Pensions - Articles - Pensions transfers data shows market resilience in lockdown

Pensions transfers data recorded by the Origo Transfer Index (OTI)* in Q2 2020, during the heart of the lockdown period, show that the market as a whole has maintained its levels of performance despite the ongoing crisis and the significant disruptions to usual business operations.

 OTI data show that average transfer times increased only marginally for the year to the end of Q2 2020. When we reported data for the 12 months to end of March 2020, the average ceding transfer time was 8.8 days. For the year to end of June 2020 that has increased to just 9.4 days. For simpler cases, the 12 month average to 31 March 2020 was 7 days. To the end of June 2020 simpler transfers took a similar 7.3 days. It is important to note that these are calendar rather than working days.

 Anthony Rafferty, Managing Director, Origo, says: “The imposition of lockdown across the UK saw pension providers’ usual processes significantly disrupted, which had an inevitable initial impact on the transfer market. This saw a temporary increase in transfer times as the market adjusted to the new environment, but following that brief initial period, it has been business ‘almost as usual’.

 “Origo quickly implemented its business continuity plan, ensuring there was no drop off in service to our customers or the industry when lockdown occurred.

 “The ability of the industry to maintain transfer performance is due to the effective response of providers and financial advice firms to the crisis, and the automation of the transfer process through the Origo Transfer Service, which has enabled transfers to be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible despite the dramatic effects of lockdown on companies across the UK.

 “Assuming lockdown restrictions will continue to be eased over the next few months, we anticipate that overall the transfer market will remain robust in 2020.”

 Colin Campbell, Chair of the Origo Transfer Service Steering Group, says: “The fact that during this unprecedented period for the industry, transfer times have been kept to little more than half-a-day of the average before lockdown, is testament to the efficiency of providers’ systems and operations and the Origo Transfer Service.

 “Pension transfers processes are significantly improved by automation and when crises occur, as they do from time to time, having the ability to maintain operations at the same high level has to be good for the industry and for consumer outcomes.”

 *The OTI measures the average time taken to cede a pension from one provider to another.

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