away from self-regulation within the pensions industry and instead implement a ‘pension switch guarantee’ to restore confidence and trust in the pensions system, allowing consumers to take control of their financial future and plan ahead for a happy retirement.

“Customers deserve to have an effective process for voicing complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, giving them the same switching rights as is seen in other markets.”

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