Pensions - Articles - Pensions transfers bounce back from Covid induced dip

Pensions transfer volumes have bounced back from the initial effects of the Covid-19 crisis, following a steady upward path towards pre-Lockdown levels the latest data from the Origo Transfers service show.

 Overall transfer volumes for DC pensions were rising steadily through 2019 and hit a consistent high between Q3 2019 and Q1 2020 of around 200,000 per month but then fell through April and May as the industry and consumers reacted to Lockdown. Volumes began picking up in June and have followed an upward trajectory through Q3 and, to date, at a steeper rate of increase than was seen in 2019.

 Origo Managing Director Anthony Rafferty says: “The steady rise in transfer volumes is good news for the industry, reflecting that following the start of the crisis in March, when consumers and the industry were adapting to the initial imposition of Lockdown, business is picking up again and volumes are fast heading for pre-crisis levels.”

 Latest Origo Transfer Index data
 The Origo Transfer Index (OTI), the measure of transfer times of a group of leading pensions and administration companies when ceding DC pensions to another provider, shows average pension times took marginally longer to complete for the year to the end of Q3 2020.

 Overall, the average time to effect a ceding transfer was 10 calendar days, as opposed to 9.4 days as recorded for the year to the end of Q2, whilst for simpler cases, the average ceding time rose to 7.6 calendar days from 7.3 days.

 Advance by Embark Platform has joined the providers voluntarily providing data for the Index. The number of participants remains at 26 due to consolidation activity in the market. The participants in the Origo Transfer Index account for around 80% of the transfers made through the Origo Transfer Service.

 Commenting on the data, Anthony Rafferty says: “Transfer volumes dropped off following the imposition of Lockdown in March which, it would seem, enabled organisations to adapt to new ways of working and maintain transfer times. However, from the end of Q2 transfer volumes have begun to rise again, which has coincided with the increase in ceding times.

 “From the end of Q1 to now overall average transfer times have risen by 1.2 calendar days, while average performance for simpler cases is up by 0.6 days. This is still a testament to the efficiency of providers’ systems and operations under extreme circumstances.

 “It also reflects the benefits of automation and digitisation of processes within financial services. Imagine the impact of the coronavirus crisis on a paper-based system.

 “I believe the crisis will act as a catalyst for the greater adoption of automation and electronic services, driven by a potent combination of operational efficiency, cost, business continuity and consumer demand.”

 *The OTI measures the average time taken to cede a pension from one provider to another. The data is published on a quarterly basis by a group of providers using the Origo Transfer Service.

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